How Many Miles Do BMWs Really Last? (We checked)

BMWs are luxury vehicles capable of delivering incredible performance.

Knowing how many miles to expect when you buy a BMW, new or used, can ensure you get your money’s worth.

Let’s dive into it.

Miles to Expect Out of the Average BMW

It’s common for BMWs to last between 150,000 and 200,000 miles when cared for properly. Some BMW owners even report that they have maintained a BMW for 300,000 with adequate preventative services. The X3 models will often last up to 225,000 miles.

Do BMW Engines Go as Many Miles as Other Car Brands?

BMW engines are capable of going just as many miles as other car brands – and sometimes even more.

BMW is German engineered. It uses a lot of advanced technologies for fuel combustion and performance. All of this translates to an engine that is capable of lasting year after year.

According to a study by iSees, many manufacturers can produce vehicles that will go 200,000 miles or more.

A BMW is capable of going more than 200,000 miles. However, it is not overly common simply because there are usually other problems. And with it being a luxury vehicle, it can lead to expensive repairs. Some drivers would rather retire the vehicle than make those repairs.

Some of the longest-lasting car brands include Toyota, Chevrolet, and GMC – but it depends on the model.

Approximately 18% of the Toyota Land Cruiser models are capable of reaching more than 200k while approximately 14% of the Toyota Sequoias can do the same. Meanwhile, 6.6% of Chevy Suburbans and 5.2% of GMC Yukon XLs can go on to see more than 200k on the odometer.

It’s not just the car brand that matters. Often, SUVs and trucks can last longer than sedans. Further, cities can result in a longer-lasting vehicle – including those that don’t have as much smog or harsh winters.

How Reliable is a BMW?

A BMW is extremely reliable, especially if you look at the JD Power dependability studies that come out every year.

The BMW 2 series has even been ranked #1 as the most dependable small luxury sedan.

The reliability of a vehicle is based on the problems that are reported on it. If you have countless repairs and problems with a vehicle, it is considerably less reliable.

The JD Power dependability studies specifically look at the problems that are reported after three years of ownership. Some auto manufacturers are able to prevent problems from occurring.

Problems that a vehicle may face include:

  • Mechanical problems
  • Exterior and interior issues
  • Driver assistant systems
  • Infotainment systems
  • Other electronic components

The 2022 BMW 2 Series is heavily reliable, but again, it depends even on the trim that is selected.

BMWs of all years and models can be reliable if you care for them. They tend to have fewer recalls than many of the other manufacturers on the market. When you rely on a BMW dealership or authorized service center for the services, it can go on to be a very reliable car or SUV.

BMWs have been around since 1916 – many years before some of the other manufacturers. It means that they have learned quite a bit about how to make a long-lasting, reliable vehicle.

What BMW Models Will Go the Most Miles?

Many of the BMW models will go a long distance – though those made within the last 10 years are likely to last longer because of the new technologies that go into them.

The BMW X3 has been identified as the longest-lasting luxury compact SUV, which allows you to get significant value from it. It will often run as much as 225,000 miles and even longer when cared for properly.

However, the BMW X3 models also have their problems.

There have been minimal recalls on the model and they don’t have many issues in terms of service. The issues within the first two generations have been worked out, making the third-gen the best in terms of getting the most miles.

This means an X3 with a 2019 model year or later.

Other vehicles that rank well include:

  • i3
  • 4 Series
  • X1

No matter what BMW model you choose, you can relax knowing that it will serve you well. BMW ranks 8 out of 31 manufacturers when exploring the reliability and dependability. It means that it’s above the industry average.

With proper maintenance, any BMW model is capable of lasting 15 years or more.

BMW expects you to keep your luxury vehicle for a significant amount of time, too. It’s why every new BMW includes complimentary factory-recommended maintenance, which is through BMW Ultimate Care.

A certified service center will be able to understand what your particular model needs and will use the various OEM Parts to ensure your vehicle stays under its warranty.

Are BMWs Expensive to Maintain?

BMWs are relatively expensive to maintain. It depends on your driving habits, too. If you’re particularly hard on your vehicle, such as aggressive braking and hard accelerations, it may cost you more to maintain your BMW.

RepairPal estimates that the average BMW owner spends about $968 a year for maintenance and repairs.

A BMW is a luxury vehicle, so they are going to be more expensive to maintain. The reason for this is because of the higher-end parts as well as the specialized service technicians.

A BMW is no more expensive to maintain/repair than other luxury brands such as a Mercedes or an Audi.

If you compare the BMW to non-luxury brands like Ford and Chevy, however, it is more expensive to maintain. Most non-luxury vehicles will only cost about $480 a year to maintain.

The BMW 3 Series has been identified as one of the cheaper models to maintain.

It is also why it continues to be one of the most popular models for the brand.

Vehicles sold after 2017 come with three years of free maintenance (or 36,000 miles) under the BMW Ultimate Care plan. This allows you to save on your first three years of maintenance. After that, you’ll want to be prepared to cover the costs on your own.

This can also be a problem with the BMW X5 models.

How Long Do the Brakes Last?

The brakes of any vehicle can last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles, and BMW is no different.

There are a few things that matter: your driving habits and the type of brake pads you use.

Brake pads should be replaced on a BMW with OEM pads. If you use aftermarket pads, they may not last as long. Additionally, they should be installed by a BMW specialist.

If you fail to replace brake pads in a timely manner, you may experience wear and tear on other parts of the brakes – including the calipers and rotors. When this happens, you may end up having to replace the entire braking system – a costly repair.

The brakes will last considerably longer if you know the signs that your brake pads need to be replaced.

Focus on your driving habits, too. If you are commuting in a lot of heavy traffic or use your brakes hard regularly, you’re going to want to have a brake inspection performed with greater frequency.

How Long Do the Automatic Transmissions Last?

The automatic transmission of a BMW can last just as long as the vehicle itself – and even longer. This means that it’s possible for it to last 300,000 miles or even 20 years.

It all comes down to the transmission fluid.

Many BMW models are sold with “lifetime” fluid. What this means is that you’d never have to replace the transmission fluid.

Some, however, believe it’s better to change out the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. By doing so, it can increase the lifespan of the transmission and improve performance.

In the event that you do need to replace the transmission, it can be extremely expensive due to the high-end parts. If you notice that your BMW is struggling to stay in gear or change gears, it’s a sign that your transmission is failing. Focus on getting a repair before the whole thing goes.

What About Insurance Costs on BMWs?

The premiums to insure a BMW will be more expensive because it is a luxury brand. On average, the premiums cost approximately $1700 per year – and that’s about 25% more than a “typical” car.

Of course, “typical” means that it’s a domestic, non-luxury brand.

Your insurance premiums will depend on such things as the number of miles you drive a year, your zip code, where you store your BMW, and even what your driving history looks like.

Some BMWs are more expensive to insure based on the MSRP as well as the number of upgrades that you have. The more expensive it is, the more it will cost an insurance company to replace it in the event that there’s an accident.

Additionally, BMWs can be costly to insure because of the high cost of parts and repairs.

To ensure you’re paying the best possible rate, you’ll want to compare rates between insurance companies. It’s also a good idea to compare between a few different models.

For example, a Z4 is going to be about $200 a year cheaper to insure than an X5.

How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a BMW?

It could take decades for you to see rust on a BMW. The reason is because of the paint that is found across the vehicle.

Although the exterior is made of steel, it is protected by several barriers of paint. A clearcoat is the final seal so that the steel doesn’t come into contact with water or any other elements that could cause rust.

It is up to you to make sure that your vehicle doesn’t rust. This is done by making sure that a vehicle is properly cared for if it is scratched or damaged. The longer you wait to make repairs to the paint and body, the more likely you could start seeing rust.

The reality is that rust can start to form within a few days of the metal being exposed to the elements.

Most vehicles that experience rust are used for off-roading, such as Jeeps.

None of the luxury BMW models are designed for off-roading. As such, it won’t be exposed to any rust-inducing environments.

If you are concerned about seeing rust on your BMW, you can take some preventative measures. Be sure that you wash your car regularly and keep an eye on the paint. Consider ceramic coating or enamel as an extra barrier, especially if you drive in some of the harsher elements like rain and snow on a regular basis.

Tips to Get as Many Miles as Possible with Your BMW

The average miles a BMW can get are only that – an average. Your experience will be uniquely your own based on a number of factors. This includes how you drive your BMW, where you drive it, and even how you maintain it.

Obviously, you want to get as many miles out of your BMW as possible. After all, once it’s paid for, you might as well drive it for years to come.

Even if you drive 20,000 miles a year, slightly above the national average, you might be able to drive the BMW for 15 years or even longer.

There are some tips that you can follow to maximize your mileage:

  • Work with BMW specialists so that they understand the nuances of your BMW model
  • Change the engine oil and filter based on the recommendations within your owner’s manual
  • Use high-quality parts, whether they are OEM or third-party ones
  • Monitor your speed so that you’re not constantly pushing the vehicle past its limits
  • Follow a preventative maintenance schedule that includes everything from hose checks to fluid fill-ups to air filter replacements
  • Use a parking brake consistently
  • Bring your vehicle into a service center when you notice something wrong

Final Thoughts

You can get 250,000 miles or more out of your BMW as long as you’re willing to spend the money on maintenance and repairs throughout its life.

It has been calculated that holding onto a BMW for 15 years or more can save you over $30,000 on car expenses.


BMW Engines

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