Is Buying An Old BMW A Bad Idea?

Over time, BMW’s brand has suffered as a result of covert cost-cutting. On occasion, they use less expensive parts, which can shorten the lifespan of the vehicles. Although it often doesn’t effect individuals who purchase brand-new BMWs, their production choices have created a problem for their used cars. If you’re the kind who keeps a car for more than a few years or you often buy used automobiles, what saved BMW $5 up front could end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars down the road.

What Used BMW Is the Most Reliable?

You should be safe in any model if you are looking at used BMWs that are just a few years old and have few kilometers on them. It could be challenging to avoid the minefield of faulty BMWs if you are considering something older.

With the exception of the 335i produced from 2006 to 2010, the E90 generation of the 3 series is one of the most dependable BMWs that can still be regarded as current. The well-known BMW driving dynamics should be available even though the convenience amenities will lag below what contemporary cars provide.

For those willing to go even further back in time, the E46 3 series, which is one generation older, has also been praised by enthusiasts as being among the most dependable BMWs ever made, with many examples clocking over 100,000 miles without experiencing any significant problems.

What to think about when purchasing a used BMW

The Bimmer’s traditional rear-wheel drive architecture and potent engines make it a great driving vehicle.

A new BMW is pricey, thus many customers choose used cars instead because they are widely accessible and reasonably priced.

What should you think about when purchasing a pre-owned BMW? Are the BMWs trustworthy? What are the typical issues? The depreciation should be taken into account first.

Depreciation: One problem with BMWs is how much they lose value over time. For instance, a BMW 3-Series that is three years old costs roughly $30,000, whereas a 3-Series that is six years old typically costs around $17,000.

This indicates that the value loss from a three-year-old 3-Series will cost you almost $4,000 every year.

Given this, choosing a 5–6 year old BMW A would be a better choice from a budgetary standpoint. Finding a good-condition BMW that is between 5 and 6 years old is not too difficult.

Ownership expenses: Compared to the ordinary car, BMWs have greater repair, maintenance, and insurance costs.

With more costly components,

Expect to pay much more each yearA for a BMW than a Honda or Toyota for premium gasoline, synthetic oil, high-end or run-flat tires, and greater repair labor costs.

BMWs are robustly constructed and well-engineered, but they won’t be as dependable as Japanese manufacturers. In general, reliability ratings for BMW vehicles range from “below average” to “average.”

It goes without saying that a secondhand BMW will occasionally require repairs. The use of plastic rather than more resilient materials is one frequent concern plaguing BMW and other European cars. With time, plastic parts deteriorate.

A Long service intervals used to entice buyers of new cars are also ineffective. Models with turbochargers are usually more problematic.

Maintenance and Repairs: Finding a reputable local repair facility that specializes in BMW may be a smart option if you intend to purchase a used BMW.

A Because of their complexity, these German machines may not be repairable by every garage.

Servicing at a dealership can be prohibitively expensive, so finding a nearby reliable BMW-specific business is a significant benefit. Even pre-inspecting the used car you wish to buy using their services can be something you think about doing.

An additional choice is DIY. You can save a ton of money if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and you know what you’re doing.

BMW 3-Series 2005 (E46)

The 3-series is the most popular used BMW model and is renowned for its comfort for the driver and passengers, sense of style, safe handling, and dependable performance. You can get it as a sedan, coupe, convertible, or wagon. Customers can choose between all-wheel drive and the regular rear-wheel drive.

The 3-Series’ most popular used model is a four-door, rear-wheel-drive sedan with an automatic transmission and an inline 6 engine. With an automatic transmission, the 2003 325i achieves 18/26 mpg on premium fuel.

Consumer Reports rates the 3-Series models from the years 1999 through 2005 as at or below average in terms of reliability. Its various safety ratings. Models from the 2002 to 2005 period received four stars for the driver and five stars for the front passenger in NHTSA crash tests, but only three stars for side-impact crashes. The inside door panel, which struck the dummy driver in the pelvis during the side-impact test, cost it additional points.

For the models from 1999 to 2005, issues that recurred frequently included:

  • small issues with the engine
  • problems with the cooling system
  • Electrification issues

Problems with the cooling system may cause the engine to overheat. That implies your BMW’s engine will need to undergo pricey repairs. Because of this, it is usually advised that you have a trustworthy mechanic who is familiar with BMW quirks evaluate each potential used vehicle.

Are used BMWs a terrible investment?

BMW is renowned for producing some of the best driving machines the world has ever seen, yet the majority of mechanics will advise you to steer clear of pre-owned models.

Once upon a time, BMW was a renowned automaker, a premium German brand with a lengthy history and an amazing collection of vehicles crisscrossing the globe. Sadly, though, circumstances are now different for the employees at the Bavarian Motor Works. The brand has been permanently damaged with prior owners and do-it-yourselfers due to an emphasis on producing mass-market automobiles that don’t age well.

August 2021 revision: You’ll be delighted to know that we’ve updated this post and go into more detail about the many issues a Bavarian automobile owner may run into if they decide to purchase a used BMW. This should assist you in making the greatest choice for your upcoming automobile purchase.

The majority of knowledgeable owners and mechanics will advise you to avoid used BMWs, especially those manufactured within the previous 20 years or so. Simply put, they are not worth the money you will undoubtedly have to invest in them. They are expensive to repair, have expensive replacement parts, and require a lot of labor.

They certainly have a cool appearance and a certain charm. But when you force personal checks to pour in at the neighborhood Euro repair shop, that beautiful siren tune will finally hit a string of unfavorable notes. Here are 15 compelling arguments against buying a used BMW.

Do ancient BMWs cost a much to maintain?

BMWs are by far the most expensive car manufacturer to repair, claims Your Mechanic. The competition is not even close. With an average maintenance cost of $17,800 over ten years, BMW comes in #1. Mercedes-Benz came in second with an average maintenance cost of $12,900 during a 10-year period. In contrast, the typical Toyota only cost $5,500 to maintain during a 10-year period because they are recognized for requiring less maintenance.

According to Your Mechanic, such high maintenance costs are usual in German premium vehicles. Audi comes in sixth with an average $12,400 maintenance expense over a 10-year period. This is primarily a result of the pricey, high-end parts that these luxury vehicles require. Naturally, it will cost a lot of money to fix those pieces when they break or need maintenance.

However, while being premium vehicles, they also have ongoing problems. For instance, according to Your Mechanic, a BMW is four times more likely to not start than a typical automobile. It was ranked seventh overall as a result. Additionally, the window regulator on the BMW required replacement 18 times more frequently than the window regulator on the ordinary car.

Older BMWs are they reliable?

When examining whether or not BMWs are reliable, the subject of age is crucial. It is frequently discovered that older BMWs—generally those produced in the late 1990s and early 2000s—are more dependable than newer BMWs. Though not always the case, take note. This applies to the majority of other brands as well, not only BMW. Early automobiles from the era have rudimentary engineering and construction. There is less of a possibility that something could go wrong because of the simplicity of the mechanical or electronic components.

Even if they do, correcting them won’t be that expensive. Newer cars, on the other hand, are quite high-tech. The iDrive entertainment system, external safety sensors, as well as the extensive web of wiring, computers, and electrics running throughout the full length of the car, are just a few of the many electrical components found in BMWs in particular. The modern engineering of newer BMWs can make them more prone to problems. Not to mention pricey, particularly once the warranty expires.

In reality, the majority of the components and labor needed to maintain and repair BMWs are identical to those for other models. Certain parts inevitably need to be replaced. The same issues might arise with a regular Honda or Toyota, but BMW’s high-performance parts will cost more just for the raw materials. In addition, labor costs are greater for BMWs because they require more time from mechanics than the ordinary vehicle. In general, you can easily expect your BMW repair price to be $1,000 or more.

Is the BMW 328i a reliable vehicle?

Are BMW 328i automobiles dependable? Ratings for the BMW 328i’s dependability are average. Though one of the most dependable BMW vehicles, it performs poorly when compared to other midsize cars in its class. It received a 2.5 out of 5 rating from RepairPal, placing it 30th overall out of 32 automobile brands.

Is a BMW expensive to repair?

With an average rating of 2.5/5, RepairPal places BMW 30th out of 32 brands for reliability. RepairPal asserts to have the “highest real reliability metric in the industry,” for context. All the major manufacturers’ 345 distinct models were tested, but again, brands like Ferrari and Bugatti were excluded. Statistics showed that the average yearly repair cost for all brands was $652.00 for model years from 2010 to 2019. The yearly average for BMW was $968.00. The average annual number of unscheduled repair trips to your technician was 0.4 for all brands, but it was 0.9 for BMW. Last but not least, if you drove a BMW, your likelihood of visiting for a serious reason increased to 15% from the typical 12%.

Long-term reliability of BMW

BMW’s overall reliability outperformed that of high-end rivals including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lincoln, and Acura. the J.D. Power A 2019 study assessed how frequently 3-year-old vehicle owners encountered mechanical issues over the course of a year. In this study, BMW reliability also performed better than average.

Does BMW still have value?

The value of the BMW 2 Series is even better maintained; according to the most reliable BMW resale value assessments, it will still be worth roughly 49% after five years. Once more, the first two years account for about 25% of that depreciation.

How long should a BMW be kept?

The durability of the car is undoubtedly one of your first concerns if you’re thinking about joining the club of “Bimmer” owners.

You don’t want to purchase a car that will break down after a year or two, leaving you with the choice of paying for expensive repairs or purchasing a new vehicle. How long do BMWs last, then?

BMWs may live more than 15 years with proper maintenance. BMWs with proper maintenance may travel far over 200,000 miles, and in certain cases, over 250,000 miles. Although this is significantly less common, certain BMWs have reportedly lasted beyond 300,000 kilometers.

In the USA, most people travel 13,467 miles (21,673 km) annually, giving cars an average lifespan of at least 15 years.

BMWs can survive longer because their average annual mileage tends to drop as they age because of this.

You may learn everything you need to know about extending the life of a BMW in the next sections of this article. We’ll also examine the typical lifespan of BMW gearboxes and engines.