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The BMW 5 Series is the middle of the pack when it comes to the brand’s luxury sedans. Placed between the 3 Series and 7 Series, the 5 Series gives you some luxurious features you would expect from a higher model without breaking the bank. For 2023, the BMW 5 Series is offered in 4 models with 7 configurations. Starting with the 530i at $56,000 and moving up to the M550i xDrive at $81,500. Unfortunately for the manufacturer, the 5 Series models have a slightly poor reputation among consumers. Here are the 3 most common problems with the BMW 5 series reported by hundreds of owners.

BMW 5 Series oil leak

2012 BMW 528i white
2012 BMW 528i | BMW

What may seem like a minor issue can quickly turn into a big one. Valve cover oil leaks are the most common issue on a BMW 5 Series, according to RepairPal. When a persistent oil leak happens, it will start to reduce the oil pressure and capacity in the engine. If left unaddressed, the leak will cause low oil levels and, in turn, premature wear on the internal engine parts. The valve cover leak is most common in the 1997, 1999, 2000, 2009, 2011, and 2012 model years. On average, the repair can cost around $500 for parts and labor. Most cars see this issue after 60,000 miles, so keep an eye out for that mileage.

BMW tension strut bushing failure

2011 BMW 550i twin turbo
2011 BMW 550i Engine | BMW

The front thrust rod bushings or tension strut bushings are known to fail on the BMW 5 Series. These bushings are rubber and filled with oil to help with vibration. Unfortunately, over time, the bushings crack and break apart. Once the bushings fail, it will cause the steering wheel to shudder over bumps and throw off the alignment enough to wear the tires unevenly. The issue is most commonly seen in the same model years as the abovementioned oil leak issue. An average of 125,000 miles is when the bushings tend to fail, with repairs costing around $150.

BMW 5 Series window regulator stuck

2011 BMW 550i blue
2011 BMW 550i | BMW

A broken window regulator can cause the window to be stuck up or down. The regulators are an issue seen across the 5 Series and some 3 Series BMWs from 1997 to 2012. If the window becomes stuck, the car’s security is compromised, and the elements have free reign of the interior. The repair price can range from $150-600, depending on labor costs. While the problem usually occurs above 100,000 miles, some have reported the issue at half that mileage. A telltale sign of a failing regulator is if the window chatters on movement or is incredibly slow moving. 

 Are BMW 5 Series reliable cars?

Overall, the BMW 5 Series is somewhat reliable, but specific models get a bad rating from RepairPal. However, largely in part due to varying engine issues, high maintenance costs, and high labor costs put the 5 Series below average for a luxury sedan. Potential buyers of a used 5 Series should be wary of these issues mentioned as they can mean a large bill not long after purchase.


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