Classic BMW models from the ’80s and ’90s are perfectly reliable, but you might have to break the bank to get one. On the other hand, a number of modern BMW models from the 2000s suffer from defects, recalls, and complaints, as you’ll see in this list. Besides these models having their fair share of headache-inducing issues, BMW is one of the most expensive non-exotic car brands to maintain and repair. With all this in mind, here are 10 BMW models you should never buy used.
10 2013-2018 BMW X1
The BMW X1 is an affordable car with amazing performance, but it comes with a lot of problems that you can’t ignore, even if you try. For example, all 2013-2018 model years were recalled due to engine problems. Many drivers complain that the problem arises immediately after the car is out of warranty.
But if there’s any particular year to avoid, it’s the 2014 X1, which is burdened with engine issues as well as issues with paint, transmission, a/c/heater, exhaust system, and windows. These problems will cost about $1750 to fix annually and there are 5 recalls and 103 complaints on the 2014 BMW X1 alone.
9 2007, 2013 BMW X3
Designed to be slightly less compact than the BMW X5, the X3 was introduced in 2003 to compete with the Range Rover Discovery and the Audi Q5. But over the years, some models like the 2007 and 2013 X3 haven’t lived up to expectations.
While engine problems seem to be a general issue in BMWs, these model years seem to be getting worse, with many complaints about engine oil leaks, engine overheating, coolant leaks, and timing chain guide failures. The 2007 X3 had more than 4 recalls and 296 complaints, while the 2013 X3 had 5 recalls and 328 complaints.
8 2011 BMW X6
The BMW X6 is a sports coupe that stands out for its sculpted appearance and sculpted roof. While there aren’t as many complaints about the X6 as the X3, it’s important to note that quite a few X6s struggle to release the electric parking brake due to the failure of the handbrake actuator.
The X6’s worst year is 2011, with over a dozen recalls registered for this year alone. Aside from having to deal with a wobbling tailgate wing tilt or getting down all the way, X6 owners have expressed concern about the diesel engine failing without warning. X6 owners spend nearly $2,000 a year to keep it in good condition.
7 2008 BMW M3
The BMW M3 offers an exhilarating driving experience for those looking for a luxury daily driver, weekend cruiser or track monster. But it is far from perfect. The most common problem with the M3 is related to power steering hose leaks, which require immediate replacement.
2006 M3 owners have raised concerns about resistor failure for the fuel pump and final stage blower. The 2008 M3 is the worst model, with 5 recalls and 101 complaints. The owners of this model decried the constant malfunctions of the engine and this problem costs a lot of money to fix.
6 2011-2013 BMW 3 – Series
The 3 Series is BMW’s best-selling model of all time, accounting for nearly 25% of the brand’s total annual sales figures, according to a 2010 BMW Group report. But while BMW smiles to the bank, thanks to the 3 Series, customers cry to the mechanic’s shop. According to RepairPal, you’ll spend approximately $1,030 a year to keep your third chain on the road.
3 Series owners have complained about having oil on the driver side of the engine and turning on the low oil indicator light, which requires you to get a new oil filter cover gasket. Also, due to the tendency of the floppy disk to be easily damaged, the car may vibrate excessively while driving. To fix this problem, you need to replace the floppy disk.
5 2011 BMW X5
There’s no denying that the BMW X5 is fun to drive, but you shouldn’t base your buying decision on that alone. Aside from the fact that most model years come with no fewer than five recalls, they also seem to have engine problems, which are expensive to fix.
According to this driver, his BMW X5 was stopped while driving in the cold. To solve the engine problem, you should have about $2,300, and there is no guarantee that the problem will not appear in the near future. The 2011 X5 is the worst model year, with 16 recalls.
4 2008 BMW 5-Series
With the spacious cabin and exciting performance of the BMW 5 Series models, it’s understandable why you’d want to consider them. But like most comfortable, performance-based cars, there are problems you can’t overlook. For example, the 535i tends to be prone to engine cooling fan problems, the brakes, and even the taillights.
These shortcomings have resulted in more than 700,000 vehicles recalling the 2008535i. The most common problem with BMW 5-Series models is a failed water pump, which costs an average of $1,070 to fix.
3 2006 BMW 7 – Series
There’s no denying that a lot of people would jump at the chance to drive a full-size BMW 7 Series luxury sedan, but if you go above face value, we’re not sure if you’ll. Many owners of BMW 7 Series cars complain of engine stumbling when driving at high speed.
Another issue with the BMW 7 Series that you can’t overlook is the sudden loss of brake power, which causes the car to delay before it comes to a stop and could lead to an accident. It would cost about $1,110 a year to keep the BMW 7 Series in shape.
2 2018-2020 BMW 8 Series
Just 9 years after its introduction in 1990, BMW withdrew the 8 Series due to poor sales. But the Bavarian automaker decided to bring it back in 2018, a move some would say unnecessary because although sales have improved slightly, it’s not the perfect choice for those looking for a reliable luxury coupe or convertible.
2018-2020 BMW 8-Series models suffer from engine misfires, problems with the power steering box, and exhaust noises. You can spend up to $1,454 a year to keep the 2018 BMW 8-Series on the road.
1 2003 BMW Z4
Although the BMW Z4 offers powerful acceleration, this is not the only factor to consider when buying a used sports car. When it comes to reliability, the BMW Z4 is a complete disappointment, taking the bottom four spots of luxury compact cars according to RepairPal.
Annual maintenance and repairs for a Z4 can take about $1,300 out of your pocket, with a 20% chance that it will require some form of major repair within the first five years of ownership. Even if you want a Z4, avoid the 2003 model, which has issues with the steering, fuel system, cooling system, engine, seat belts and airbags.
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