Owning a BMW is an honor. Whether you own a 3-Series or an X7, we know you are proud of your Bimmer. BMWs are some of the most reliable and luxurious vehicles on the market. Yet, like all engines, even BMWs need occasional maintenance and repair to keep them running smoothly. Over time, minor issues can arise that could result in significant issues if neglected.
There are several common BMW engine problems that you should be aware of. Becoming familiar with these common issues will help you spot them before they become serious. Timely attention combined with preventative maintenance will keep your car in top shape.
If you want to make sure your vehicle continues to run well regardless of how many miles it has on it, check out this list of seven common BMW engine problems.
1. Brittle Valve Cover Gasket
BMWs are notorious for their oil leaks. If you notice brown spots under your vehicle, you are likely dealing with an oil leak. No matter what kind of car you have, if you are dealing with an oil leak, you need to fix it before it becomes a more severe issue.
In BMWs, valve cover gaskets are the most common culprit of oil leaks. An oil leak is often caused by a crack in the gasket. Valve cover gaskets are made with plastic or cork. Although they are well protected due to their location, they are still delicate and prone to damage.
Cracks usually happen because the gasket has become brittle. This occurs due to aging and normal wear and tear. When cracks develop, oil leaks through them, quickly depleting your BMWs supply. While a leaking gasket has no immediate danger, the loss of lubrication will cause damage to your engine over time.
Also, you should be aware of where those oil drips are going. If oil leaks onto heated parts of the engine or into the area of the belts and pulleys, it can cause premature failure.
2. Leaky Oil Filter Gasket
Another source of the infamous BMW oil leak is the oil filter gasket. This gasket is made from rubber. It is in a location near engine parts that need lubrication. The excess oil and grease from these parts can build up in surrounding areas.
Over time, dirt and debris can get stuck in the crevices of the gaskets, halting their function. If the oil filter gasket fails, it can lead to severe engine damage or even failure.
At best, the decreased lubrication in the motor leads to increased wear and tear. At worst, the trail of oil can coat your belts and pulley, causing significant issues such as slipped timing covers and shredded belts.
If you catch the damage early enough, a leaky BMW oil filter gasket is an easy fix. Left too late, it becomes a much bigger problem.
3. Faulty Cooling System
The cooling system is one of the most critical parts of any car. It circulates water and coolant throughout the engine to keep it running at an optimal temperature. This prevents it from overheating.
Unfortunately, the cooling systems in BMWs have a tendency to fail. This is not due to poor design but rather from wear and tear to specific elements in the system. The cooling system contains many parts, including crucial pieces like water pumps and thermostats. All these components must work together to keep your engine at the normal operating temperature.
However, if even one component of the system fails, it can cause an issue with your car’s performance. Frequent overheating, steam under the hood, and low coolant levels are signs of a cooling system problem.
You can prevent these issues by servicing your BMW regularly. Performing routine maintenance keeps your system in prime condition and helps you avoid costly repairs.
4. Water Pump Issues
One of the parts within the cooling system that is most likely to cause problems is the water pump. BMWs are notorious for water pump failure.
In fact, there was even a recall of specific models several years ago due to faulty water pumps. These particular engines were prone to overheating due to a design flaw in the pump.
Even if your model was not recalled, you should still be aware of potential issues with your BMWs water pump. BMW water pumps are quite different from the traditional belt-driven mechanical water pump. They are electric pumps that are made out of plastic.
Over time, the plastic will begin to crack and deteriorate. When this happens, the water pump will leak. Your vehicle relies on this pump for a steady supply of coolant. A disruption in the system can lead to overheating and eventual engine failure.
5. Thermostat Failure
The thermostat is another potential cause of issues in a BMWs cooling system. Sometimes a thermostat failure is confused with a water pump failure or vice versa. This is because these parts work together simultaneously to control the engine temperature.
Vehicle thermostats operate in either a closed or open position. The thermostat starts out closed, helping the vehicle reach optimal running temperature faster.
As the engine reaches average temperatures, it gradually opens. This opening allows the cooling system to work to keep the engine cool. Some BMWs have faulty thermostats that fail in the closed position.
When this happens, the cooling system does not activate. As a result, the vehicle will overheat quickly. This rapid heating can cause a cracked radiator and severe engine damage.
6. Fuel Pump Malfunction
BMWs are well known for their fuel pumps issues. All engines, including BMW engines, have two fuel pumps. These pumps work together to move the gas from the tank into the motor.
The low-pressure pump pulls the gas out of the tank, and the high-pressure pump forces it into a combustion chamber. The engine needs this high pressure to run efficiently. Unfortunately, many BMW owners have reported problems with the high-pressure pump.
Because elevated pressure levels are present when injecting fuel into the pump, the risk of leaks is much higher. Using inadequate oil or not changing your oil frequently enough can contribute to the issue. When the high-pressure pump doesn’t inject fuel properly, it can result in several issues. You may notice changes such as poor acceleration or engine stuttering.
If your BMWs pricey high-pressure fuel pump needs replacement, you’re looking at costly repairs if not under warranty. Proper attention to oil quality can reduce this risk.
7. Timing Chain Failure
BMW timing chains are known for breaking down prematurely.
This crucial component of your BMWs engine suffers from plenty of wear and tear due to regular use. Over time, the chain stretches and becomes loose. If the chain or other parts of the timing system are not adequately cared for, the chain can wear down faster. When this happens, you’ll notice issues such as rough idling, unusual noises, or a lit check engine light.
Ignoring these symptoms is not wise. If not addressed right away, the timing chain can come off completely. This will result in engine failure.
A broken timing chain is a costly repair, not only due to the parts but also the labor. The timing chain sits between the rear end of the engine and the transmission. This means technicians have to remove major engine components to service your car.
You can avoid this expensive service repair by watching for symptoms of timing chain failure. Bring your BMW in for service right away if you notice any of these issues.
Let Rick and Ray’s Fix Your BMW Engine Problems
You invested in a BMW because you know it will last. Like you, we love BMWs for their high performance, luxury style, and dependable qualities.
But, even the best cars can break down eventually. If you want to protect your investment, you need to know the most common BMW engine problems. Many of the engine problems experienced by BMW owners are preventable if you look for the signs. Regular maintenance, combined with service at the first sign of a problem, will save you from a costly repair bill.
We’ve provided you with a few tips to make sure your BMW stays in prime condition. If you need any additional advice or service of your engine, please contact us today. Our team of experts is ready to help you keep your BMW running smoothly for years to come.
Also, be sure to check out our blog for more information on how to keep your vehicle in excellent service.