Scheduled Maintenance- BMW

While I understand car dealers make a great deal of money on providing car maintenance services; is there a definitive list of when scheduled preventive maintenance items for various makes of vehicles are truly needed?

I purchased a 2015 BMW 328i last year that now has 43000 miles on it. I love the car; have never had a problem with it and want to keep it in top-running condition. The dealer is telling me that the spark plugs and all drive train fluids are due to be replaced at 45,000 miles at a cost of $450 and $750 respectively.

I am certainly not a professional car mechanic but this seems like these scheduled maintenance items are being scheduled a bit prematurely, not to mention what I feel are exorbitant prices. With the sophistication of today’s vehicles does this seem like overkill? Shouldn’t spark plugs last about 60k and is it really necessary to change the drive train fluids (transfer case and front & rear differentials) before 100k?

What does your manual say?

The seldom read book called the owners manual has a service schedule in it . You bought a high maintenance vehicle and yes it is time for new coolant , new brake fluid and apparently this is all wheel drive so the fluid for that is less expensive than those parts.

Did the OP’s vehicle not come with an Owner’s Manual and BMW Maintenance Schedule?
All of his questions could be answered by simply opening the relevant booklet and reading it.

If he wasn’t provided with these publications, it is probably possible to download them.

Why read an owners manual when you can take more time by logging on a forum ?

Welcome to the high cost of owning a German car! I’d suggest doing maintenance at the intervals recommended in excess of what your owners manual says or you may find out just HOW expensive these cars can be if you neglect service.


got it. thanks

As the current owner of 4 BMWs ranging from 50k to 330k miles, I don’t suggest to any of my friends that they own out-of-warranty BMWs. If someone chooses to do so, they should plan on doing a lot of their own maintenance, or accept the high cost of maintenance as the price of admission.

Some of the things you mention can be done at home with only basic tools. The internet has plenty of instructions and videos on how to do basic maintenance procedures. Your spark plugs cost $10 each and you have only four of them. I have never done a BMW front differential, but I doubt it is too tough. The toughest part will be getting the car high enough to access the differentials and level without damaging something underneath. The brake fluid should probably not be done at home by a novice because you can do a lot of damage if you mess that up. The automatic transmission fluid will be due in 2-3 more years but that is another job you may want to leave to a well-equipped pro. I suggest finding an independent shop that specializes in German cars. It will be a bit cheaper than the dealership.

Thanks for the reply. Since I posted my question I have been getting somewhat shamed into simply reading the manual which I just did. It recommends sparks plugs at 60k and says transfer case and differentials are filled with long term fluid and should not need serviced until at least 100k.

yep. I should have done the obvious first. thanks

Change them more frequently than BMW recommends. I’d say 60k miles. This advice is coming from a long time BMW Car Clubs of America member that reads the mechanics column in their national magazine, the Roundell.

When the water pump breaks, replace it with a racing version. The standard one is plastic and will break every few years. The racing unit is metal and should never break.

Are you saying that BMW still uses water pumps that only last a few years? Has this been a continuous problem for the last 20 years?

According to a friend, yes. He has had a series of 5-series Bimmers and says that is one of the improvements he makes after a few years. He treats it as planned obsolescence and replaces it before it breaks. I think he went 4 or 5 years. I haven’t talked to him in about 3 years though, but that is still fairly recent.