5 Ways to Keep Your BMW Reliable

BMW is one of the most sought-after premium brands in the world. Blending power and performance with sporty appeal, BMW are sophisticated, classy, and pretty much everything you would want in a car. BMW, as well as their fellow German brands, put all their focus on performance. This can come at a cost to reliability.

If you are a BMW owner, tell us how you keep your BMW reliable down below in the comments.

  1. Do your research (Either before you buy or even after you have bought the car already)
    • Research common failures and be ready to deal with those and do the repair before it’s too late once you have the car.
    • Don’t buy or let your car become neglected    
    • Make an informed decision – get pre-purchase inspection, best way to have a reliable car when buying used is to buy a well taken care of car.
    • Realize that BMWs cost more to maintain, so if you are looking for one, include that in your budget. If you couldn’t afford maintenance on a new BMW and can’t work on your own cars, BMW may not be the best choice.
  2. Keep it stock
    • If you want your BMW to stay reliable skip the performance mods and concentrate on suspension, brakes and visual modifications. Squeezing more power out of an engine will decrease it’s like in most cases.
    • I’d also suggest disabling auto start/stop, especially on the early versions of the feature.
  3. Follow maintenance schedules for items as suggested in your service manual.
    • Excluding oil changes, change every 5k miles.
    • Hardtop roof must be maintained if you have one
    • Buy quality parts, not super cheap knock offs (point to sensor video).
  4. Preventative maintenance is key. When certain parts have ran past their expected life, change them proactively.
    • New OEM spark plugs, coils, air filters – let your engine breathe
    • Thermostat, oil filter housing, valve cover, charge pipe
    • Change gaskets as soon as you start seeing any kind of leak
    • Especially check for leaks around Oil Filter Gasket and Valve Cover Gasket.
    • Once you start seeing a leak or two in your cooling system, replace plastic parts of the cooling system.
    • Timing chain on certain engine if you’re well over 100k miles
    • Wash your car at a touchless carwash if you live in an area where they salt roads
    • Apply leather conditioner every 3 months
    • Lubricate the rubber parts so that they don’t crack and let water in over time.
  5. Learn how to work on your own car if you have the space.
    • Don’t go for crazy power unless you know what you are doing and can fix issues it may cause
    • Mechanic’s tools don’t have to be expensive, check out this video on the tools I use
    • Get a good BMW scanner
  • Drive it… often. Never let any car sit and become a garage queen
    • Don’t store it over winter unless it’s on a trickle charger
    • If the car sits, put it on a trickle charger, most modern BMWs use some power while sitting and will drain your battery putting unnecessary stress on your battery and alternator.
    • Most fluids also have a life time even if you aren’t using it. So, it is wise to drive car every so often and not let it sit.
    • Enjoy your car, don’t let it sit and ‘keep the value’ by not putting any miles on it. It’s not worth it.

Mechanical parts on BMWs are usually very high quality and will last a long time (other than certain engine specific issues like N20 timing chains that affect some engines); however, electronics and the use of plastic parts can cause issues down the road. These small things cause big problems for owners that don’t want to spend a lot of time at the dealer. So, that is something consider and another reason why most people stay away from high end BMWs on the used market.