BMW is a German vehicle manufacturing brand that prides itself on prioritizing luxury and performance when building their vehicles. Because of this focus, the reliability of BMWs is often less than ideal and can manifest itself in various mechanical problems.

BMWs start having problems within the first 100,000 miles. Depending on how well the vehicle is maintained, it may start experiencing problems as early as 20,000 miles while others won’t have issues until over 200,000 miles. Common BMW problems include engine issues and electrical malfunctions.

While there is quite a large window of time that a BMW will probably start having problems, customer reviews and reliability ratings can help you understand just how long a BMW will last without an issue. Keep reading to learn more about the reliability of BMWs.

When Problems Start to Occur

It is important to know how soon after buying a new BMW that problems will occur. Like mentioned before, BMWs often have problems within the first 100,000 miles. Some have problems sooner and some have problems much later.

The way the car is maintained, the model, and the year are all factors that change how soon your BMW will have problems. Some end up not having a single issue until well over 200,000 miles!

Most BMW dealerships offer warranties for the first 50,000 miles. With this warranty, you can avoid paying for some of early maintenance issues. Unfortunately, if you purchased a used BMW or did not buy the warranty, you are out of luck for those early on issues.

BMW Reliability

When it comes to figuring out how long a BMW will last before having problems, reliability ratings are a great place to look. When a vehicle has a high-reliability rating, it is not likely to have maintenance issues early on, or serious issues in the long run. BMW has a lot of different models, and reliability ratings vary between each of them. However, on average, they have quite a low-reliability rating.

Based on reviews and research from RepairPal, BMWs have an average reliability rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars. This is a very poor rating. Out of 32 different vehicle manufacturers, BMW was ranked as the 30th most reliable. According to Repair Pal, the average BMWs visit the repair shop 0.9 times a year. That’s more than double the amount of time other vehicle brands.

Repairs for BMWs are know for being quite the headache. First off, repairs cost about $968 per year, and after paying so much for a BMW, that can be a big hit to your bank account. In addition to the high costs for repairs, BMW parts are very difficult to get.

Not just any dealership can fix a BMW problem since the parts need to be shipped in from Germany. Often times it’s best to let a BMW specialist do the labor. The labor costs from a specialist can really skyrocket the overall maintenance costs.

Finally, BMWs often have more severe problems than minor problems. It is about a 15% chance that when your BMW needs to be taken in to the shop, it will be a severe issue. J.D. Power only gives BMWs an average of 80 out of 100 for reliability. This is categorized as average reliability, but this varies between models, and how the vehicle is cared for.

Common BMW Problems

Now that you know more about the frequency of problems, it is important to be clear about what those problems are. For many owners of various BMW models, there are more engine and electrical problems than anything else.

Engine Problems

The most common engine problem is engine failure in various occasions. There are reports of BMW engines stalling while driving, shutting down while driving, broken timing chains, and general engine failure. This is a serious issue to be aware of, especially because it is so dangerous. When the engine breaks down in any way, it poses a threat to the driver, passengers, and anyone else around the vehicle.

This is also just a huge annoyance. If the engine shuts down while parked, then you are not able to use your car to get from point A to point B. Because they are engine problems, you will likely need to get it towed.

A broken timing chain was a huge issue on the 2013 X3 model. The timing chain is the part that tells the engine when to open and close the valves to let fuel in and exhaust out. When the timing chain breaks, the engine fails. Unfortunately, the timing chain can even break while the vehicle is in motion. It is very dangerous to drive with a potentially faulty timing chain.

Electrical Problems

The other main issues reported for BMWs are electrical problems. This includes the engine sometimes, but it also includes lights, locks, steering, and dash features. Some of these issues are very dangerous and some are just very annoying.

When something like the dashboard features malfunction and you have a newer vehicle with a screen, you might not be able to see the speed you are going at, how much gas you have left, or if the check engine light has turned on, which we now know can be a sign of some very serious issues.

When the locks, lights, or steering stops working, that puts you and your car in danger. If the locks on such an expensive car malfunction, you are at a huge risk for your vehicle being broken into and/or stolen. If the exterior lights stop working, this puts you in danger of not being seen by other cars, or you not being able to see what is ahead of you. If the steering malfunctions, you will lose control of the vehicle, which could result in a car accident.

Overall, the common issues that BMWs have are very severe, frequent, and expensive to fix. They should be taken into account if you are considering purchasing a BMW.

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