Are BMWs Reliable? (All You Need to Know in 2021)

BMW cars have always been labeled as reliable cars, but many rumors say that BMW cars are unreliable. So we are here to find out whether BMW is indeed reliable or not. Let us get started.

So, are BMWs reliable? Despite all the rumors of BMW cars being unreliable, they are much more reliable than some people would tell you.

If you ask some people or search the internet, you will hear and read about BMW cars’ unreliability. Though many third-party sources would prove the BMW cars’ reliability, the talk still has not died. 

Though the rumors might have a pretty good reason behind it, BMW cars have been an excellent car for many people. These BMW cars have been on top and had an outstanding reputation until the unreliability talk has started. 

So let us talk about the reliability of BMW cars. Let us get it on.

Are BMWs Reliable

Is BMW Reliable?

BMW cars are reliable, despite what other people are saying against it being reliable. You have to remember that a BMW car or any premium car needs their maintenance. They need regular and proper maintenance. 

Buying a car is not simple. You have to think about it. Cars do not last for so long if you do not take care of them. 

If you plan to buy a car, you need to commit and take care of it. Let us talk about oil change, for example. They need to have their regular oil change. 

When we speak of an oil change, there is a specific time to have your BMW oil changed and replaced. You need to change it with the right and suited oil. 

It is never advisable to use brands that are not recommended and approved by BMW for their oil change. Things like this must be taken into account. If you take care of your BMW, it will last for a very long time.

Related: How Many Miles Does A BMW Last?

Which BMWs Are the Most Reliable?

BMW has a lot of car models to offer. But there are ranks on these things. Though all of them can be reliable because the same company makes them, you can always pick the best BMW car in their offers. 

If you plan to have your own BMW, you need help picking the right and reliable BMW car model. The vehicles we will list below have been reported to be very reliable. These cars can last for so long with the proper and correct maintenance. 

These vehicles are very posh and grand in terms of their look. These models are also made to provide maximum comfort to the passengers. Here they are.

1. E90 3 Series

The E90 3 Series has been reliable. BMW has fixed a lot of issues, and they have fixed the model. This is an excellent car model. It was more electronic and complex.

2. E46 3 Series

This series has excellent and high mileage. Even after high mileage, this series runs very well and very fast.

These series have durable inline-six engines. They are made with solid quality, and this will last for so many years.

3. E83 BMW X3

This is a great car. This car has a perfect steering wheel. It is a very reliable car, and many people are in love with this. It has inline-six engines and ZF-sourced automatic gearboxes.

Which BMWs Are the Least Reliable?

BMW cars have been dealing with a lot of competitors along the way. They have made a lot of good cars, but even good things have their drawbacks. 

BMW has been making and delivering some of the best cars we have today; some cars have failed to meet other consumers’ expectations. These models did put a dent in the reputation of BMW, but BMW never stopped innovating. 

Here are some BMWs that have been reported on giving consumers many issues and problems along the way.

1. BMW 3 SERIES 316i

This series suffered a stretching of the timing chain. This will result in increased pressure. Soon, the chain will break down from the pressure. When this happens, the engine will immediately stop.

2. BMW 1 SERIES 118i

The issues of this are from the timing chain and to the Vanos unit failure. The timing chain is critical because this can cause the engine to stop.

3. BMW 520d 2.0 Diesel Engine

The same issue with this engine is the timing chain and the wastegate failure. These issues can cost a lot to consumers.

4. BMW 1 SERIES 116i

The issue of these series is the timing chain. They also have issues with the fuel injector and the Vanos unit. There is also the coil pack failure.

5. BMW 5 SERIES 520i

This series has issues like breakage of the timing chain. There is also a failure in the fuel ejector.

6. BMW 320d 2.0 Diesel Engine

The crankshaft sprocket of this engine is sharp. In return, the timing chain can get damaged. The timing chain can also break down.

7. BMW 1 SERIES 120i

These series have the standard issue. This series has problems with the timing chain, Vanos unit, and fuel injectors.


This series has issues with connecting rod bearings failure and failure in the Vanos system.

9. BMW X5 330D 3.0 Engine

The most common issue found in this engine is turbo failure. There is the failure of the injectors; this will result in the stoppage of the vehicle.


This series has the customers buying an expensive repair. In the end, it ended up being a company defect.

11.  BMW 2 SERIES 220i

These series have failures in their fuel injectors and with the timing chain.

Are Used BMWs Reliable?

old bmw

Used BMW cars do not mean that they are already unreliable. Again, the BMW’s life and performance will also depend on how it was taken care of. 

If you will buy used BMWs and the owner takes good care of the BMW and offers it proper and correct maintenance, the used BMW will have no problem for you. So what you have to know is what you have to look for in buying a used BMW. 

So to help you with your problem, here are some things you can do to check if the used BMW is still reliable and reasonable.

1. Have Your Research

The thing you need to do first is doing your research. You cannot just buy a used car with no knowledge of anything. You might end up buying a terrible car with inferior performance. 

To avoid that mistake, you need to do research first. You can research the most reliable models that BMW has ever made. 

This can help you decide on what used BMW car models you can buy. It would help you if you searched for the BMW’s depreciation. Some BMW car models will lose their value quickly. 

2. You Need To Check The History Of The Vehicle.

You also need to check the history of the vehicle. There is a vehicle history report. This report will tell you anything you want and have to know in the vehicle. 

This report will tell you about the previous owner. This report will also tell you about the accidents of the vehicle, their warranties and many more.  

3. You Need To Get The Best Deal

When buying a used BMW car, look for its actual market value. It would be best for you not to base on what the retailer would say. You have to know it by yourself.

Also Read: Is a BMW a Good First Car?

What Are the Most Popular Used BMW Models?

Used BMW models can still offer buyers a perfect and solid car. But how do you know if these cars are good? Here are some BMW models that offer good performance even after being used.

1. 2008-2011 BMW 1 Series

The 2008-2011 BMW 1 Series are available with manual or automatic transmission. This series comes in two available types. You can choose the R82 or the two-door coupe. 

They also have the E88 or the convertible. Both of them use the 128i and 135i names. The gas mileage is also very reasonable. The 128i has a 230-hp 3.0L inline-6 engine.

2. 2004 to 2010 BMW 5-Series (E60 and E61)

Speaking of dependability, these BMW series have excellent results. They are average. These series are famous for their very high performance. 

These are also known for their being luxurious. These cars were redesigned last 2004. The 525i, 530i, and 535 were built with a perfect inline-6 engine.

3. 2006-2011 BMW 3 Series

This series was famous for its incredible style in its appearance. These series also have their very fancy interiors. 

They are also made to provide good comfort, and they have the best quality. They were redesigned last 2006.

4. 2002 to 2008 BMW 7-Series

The rating of these 2002 to 2008 BMW 7-Series was below average. If you want a big car model, choose these 7-Series.

5. 2006-2010 BMW X3

If you want a reliable BMW SUV, you must try this model. This is one of the best options you can pick. This model is very comfortable.

How Many Miles Can A BMW Last?

The answer to this cannot be generalized through all BMW cars. There is the issue of the owner and how they take care of their car. 

There is also the maintenance of the car. So if with good and proper maintenance, a BMW car can usually last from 200,000 to 250,000 moles. If you want to read a more detailed article, you can do so here.

Do BMWs Have a Lot of Problems?

BMW cars are reliable. However, it can’t be denied that there are some issues with their vehicles. 

There are some problems that some people can encounter in owning a BMW. Below are some common problems with BMW cars.

Common Problems of BMW Cars

Here are some common problems with BMW cars.

  1. There Can Be Faulty Coolant Systems
  2. There Are Faults With Automatic Headlights
  3. There Are Dead Batteries
  4. There Can Be Corrosion Of Alloy Wheels
  5. There Are Issues With Fuel Pump
  6. There Are Faulty Electronics
  7. There Are Wear And Tear On Door Handles
  8. There Are Leaky Oil Filter Gasket
  9. There Are Problems With Heater Core
  10. The Electric Windows Won’t Shut

BMW Reliability vs. Other Brands

Let us look for the BMW reliability test versus other car brands.

BMW vs. Mercedes Reliability

There was a reliability rating that puts Mercedes on top of BMW. However, both of them ranked below average. But there was also a reliability rating done that made BMW on top of Mercedes. 

Some ratings put both of them side by side and in the same rank. So wherever you go and ask for it, you will be given different answers. In conclusion, we can safely say that both of them are pretty aligned in terms of reliability.

BMW vs. Audi Reliability

Both of them are reliable brands. One source would say that BMW is more reliable, but another source would say Audi is more reliable. 

BMW vs. Toyota Reliability

Toyota tops reliability rankings while BMW stays on the typical average rank. Both are reliable, just that Toyota tops some of the reliability ranks.

BMW vs. Honda Reliability

Honda has been ranked below the industry standard, and BMW ranked above the industry standard.

BMW vs. Ford Reliability

Ford has been excellent in terms of reliability ranks. However, BMW also takes a good rank in reliability ranks. In conclusion, both of them are on par with each other.

You Might Also Read: Why Do BMWs Depreciate So Much?


In summary, a BMW car is reliable with a good performance. BMW makes good cars. 

However, there are reported problems with some of the cars. Used BMW cars can still be reliable if with good maintenance. Know the vehicle before purchasing it.


Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more