The Good and Bad of the BMW Warranty
BMW WARRANTY BASICS
- An included maintenance protection plan that can actually reduce the costs of regular servicing.
- No powertrain coverage.
- Limited BMW roadside assistance.
The BMW factory warranty can be a bit confusing on the surface. It’s a standard warranty that matches the terms and lengths of most other major car manufacturers, but BMW has structured it in a way that is different than the rest of the competition. So, to understand what you may get from a new BMW vehicle in terms of coverage, here are the important details you should know about the factory warranty.
What IS Included
At first glance, it may seem like BMW has a unique factory warranty that stands out from the pack, but the coverage itself is actually pretty standard compared to what the competition offers.
BMW has what is generally regarded as a comprehensive warranty, the same as a standard bumper-to-bumper warranty most other automakers provide alongside the powertrain coverage. Known as the “New Vehicle Limited Warranty,” this coverage provides a basic level of expense protection on all of the major components on a vehicle.
Lasting four years or 50,000 miles, the comprehensive warranty will address major factory defects on primary BMW parts like the engine, transmission, drivetrain, and cooling systems, along with minor components like navigation systems and the climate control (air conditioning). Once the warranty expires, coverage will cease for all of these components.
Unlike some automakers that just offer a brief maintenance or adjustment period, BMW offers a complete three-year and 36,000-mile maintenance period that can save you money on regular services and replacement parts to keep the vehicle running. The company also has a standard one-year adjustment period at any BMW dealership for fine-tuning a vehicle with basic alignments and wheel balancing.
Beyond the main comprehensive coverage, BMW has a few extra warranties thrown into the mix for extra peace of mind. Most of these warranties have to do with the various emission standards all vehicles must meet. The company has a couple of emission warranties that cover parts related to the exhaust system for this purpose.
While major restoration coverage is limited in the factory warranty, BMW includes a 12-year and unlimited-mile corrosion warranty for major issues that result in rust eating through the frame, body panels, or other areas of the vehicle. This warranty doesn’t, however, really address issues related to surface rust.
What’s NOT Included
BMW doesn’t leave much off of the table, but the limitations of its factory warranty are notable, especially if you are looking for longer warranty coverage than what most automakers provide.
BMW doesn’t have a traditional powertrain warranty that lasts longer than the typical bumper-to-bumper coverage. Since the comprehensive warranty is just that, comprehensive, this isn’t much of an issue in terms of overall coverage. Most, if not all, of the main components covered by a powertrain warranty are covered by the comprehensive warranty as well.
This does mean, however, that this equivalent coverage will expire when the comprehensive warranty runs out of time or mileage.
Many people, regardless of the vehicle they buy, are often surprised to learn that their factory warranty won’t kick in after an accident. This is true of the BMW coverage as well. Unless the damage or issue is related to a factory defect, the warranty won’t save you any money.
This usually means that another type of coverage is required. Some third-party warranties offer limited incidental coverage, but most drivers are protected from accidental damage with the right auto insurance.
We like the simplicity that BMW’s warranty setup offers new customers and drivers. Instead of learning the differences between standard bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties, the company makes it easy by combining everything into one. That means one comprehensive parts list, one term length, one set of coverage terms, etc.
BMW is also one of the few automakers that offer any kind of maintenance assistance. While it has scaled back this service in recent years, the three-year length is still long enough to save a decent amount of money on routine work that a vehicle needs on an ongoing basis. This is one perk you won’t find with most of the competition.
While we like the simple setup with a single comprehensive warranty, BMW’s setup does have a major limitation: Your powertrain coverage is shorter. More specifically, the parts covered by a typical powertrain warranty won’t be covered as long as under a typical powertrain warranty.
Most standard powertrain coverages last at least two years and 24,000 miles longer than the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Since BMW has effectively merged the two, you won’t get that extra year or so of coverage, meaning you will need to look for additional or replacement coverage from the factory or a third-party provider sooner than average.
If you want a simple factory warranty or really want to drive a BMW, it’s hard to go wrong with the factory coverage the company provides. Yes, it’s slightly limited in terms of powertrain coverage and accidental damage, but there are only a few automakers that throw in the maintenance perks BMW offers. So, if you want to drive a BMW (and can afford it), the factory warranty will be a good included addition.
Q. What kinds of items are not covered by the factory warranty?
In general, parts known as “wear items” aren’t covered. These are components that are expected or designed to wear out over time through heavy use.
Q. What is perforation?
Perforation generally occurs when rust eats through metal. Compared to surface rust, perforation or corrosion damage can threaten the safe use of a vehicle and the safety of any BMW owner.
Q. Should I get a BMW extended warranty in addition to the factory coverage?
Not necessarily. A service contract straight from BMW tends to offer the same coverage, just for a longer period of time. Some third-party providers may have different warranties that enhance or complement the factory coverage, however. You may need it if you buy a used vehicle without the BMW certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty.