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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    That makes sense. That said, all accounts of VANOS acting up that I've been privy to were a result of worn oil control "O" rings in the VANOS assembly itself. Could it be that incorrect oil usage is responsible for the worn rings? Ain't no way I'd rule that possibility out.

    Based upon my very unscientific observations, there seems to be a very hit and miss nature to this problem. Take two seemingly identical cars, driven in seemingly identical conditions and using the same oil, and you might could well find that one runs perfectly while the other will be barely able to maintain an idle. Go figure.

    Best Regards,
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    I was thinking that if the oil is too heavy on cold start up, it won't work the hydraulics for the cam shift.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If memory serves, the problem isn't that the oil is too heavy, it's that the oil is leaking past the "O" rings, thus reducing the pressure brought to bear against the VANOS spring. That said, you may have something there in that the oil would be far more likely to leak past the "O" rings when warmer/thinner than when cool in a newly cold-started engine.

    The absolute heaviest "cold" oil allowable (i.e. that meets the BMW LL-01 oil spec) is 5W-30. It would be interesting to see if the folks who've had the greatest incidence of problems are those that have used the factory BMW/Castrol 5W-30 engine oil versus those of us who converted our cars over to the thinner Mobil 1 0W-40 and/or Castrol Syntec 0W-30 oils.

    Best Regards,
  • fordhorrorfordhorror Posts: 20
    My friend owns one of these. He has a rebuilt engine on it. The car is fine except it will take 10-20 seconds to strat , he has to keep turning the ksy give it gas for that time till the ignition kicks off. He says the mecahnic said it was a problem with some valves or something not sure what he said. am planning to buy this car from him but not sure if this is a safe buy, the rebuilt engine has 50k now.
    At the same time another guy is trying to sell me a 97 MITS eclipse with 73 k on it, looks runs nice. Whats your opinion?
  • tlouietlouie Posts: 20
    Thanks for info, do you know what maintenance is needed during the 4 yr. Ultimate Service and does it pay to purchase the 2yr. extended maintenance plan?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Ummm, I'm not sure what the "4 yr. Ultimate Service" is, so I cannot comment. Regarding the extended maintenance plan, they seem to be something of a deal if you don't like DIY type of jobs. Personally I wouldn't bother as I do my own brakes and oil and filters and such, however, for someone not so inclined, the general consensus "buy it". ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • tlouietlouie Posts: 20
    The 4 yr. Service I am inquiring about is the 4 year free maintenance included in the purchase of a new BMW. Wanted to know other than once a year oil changes what else is schedules and included. Do you also think the extended warranty is advisable since european cars are horrible with reliability. Don't know if BMW's have improved with 2008 models, it's why I am debating the 528xi over the 535xi since the 535xi is turbocharged. It's new and first year for this engine, don't know if kinks have ironed out yet.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Any scheduled maintenance that falls within the time period is covered, oil, coolant, wiper blade, brakes (pads and rotors), service inspection I, mobility package (tire sealant and pump) on M cars, etc.

    I am not sure I would call European cars' reliability as being horrible. Take it for what its worth, but My 2002 530i was the most reliable car I have ever owned (including the ownership experience by the person who bought it from me). My prior cars were 1981, 1989 and 1994 Accord, 1995 Integra, 1989 325iX wagon in Germany, 1993 Altima, 2004 Sienna, and 2003 M5.

    The 530i had zero repairs and cost the least to maintain. The current owner probably has about 60,000 to 70,000 miles on it. Our 95 Integra and the 04 Sienna had more service visits and warranty repairs by same or less mileage. My 03 M5 probably has had about the same number of service visits for warranty repairs as the Integra and the Sienna this point (53,000 miles) but the M5 repairs certainly would have cost a lot more if it had been out of warranty.
  • sirdarby1sirdarby1 Posts: 33
    Recently I purchased a CPO'd 51K miles and a chronic squeak comes and goes. Sounds like it may be from passenger side seat or window. it's like a plasticky vibration or unseated window sound. although faint it's extremely annoying. How can I direct the dealer without having to make excessive service calls.

    Also, another sporadic problem -- every now and then my steering has a whatI call -- a glitch in it. Seems like it kinda skips a beat when turning every so often. That's the only way to describe.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,020
    Sounds like it may be from passenger side seat or window. it's like a plasticky vibration or unseated window sound. although faint it's extremely annoying.

    It could be the door or window gasket; does it stop when you lower the RF window a bit?
    My wife's E39 had a minor squeak and it turned out to be the door panel itself- rubbing against the metal of the inner door. It was especially audible if you pressed down on the door armrest. I took a piece of 3X5 card and sprayed both sides with Vinylex and then slid it between the door panel and the inner door. A small paint brush would also work. That cured the problem.

    Also, another sporadic problem -- every now and then my steering has a whatI call -- a glitch in it. Seems like it kinda skips a beat when turning every so often. That's the only way to describe.

    Is the PS reservoir filled to the proper level? If that's good, I'd next check the drive belts as well as all associated tensioners and pulleys. If they are good, then it is almost certainly a problem involving the pump or the steering rack itself.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • mhiaamhiaa Posts: 2
    Bought my BMW home. Sat in garage for 3 weeks. Battery went dead. Charged the battery. Vehicle is locked up - back wheels won't budge. Keeps asking for my code. Punch in my code, still nothing happens. Did like manual said; disconnected battery, tried again, hit code button, punch in code, hit sr button; still no luck. It starts up fine, I just can't get the back wheels to move. What am I doing wrong? Suggestions? Nearest dealer at least 50 miles away, and I can't drive anywhere anyhow. I bought it used(it's a 1991)at an auction. Ran fine, drove it home (a good 90 miles), drove it around, and now this. The previous owner, underneath where he wrote the code in his manual, also wrote "Press.hold.enter" Press hold what? Any help would be truly appreciated. I've never owned one before.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,020
    The code function only disables the ignition system. Since the car "starts up fine" the OBC code is not the problem. It sounds like either the parking brake is stuck or one(or both) rear calipers have seized.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    agree with roadburner. This is not a code problem this is a brake or caliper problem.
  • mhiaamhiaa Posts: 2
    Appreciate the input. Will have that checked. Still refuses to accept the code so now the radio and stuff doesn't work. Any input on that, just how to do it correctly, step by step? Maybe I'm not doing it right? What's the chances of both rear caliphers seizing at the same time or is that something normal? Any idea why? Thank you. Melissa
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    No it's not normal but if you leave a car parked with the emergency brake on it's possible it can hang up. Especially an old car. Believe me, there is no anti-theft device that locks your rear wheels.

    I think the "press hold enter" refers to programming the 1-6 buttons for different stations.

    I don't see why you have to go to a BMW to free up the emergency brake...any competent shop should be able to figure that out. If the calipers froze that's a bit tricky. I bet it's not the first time that's happened in that car.

    Was this vehicle stored for a long time?
  • gohorns1gohorns1 Posts: 53
    I am buying a 535i, should be here in a few weeks. I tend to hold on to cars and can see keeping this car for 6 or more years, if all goes well. I am trying to get information regarding the extended warranty. Is it worth purchasing the warranty and if so, is it better to buy it now or wait until the end of the 4-year warranty. Any suggestions are appreciated.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    If you are keeping the car after standard warranty, and you are also driving a lot of miles, I think the extended warranty is a good idea...but if you aren't a high mile driver, I'm not so sure it's worth the expense. I think (just my two cents) that out-of-warranty 5 series BMWs that are pushing 100K are a bit scary. Not in terms of major failures, mind you, but in terms of electrical glitches, suspension issues, cooling system issues, that sort of thing.

    Were it a Honda I'd say you could bear this type of expense out of warranty, but even smaller repairs on an aging BMW can add up fast.

    I guess it depends a lot on the actual inclusions and exclusions and deductibles on the particular warranty program you're getting. You have to read it carefully and then figure out how your warranty would relate say to a new radiator at 80,000 miles, or a complete failure of all your power windows at 90,000. How much would be covered in those instances and what would you pay out of pocket?

    I'd ask some pointed questions about all that to whomever is selling you the product.

    Visiting Host
  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,914
    I'd wait... you have 4yr/50K coverage already... And, if you drive 10K or less per year, then the extended warranty will be really expensive for not that much coverage..

    Of course, if you put 50K on in three years, then it might be worth it, but I'd still wait until I was closer to the end of the original warranty period.

    or.. what he said..

    visiting host

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I bought my 5er new in 2001. This is what I did when deciding about an extended warranty. I waited until the 4 year warranty was almost up (since you can purchase the extended warranty at any time) so that I could see just how reliable my car was. As it turned out, the car was and, at 6 years old, continues to be incredibly reliable. In addition, I considered the advice of the very wise and knowledgeable on this site. As a result, I pocketed the money that I would have spent on a plan and use it for any repairs as needed. Good luck with your decision.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,207

    Good to hear. I would tend to take your approach, and I'm glad it's worked out for you.
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