Is BMW Reliable? All You Need To Know About BMW’s Reliability

Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

According to top-ranking lists and reviews of the most reliable car brands, BMW ranks below average and is considered among the least reliable car brands. These rankings could be because they are expensive to repair and maintain. However, newer models of BMW rank high in surveys and have moved upward on the reliability score.

Key Takeaways

  • The reliability of a specific BMW model can vary depending on proper maintenance, driving conditions, and individual vehicle history
  • Regular maintenance and timely repairs will increase the reliability of BMW vehicles
  • The number of claims made under the warranty of BMW also defines the reliability of this brand
  • The frequency of TSBs issued for a BMW vehicle also indicates its reliability

How Is Reliability Determined?

Different methods determine a car brand’s reliability. They include:

1. Consumer reports and survey

2. Fuel consumption

3. Reliability Index

4. Cost of repairing and maintaining the car

When all these factors are brought together, you can tell whether a vehicle is reliable and if it will get you to your destination without stalling. Let’s look at each of the measures and see how BMW performs.

1. Consumer Reports And Survey

Surveys are carried out from time to time to find out what consumers of different brands have to say about their car’s performance and reliability in general. These views and user feedback are then compiled, and the car brands are ranked according to their reliability. BMW ranks below average in most surveys, especially for older models. Below are some of the surveys that we found.

Consumer survey BMW ranking 
Consumer reports Below average, top 5 least reliable
Which?Average rated three stars out of 5
Repairpal.com2.5 out of 5, ranks position 30 out of 32 brands

2. Reliability Index 

The reliability index is a universal measure showing how different vehicle brands perform. It takes into account factors such as the chances of breakdown, how much time the vehicle stays off-road due to a breakdown, and the cost of repairing it.

The BMW reliability rating is 2.5 out of 5, ranking position 30 out of 32 brands. Looking at the reliability index, you can conclude that BMW is not a very reliable brand.

3. Fuel Consumption 

Fuel consumption is another method used to determine the reliability of a car. Cars that consume less are generally more reliable in terms of fuel economy compared to guzzlers. The average fuel economy for cars and SUVs in the US is 24.9mpg or 9.4l/100km. BMW’s average consumption is 44.5mpg or 5.28l/100km meaning its consumption is better than average. Vehicles with fuel consumption of 5 to 8 liters per 100 km are considered to have good fuel efficiency. Going by the fuel economy of BMW, it is safe to say the brand is reliable.

4. Cost Of Repairing And Maintaining The Car

Another measure of reliability that all car users relate to is the cost of maintaining and repairing the car. The cost of basic maintenance is mainly overlooked when you buy a car, and it ends up causing a dip in your pockets. Before buying a car, you need to determine how much it will cost you annually for the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance servicing.

For BMW, the cost of maintenance is higher compared to most vehicle brands. This is because labor is expensive for BMW, and replacement parts cost more than local brands. The maintenance schedule for BMW cars is also more frequent and adds up to the overall maintenance cost. On average, BMW owners pay between $200-$400 per service every 10,000 miles. This translates to over $10,000 for maintenance alone in 5 years. Below is a table showing the average cost of maintaining different BMW models

BMW Model Cost Of Maintenance In 5 Years
BMW 330i$7950
BMW 530i$7390
BMW M4 $7900
BMW 328i$10,000
BMW 528i$11,920

Besides basic maintenance, you also need to consider how much it costs to repair your car over time. The cost of repairing varies depending on the issue your vehicle has. However, most models will experience common problems, and you can estimate how much you will spend on these repairs. Here’s a breakdown of the cost of repairing different BMW models

BMW Model The Average Cost Of Repairs Over Five Years
BMW 330i$10,000
BMW 530i$ 8,400
BMW M4 $9,000
BMW 328i$8,000
BMW 528i$ 6,000

Now that you know how much it might cost you to repair your car if it breaks down, it is essential to know some common problems. Knowing them will help you anticipate and prepare for them adequately. 

Common BMW Issues That Need Repair

Common BMW Issues That Need Repair

1. Oil Leaks 

 Oil leakage is a common problem in most BMW cars; most drivers complained that after driving for about 100,000 miles, they experience oil leaks. For some, the oil leaks happen as early as 50,000 miles. BMWs have a robust engine compared to other car brands, but some components such as the seals and gaskets can wear out prematurely, thus causing leakages. Repairs resulting from oil leaks can be expensive and complicated; expect to spend between $90-$150.

2. Electrical Issues

When you have a BMW, you need to keep your electrical mechanic close because they tend to have issues with the electric system. A BMW’s common electrical problems include error lights coming on for no reason, faulty weight sensors, clock springs, windows not winding up or down, and faulty flash warnings. The cost of repairing electrical issues varies depending on the vehicle model and the specific problem.  

3. Failing Coolant System

The coolant system is vital in the functioning of any vehicle, and the system ensures that the engine is at optimum temperature and prevents overheating. Cooling systems on BMWs are known to fail, causing unnecessary stalling. On average, the coolant systems tend to fail after you’ve driven your vehicle for about 60,000 to 120,000 miles. You need to service your car regularly to prevent such problems that are costly to repair.

BMWs also have some other issues that we’ve not mentioned; some of the problems are only experienced in specific models. Always ensure you service your car regularly to avoid unnecessary repair costs. If you are the original owner of your car, take advantage of the BMW ultimate care, which lasts for 3 or 4 years and 36,000 miles or 50,000 miles depending on your model’s year of manufacture.

Frequently Asked Questions On BMW Reliability

Q. Which BMW Is The Most Reliable?

Most BMW models are pretty reliable, but that doesn’t mean they are fault-proof. Some of the most reliable BMWs are E90,325I and 328I. Their engines are pretty dependable, and they rank pretty well in surveys.

Q. What Does BMW Stand For?

BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, which translates to Bavarian engine works company.


BMW is such a famous brand that screams class and luxury but comes at a relatively high price. The brand is expensive to maintain, and these costs make the brand rank poorly on reliability surveys. BMW users, however, are pretty impressed with their vehicles and have lots of good things to say concerning the brand. In our opinion, we think BMW is reliable, and reliability varies depending on the model you buy. Always research the specific model’s reliability before buying to get the best out of your car. Don’t let the surveys stop you from getting your dream car.