Some say it isn’t possible to put a price on performance. The average BMW maintenance cost is certainly higher than that of other brands, but is it worth it to own the “ultimate driving machine”? 

In this article, we’ll look at scheduled maintenance costs along with average costs for common BMW repairs. We’ll also see how routine service and extended warranty coverage can both help reduce your annual BMW maintenance cost.

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How Much Does BMW Maintenance Cost?

Let’s get right to the point: BMWs are expensive to maintain. According to RepairPal, the average annual BMW maintenance cost is $968, which includes routine services and mechanical repairs. This is significantly higher than the industry average of $652 per year. BMW owners tend to visit the repair shop about twice as often as the industry average. They are also slightly more likely to encounter severe repairs than owners of other vehicles.

So, if BMW maintenance costs so much, why do people love the cars? Well, it has a lot to do with performance and comfort. A BMW isn’t just basic transportation that gets you from point A to point B. The German automaker claims it builds the “ultimate driving machine,” after all, not the cheapest daily commuter. 

Still, reliability is definitely an important thing to consider. RepairPal gives BMW 2.5 out of 5.0 stars and ranks it 30th out of 32 car brands. Let’s see how a few popular BMW models rank for reliability:

BMW Model RepairPal Reliability Rating Average Annual BMW
Maintenance Cost
BMW 328i 3.0 out of 5.0 $773
BMW X5 2.0 out of 5.0 $1,166
BMW 528i 3.0 out of 5.0 $825
BMW X3 2.5 out of 5.0 $1,034

BMW Service Schedule and Common Repairs

The maintenance schedule for BMWs model years 2005 and earlier are based on two types of services. Service 1 happens every 10,000 miles and includes an engine oil change plus an inspection. Service 2 happens every 30,000 miles and includes changing the spark plugs, plus a more thorough inspection. 

Today, BMW vehicles use a condition-based system monitored by computers. The same basic pattern applies, but the system lets you know when to get service and which part needs attention, which can help you save on your yearly BMW maintenance cost. Here’s an overview of the current BMW maintenance schedule: 

Maintenance Interval Service Items BMW Maintenance Cost*
Every 10,000 miles Change oil and oil filter $112 to $141
Every 20,000 miles Change air filter and remote key batteries $210 to $280
Every 30,000 miles Replace spark plugs $471 to $540
Every 50,000 miles
(some models)
Change rear axle differential fluid and transfer case fluid $93 to $107
150,000 miles Replace oxygen sensor $1,474 to $1,585

*Repair costs sourced from RepairPal.

If you’ve looked at other vehicles’ service schedules, you might think a spark plug replacement every 30,000 miles is excessive. With BMW, that’s just the way it is. 

The computer system also lets you know when to check the brake pads, brake fluid, engine coolant, transmission, steering, and more. Some models have specialty parts that need attention at different intervals, like the carbon-ceramic brakes on M4, M5, and M8 models. Your BMW maintenance costs will vary depending on what your car’s computer recommends. 

Common BMW Repairs

Beyond routine services, mechanical repairs also factor into your annual BMW maintenance cost. Here are a few repairs drivers commonly encounter on popular models and what they cost, according to RepairPal:

BMW Model Common Repair BMW Maintenance Cost
BMW 328i Fuel injector replacement $1,001 to $1,201
BMW 328i Starter replacement $559 to $769
BMW X3 Suspension ball joint replacement $214 to $261
BMW X3 Air conditioning evaporator replacement $1,616 to $2,012

How to Reduce BMW Maintenance Costs

You probably already knew that BMWs would be expensive to maintain. But, if you want a BMW, it’s a price you’ll have to pay. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep your average BMW maintenance cost on the lower end of the spectrum.

The most important thing is to visit your mechanic when your vehicle needs service. By keeping up on the regular service schedule, you can spot problems early and avoid larger repairs down the road.

All BMWs from 2017 on come with 3 years/36,000 miles of free maintenance, called BMW Ultimate Care. This covers everything outlined in the service schedule, including the first spark-plug change. You also have the option to extend BMW Ultimate Care up to 7 years/125,000 miles for a fee. There are a few plans that cover different levels of maintenance. 

BMW Extended Warranty Options

Besides regularly maintaining a BMW, having an extended warranty can also help you stay within budget and make your BMW maintenance cost more predictable. You can get an extended warranty from BMW or from an independent warranty provider.

There are three BMW extended warranty plans to choose from, which can cover your vehicle up to 100,000 miles. The plans require you to visit your dealership for repairs. While that may sound like a good thing, it can actually cost more in the long run if you end up having to pay for non-covered components in conjunction with a covered repair. You also have less freedom to choose your preferred mechanic in this situation.

On the other hand, independent providers let you go to any licensed repair shop for coverage. Third-party plans can cover up to 200,000 or even 250,000 miles, and they typically come with perks like roadside assistance and rental car coverage.

Leading providers cover the repairs we mentioned above, like suspension ball joint and starter replacements, as well. At the end of the day, a third-party extended warranty can be an economical way of covering repairs on your BMW.

Recommendations for Extended Auto Warranties

Not all extended vehicle service contracts are created equal, so it’s important to get multiple quotes and compare coverage. We’ve reviewed all of the top providers in the industry and recommend checking out Endurance and Protect My Car.

Endurance: Best Coverage

After comparing multiple providers, we ranked Endurance as the best overall option for extended warranty coverage. Endurance has been around since 2006 and can cover vehicles up to 200,000 miles. The company is a direct provider, which means there’s no middleman to slow down the claims process. 

Drivers have positive experiences with Endurance on the whole and give the company a 4.2 out of 5.0-star rating on Trustpilot with over 2,000 reviews. Endurance’s six warranty options come with an impressive list of benefits like roadside assistance, repair financing loans, identity theft protection, and free tire replacements. Endurance also has a plan that combines routine maintenance and mechanical breakdown coverage.

Learn more about this provider in our Endurance warranty review, and get a free quote from Endurance below. 

Endurance is our pick for best coverage with its comprehensive warranty options.

Protect My Car: Best Financing

Another great option for BMW drivers is Protect My Car. This provider offers three standard plans that can cover up to 125,000 miles. Protect My Car has been in business since 2005 and has a 4.64 out of 5-star rating from customers on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). 

In addition to standard extended warranties, Protect My Car offers Ambassador Maintenance Plans that combine coverage for repairs and standard maintenance. These plans cover a certain percentage of each repair plus normal maintenance items like oil changes and tire rotations. 

Find out more in our Protect My Car review, and click below to get a free, personalized quote from this provider.

Protect My Car is our pick for best long-term financing.

Q & A

Here are a few commonly asked questions about BMW maintenance costs.
Is the BMW maintenance plan worth it?
The BMW Ultimate Care maintenance plan could be worth it if you live near a BMW dealership and want to prepay for service to keep things simple. On the other hand, you can save some money on BMW maintenance costs in the long run by taking your BMW to a reputable European auto shop for maintenance instead.
How much does it cost to do an oil change on a BMW?
According to RepairPal, an oil change on a BMW 3 Series can cost between $183 and $205. In general, you can expect to pay between $100 and $200, depending on the vehicle and where you go for service.
Are BMWs reliable cars?
BMW ranks below most other manufacturers for reliability. In fact, RepairPal puts BMW in 30th place out of 32 brands. BMWs are powerful, fun to drive, and comfortable, but ownership costs are high. You should be prepared to pay about $1,000 per year on average for BMW maintenance costs and repairs.