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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • 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:
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    My calculation is done from odo mileage and fuel pumped. The result does not coincide sometimes—but only sometimes—with that of the trip computer when this has not been reset during a whole period between tank refilling. (I use the trip computer mainly to calculate the consume of any of several trips that altogether do complete the mileage between a tank refilling and the next—I can drive up to 600 miles with a tank.) But my tests are done on a 2004/530d , I am not sure if they are useful to you.

    On the other hand, there is someone who knows whether keeping in filling the tank after the automatic stop has worked can mislead the trip computer calculations? I tend to believe so.


  • gabmangabman Posts: 284
    I just picked up a new 2004 545i w/o Sp so I have A/S 17" Continentals on mine. I have been reading on another forum that in the run flat tires, BMW was switching from Dunlops to Bridgestone Potanza SO3.

    In non run flats Michelin Pilot Sports or Pirelli P Zero Nero are highly recommended.

    Do you have a spare tire?
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I have a late year 2004 545i SP with the Dunlop run-flats. I was actually surprised how the E60's (18"-wheels and active roll) ride is compared to the E39 SP with 17"

    Although, when these go for me, I will probably opt for a non-run flat tire.

    Tires opinions are like elbows - everybody has one.

    I was doing some research for the future and here is what I found:

    - the Michelin Pilot Sports are a great performance tires as well as the new Goodyear (forget all the letters) which is supposed to be very impressive. A previous posting had some opinions on the new Goodyear.
    - If you are not a totally aggressive drive, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S has an all season rating and a much higher tread life (400).
    - Yokohama makes a tire that has a decent tread life (280) and is priced very reasonably. It does not compare to some of the high end Dunlop/Michelin/Goodyear..., according to the race experts, but may be a good option for someone who is not pushing the car to it's limits.
  • jasjas Posts: 115

    Thanks for the info. To do my tests, I had given it one slow kick after the automatic stop to make sure it was not kicked out from an air bubble. I have performed the fills from multiple stations, so I think the error factor is minimal.

    It seems like your calculation is good.

    600 miles to a tank is great. I get about 400 - 450.
  • thanks we figured out the turning it the opposite way to get it in. but it doesnt open the door. you can hear it all the way to the latch but it doesnt open the door. we were thinking maybe its something to do with the latch
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Okay BMW experts here is one for you.

    03 525i 13K

    When the car encounters rough or uneven pavement, there is a rattle noise from both front wheels, but mostly heard on the driver's side (you must have the windows open to hear the rattle). This happens even when the brakes are applied. The noise is tinny metal on metal sound.

    Everything is tight and all looks normal.

    Please advise.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Has anyone noticed a substantial increase in road noise with the Dunlop SP 01 DSST tires that come on the 545i after about 9000 miles? There's a lot of discussion about it on the website so I wanted to see if anyone here had similar problems. I noticed it on mine when I just put them back on in place of my winter tires. Apparently BMW has stopped putting them on E60's due to all of the complaints. Pretty ridiculous for tires with only 9000 miles. I may have to do what others have done and try to get my dealer to replace them.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I have 8700 miles on mine right now and so far they are quite. I will let you know.

    Let me know what happens with the dealer.
  • jkingjking Posts: 12
    I guess the runflats negate the need for spares, as mine did not come with one.

    I have also heard good things about the two tire choices you mention.

    Thanks for the reply.
  • jkingjking Posts: 12
    Thanks, I hear good things about the Michelins also.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    BMW listed in their brochure that the 545i with run flat tires did not have a spare. But, it seems the US cars had them. I was pleasantly surprised to find one mounted in my trunk.

    I always feel more comfortable having an actual spare, even if it is a space saver.

    I am sure you could even pick up one from a junk yard as I would assume most of the 5 series would use the same one.
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    I've got approx. 2000 miles on a set of P Zero Nero summer tires on my 2003 530 SP. Live in Atlanta, so all-seasons not a big deal. Traded Dunlop SP Sport 2000's after 20,000 miles. Verdict is quite positive so far for noise and dry/wet handling.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Okay BMW experts here is one for you.

    03 525i 13K

    When the car encounters rough or uneven pavement, there is a rattle noise from both front wheels, but mostly heard on the driver's side (you must have the windows open to hear the rattle). This happens even when the brakes are applied. The noise is tinny metal on metal sound.

    Everything is tight and all looks normal.

    Please advise.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I'd look at the front-lower-half-plastic-inner-fender-liners (that is a mouthful) as the potential culprit. I found that both sides on my 2002 530i had been torn loose, and both would rattle when the car was traversing uneven pavement. I was able to buy replacements at my local BMW dealership for about $17.50 each, and they are fairly easy to install.

    FWIW, the liners that I bought were of an obvious redesign since my car was built, and just as obviously, more substantial.

    Another thing that occurs to me is that your liners may "look" fast and secure, however, the lower-front-middle-screw mates with a clip that attaches to a trailing piece of the bumper skin (if I recall correctly), and I suppose that it would be possible for the clip to lose its attachment to the bumper and still be securely screwed to the fender-liner. That would rattle too, and if that is the case, it is a very simple fix to simply re-attach the clip to the bumper skin.

    Disclaimer: The above is based on the SWAG* method of debugging (I'm a programmer), so it's worth what you paid for it. ;-)

    *SWAG = Sophisticated Wild [non-permissible content removed] Guess

    Best Regards,
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,743
    SWAG... pretty impressive..

    I'm only certified for WAG...


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Same thing...

    WAG in Kentucky is the same as SWAG in the Boston area. The only difference is that with all of the laid-off techi-types around here (many still from the time when the DOT BOOM went DOT BOMB), there has to be a differentiation between the young bucks and us old Grey Beards. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    Rich, I took the opportunity on my way into work to turn off my stereo, close the sunroof cover and listen to my tires wine. 9700 miles now, and it is noticeable.

    It seems like the wine is also more pronounced when decelerating. Do you find this true of yours?

    I drive alot of highway and my tread is very good - should get 25k out of the tires, but I am starting to worry about how much the noise will increase.

    Have you received any response from your dealer.
  • rgrossmanrgrossman Posts: 37
    Sorry for the long delay coming back to everyone on this problem I reported in January. Not sure if anyone else has addressed it since so apologies if this is redundant.

    After going over a month without the battery dying the dead battery problem cropped up again in a more persistant manner in mid-February. It turns out that I had a bad blower motor resistor in my HVAC system. This was causing the intermittent power drain to the battery. Apparently this is a relatively common problem among BMWs. The major problem is, of course, when it is only an intermittent fault it is hard to diagnose. One clue the resistor is bad is that your climate control appears to be functioning on the dashboard but no air is coming out of the vents. Hope this helps someone out in the future.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Thank you for your reply. I checked the liners, everything was fine. It sounds like loose brake pads, but the noise is there even when I apply the brakes.

    Any other ideas?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, loose brake pads...

    There is a heavy duty spring steel clip (that is supposed to be) on each caliper, I wonder if it is missing or loose.

    Best Regards,
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