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Are BMW Good Cars? Are they really that Reliable?

Are BMW Good Cars

A BMW is one of the foremost luxury brand cars on the market. They’re not all bells and whistles, either. BMW back the hype for their cars up with good safety features, handling, and more that are highly praised and rated for the most part. German automobiles always have the latest when it comes to the newest models, and BMW is no exception. Still, lots of cars by different automakers get praise just as good as BMW gets. So that raises the question, are BMW cars all around good vehicles? Everything you need to know before making an informed BMW purchase is all here in this handy guide. 

The Reliability of BMW Cars at First Glance 

BMW has looks and features already going for most of their cars, with very few actually bad-looking vehicles. What car shoppers truly look for is reliability, and for the most part, BMW does have a good standing and track record when it comes to it. In fact, BMW often ranks in the top ten when it comes to the most reliable automakers and cars, according to several consumer reports. However, BMW is consistently outranked in reliability by Kia, Toyota, and Lexus. Even so, new BMW models continue to improve reliability with each new year. 

BMWs need to be as reliable as they can be because maintenance and upkeep of such a car are reported to be higher than average. This is largely due to BMW using the most up-to-date tech and electronic features on their newest models. Similarly, these features may also experience different issues depending on the model. So you may find better luck and reliability with some BMW cars than others. 

The Lifetime of a BMW Vehicle         

The average lifetime of a BMW model can be described as fairly average compared to other cars from different manufacturers. They can last anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 miles which translates to about 15 years of use –the average driver tends to get a new car after 10 to 15 years, as a matter of fact. For this reason, you may see some BMWs from the 2000s still rolling down the streets. The more expensive and essential parts of a BMW are proven to be just as reliable as well. 

Common BMW Problems That Affect Its Lifetime 

It has been found that it’s actually the newer BMW models that are more prone to some of the following issues. The good news is that these issues can be remedied by auto shops and aren’t too detrimental to the car’s functionality. However, if the car’s warranty is expired or it has some miles and years on it –then it may become more expensive to maintain if this issue persists. These issues can be:

  • Electrical faults - Things such as windows, locks, restraints, and other BMW features are dependent on electricity in order to be able to work. There may be some times when the electrical system may falter, and they may not work. It helps to get these issues looked at to avoid permanent power loss. 
  • Oil leaks - Different BMW cars are reported to commonly suffer from oil leaks. This usually occurs in the oil filter gasket as it wears out sooner than expected. This is commonly reported when the BMW passes 50,000 miles on the odometer. Unfortunately, this is one of the more expensive repairs you can have done on a BMW. 
  • Failing coolant system - The coolant system of any vehicle is one of the most important parts because it keeps the engine from overheating. Issues with the coolant system in BMWs tend to arise when the car passes 80,000 miles on its odometer. This is something that should be looked at immediately to avoid permanent engine damage. 
  • Steering wheel vibrates when using the brake - Steering wheel shakes and vibrations are reported by BMW drivers when they exceed 60,000 miles on their odometer. This is caused by what is known as thrush arm bushings, a strut within the steering column that can get easily worn with certain BMW models.   

Costs of BMW Repairs And Maintenance 

Reliability and an overall good vehicle are what you’re almost always guaranteed to get when you purchase a BMW. But as stated before, the maintenance and repair costs are what get most drivers. An oil filter gasket for a leak can cost a minimum of $469 depending on the BMW model, while a Coolant system overall haul is known for costing an average of $1,338. 

The Best And Worst BMWs 

All BMWs boast a modest fuel economy, luxurious cabin, comfortable seats, and some even have quick acceleration for thrilling performance and easy handling. The BMW models reported to have the highest degree of reliability are the 2006-2011 BMW 3 Series, the BMW 5 Series, and the BMW 1 Series from 2013. Because of some of these models’ years –you can see just how reliable and long-lasting these BMWs can truly be. Good fuel economy and a comfortable ride are reported with each of these models, along with less chance of the previously mentioned issues occurring.  

The BMW cars that receive the opposite criticism would be any model with an N54 engine, the 2014-2019 BMW X6, and the BMW E46 M3. The N54 has largely been met with lukewarm reception due to the tendency of the fuel pump to fail as it ages and more engine faults. The BMW X6 did have some gearbox issues, but newer models have since resolved those issues. The BMW E46 M3 has an unhealthy habit of electrical failures and a more frail frame.

In conclusion, finding a reliable vehicle with plenty of power to last from BMW can be easy with all this information in mind. They are, without a doubt, good cars, but some are better than others in their catalog. Choose your BMW based on the standard features you need, along with good reliability ratings for the best results. Safe and reliable cars typically get discounts on their car insurance premiums.   

Updated: December 2023

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