Here’s What You Need to Know About The True Cost of BMW Ownership

Considering upgrading your car to a BMW? Here's everything you need to know before you make the switch. 

Albert Cooper, Partner
3-minute read

As of June 2019, the stainless steel BMW marque was the third most valuable automotive brand in the world. Founded in Germany, the company produces around two million vehicles per year. But in some cases, the true cost of ownership goes beyond the sticker price. According to data from YourMechanic.com, BMWs are by far the most expensive to maintain, with a 10-year maintenance cost of $17,800.

Luxury vehicles tend to be more expensive to maintain. Although they certainly fall in line with the age-old adage that “you get what you pay for,” there are many things, including maintenance, that new BMW owners don’t fully understand. Here’s what you need to know:

High maintenance costs

As previously mentioned, BMWs surpass all others in terms of maintenance cost. The fact is, expenses can skyrocket once a vehicle’s warranty is over. One of the main reasons why BMWs are so expensive to maintain is because it’s a German car with specialty technology and parts. However, there are options you can look into to keep costs to a minimum.

For example, check out Olive’s solution for BMW extended warranty. Warranties help cover damage and wear and tear to your vehicle, and extended warranties simply lengthen the warranty of your vehicle, with some slight modifications to your agreement depending on the insurance provider.

Premium gas

According to data from AAA, premium gas costs 60 cents more than regular gas on average. BMW recommends that you only use premium gas on this luxury vehicle, and it’s a tip that you should certainly follow. This might be a difficult adjustment to make for those who are switching from traditional vehicles to luxury vehicles.

Luxury vehicles like BMW often have high-compression engines that require high-octane gas. Just because it will run on regular gas doesn’t mean you should try it. BMWs on regular gas will experience slow acceleration rates and you’ll also lose some of your car’s power. Avoid saving a few dollars here and there and stick to tried and true.

BMW’s self-monitoring system

Like many cars, BMWs have a self-monitoring system that will let you know when it’s time for some repairs. For example, the Service Interval Indicator (SII) keeps track of your service dates and calculates your mileage to let you know when the car is most likely due for a routine service. Long before any mishaps occur, it will warn you how many miles are left before you need to take your vehicle into the shop.

BMWs also come equipped with a Condition-Based Servicing system, which essentially turns your vehicle into a smart car. This system is built with machine learning—it collects data about how you drive and what environments you typically drive in, and uses this data to make calculated suggestions about your vehicle based specifically on how you use it. It keeps track of brakes, air filters, spark plugs, and much more.

The car will let you know when anything needs to be replaced or serviced weeks in advance, allowing you plenty of time to fit it into your schedule and address the issue before it becomes compounded.

Smart maintenance tips

Like any product, the best antidote towards damage in your vehicle is preventative measures. While BMWs are expensive to maintain or fix, you can keep your vehicle in good condition to prevent any major problems.

For starters, although BMW recommends you change your oil every 15,000 miles, you should be getting it changed every 7,500 miles. Changing the oil frequently increases the lifespan of many engine parts. Some BMW models also do not inform the owner when to change air filters and spark plugs, so it’s important to have these manually checked each time you go in for an oil change. Additionally, check your tires monthly for alignment and don’t forget to periodically get under the hood and check its gaskets and rubber hoses.