The cost of owning my BMW 328i – OC

by doinkypoink

BMW HUD Dashboard


  1. The data wasn’t beautifully presented
  2. I missed out on a couple of key expense categories – Fuel and Tolls
  3. I didn’t incorporate Depreciation


So, I wanted to provide an update on the cost of owning my BMW 328i. Here is the background on the car & the data collection methods:


  1. I purchased a 2007 328i on 08/13/2010 for $21000 with a downpayment of $5000 at 42000 miles
  2. The fuel, loan, insurance data has been aggregated using Mint and expenses like registration, repair have been tracked using excel
  3. I have owned the car for 8 years now and it has 128000 miles. The data has been updated to 6/1/2018
  4. I did not get extended warranty on the vehicle.


Here is a brief introduction into the various categories:

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  • Loan – Money paid towards owning the car. I made a bulk payment early 2015 for $1500
  • Gas Trips – The money spent at gas stations. This includes gas expenses, air freshners, filling air. Now, these expenses are hard to track and I used mint to pull the information. The money spent at gas station might have been spent on chips and gum as well, and there is no way for me to know now. And so while the gas trip number may not be exact, but it is pretty close. I always use Premium-93 grade.
  • Repair – All the money spent at a mechanic. Sigh. Includes brakes, water pump, window regulator fixing. Any money given to a mechanic/repair shop
  • Insurance – Money spent towards insuring the car
  • Registration – All the costs related to renewing car registration.
  • Accident – I had a fender bender in 2013. I paid my deductible of $500 and since then I’ve had no accidents (thank god!)
  • Tolls – Money spent on EZ Pass, Express Tolls
  • Ticket – I had one ticket more than 5 years ago and one parking & one towing ticket.
  • Parts – These are all the parts that I have purchased for the car (Air filters, wipers). Any trips to Autozone, Advanced Auto Parts is in this category
  • Emission – Costs towards getting the car certified to drive
  • Coverage – Yes this is $0 amount. This is all the expenses that I was covered for. This includes – multiple tire rotations, windshield cracks, car getting towed. Everytime that I have received a bill, but my insurance has covered it. It is important to note that I would have had to pay for it if I was not insured. For example a windshield repair bill would have an amount of $125 but then a subtraction of $125 as well.
  • Depreciation – This is hard to track. Online calculators say that it is 15% every year. I decided to leave this bit out because I didn’t have recorded data for it.


Information on the visualization. I wanted to create a way to have my car information available easily and updated quickly. I have been using Tableau lately and thought it’s pretty cool to show interactive data.


  • Data has been plotted using Tableau and presented in a Dashboard format.
  • Tool tips help dive into visualizations more and present accurate $ amount for the expenses.
  • All dashboard items are automatically recalculated when I update the data


Dashboard Information

  1. Expense Time Line – Monthly total expense tracker
  2. Info Section – Tells various KPI for the car and information on the car expenses
  3. Annual Breakdown – How much did I spend this year on the car and the mileage at the end of the year. Unfortunately, I did not record mileage on 12/31, so it might be Oct/Nov/Dec (last recorded mileage that year)
  4. Expense breakdown pareto chart
  5. How is the current year coming along?


Lessons for people who want to buy a BMW 328i


  1. Become mechanically inclined and ready to work on your car or keep an emergency fund of at least $1000
  2. The first few years are the most expensive in the life of the car. I was shelling out close to $8000 annually on the car. This included monthly payments, fuel, repairs (everything!)
  3. I said this before – but be ready for expensive repairs of ~$1000 every 8-10 months. My last expense was a starter replacement for ~$1000. So keep an emergency fund for this car!
  4. I love driving my car. It is such a pleasure driving a BMW. I hate driving a cheap car every time I get a rental. The car was such a treat to drive in the mountains of CO and Blue Ridge mountains in WV/VA/NC.
  5. The car is cheap to own now (barring a random spike).
  6. I am glad I don’t have monthly payments now – but looking back, buying a BMW was a great decision because I was 24 and I could afford it. Now, after marriage – I don’t see myself buying a German car. I want peace of mind and that’s something that a German car does not give you. When I look at my wife’s Camry and her maintenance costs, I wonder — is it worth it?
  7. I need to decide 0 When is the right time to sell the car? Not having monthly payments is awesome. There is something great about being debt free.
  8. I could never lease a BMW 328i and deal with paying a ton of money every year. The most expensive years were my first 3 years. New cars cost more in registration, insurance. And you are never loan-free.


I hope this helped folks planning to buy the BMW 328i. This kind of information is not available and while every car varies – it is good to see the complete picture. I’ll try to address as many comments as I can.



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