The Best and Worst of the BMW Warranty

BMW’s unique factory warranty garners some attention, for good reason.

byThe Drive Staff| UPDATED Apr 29, 2022 2:58 PM
The Best and Worst of the BMW Warranty
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As an automotive company with a good mix of luxury vehicles, BMW has a unique factory warranty that differs from most automakers in terms of coverage and length. BMW owners get the same general coverage, but the company lacks the usual bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties, rolling them up into one warranty instead. How effective is this comprehensive warranty? Read on to find out.

Warranty Explained

Most automakers separate the comprehensive (bumper to bumper) and powertrain coverages in the factory warranty. BMW, however, offers a single comprehensive warranty that covers both. Beyond the main coverage, the company also squeezes in a few extra perks that can save some money on service costs.

Comprehensive Coverage

BMW offers a single comprehensive warranty — they refer to it as a bumper-to-bumper warranty — that lasts for four years or 50,000 miles. The scope of the warranty is comprehensive, meaning almost everything on a vehicle is included in the coverage, just like a normal limited warranty.

On the surface, the BMW warranty lacks any sort of traditional powertrain warranty. Coming with just a bumper-to-bumper warranty, it’s easy to assume that you won’t get the specialized coverage on engine, transmission, and drivetrain components a powertrain warranty provides.

In reality, however, BMW has simply eliminated the overlapping coverage comprehensive and powertrain warranties create. With the bumper-to-bumper warranty covering everything but normal wear items, all the same components a powertrain warranty covers are included with the bulk of BMW’s factory coverage. 

Additional Coverage

Unlike many automakers that just stop with the traditional comprehensive and powertrain warranties, BMW offers a few extra perks to anyone who buys a new BMW vehicle. These extras cover the car in a way that’s different from the main coverage or offer a unique value to the owner. For extra protection, each BMW comes with a 12-year, unlimited-mile corrosion warranty that kicks in any time the vehicle needs a repair for surface rust. The lengthy coverage makes it easy to address critical surface and structural rust issues that would make the car unsafe to drive.

Somewhat unique to BMW, the company also offers a three-year, 36,000-mile maintenance period that covers the expenses of regular service the factory recommends for all new vehicles. Combined with the one-year adjustment period for fixing minor alignment issues, this maintenance period makes it easy to pay for minor necessary work.

A good warranty gives you the peace of mind to enjoy the open road without worry., gettyimages
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What We Like

There is a lot to like about BMW’s approach to the main comprehensive warranty. At first, it can seem like you are losing some coverage by eliminating the traditional powertrain warranty, but there’s actually a benefit to keeping everything under one plan. The traditional comprehensive/powertrain warranty setup has a lot of overlap. In theory, anything covered by the powertrain is also covered by the bumper-to-bumper warranty, effectively meaning the powertrain doesn’t kick in until after the bumper-to-bumper warranty expires. 

BMW’s approach eliminates this overlap while lengthening the comprehensive coverage by a year compared to the industry standard of three years and 36,000 miles. BMW owners get to enjoy the comprehensive coverage for a bit longer than other automakers offer.

The fact that the company throws in a short maintenance plan is also beneficial for saving money. While it’s somewhat restrictive in where you can get maintenance work done, it helps to keep the car up on the factory maintenance recommendations without paying out of pocket. 

What We Don’t Like

The main disadvantage to BMW’s comprehensive setup is the reduction vehicle owners take in the parts coverage standard powertrain warranties have. In other words, the important components around the engine, transmission, and drivetrain aren’t covered as long as more traditional powertrain warranties offered by competitors. 

A standard powertrain warranty lasts around five years or 50,000 miles. This makes the coverage longer than the typical three-year, 36,000-mile comprehensive warranty, offering longer protection on the most important parts of a vehicle. BMW simply averages these two terms with the comprehensive warranty.

In the way BMW effectively limits the amount of coverage on the powertrain components. Instead of having five years of coverage, BMW owners only have four. As a result, there is a trade-off in the extra boost in comprehensive coverage the factory warranty offers.

Common Repair Costs

Some of the most common issues and repair costs with BMW vehicles:

  • BMW 750iL: Parking Brake Show Replacement ($270 to $404)
  • BMW X3: Intercooler Replacement ($794 to $831)
  • BMW 535d xDrive: Fuel Pump Replacement ($659 to $688)
  • BMW 330i xDrive: Sunroof Motor Replacement ($1,277 to $1,312)

FAQs

Q. Are oil changes covered by the factory warranty?

A. No. The factory warranty is limited to issues caused by manufacturing defects. These defects normally include improper installation or poor component materials.

Q. What are wear items, and are they included in the warranty?

A. Some new car components, known as wear items, naturally wear out through regular use. These include things like brakes and tires. Under the BMW factory warranty, such items are not covered.

Q. What is a corrosion warranty?

A. Corrosion or anti-corrosion warranties are a part of a comprehensive protection plan to protect the vehicle from rust that can develop on a vehicle’s surface or frame when it’s wet or humid. The warranty covers repairs to fix the rusted spots so the car’s body remains safe to drive.

Is BMW’s Warranty Worth It?

If you are looking for a factory warranty that simplifies the coverage you get with a new vehicle purchase, BMW is a company to consider if you find something worthwhile in the lineup. While minor trade-offs are made with the average powertrain coverage, you get more comprehensive coverage compared to other automaker warranties outside of some certified pre-owned and extended warranty service contracts

There are also a few extra perks of value to note. The maintenance plan, in particular, is good for keeping a vehicle on track with factory-recommended services and repairs without paying directly out of your own wallet. 

More Information

Here are a few more resources you can use: