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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I found the nuisance to be the other way around. Although you can use the seek to change radio stations or the programmable steering buttons to change CD-Radio, I usually do this through the I-drive. Volume of course can be done through the hard controls.


    Although, once I had setup the HVAC, I have never needed the I-drive to change any HVAC functions, the hard controls let me change temp, turn on/off A/C and defrost. And, the HVAC also kicks in the defrost when I need it.
  • Has anyone heard of a retrofit bluetooth kit that actually works with a 2001 525i? BMW has informed me that they do not make the analog phone that goes with the car - despite the phone capability built into it - and that no BMW retrofit bluetooth kit is sold for that model year. I have found only one website marketing the product I seek ( but am unsure of spending so much money for the kit (and install) when I have no idea whether it will work. PLEASE HELP ME!!

  • I just bought a mint condition 2001 525i w 19k miles on it and have no complaints except for the radio, the mid's are a little weak and the low's are non existent, has anyone found a way to improve the sound? I've raised the base level which results in muddy sound and I've tried to fade to the rear which is even worse.
  • I just purchased a 99 528it wagon that is experiencing the same thing. The vibration begins at about 60 mph and is most noticable at 75-80. Your thoughts or solution to this problem would be greatly appreciated.




  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,650
    light is showing on my dash ('00 528iA-53k mi). Indie BMW tech advises trouble codes indicate bad auxiliary air pump and check valve.


    My extended warranty does not cover $432 in replacement costs. What exactly does this air pump do, is it similar to "smog pumps" that were used

    prior to cat converters?


    I'm thinking if it's part of the emission control system BMW might legally be required to provide warranty repairs (up to 100K). Anybody know?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I had the same problem on my '97-it's a common failure mode on the earlier cars. The electric secondary air pump operates at start-up to reduce cold emissions. The check valve fails which allows the exhaust gas to cook the pump. BMW has superseded the check valve and pump with much more robust parts. I can't believe that your dealer is blowing you off. My dealer covered both parts under the CPO warranty without the slightest hesitation. I think it may be time to start voicing your complaints a bit higher up the BMW food chain.
  • car_rmcar_rm Posts: 47
    For those interested, here is the updated list from BMWUSA for compat. phones on the Cingular/ATT network:


    Siemens S66

    Motorola V505


  • ive got a 98 540 that i bought new and its has developed its first problem. when i initially turn the ignition switch to start the car the radio doesnt come on, the interior lights remain lit, and the steering wheel remains in its up and away position. this occurs about 50% of the time. if i return the ingnition the "off position and then turn the ignition to start again everything works fine. sometimes it takes 3 times to get it right. also when driving the radio has turned off, interior light come on and steering wheel goes up and away. when this happen it lasts for about 30 seconds. the car is fully operational when this happens, but its a little scary. my shop (helmut and vito's in westmont il) called somebody at the local bmw dealer who said it could be the ignition switch. has any body else had or heard of this problem. the car has been extremely reliable, but if this is a progressive computer/electrical problem it may be time for a new car.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    As a general statement, this sounds to me like a single point of failure, and the ingnition switch sounds like a good first place to at least test. Personally, I'd replace it and go on my merry way.


    Best Regards,

  • Agreed...having gone through something similar with my ES 300, this is my guess, too. (In fact, when I first brought it in, it's what I told Lexus I thought was wrong; three trips, one battery, and one alternator later, they admitted I was right. Then they cut me a check for $150, and didn't charge me for the labor for the alternator.)
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    So I am stopped at a light, start moving and suddenly the full roar of an unmuffled engine is heard. I had not run over anything, and was simply moving off from a stop. Looked under the machine, nothing hanging; could still feel air movement from the tailpipe, so I knew it was not a complete shear someplace.


    Spent a weekend in BMW's racing program - You would be surprised at how great (depending on your perspective) that V8 sounds when accelerating! I was also surprised at how much vibration is quelled by the whole pipes/muffler combo.


    Took it in on Tuesday, and waited while they did a repair. Tech said it was a separation at the weld... clean, and obvious that there was no impact to the pipe. He also said that he'd never seen this before. They welded it, and all returned to normal.


    They've ordered a replacement, and I'll let you know how that goes. They also said that my pesky "service engine soon" light should finally be cured with the replacement.


    My theory is that the weld was weakened when the rear bracket snapped a few weeks ago (some previous post), and the oscillating weight of the pipe, cat, and cans proved too much. Even though the bracket was replaced, the damage was done.


  • ec530ec530 Posts: 2
    I had a prewired Sirius car as well and it took about one day to do the installation. The dealer said they had a hard time with the software download, but they did it and the radio works great.
  • ec530ec530 Posts: 2
    That is correct. I had an XMSR in another car and the same issue was observed.
  • Hi I am looking at buying a 1990 525i Auto. The owner says that they have an intermittent problem where they get a "Trans Program Error" message. They say they have had thisdiagnosed as a sensor problem. Does anyone know if this is a common fault or have they heard of it before?
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 221
    Can you buy the Sat radio factory installed, if yes then why did you go the dealer route? How much did the dealer charge you for the radio and the install and was it included in your lease?


    BTW how do you like sirius? Is reception good?
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    In 2004/2005 you can order the 5 series wired for satelite radio ($75.00) option, then have the radio installed at a later time - which should be a plug in and s/w download for the i-drive. Many cars on the lot are like this and I ordered mine wired for it as I did not decide if I wanted/needed Satelite radio for the extra $600.


    After you drive the car, especially in my area, you find that the radio reception with the compact antenna sucks, you start thinking about it.


    I have XM on another vehicle and the reception is perfect as would be true for the Sirus system.
  • Hey everyone. I am in the market for a new car. My choices are Nissan Armada, Inifiniti QX56, and BMW 545i. All cars loaded. I am leaning towards the Armada and QX. I got one dealer to get the price of the 2005 QX down to $50997 (LOADED). I test drove the 545i yesterday, and it was beautiful. I did not want to get out of the car. Problem is, the 545i is very expensive to purchase (more than $60,000, not including taxes, tags,...etc). Lease is not an option for me, only purchase. I am not basing the car on gas prices, or family. Just looks, comfort, ride, quality and hapinness. This will be my first, new car. and i want it to be perfect. i have a lumina 1990=hate it, KIA Sportage 1997=hate it, and Nissan Sentra=like it but not mine, family member's. I want to purchase the car in less than a month. But reading all these problems about the Armada and QX is depressing me, and pulling me out of the market for purchasing any car. I didn't see much complaints on the BMW, but it is VERY PRICEY. Help me out my people. what should i do? the Infiniti dealer sold me the car and the price (but i didn't buy it yet), while the Armada dealer sold me the price, but not the car. The BMW dealer said: "we don't have much discounts and rebates to give". I think it is ridiculous, even for a high class car like this. I was going after a Benz, but stopped that desicion as i will need to sell everything to get that. Ok, PLEASE HELP. Are the 2005 Armada and QX56 better than the 2004? and Should i go with these cars now, or wait till the brake problem is fixed in March (if that is the correct month when the solution will come out)? If i end up waiting, and june comes along, than i will wait till January 2006 to buy a car since new year models come out in September.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,724
    Why not look at 530i? The price should be thousands less than a 545i, and the car will still be much faster than either of those gargantuan SUVs that you are looking at..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Or how about an X3 3.0? I simply dont see the allure of a ponderous boat like the Armada, but to each his own...
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Seems like you are comparing apples and oranges. I think you first have to decide if you want a SUV or luxury sport sedan.

    I can't answer about the Armada or QX56, but I can give you my 2-cents worth on a 545i. Although for big SUV's I am partial to the Denali's - no problems and very impressed with the power and options.

    I purchased a 545i-6 speed at the end of the 2004 model year. No rebates and the best discount you can probably get is 4% above invoice. This is my first BMW and have wanted one for a long, long time. The tag line "ultimate driving machine" is absolutely correct. Although you can possibly get better reliability with a Lexus, you will not find a better driving machine. I am thoroughly impressed everyday I get into it to drive - my 40 mile commute is no longer an inconvenience but a pleasure. I have not had to take it into the dealer with any problems in the first 8k miles and I am hoping that continues.

    If cost is a concern, as pointed out, the 530 may be a consideration. The new 530 has boosted the HP to 255 (from 225) and equipping it with the sport package and same options as a 545 will save you about 8k. If the larger wheel size of the 545i is important, these rims/tires can always be purchased from BMW, but will run you around 3k.
  • 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
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