Although BMWs are sleek and known for providing smooth riding experiences, they do have their fair share of engine problems. The maintenance and repair of a BMW engine often depend on the vehicle’s age, mileage, and what shop does the work. However, the average cost of a BMW engine repair ranges from $5,000-$7,000 if you are replacing the engine. If you find a skilled technician to rebuild it, the BMW engine repair cost will be approximately $2.500 -$4000.
The cost of a BMW engine repair can significantly increase depending on whether you need additional accessories. When it comes to BMW engine repair costs there are a few different factors that you will need to consider.
Main Types of BMW Engines
BMW is well known for its inline-six engines which is an internal combustion engine composed with six cylinders in a straight line. The inline-six engines are present in most modern BMWs. This German brand has been manufacturing engines since 1917.
Besides its line of vehicles, there are a variety of luxury vehicles from different brands that utilize BMW engines such as the third-generation Range Rover, the Toyota Supra, Roll Royce Phantom, and the Mclaren F1.
BMW also uses an inline-four engine in its models ranging from 1960 all the way up to 2010. Most of the 2011 models have inline-four turbo engines packing more power than their previous models. BMW also diesel engines which is available
Why Are BMW Engine Repair Costs So High?
According to automotive experts, BMWs are the most expensive cars to maintain. Repairing an engine on a BMW is very expensive because it is a German car that utilizes high-end parts specialty parts. This foreign car also uses advanced technology which makes simple maintenance and repair tasks more expensive than they would be on an American brand vehicle. For example, swapping out the battery on your BMW can cost more than $300 because the technician has to register the battery to the engine control module.
Unfortunately, you can’t just have your BMW serviced by a regular mechanic. You’ll have to find a technician that specializes in working on foreign cars like BMWs. The labor costs for these specialized mechanics typically start at $100 an hour. Oftentimes it can cost more money to maintain a BMW than it does to purchase one.
BMW Engine Repair Cost – Do I Need A New Engine Or A Rebuild?
When your BMW engine is blown you will only have two options. Do you have your old engine rebuilt or do you fork out the cash for a new one? A rebuilt engine involves removing the engine from your BMW. Once the engine is removed it’s disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. A lot of the important components are replaced such as the gasket, timing chain, bearing rings, and valve springs. Additional parts such as the crankshaft and pistons are only replaced when necessary. BMW engine rebuild is oftentimes cheaper than purchasing a new remanufactured engine.
The next option is to purchase a new or remanufactured engine. Remanufactured or used engines were removed from another vehicle and returned back to their original healthy state by the manufacturer. These engines usually are accompanied by an extended warranty. Purchasing a BMW engine brand new cost up to $7,500 for the engine alone with the labor costing approximately $2,000 or more depending on the technician.
My BMW Engine Is Overheating
Overheating engines is a common complaint amongst individuals who own a BMW. While a certified mechanic or technician can diagnose why your engine is overheating it can be caused by a coolant leak or even a bad water pump.
If you believe that your engine is failing here are some of the most common signs you should look for:
Engine Overheating Light
Of course, the most obvious sign that your BMW engine is overheating is that the “engine overheating” warning light flashes on. This warning light lets the driver know when the engine exceeds the maximum safe temperature. If this light comes on you should also check the temperature gauge which measures the rising heat over the gauge. If the hand is hovering above red you should turn the car off as soon as possible.
The Hood of Your Car Is Hot
While it’s completely normal for the hood of your car to be warm especially after you’ve been running the engine. However, if your hood is extremely hot after the engine has been off for a few minutes, there is a reason to be concerned.
Is smoke coming from the hood of the car? More than likely your BMW engine has become so hot that the coolant in the reservoir has started to boil causing steam.
Ticking Noise From the Engine
Do you hear a ticking noise from the engine? If so, this is a sign that the engine oil isn’t properly lubricating the engine and all of its properties. As the temperature increases, the oil loses its viscosity and becomes thin like water losing all of its effectiveness.
Your Car Is Leaking
Have you noticed a puddle underneath your car? Chances are you have a leak in your car’s cooling system which is causing coolant to leak. Coolant also commonly referred to as antifreeze keeps your car from overheating during the hot summer months and freezing during the winter. Without coolant, your car will overheat and if it gets into the engine it will destroy the bearings within the engine.
Decreased Engine Power
If your engine is overheating you’ll notice decreased acceleration since the engine won’t be able to perform at its full capacity. . Look out for strange smells and noises.
BMW Engine Repair Costs – Reasons Why Your Engine Is Overheating
Are you wondering why your BMW E90 or E9X engine is overheating? Some of the top reasons why your engine may be overheating are:
Electric Water Pump
Water pump failure tends to occur once your BMW reaches the 80,000-mile interval. Water pump failure on a BMW usually occurs when the bearing fails on the pump causing the plastic impeller to come in contact with the aluminum housing.
As the vehicle ages, the plastic impeller becomes extremely brittle and worn due to extended immersion into the hot coolant in the engine. Whenever you are replacing the water pump on a BMW you should always install a new thermostat as well. The thermostat also tends to get damaged as a result of the overheating.
The 2006-2013 N52-N54 uses a fully electric water pump. While this type of electric water pump takes a lot of the wear and tear off of the belts. On these models, the electrical components in the circuit board that regulates the water pump tend to fail without any warning. Some experts believe that it fails due to heat.
A BMW engine repair cost for a water pump is approximate $650 -$730.
Using The Wrong Coolant
When you use the wrong coolant in your German car can damage and eventually cause engine failure. Mixing two different types of coolant will cause the engine to explode. BMW car owners should use BMW-approved coolants in their engines. These foreign cars are designed with unique engines. It’s best to use a BMW labeled antifreeze or BMW 82-14-2-209-769 coolant is effective in all BMW models.
If you have used the wrong type of coolant in your BMW engine you’ll need to get the coolant drained from the engine. A coolant or antifreeze flush which involves draining the coolant from the bottom of the radiator and adding the correct coolant at the top costs about $150-$200 for a BMW.
Restricted Cooling System
A restricted cooling system can cause your BMW engine to start overheating. The coolant system is the number one killer of BMW engines that were manufactured after 1999. The coolant system becomes restricted when dirt and grime buildup keeps the coolant from properly circulating throughout the engine. As a result, the engine starts to overheat.
BMW Models With the Worst Engines
This German car brand has been manufacturing some of the most robust engines in the industry. However, some of the engines have failed to deliver on the level of quality expected. BMWs with the most problematic engines are:
BMW X5N 330D 3.0 Engine
The BMW X5N 330D is equipped with a 3liter engine. The most common engine problems with this model are failed fuel injectors and turbo failure. This can cause the engine to completely stop running. You’ll most definitely need to invest in an engine replacement.
BMW 520.D 2.0 Diesel Engine
The BMW 520.D Diesel engine typically has timing chain issues and wastegate failure. The wastegate regulates the pressure and limits the speed of the turbine. It also protects the turbocharger and engine from failure. Therefore, when the wastegate is compromised it has a negative impact on the engine. In some instances, the wastegate and timing chain can be repaired without having to replace the engine.
BMW 320 D 2.0 Diesel Engine
The BMW 320D engine is designed similar to the 520D engine. Because the crankshaft sprockets are extremely sharp on this model the timing chain suffers damage and ultimately stops working. When this happens the car won’t run at all.
Also, the wastegate spring sometimes stops working resulting in the wastegate partly or fully opening compromising its ability to protect the turbo. A blown up turbo needs to be repaired immediately or it will further damage the engine rendering it useless.
BMW 1 Series 116i
The engine on the BMW 1 Series 116i can quickly start to become a headache. These engines commonly have a timing chain issue. It specifically starts to stretch out causing premature valve train wear and decreases engine performance. Fuel injection problems also pop up in this model which can result in bad engine knock. If denotation occurs the engine can completely fail.
BMW 1 Series 120i
The engine on this model also has a timing chain issue. The chain becomes incredibly loose and can give in while you’re driving. Similar problems have been reported in the 120i and 125i models from 2010 and forward.
BMW 6 Series M
The BMW 6 Series M has a manufacturing defect in the engine. The Vanos unit and the connecting rod bearings often fail in this model due to this defect. Vanos is a major variable in the timing system. The rod bearings connecting to it are also prone to failure. Repairing these issues can be really expensive for the owner.
BMW Recalls Over Potential Engine Fire Risk
In 2019, BMW recalled over 900,000 units after automakers discovered that in 2017 that units made during 2007-2011 have a faulty valve heater that in rare cases can cause rusting and lead to a bad engine fire. This recall covers 3 series, 5 series, and Z4 models.
According to the documents filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the blow by the heater in these models which are designed to keep the engine’s crankcase ventilation system from freezing can potentially short circuit.
When moisture gets trapped by the blow heater it causes a short circuit. The shortage in the crankcase ventilation causes the valve to melt which increases the risk of a fire.
BMW Engine Repair Cost – The Bottom Line
Although BMW is widely known for manufacturing some of the most efficient and high-quality engines to ever exist, some of their models have vulnerabilities. The BMW engine repair cost can vary depending on the series, model, and age of the vehicle.
If you want your vehicle service by a skilled technician who specializes in working on BMW engines your're out of pocket costs are increased. Shop around for different costs before you make your final decision.
If your BMW was recalled in 2019 you still have the chance to have it repaired by the manufacturer whether you are the original owner or not. Vehicle recalls last for eight years from the original sale date.