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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    jas is absolutely right. I bought a 2005 545 Six-speed with everything but the audio upgrade and the goofy electric shade in the rear window. I took European Delivery (saved $5K) and picked up the car in early October.

    I knew I was getting a good car but I didn't realize it would be THIS good! Like jas says, my commute is now a pleasure. And I just took it on its first long trip (360 miles; DC to New England) and what a true pleasure. it was like sitting on your living room couch. The car is so smooth, quiet and responsive that even the parking lot laughingly known as the Jersey Turnpike was a pleasure. I made the best time ever. In fact, had I not had to stop for a little chat with the New Jersey State Police, I would have made even better time.

    I cannot praise the driving quality of this car enough. Nothing I have ever driven even comes close. The car feels solid and is extremely responsive.

    The biggest problem is keeping it at the proper speed. The damn thing is so solid and smooth that the normal sensation of speed is barely detectable (see NJ State Police above).

    Cornering is a joy as is acceleration. And I got 26 MPG. Were I to have had a lighter foot, it no doubt would have been better.

    Also, not a single problem has cropped up. Nothing, zero, zip, nada.

    And, is spite of its rear wheel drive, it is very well behaved in the snow (I did put snow tires on it at the advice of this very friendly forum).

    You want super reliability, great ergonomics and a useable cup holder, get a Lexus. You want a car that gives you an electric thrill every time you turn the key and that even makes driving the Northeast corridor fun, get a 545.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    You hit the nail on the head!

    One problem, actually not really a problem, but it is still bugging me: My MPG calc is not accurate - typically off by 4-5 mpg. Have you every checked yours (miles and gallons filled versus the computer)?

    For my weekly driving it is actually 21 mpg and the computer says 26 mpg. A highway trip is around 24 mpg and the computer says 30 mpg (like you, I have a hard time holding the speed, although I am really not trying very hard and I do take full advantage of the 325HP).

    If you ever have the opportunity, check it manually and let me know.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Have never checked the MPG manually. I average 18 to 19 in normal driving (largely stop and go). First full freeway trip got me 28 MPG but, as I noted above, the 700 mile round trip was 25MPG.

    I'll run a manual check and let you know.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    cassidym - Thanks!
  • "I got 26 MPG. Were I to have had a lighter foot, it no doubt would have been better."

    I doubt it. These cars are engineered to be most efficient at speeds well above 55. The week I had mostly (non-rush hour) Beltway miles, I got my best mileage. Usually I drive backroads, which gets me 22-23 mpg.
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    I have checked my MPG calc vs. that of the computer and sometimes both are coincident, sometimes not (2004 BMW 530d). The gap is not very important but it is true that is annoying.

    After looking at the computer calc. closely, I concluded that the way the computer does round up the numbers differs from the way that the tachometer does. In the computer, everything from - ,5 to + ,5 (either miles or gallons [kilometers and liters, actually]) falls into the intermediate unit. In the tachometer, the interval for the mileage is from 0,0 to 1.

    Someone has other insight—apart from the computer or the tachometer being defective?

  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Thanks for the info. I am not complaining about the gas mileage on this vehicle. For the power I have, coupled with a heavy foot, I think the mileage is exceptional.

    If I were to back my highway speed down, I am sure it would go up.

    My annoyance is that the computer calculates 4-5 mpg higher than what the actual is. The error for the calculation should be around 1 mpg.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Thanks for the feedback. I understand the rounding/truncating of computer calculations (use to engineer/develop on board real time systems for vehicles.

    My annoyance is that I am consistently seeing 4-5 mpg difference in the calculation versus actual, where it should be about 1mpg error.

    My guess is that there is a software error which would most likely be only on 545i's and could even be limited to manual 6-speeds.

    I like this feedback, so I can go back to the dealer or BMW and let them know they have a problem and hopefully get it fixed. BMW's response is that driving conditions will affect MPG - DA!

    Thanks again - it is much appreciated.
  • Hello everyone, I recently had an oil change for my 528 1998 and the service guy did not reset the oil gauge/bar light. I had the oil change done with one green bar left. Now, if the engine truly senses when the car needs an oil change, then why did the light go from green to yellow, and I am sure it will go to red soon, even when I have brand new synthetic oil??? Unless, the engine really does not sense anything at all, and the oil gauge/bars are set chronologically. So after so many months/days, it clocks down to when you need an oil change. So, at this point, is it really necessary to reset the gauge? Does it do anything? I would go back to the garage an reset it, but it is 600 miles away. Anyhow, any incite appreciated.-john
  • Hello again all, my 1998 528 had a significant cosmetic damage to the front by hitting someone several months ago, thankfully, no engine damage. However, after being restored, one month later, there seems to be a low vibration/humming noise coming from my engine, especially around the steering column area. This noise only occurs when the car is idle at a light and does not occur all the time, approx. 70% of the time. The tachometer does not go up any when it makes the noise, but the noise is worrying me and driving me crazy. I am wondering it will get worse. I don't know if it is my imagination, but I think the noise is getting louder. Any idea what this might be? Exhaust problems? Engine problems? Thanks - John
  • Check your odometer against the mileposts along the road. Mine has always been 3% low. My speedometer is also at least 3% fast. That should not be more than 1 MPG, but I tend to believe the computer is right and the gauges you use to calculate your gas mileage are the problem, especially if your car runs right.
  • mikarmikar Posts: 6
    I think that the oil service lights are driven by the amount of fuel consumed. This is BMW's way of avoiding the odometer method of determining oil change intervals which can be misleading depending on the type of driving that the car does (highway vs. city). I read somewhere that the new 5 might have a sensor that checks the quality of the oil but I can't confirm that.

    On your noise issue, can you pinpoint the source when you open the hood? It could be many things including fan blades touching the cowl, a water pump saying good-bye or harmless "idler gear rattle" (if you have a manual tranny). I can't think of anything related to the steering column that could cause a noise at idle.

    If you're not a do-it-yourself-er I'd get your car to a mechanic. If it turns out to be fan or water pump related, things could get nasty if a part decides to let go.
  • My brother owns a 2004 545 with the SMG transmission. I am considering getting one also. However, when the SMG is in full-auto mode, the shifting between the first and second gear is very jerky. After that, it shifts pretty smooth between the gears. It this a common symptom or something unique to his car. Unlike the SMG on the M3, you cannot vary the shifting mode on this SMG.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Needs to be reset.

    The oil life monitoring systems are typically fairly complicated algorithms that take into account driving conditions, temperatures, cold starts... to determine when the oil is reaching the end of it's life. It is not a sensor that detects the quality of the oil.

    Depending on when you get around to resetting it, you may want to take that into account for the next oil change.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Have not checked the speed, but the odo seems to be fairly accurate based on checking the mileage of my commute.

    Trip computer functions are secondary calculations for the ECM and have nothing to do with how well the car runs, unless there is a problem with speed sensors or flow/MAP sensors.

    Since the car runs right, I tend to believe that all of the sensors are working. Further, since there are no problems with the car, I don't want the dealer to start changing sensors for a function that does not affect my driving with the risk of screwing something up - at least at this point.

    My calculation is pretty straight forward and I did it about a 2 dozen times - always with fairly consistent results: Mileage from the trip computer and fuel pumped.

    What I need is some other 545i owners to run the same test.
  • glakerglaker Posts: 49
    While this might not be completely on point, I believe the indicator bars are intended for service needs which are more involved than just an oil change. I had the oil changed in my 03 530 after one year of service (as required) even though only four of the five green bars had disappeared. I thought the dealer would reset the lights also, but they said no. About 4K later the yellow service warning bar came on and the car needed to go back for the "Maintenance 1" service where they again changed the oil. This time thet re-set the light bar. I inquired about it on this board and all the people whom I have come to highly respect for their knowledge of all things BMW agreed with the dealer! Could that be why the dealer didn't re-set your light?
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Good point. From the initial posting, I had the assumption, which may be wrong, that the service was performed by an independent mechanic that did not have the capability of resetting the indicator (which a friend of mine had in the past). Also, since it was stated as an oil life gauge/bar, I did not realize that this may incorporate more than just oil life as is the case with the later models.

    My response was to address the fact that the oil life determination is not a sensor and is much more than just miles driven, fuel used or time.

    So, I guess the question remains as to what is involved with the service indicator in '98 (oil life, break system flush...) and was all the service performed that you feel is needed? Then either reset the light or have the service performed.

    Don't have a '98, so I'll shut up now and let someone that does answer the question.
  • the handle broke so i got a new one to replace it with. today we put it on but it still doesnt open the door from the inside. we pulled on the cable and it opened the latch but when we closed up the inside panel it didnt work. yoiu could hear it but it didnt open. has anyone encountered this problem before? wondering if there is a motor there for it. any help would be greatly appreciated
  • jkingjking Posts: 12
    I have a 2004 545 with SP and the run-flats.
    Although they are acceptably comfortable, I have found out after buying the car that these tires
    are much more uncomfortable due to the thick sidewalls.

    They apparently wear out much faster, and generate a lot of noise once they get between 10k to 20k miles.

    Does anyone have any experience with these tires, and are there any alternatives without going to runflats ?

    Since I am not an aggressive driver, are there any all-season or touring tires that are more comfortable ?

    Feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    There is a subtle trick to refitting the interior door handles. This page should help you get it working correctly:
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