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Don’t Forget About BMW Maintenance: Common BMW Issues

BMW maintenance

A much-debated topic in the engineering community is the concept of percentage over engineering. This is basically the amount engineers add to their specifications to compensate for irregularities in manufacture or brief periods of operation outside their calculated limits. This can be done for robustness, safety or both. In terms of bimmers, BMW maintenance is important in identifying these irregularities.

Computer aided design and mathematical simulation have greatly led to the reduction of over-engineering in modern products and in today’s minimalist, less is more, environmentalist culture, it is regarded as wasteful. In the relentless pursuit of ever shrinking margins that give manufacturers the edge in the performance arena; over engineering is regarded as more of a problem than a solution. Ferdinand Porsche famously said that the perfect performance machine is one that crosses the finish line first, then falls to pieces.

So, what does this have to do with BMW maintenance? In a nutshell, everything. A BMW is a masterpiece of precision engineering and very much contemporary when it comes to engineering trends. Everything has been precisely calculated and simulated. BMW has a very well thought out service plan for a reason – exceeding the intervals that are specified is flirting with catastrophic failure; with no over-engineering safety net to catch you. That said, even if you are absolutely religious about maintaining your BMW, there are still a few common Achilles heels to the Bavarian beauty.

1. Cooling System Issues

BMWs have a notoriously fussy cooling system. If the coolant is replaced, it has to be carefully bled to ensure that all the air is out of the block. On some models, BMW have used an electrical water pump instead of the classic belt driven one that seems to be good enough for most other manufacturers. These can fail prematurely along with the thermostat (around 60,000 miles). Commonly this will manifest as overheating. If you have to replace the water pump, we recommend that you consider also replacing the thermostat.

At Foreign Affairs Motorwerks, we check the water pump and thermostat during normal BMW maintenance.

When The Heat’s Not Hot…

BMWs also have weak heater cores, which can suddenly start leaking. If you notice that the interior of the car smells sweet while the heat is on, it is likely that you have a leaking heater. This is a very labor-intensive job to repair since the entire dashboard has to be stripped to access the recessed cabin heater. BMW maintenance is strongly recommended as soon as possible in this scenario.

2. Electrical Gremlins

BMWs can have many electrical problems, but the single biggest one is their battery terminal sensor or BTS. This will disconnect the battery in the event of an accident.

Unfortunately, the system isn’t fool proof, minor knocks like bumping the curb could make the computer decide to randomly disconnect the battery. This is often signaled by the airbag light coming on. Weird, right? So, if the battery and starter motor aren’t dead but your BMW won’t start, have your shop reset the BTS system.

Another famous issue with many modern cars is coil failure. BMWs have individual coils per cylinder; if one of these fails, your bimmer will sound rough, ride jerkily and accelerate with difficulty. Fortunately, this is easy to diagnose. Simply disconnect each coil pack one at a time and listen for a change in engine note. If none is heard, you’ve found the faulty coil. Replacing it is simple with a few hand tools, but the part can be quite expensive.

On older BMWs, the instrument cluster can begin to fail. Tell-tale signs are flashing mileage readout or part of the display not being visible. There are specialist companies that just recondition your display cluster, so why not pop into Foreign Affairs Motorwerks for some advice?

3. VANOS Rattle and/or Lifter Tick

BMWs are known for developing a nervous tick as they grow older. If this is the VANOS (variable valve timing) system, it sounds like marbles rattling around in a can as you rev the engine up but becomes silent on idle. On the other hand, lifter noise is usually quiet when the engine is cold but settles down to a constant rhythm which varies on engine speed once the vehicle is warm. In both of these cases, we recommend that you let a reputable shop diagnose and fix the problem, as specialist tools and BMW maintenance knowledge will save your pocket later on.

BMW Maintenance In Pompano Beach

Hopefully by now you have a better idea of what can go wrong with your BMW and how to fix it. Unfortunately, not all problems are cut and dry, so if you are struggling with a strange problem, our ASE certified team is here to help. At Foreign Affairs Motorwerks, we have over 40 years of experience working with BMW and many other luxury car brands. Call us today at 954-746-0488 to learn more!

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