Cost to Own a BMW 335i N54
When it comes to owning an N54 powered BMW 335i many are driven away due to concerns over the cost of repairs and maintenance. Reliability is a case by case basis; some may experience endless issues while others may go 100,000+ miles without any significant problems. A majority of BMW’s likely fall somewhere between the two extremes – my 2007 335i included.
My BMW 335i Background
I purchased my 2007 BMW 335i in May 2014 in Houston, Texas with roughly 75,000 miles on the odometer. The car only had 1 previous owner and appeared to be maintained relatively well. Within 500 miles of purchasing the car, I bought a JB4 and DCI so the car has been tuned for essentially the entire time I have owned it. Roughly 2 months after buying the car I moved to Denver, Colorado.
Since purchasing the car, I have driven roughly 36,500 miles as the odometer currently sits just north of 111,500 miles. Most of my driving is in the city and mountains, and I consider myself a rather aggressive driver. Any time I am the first car at a red light or find an open stretch of the road I do not hesitate to go for a WOT (wide-open throttle) pull, and I am not shy to give the transmission plenty of kick-downs.
Some Details About the 335i:
- April 2007 build
- 12.25 years old with 111,500 miles
- Sport Package
- With an oil cooler
- Automatic Transmission
- Rear Wheel Drive
In my opinion, the cost of owning my 335i has been relatively inexpensive for the joy it brings me. Driving in Colorado has certainly added some expenses that likely would not be incurred in states without significant snowfall. I will start with the repairs and issues my BMW 335i experienced, and then diverge into the general maintenance costs.
BMW 335i Issues and Repair Costs
To touch on the previous owner, they had the HPFP replaced under the extended warranty once the original fuel pump gave out. Otherwise, I am not familiar with any issues the previous owner encountered. Below is an ordered list of the issues that I have experienced on my 335i.
1. Headlight Control Unit – July 2014 ~76,000 miles
Cost to Repair: ~$300
Repair Method: DIY
Passenger side headlight went out, which I initially believed was a simple headlight bulb. I started by replacing the headlight bulb, however, after further diagnostics it turned out to be the actual control unit. It was a fairly simple DIY and the cost of parts were roughly $300.
2. Turbochargers – May 2015 ~83,000 miles
Cost to Repair: Free
Repair Method: BMW Dealership
This is a long story, so I will spare all of the specifics and cut to the meat. BMW offered an extended warranty for waste-gate rattle on the N54 engines. I took my car to the dealership to give it a chance even though I left the tune, catless downpipes, and DCI’s on the car. Surprisingly, they willingly replaced the turbos 100% free of charge without any hassle about the modifications. Fast forward about 1,000 miles and the brand-new bank 2 turbocharger blew. This takes us to my next repair.
3. Fuel Injectors – June 2015 ~84,000 miles
Cost to Repair: $1750
Repair Method: BMW Dealership
BMW was now reluctant to replace the blown turbo as my car was modified. However, they identified two leaking fuel injectors and blamed the turbo failure on the leaking injectors. They agreed to replace the turbo again if I paid to replace all 6 injectors. I knew I needed to replace them anyways, so even though it was double the cost of a DIY it felt good to get it done.
4. Water Pump – January 2017 ~96,000 miles
Cost to Repair: $900 (also replaced thermostat)
Repair Method: Indy Shop
It was about damn time. I was going to replace the pump at 100,000 miles as preventative maintenance, but it didn’t quite make it. Nonetheless, 96,000 miles is about all you can ask for out of these water pumps.
5. Coolant Expansion Tank – March 2017 ~97,000 miles
Cost to Repair: $650
Repair Method: Indy Shop
The coolant expansion tank cracked and failed on my drive home from the mountains. There was significant snow on the ground and outside temps were below 0 degrees, which may have played a role in the cracked expansion tank.
6. Power Steering Pressure Hose – April 2018 ~104,000 miles
Cost to Repair: $225
Repair Method: DIY
*Power Steering Pump to Steering Rack hose
Colorado problems. My underbody panel took a beating from the chunks of ice that fall off the wheel wells of large trucks. Eventually a portion of it ripped off and managed to rip the power steering hose with it. I didn’t notice for quite some time and had been dragging the hose under the car. It was a simple DIY that took a bit over an hour though one of the bolts was a total nightmare to put back in.
7. Upper Radiator Hose – February 2019 ~108,000 miles
Cost to Repair: $450
Repair Method: Indy Shop
Not much to say on this one as it was bound to happen at some point around this mileage.
Total BMW 335i Repair Costs
Length of Ownership: 5 years, 2 months
Total Cost of Repairs: $4,275
Cost Per 10,000 Miles: $1,171
Annual Cost: ~$827.50
The annual average repair cost in my experience seems reasonable. Of course, if I DIY’ed every single repair the expenses would probably be at least 30-40% less. On the other hand, if I did not DIY two of the repairs then it likely would have been about $500 more expensive. I am very pleased with the repair costs given I have absolutely beat the crap out of my 335i and do mostly city and mountain driving. I do not drive as many miles annually as a lot of people, so I provided the cost per 10,000 miles driven, which is also a pretty reasonable number.
BMW 335i General Maintenance Costs
1 full set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport – $900
1 rear set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – $550
2 sets of Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 – $1400
When I purchased my 335i the tires were near bald so I immediately replaced all four with Michelin Pilot Super Sports. After 36,000 miles I am still running the same Michelin PSS up front mostly due to the fact about 50% of my driving is on snow tires. The rear PSS tires lasted about 15,000 miles before I recently switched to the Pilot Sport 4S tires. Additionally, I should not have gone through two sets of snow tires but I purchased a cheap set of rims for the snow tires. The rims are only 7.5” wide with 205 tires, which does not help my burnout tendencies.
Total Tire Cost = $2,850
*I highly doubt many will experience tire costs this significant in 36,500 miles.
Rear pads, rotors, and brake pad sensor, fluid flush – ~$600
The front brakes were darn near brand new, so I am still on the same set of front pads and rotors for the past 36,500 miles. I do engine brake frequently.
3. Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils
3 sets of spark plugs; 2 OEM and one set of NGKs – $200
2 sets of OEM Bosch coils – $400
I replaced the plugs and coils after purchasing the BMW 335i. About 15,000 miles later I once again replaced the OEM plugs. Finally, about 2,000 miles ago I upgraded to the NGK 1 step colder spark plugs. At the same time, I replaced the coils for a second time.
Costs will be significantly lower on stock 335i’s, however, a tuned N54 will burn through plugs and coils significantly sooner.
If you are in need of new spark plugs and ignition coils, buy them here and use code “BMWTUNING” for 5% off!
7 oil & filter changes – ~$400
2 coolant flushes – ~$200
1 brake fluid flush – Included in brakes category
1 power steering flush – $20
I DIY all of my oil changes every 6,000-7,000 miles, however, the cost of oil and filters does add up a bit over time. Additionally, I DIY’ed one coolant flush and did the other at the BMW dealership. I also DIY’ed the power steering fluid.
BMW 335i Maintenance Costs
Total Maintenance Costs: $4,670
Annual Average Costs: $903.87
There may be a few small things I missed in the maintenance category, however, my maintenance costs were brought up significantly due to the tires. My tires make up roughly 61% of the maintenance cost on the 335i, which I am totally fine with. Tires are one of the most important aspects of safety and performance and I do not spare any expenses in ensuring I am running the best all around street tires for the driving conditions.
Outside of tire costs, the remaining maintenance items have been more than reasonable. Due to running a JB4, catless downpipes, DCI, and frequent E85 mixtures I do burn through plugs and coils much sooner than a stock N54 engine.
Overall BMW 335i Cost of Ownership
Repair Costs: $4,275
Maintenance Costs: $1820 (excluding tires)
Tire Cost: $2850
Total Costs: $8,945
Annual Cost: $1,731.29
Personally, I am very happy with the cost of repairs and maintenance over my 5 years and 2 months of owning a BMW 335i. My car has been daily driven and constantly beaten around town and driven through all sorts of snowy and icy conditions. The joy the 335i has brought me is worth well more than the total cost of ownership. However, I understand others may think that is an absurd amount of money to spend on maintenance and repairs, especially given I only drove the car 36,500 miles so far.
It is important to keep in mind, reliability really is a case by case basis. I have heard plenty of stories of people who spent significantly more than I have and others who incurred minimal expenses. Additionally, my cost of ownership is inflated slightly due to my driving style, tuned engine, and Colorado driving (snow tires).
What is your experience with reliability and maintenance of the BMW N54?
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