BMW - cost of maintenance

Hi, I think I am going to take the plunge soon: to own a Beemer before my next Big Birthday! But hubby is not very supportive, and trying to talk me out of it by saying how expensive the maintenance cost it.

So, my belived OzBargainer, can you please tell me what is the regular maitenance cost of a Beemer here in Australia/Brisbane? I am only looking for a simple chick's car.
Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • +1 vote

    you need to at least tell us which model?

    BMW M5 V10?

    BMW e46 318i?

    BMW X5 4.4?

    • +13 votes

      She did say 'simple chick's car'. I'd hazard an entry level 3 or 1 series.

      The issue with Bimmers and Euros in general are that parts are expensive. When shit breaks and need to be replaced it'll obviously cost you. I'm not familiar with the maitenance intervals on the model you plan on purchasing since you haven't disclosed, but i'd look into what model you're looking to get + google search the interval.

      •  

        Thanx for clarifying for me. As you would have gathered by now, I have not locked into any model. I would say something under $60k, under 2 years old. It's a catch-22 situation here.
        I talked to some Merc parts people years ago and the general consensus I got was that Merc do not have that many number of parts. But costlier or not, I wish to get some indication. Is it $10k a year, or more like $30k? Just want to have a general idea from the 'real' people who use them, not from the car dealer or workshop guys. I am only talking the normal maintenance, not including any "unplanned" maintenance if you know what I mean….

        • +33 votes

          "Mercs do not have that many parts"?????

        • +9 votes

          No way should it cost anywhere near $10k per year. They are very reliable, so you shouldn't need parts that often, especially if you're buying one fairly new. But in 5 years time when it's a bit older you could end up with a few larger bills. You'd have to be doing something seriously wrong to spend $10k on maintenance though!

        • +7 votes

          It will be around the $3k per year after you include cost of comprehensive insurance, BUT WITHOUT factoring minor damage, fuel, unforseen circumstance, loan repayments etc.

          If you have to think of whether you can afford a luxury item, you can't afford said luxury item. Story of my life.

        • +9 votes

          @tshow: My girlfriend owns a 2008 BMW 320i model (second hand, lady owner) and has had a few issues, but quite expensive issues nonetheless. The iDrive controller (rotating knob next to hand brake controlling radio, GPS settings etc.) stopped working. It cost $200 to be plugged into the computer at the BMW dealership to check if there was anything wrong! Then it cost a further $700 to be replaced including labour. Keep in mind it was the knob that needed replacing.
          Prior to this, it had a major service costing $1000~ at the 90,0000km mark (off the top of my head). Keep in mind the oil is premium, the spark plugs are premium and the petrol should be run on premium (noticeably underpowered on 91) everything is 'premium'.
          When getting the iDrive fixed, she was told the gaskets were showing signs of leakage. This was after a major service!
          My mum has a 2004 BMW 320i. She has had issues with hers as well. A major service from an independent BMW mechanic was also approximately ~$1000. The minor services are around ~$600. It also needed the air conditioner replaced (wasn't blowing out hot air) which was quite pricey also (can't remember the cost for that. It also needed the driver side electric window motor replaced.
          She had an electronic issue with the steering column which needed replacing. Would've cost $600 if it wasn't for the dealer warranty.
          If you want the GPS maps updated, for example if a new toll road is built in your area, that will cost you between $600-$800 for the software update.
          High maintenance costs are not exclusive to BMW's, other European cars incur these high charges. A lady I know drives a Mercedes E250, 2009 model. She backed out of her driveway and smashed her side mirrors on the concrete pillar. Cost her $2000 to be replaced through Mercedes. Then she did it again on the other side. Her parked car was scraped by another car, the only damage being paint damage to the left quarter panel. The quote to fix was $3000 at an independent shop. I'm not saying the Mercedes is unreliable, but the cost to replace damaged parts can be expensive.

        • +1 vote

          nahh hell no not 10k a year, not even close, its way less, buddy of mine got a full engine replacement for 7 grand for a Mercedes c class like a year ago, for normal maintenance its probably somewhere around 2 grand a year MAX!, assuming you do buy a trouble free car.

          and just a thought about bmw's and german cars in general is that they do break more compared to Japanese cars, yes people like them because of the badge but in terms of what you get for your money there are better alternatives. lexus, infinity etc.
          I suggest you have a look at the new lexus is250/is350 which is a nice package, comes with more kit from factory, and its bulletproof.

          the new mercedes C class is gorgeous but its a bit out of your price range I think unless you stretch the budget alittle, however it blows any other luxury car in the same category out the water atm.
          here is a pricing just released today
          http://www.carsales.com.au/news/prestige-and-luxury/mercedes...

        • +2 votes

          @harro son: Yup, you seem like you know the cost of running a luxury vehicle.

        • +1 vote

          I have a C200. Bought it 2 years ago. So far it's cost me a total of 4k in maintenance/servicing.

  • +5 votes

    Servicing costs for Beemers are typically higher as parts are more expensive and due to the modern electronics and the awesome gadgets the newer models have you can also expect labor cost to be higher to account for the more complex repair.
    Servicing costs will vary between models.

    Otherwise if you are auto-savvy you can source the parts yourself by ordering online.

    Or you know, just be wealthy enough to maintain a car…

    • +9 votes

      The cost of filling up with premium unleaded should also be a consideration.

      • +1 vote

        With premium unleaded, can I expect better performance? Being a chick-car, I guess I will only be using it for short distance: home-office-market, well under 10k a year.

        • +5 votes

          The car handbook may recommended using premium unleaded fuel instead of regular petrol, that's probably because the engine will be more fuel efficient with premium unleaded. So yes, your car will run smoother and guzzle less fuel if you give it the right fuel type.

          Some people give their high performance cars ULP91 Ron to save on fuel costs and don't report a problem with their car running it, but it could be bad for the engine in the long run. I'm no mechanic though so don't take my word for it.

        • +6 votes

          @scrimshaw: I thought that octane ratings were a measure of how compressible the petrol is before it self ignites. Generally speaking, higher compression ratios on engines allow for better efficiency - hence why high efficiency engines want to use at least 95RON.

          I would have thought that if the manufacturer asks you to use 95, they design for the fuel input as 95. So if you don't use 95, then mixture may ignite before it is supposed to - not only do you lose out on efficiency, you damage your engine. Of course, I'm sure the designers expect us to be stupid and not follow instructions, so its not like it's a instant bomb - but I'm sure it is not ideal in the long term.

          Bottom line - if you are concerned about buying 95 rated petrol due to price - buy a car with an engine that does not NEED IT.

        • +1 vote

          this video explains why you need premium fuel in more expensive cars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPaUlfKHzUM

        • +2 votes

          my mechanic says the biggest issues with 3 series is they are only used around town. An engineered engine should be 'wound out' occasionally in his opinion…as in highway driving rather than 60kmph-80 max around town.

        • -1 vote

          No its not because of that.

          Its because ULP 95/98 are low sulfur petroleum products, which is typically needed for european model vehicles.

          ULP 91 is 150ppm, 95/98 is 50ppm.

          So has nothing to do with fuel efficency or any of that rubbish.

  • +5 votes

    For a BMW that is under 2 years old, it would be still under warranty for another year so if anything breaks, it gets fixed by bmw at no cost. As for servicing, most people buy a basic service package of i think $1090 that includes general oil, filter, spark plugs etc change that is covered for 5 years. However, parts can be very expensive. I was quoted a couple of thousand dollars to change the brake pads at the dealer and it may not be something you can do yourself as it has these wear sensors and an onboard computer.

  • +37 votes

    BMWs are nowhere near as reliable as Jap cars. If it's out of warranty, it will be expensive to maintain.

    • +6 votes

      The funny thing is that after a few years a Camry is worth as much as a BMW of the same age.

    •  

      Rubbish, apart from the vacuum pump gasket leak common to the 1 3 5 series. Which is easy to fix BMWs are built like tanks. Servicing may be more expensive buts that only because the service bulletins call for decent oil not the 30-40 dollar sludge that goes into most budget cars.

  • +4 votes

    If you get a new or demo BMW you can purchase a service package that they call BMW Service Inclusive. For example for $1090 for a 3 series or X3 they will do the scheduled services for 5 years/ 80k km. You can also get BMW branded extended warranty issued by Allianz. I got an extra 3 years for $2400 for an X3. That would hopefully cover all the servicing and repairs….fingers crossed!

    http://www.bmw.com.au/com/en/owners/bmw_service/service_incl...

    • +4 votes

      don't do this. diesel bmws only need an oil change every 30,000km. Servicing costs stuff all, unless you go to a bmw dealer.

      It's true though that when stuff starts going wrong, it's gonna be expensive. I found a 320d was a very cheap car to own (after purchase cost) for 5 years, but now things are starting to go wrong electrically.

      We had "comfort access" (leave your key in your pocket) for 5 years, just live without it now rather than pay $1000 to fix "computer".

      •  

        How much does a BMW service which needs to be done every 15k km or so cost. I've had my oil changed once during service and estimate that I will need 5 services at least during the first 5 years. Can you cover 5 services with 2 oil changes with $1100 even at an independent?

        • +1 vote

          I'm not sure what you're saying/ asking?? I'm getting a 320D serviced on Friday so I'll let you know what it costs next week.
          It only wants an oil change every 30,000 km. It came with 3 years included services, which I think added up to 2. (BMW won't service more than every 30,000km while they're paying for it.)
          I've been advised that all cars should have oil changed at least every 15K though, so I don't disagree with you.

        •  

          @SlickMick:

          What I am basically trying to say is this; At least in the X3 20d it is my experience that the car 'wants' to be serviced (or inspected) every 15,000km. I agree that oil service has to be performed only every 30,000km.

          To get the service package for the X3 or the 3 series it will cost $1090 for 5 years/80,000km. If you run close to 80k in the first 5 years, it is likely that you'll need 5 inspections which will include 2 oil changes (I've had 2 inspections/ 1 oil change already in 30k/ 1yr 7mo.) If that is the case one will certainly end up spending more than $1090 to service/inspect the car in the first 5 years (even at a non-dealer garage).

          To compare it will cost $3000 to service a new X-trail under Nissan's capped price service program in the first 5 years. I think it is quite good value to get the service package if you get a new BMW!!

      •  

        Comfort access seems like a good idea until you have to change the fob battery.

  • +9 votes

    My family owned a BMW 520i for several years. Your husband is correct.

  • +1 vote

    If you can get one through work - a novated lease perhaps? Way to go.

    •  

      was gonna say the same thing. BMWs are only good for fleets, companies, rental companies, because they change over every 5 years

  • +12 votes

    I would suggest determining the time frame you will keep for the car as depreciation will be the biggest killer. If a 50k car, bank on losing around half it's value in 3 years. If you can stomach parting with a minimum of 8 grand plus a year for 3 years, then go for it. This excludes fuel, servicing, insurance etc. me I would use the 25k saved and travel overseas each year for 3 years, and buy a 25k jap car like a mazda3, but that just me. Buying European is not a treat for you, it's a treat for the car company.

    • +2 votes

      peterw1 brought up a good point re depreciation if OP has not spoken to an accountant/car lease company. free chat and find out what options are available in your circumstances. make depreciation works for you not against you.

    • -3 votes

      I'd do your maths carefully here. We paid $65,000 for a 320d, and it's still worth close to $30,000.
      BMWs don't depreciate like holdens etc.

      •  

        $65,000 to $30,000 in one year?

      • +1 vote

        65K for a 320d? Must be the pulling power of the badge, not the lack of pulling power of the car itself…

        •  

          they offer a lot of options :)

          re redbook, I don't think it's a very good guide. I'm only going by what they're on carsales for. Maybe none of them are selling, but nobody is listing them for less, so I won't be either.

    •  

      Yea go ahead and buy the cheap car and everytime you close the door and feel the weak clunk and see all the cheap plastic, cookie cutter styling and whirring road noise wish that you bought the BMW. Alot of the costs are for engineering and safety (which you may never use) but I would rather have a nice car thats a pleasure to drive and park than a few weeks overseas.

  •  

    Yes, buy a BMW !

    I really envy people that own and drive a BMW !

    It shows that they have really good taste, can afford a good car and enjoy owning what is one of the world's pure driving experience money can buy.

    If you never been in a BMW before, then it's even going be even better when you own one!

    Make sure it's a black BMW, there's no better colour than a Black BMW parked next door to wow the neighbours !

  •  

    The car runs on premium but the performance is better. The parts like most have mentions are costlier but there are options. I bought my brake pads online cheaper. You don't have to buy from the dealer. When I bought mine I got 3 yr of free servicing. You might want to look into that as well. If you get get a 1 or 3 series for e.g for about $60k.

    •  

      oh, did I mention - get a diesel! They are so efficient, you'll spend less on fuel than the petrol version, and the torque from the diesel engine is crazy. The car is a the size of a barina but will accelerate like a V8 if you need/ want to.

  • +4 votes

    I've got a 2007 525i - it costs about $3k a year to service at the moment (at a non dealer service centre). The BMW servicing costs increase as the car gets older. The first 4 years are cheap then as you get more kms and age it incrementally increases.

    When it was new the servicing costs were a lot cheaper (under $600 after the free included servicing ended) it tends to rise after 4 years or 60k kms I've found.

    If you have $60k, if you are happy with say a base level 1 or 3 series and you buy it new you can generally get scheduled servicing included for free for a few years plus the warranty for everything else. There's also a corporate program which is worth asking the dealer about - it can get you free servicing if you don't get it with the car.

    There is no doubt that parts are expensive if you need then. I've been lucky but if say a gear box went if expect it to cost $5k+ for the part.

    One thing to note - the cost of ownership also needs to consider insurance (which is higher) and the tyre costs. BMWs have run flats (which are magnificent) BUT the cost about 25% more per tyre and BMWs generally need more expensive tyres because of speed rating requirements. My tyres cost about $600 each (but they are big and wide). On tyres though I did get 30,000 kms out of the first set so the run flats do seem to wear better.

    Plus premium fuel - most run min 98RON

    Good luck!!

    • +7 votes

      "I've got a 2007 525i - it costs about $3k a year to service at the moment"

      Holy Jesus.

      • +9 votes

        Holy Jesus.

        Agreed. For $3k we're gonna need the help of all of the major deities…and possibly a few demi-gods as well…

        Off the top of my head, $3k pretty much covers my yearly (fixed price) servicing, rego, greenslip, comprehensive insurance and will still leave some spare change for important nick-nacks like wobbling hula girls for the dashboard! ;)

    • +1 vote

      My tyres cost about $600 each (but they are big and wide). On tyres though I did get 30,000 kms out of the first set so the run flats do seem to wear better.

      I have two Subaru wagons ('81, '88), have used a total of five sets of tyres (five tyres per set), highest cost/tyre: $84, average distance: 88,900 km. That's almost three times the distance for 1/6 of the cost, or 18 times better economy. Makes you think that some vehicles are just belching $$$ out of the exhaust pipe.

  • +16 votes

    wow i'm surprised people think its ok to spend $3k+ a year on maintenance

    for the OP I'd advise that you buy a new car under warranty and forget about the badge

    • +11 votes

      I'm actually saving for $3k to get a car AND full service it AND throw a bbq party to celebrate the ownership.

    • +1 vote

      Judging from the questions the OP seems more for show than for comfort or being a BMW Rev-head. I'd agree that you'd be saving your husband and yourself alot more financial pain by just going something within a more reasonable budget. Hey I bought a 2009 (MY08) honda civic for 14k in cash. Insurance is your standard, under $250 to service each time at RAC. No warranty, but heck if you're spending 40-60k on a car and then (i assume) are worried aboutt he cost to maintain (e.g. you're buying out of your comfort zone/league) which could be a few thousand… then I'd have a rethink.

      Sure it doesn't look flashy, but buying my civic at 50k km's back in Dec, i haven't had any faults in the last 6 months, and I'd hope it'd last another several years before any touch wood major problems requiring major parts/repair. it also looks pretty slick and like new, of course examining it up close you can see it's clearly not 'new', but hey 14k. Take the remaining 30k and eat at fine dining restaurants occasionally and you'll probably look just as presentable than trying to impress with a BMW. Sounds like you're just going home-office short distances also anyway?

      Hope you make the right choice!

  • +6 votes

    I'm at my 5th BMW. All have been the 5 series. I can tell you now that parts are not all that much more expensive than say Mazda or Honda parts. The big killer is the labour to diagnose and replace the parts that need replacing. I used to fix airplanes for Ansett and Jetstar so i can swing a spanner lol. Any good experienced mechanically minded person would be quite comfortable working on bimmers. If you can drive manual i would recommend getting a manual.
    Since youre not looking at a brand spankin' newey the main thing is to find one with a comprehensive maintenance history. As for fuel do not touch E10. Normal unleaded (91RON) is fine. If you want to go premium skip 95 and go straight to 98.

    • +3 votes

      i have no issue with BMWs like e39 m5s and e46 m3s

      these are enthusiast cars and $3k a year is fine as long as you know what you're getting into and how much value can you put on slamming them over a mountain road - its the vibe, its mabo, its the smile on your face

      a bmw e60 525? a bmw x3? ehhh not so much

      you may as well get a lexus and put a BMW badge on it

  • +2 votes

    My husband drives a 2000 3-series, which had done under 50 000 km when we bought it 3 years ago. It has cost him $3k per year in maintenance. He uses premium fuel.

    • -3 votes

      would probably expect that high maintenance cost for a 14-year old car?

    •  

      Good lord. Three thousand dollars per year?!

    • +1 vote

      Sorry, just checked - he has spent $3k since we got it. Ie average of $1k per year.

      •  

        Hmm, there are other posts saying that their BMW costs $3000 per year to maintain…

        •  

          The older BMW sedans such as the E46 (3-series up to 2004) and E39 (5-series up to 2003) are mechanically and especially electrically simpler and thus can be cheaper to maintain, particularly if you find a good independent mechanic. (I recommend Northern BM in Melbourne.) That said, these models are getting pretty old, so experiences vary widely.

          For a 12-year-old BMW, $2000 a year would be reasonable and $1000 a year is good. The payoff is that these are wonderful cars to drive and don't cost much up front. For $15,000, a 2002 E39 is perhaps the last great analogue sports sedan.

  • +15 votes

    Get a Lexus

    • +10 votes

      Agreed. If you want a bit of class and supreme reliability, get a Lexus.

      Signed,

      A BMW owner

    • +1 vote

      Interesting. So reliability and class a Lexus > BMW/Mercs? How about function/power?

      Signed,

      Neither a BMW, Lexus, Merc poor car owner.

      • +1 vote

        I said "a bit" of class :)

        I would suggest that BMW have more class than Lexus. And are much nicer to drive.

        But for reliability, they're not even in the same ballpark. Lexus is far superior.

        • +1 vote

          Fair enough. I heard Maserati's are shocking for reliability too - supposedly one or two pplz that i'd heard through kept having breakdown and other repair issues? Do BMW's really have that much issues that you could label the Lexus far more superior mechanically?

          Lexus also > Merc for mechanical reliability/maintenance?

        • +3 votes

          Yes, Lexus is better than all other makes when it comes to reliability and maintenance. One of their key selling points is their dependability, customer service and reliability - one of the reasons why they refused to open up a factory in China where the Germans already have manufacturing plants (Mercedes/BMW/Audi/VW all have manufacturing plants in China - for Chinese domestic use only, Australian BMW 3 series sedans are made in Africa though).

          Are they superior mechanically? Maybe not, the germans are a lot more innovative when it comes to engine development. European regulations continue to push for more efficient motors and decreased CO2 emissions which is why you see so many German cars with diesel and/or supercharged petrols. Lexus on the other hand likes to stick with engines that have been tried and tested - you don't see anything supercharged/dieseled in their current lineup (except the 4x4s). They stay with their V6's and invest in Hybrid technology instead of diesel.

          Lexus is better than Mercedes for reliability again but Mercedes is slowly climbing back up the reliability ladder - they used to be atrocious in the 90's/early 2000's.

          BMW/Mercedes is more classy than a Lexus though which is what they trade on - they've both got nearly a century of heritage while Lexus on the other hand is 25 years old and was created by Toyota to compete with the Germans.

        •  

          Interesting…LExus is owned/an offshoot by Toyota? did not know…

          Saw a Lexus IS250 at the train station parking yesterday which wow'ed me in terms of looks :O I will definitely have to keep an eye out for one when i can 'afford' a new, luxury car (let alone a new one haha).

          I assume pricing is therefore not as dear as the 'prestige' of the germans - mercs and BMWs?

  • +6 votes

    I've had a 1 Series. Under warranty my car had to go back about 6 times I eventually gave up with the warranty, purchased the car for $19,000 sold it with rear cyclinder problem, computer issues for $6,000 made a huge loss. Never going back to BMW again.

    •  

      for $19,000 your car was not brand new, was it?

    •  

      Had the exact same problem with a Merc. Funny that.

      The German sedans all try to keep up with the Joneses by retooling the powerplant completely every few years, whereas I've driven three Toyotas in the last five years with almost exactly the same engine.

      Hence Japanese cars are more boring but infinitely more reliable. They get pretty good at building that one engine.

      • +2 votes

        Hmmm… not sure about that. Most of the European cars have 8 year life cycle from release and so the engines tend to remain the same except for small updates and power increases. Whereas most Jap car cycles around 4-5 yrs (except luxury brand Lexus). Sure some brands and models (eg Hondas and Subarus come to mind), quite a few cars get moderately clean sheet design engines with significant model change. Don't know how the Japs engineer their cars so reliably.

        Not knocking the Germans as their cars are just so clinical in function. But sure I definitely would go Japanese for reliability.

        Ex Merc C320 owner. Currently Jap EVOX driver and also experimenting with Korean's Kia Sorento (depreciation of the Merc was far too painful to continue with this path, even though it was nice to have had for about 5-6 yrs or so - not that the EVOX is not depreciating just as painfully :-( )

        • -1 vote

          I sold my Evo X… that was expensive to maintain even with minimal track work. The regular servicing, roulette of pricing, and big unknown with the SST box made me sell it within 2 years of buying brand new and taking nearly a 50% hit. Such is life.

          (funnily enough I went to the facelifted C250 CDI just before it won COTY so got a great price)

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