5 Reasons Why BMW Oil Changes Are So Expensive

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It’s the ultimate driving machine, but when you take a BMW in for an oil repair, it also feels like the ultimate price. While most people know that BMW is an expensive brand, some are shocked when they see the bill. Oil changes are essential for any engine, but with BMWs, even more so. Recently, some more luxurious models, such as the 7-series and the larger X5 and X6, have had engines seizing due to improper lubrication. So, you need to do them, and yes, that carries a high price, but why? 

Why are BMW oil changes so expensive 1 5 Reasons Why BMW Oil Changes Are So Expensive

Table of Contents

Why are BMW oil changes so expensive?

BMW oil changes cost more than other vehicles because BMWs require specific high-performance oils and, despite being a luxury vehicle, their engines can be quite complex. Many technicians require additional training to perform an oil change on a BMW.

There are many reasons why oil changes and other repairs can be expensive for BMWs. Some of them you might find logical, but others are pretty surprising. 

In short, BMW engines usually lean towards high performance, so they need special engine oils and specific intervals, but that’s not the only reason. So, in this article, we’ll explain the three main reasons why oil changes are so expensive in BMWs. 

BMW engines use specific high-performance oils 

BMW engines are some of the most complex out there. Throughout its history, the German company has focused on high performance, which means taking technology to its limits. 

Every powerplant, from the legendary inline-six to the more advanced V8s and diesel powerplants, comes loaded with the latest injection systems, turbos, and materials, to name a few. 

Keeping all these components in top shape involves perfect lubrication. So, BMW recommends a series of specific engine oils that, inevitably, cost more. These are usually full synthetic versions, and even the brand comes into play. BMW has approved a limited number of oils, including Castrol and Mobil 1. 

Choosing to deviate from these recommendations could have consequences on your vehicle. The first, and “less” severe, is that you might void the warranty if you don’t use the recommended oils, but there are more dire consequences. For example, you can damage the engine. 

There are records of BMW engines seizing due to the wrong oil, which happens at a relatively low mileage of around 80,000 miles. So, if you’re uncomfortable with an expensive oil change, consider that it could worsen. 

BMW has a luxury reputation

Why are BMW oil changes so expensive 1 1 5 Reasons Why BMW Oil Changes Are So Expensive

For years, BMW has stood above most brands as a luxury brand. The price tag tells you that you’re paying something else. That little extra can translate to maintenance costs that outdo even the rest of luxury brands. 

While BMW is at the same level as Lexus, for example, it’s not the case with others. For example, BMW is more expensive than fellow German brand Audi, and you shouldn’t be surprised to know it can be four times costlier to change the oil in Beemers than in Japanese brands. 

Though it’s difficult to justify such a price difference, it’s always important to remember that BMW is a car built differently. So you are getting a great driving experience, and it also comes with luxurious interiors and the latest driver and passenger aids and comforts. 

At the same time, under proper maintenance, a BMW can be reliable. The latest Consumer Reports reviews show that the X5 ranks high in the luxury SUV segment. Plus, the sports car segment is BMW’s game, with the 2-series and Z4 ranking high. All these factors come into play with the price tag. 

Some BMW engines can be quite complex

While you can do an oil change yourself, that’s not to say you should, in all cases. For example, consider one of BMW’s latest engines, the six-cylinder 3.0L twin-turbo mild-hybrid engine. 

That’s a mouthful, and keeping one in top shape is just as complex as repeating that name three times. So, not everybody can work on these engines. In addition, it takes a lot of training, which translates into costs. 

Some guides can tell you how to do oil changes at home, but that will not be so cheap in the long run. After all, you must buy specific oil filters and tools. So, in the end, it’s still an expensive endeavor. Plus, you must figure out what to do with the used oil later. 

These are the three main reasons oil changes are expensive in BMWs, and there’s another hot topic of discussion: the mileage interval. 

Oil Filter Cost

Next, the oil filter cost is calculated into the service and price. This isn’t needed for everybody each time, but when it’s included, the oil change price becomes even more expensive to install a new one.  

Vehicle Inspection

Lastly, each BMW oil change also includes a vehicle inspection. This is when they offer upsell services to try and increase the bill while addressing other potential maintenance tasks required for the BMW. 

How Much Does An Oil Change Cost For A BMW?

BMW is well known for its high-performance cars and the quality of its service. The average cost of an oil change at a BMW dealership is $175 to $250, while an independent mechanic costs $125 to $170.

The cost can also increase if the oil filter needs to be upgraded. Depending on the location, this would cost an additional $25 to $75. 

In general, BMW owners can expect to spend between $200 to $300 on an oil change when visiting an approved BMW dealership. This is the recommended place to visit for all vehicle maintenance. 

The price difference between BMW dealerships and independent mechanics can be attributed to the labor costs associated with servicing the car. 

Independent mechanics work on fewer cars than dealerships so they can charge less per hour for labor than BMW dealerships.

How Often Should A BMW Get An Oil Change?

A car’s engine comprises many parts and pieces that work together to produce power. The engine is lubricated by the oil inside the engine to keep it cool and to run smoothly. 

However, over time the oil becomes dirty and needs to be changed before it can cause significant damage to your vehicle.

BMW recommends an oil change every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. This is because the engine oil becomes dirty and full of impurities over time. These impurities can be harmful to the engine and reduce its performance.

There is also a lighting system on the BMW to alert drivers when it’s time to get an oil change. Using this feature is the best way to get them at the right time and avoid extra costs. 

Synthetic Vs. Conventional Oil For A BMW

BMW oil changes are expensive because they must keep their cars running high. Some people try to save money by switching to conventional oil, but this isn’t recommended. We’ll explain why. 

Conventional oil is simple and refined from crude oil. Both synthetic and conventional oils are made from petroleum, but the difference lies in the refining process to produce them. 

Synthetic oil has been refined to a higher degree than conventional oil, which means that it has lower levels of impurities such as sulfur and other additives. This makes it more expensive because it takes more energy to make.

Conventional will wear down too fast and result in more frequent oil changes, resulting in similar pricing once the additional services are factored in. Synthetic oil also provides better engine protection. 

It lasts 5,000 to 10,000 miles longer than conventional oil and holds up exceptionally well in colder or warmer temperatures. Conventional oil heats up much slower during the winter, causing performance to decline. 

Avoid conventional oil as much as possible when driving a BMW.

BMW oil change intervals are precise

Changing your oil will depend a lot on when your vehicle was produced. BMW has released specific guidelines on how many miles you can go before changing it. For example, if your car was manufactured after July 2013, the factory recommends replacing the oil after 10,000 miles or twelve months. 

This change is critical. Vehicles produced before July 2013 use a 15,000-mile or twelve-month interval. Unfortunately, some BMW owners might not be aware of this change and might keep changing the oil 5,000 miles after they should have. If your BMW is within these years of production, it’s always worth researching the specific manufacturer guidelines.

The topic doesn’t end there. These changes, in July 2013, caused a bit of controversy. Some users considered the interval too long. You can search the web, and many say that you should change the oil every 6,000 or 7,000 miles, which is 30% to 50% fewer miles than recommended. 

Regardless of the interval, you consider, remember there’s nothing wrong with changing the oil before the established mileage. However, you might run into trouble when you exceed that mark. So, always keep an eye on your oil’s condition as it’s essential for your engine’s health. 

Closing thoughts:

BMWs are luxury vehicles, and they command a high price. This reputation translates into every aspect of owning, even changing the oil. For example, you can expect to pay double or four times as much for an oil change compared to a Japanese brand. 

Oil changes are expensive in BMWs because these are complex engines designed to run at top performance. So, they need specific oils, filters, and tools, which means the cost is higher. Yet, at the same time, it’s the price to pay for a vehicle that can perform like very few in the market. 

In recent years, BMW has also amped its engine technology, producing some of the more complex powerplants that have entered the market. Twin-turbo mild-hybrid engines are now standard, and servicing these is complex. Not everyone can, or should, do it, and those who can charge big bucks. 

All these factors add up to something as simple as an oil change. So, whenever you’re cruising along the highway in your BMW, remember that it’s the ultimate driving machine, and you have to pay the price.