7 Most Common Faults With BMWs

BMW is one of the most instantly recognisable automotive brands in the world. Founded in 1916, it has been a world leader in high-end domestic cars and motorcycles for over 100 years and sees more than 2 million vehicles roll off its assembly line each year. BMW is a well-respected brand known for the high performance of its luxury cars, and its vehicles are hugely popular here in the UK and across the world.

Of course, even the best cars can develop faults over time. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the seven most common problems you might experience as the owner of a BMW.

Are BMWs reliable cars?

On the whole, you can expect great performance and service from your BMW, so long as you keep it well maintained. While this article is going to describe seven common faults, most of them occur with many other makes of cars as well, often more frequently than with a BMW. These are some of the things you should look out for:

1. Oil leaks

Perhaps the most common problem encountered with BMWs is that they develop an oil leak. For a time, they were notorious for this phenomenon, so much so that resolving the issue became a key concern for the company. As a result, most newer models are leak-free, but you still might experience the problem with older vehicles. It typically happens because of a brittle valve cover gasket or a leaky oil filter gasket, both of which are easy to fix. Since oil leaks can cause additional wear and tear on engine parts, it’s important that you get the problem fixed as soon as you notice it.

2. Cooling system failure

While cooling system faults are a common occurrence with BMWs, the irony is that this happens because the system is incredibly efficient. It incorporates a dozen constituent parts to pump coolants and water around the engine to prevent overheating, but it only takes one of these parts to become damaged for the entire system to fail. If you have your BMW regularly serviced, it is often possible to identify any parts that might be about to break down. This allows you to replace them ahead of time, saving you a major problem later down the road.

3. Battery rundown

BMW batteries have a respectable shelf life of 4-6 years under normal circumstances, but some drivers have reported that their batteries are discharging overnight, requiring them to be recharged. This is normally not a fault of the battery itself, but a failure to shut down the vehicle properly. If the door has been left open or the lights switched on over the night, it’s not surprising to find the battery drained by the morning. A common cause of this phenomenon is leaving your smart key too close to the vehicle (say, on a hook in the garage). Such close proximity might cause the car’s various systems to remain engaged overnight, resulting in unwanted battery drain.

4. Automatic headlights failing

Automatic headlights are a great addition for many BMW users, adapting to changing light levels and weather conditions without the driver having to do so manually. Some BMW users have reported that, while their automatic headlights engage quickly, they don’t revert to their normal state when the weather or light changes. This, of course, can drain your battery or inconvenience other road users. As with any electronic issue, your best bet to resolve the matter is to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic that specialises in BMWs.

5. Malfunctioning fuel pumps

Malfunctioning fuel pumps are a common concern with BMWs, so much so that over 136,00 vehicles were recalled by the company in 2016 for this very issue. While it can be difficult to diagnose with the proper hands-on experience, common symptoms of a malfunctioning fuel pump include the engine refusing to turn or starting to sputter when achieving high speeds. Poor acceleration can be another useful indicator. Should you encounter any of these issues, you should have your BMW inspected immediately by a trained professional.

6. Faulty electronic systems

In 2018, 300,000 BMWs in the UK were recalled due to a fault with their electronic system. While this doesn’t necessarily affect the makes and models that have gone before or since, it was a significant number to remove from service. Unfortunately, the company did not reveal the cause of this mass system failure, leaving its customers and dealers only able to speculate. If any of your in-car electronics are playing up, it could be something serious. Be sure to contact your local BMW specialists for professional, independent advice and repair work.

7. Timing chain failure

The timing chain is an essential part of any BMW, located between the engine and the car’s transmission system. Its role is to make sure that the rotation of the camshaft and the crankshaft are operating in sync with one another. Since this component is in constant use every time the car is running, it’s not uncommon for it to simply wear down over time before eventually snapping and bringing your BMW to a standstill. Often, you won’t know there’s a problem until the worst happens and you see the “check engine” light displayed on your dashboard. It takes time and effort to repair your timing chain, but you can reduce the risk by bringing your BMW in for regular servicing. This lets you spot the problem before it becomes something more major.

Common BMW Faults: Final Thoughts

Here at TCM Automotive, we are BMW experts. Our hand-picked team of mechanics and technicians has decades of combined experience working on most models in the BMW catalogue. We offer regular servicing for our customers across the county, where all key components of your BMW will be inspected for signs of damage or deterioration and repaired or replaced as needed.

For first-class service on all BMW makes and models, get in touch with TCM Automotive today. Call us on 07581 033 606 to see what we can do for you.