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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The vast majority of 2002 and 2003 530i SP models have the automatic wipers. Why? Because as a prerequisite to ordering the SP, the car had to have a leather interior. There were two ways to get the leather, à la carte or via the Premium Package (which included leather, sun roof, rain-sensing wipers, universal garage door opener and a few other convenience items). Said another way, you probably have the rain sensing wipers.

    The above having been said, rain sensing wipers DO NOT come on automatically when it rains. Why? Well, think about the following scenario:

    You're driving along on the first sunny day in quite some time and your car is seriously in need of a bath. You spy a car wash along your route and in you go. Said car wash is one of those where you stay in the car with the engine running as you pass through. The instant the water starts spraying on your windshield and the brushes start washing, your wipers kick on, get snagged in the brushes and then get ripped off of your car. Unfortunately the wiper arm is still attached to the brush and it continues to rotate and move its way down the length of your car, denting and scaring it as it goes. Not a good thing.

    The way the rain-sensing wiper system works is that each time the car is started, the wipers are inactive (even if they've been left in intermittent mode), and as such, require you to "tickle" them to get them started. Once so tickled, they will continue to wipe as necessary for the duration of that trip.

    Regarding the operation of the HVAC system, your best bet would be to sign up for BMW's "Owner's Circle" on the BMW-USA web site. Once there you can download a manual for your car.

    Best Regards,
  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    I greatly appreciate the prompt and helpful response. I will look into downloading the manual.

    Many thanks,

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Any time. ;-)
  • Please let me know how it works out for you. I have not heard from my dealer yet regarding delivery of the part & my request for a loaner until then. I called them today and left message and will call more persistently tomorrow. We are a one car family, so this is a real problem for us. I took a chance when I bought from an out of state dealer, but I did not think I would need service so fast. I am reluctant to use the local dealer b/c I am not sure they would treat me well since I did no buy from them (they were not competitive and gave me the impression that BMWs go at asking price; thus, I went somewhere else and got a great deal financially, but now I am paying for that).

    By the way - when was your car produced? Mine has an April '06 production date.
  • yurygyuryg Posts: 15
    My car was produced in Oct'06.

    If you have a problem with your car, your local dealer should be more than happy to fix it - dealers get paid by the manufacturer. You may have to wait longer for the loaner though.
  • Well, the part came in (after one week) and the car is fixed. It appears to be handling fine. The only problem is that I had a sporty little 330xi loaner which was terrific, so I am having to get used to driving a wagon again.
  • tmotmo Posts: 2
    I bought my 07 530i at end of May 06. My car was towed in two weeks ago for "steering angle sensor & tire pressure monitor" issues. I don't know when it is going to be repaired. I have been a loyal customer of this local dealership and love their service until now. Since I did not buy the car there, they did not offer me a loaner (it's their policy!). I don't think that should affect my priority. Or maybe it did and I should have it towed to the dealership that I bought my car from.

    The rep don't even call to provide me with the status and I have to call & left messages (only 3x so far and still haven't heard back from him). I am a reasonable customer, and I understand parts back ordering related issues, etc... but this is ridiculous that they don't call you back - where is the basic customer service?????

    I am frustrated and need advice on effective actions.
  • Go in. Do it face to face.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I'd try the face to face advice first. If that doesn't help,
    your dealership should have a "customer service manager" who can help. At my dealership, this person has a desk in the same building as the service advisors.
  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    I've had my CPO'ed 530 manual SP PP for a little over a month now and this morning it was very sunny. I put the drivers side visor down and the visor lights were illuminated. I didn't want to put make-up on I wanted to block the sun. Where do you turn these things off and on? I read the manual cover to cover when I purchased this vehicle and don't recall this being mentioned.

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Slide the mirror cover into the closed position.
  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    Da, do I feel studid. I tried it and it certainly worked. Thanks so much for the prompt and helpful response.

  • I am sorry about your experience. It is bad enough to have this problem with a new car and this makes it worse. The dealer I purchased from does not give loaners to those who buy elsewhere. I suspect this is the same with the dealer 5 minutes from my house, so I took it to my dealer (45 minute drive). Still, the dealers make money on warranty matters and you have a right to know your status. Maybe you could take the car elsewhere if it is safe enough to drive. Otherwise, try the advice on going to the customer service rep. Supposedly, you will get a "report card" to fill in on your experience. Tell the cust. service rep what you are going to tell BMW headquarters. Most dealers seem to make a big deal about getting perfect marks.
    In any case, it should not affect when your part comes in. My understanding is that it done by VIN, so the part should be fairly specific to your car. Maybe some VINs take longer to get?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    No problem!
  • tmotmo Posts: 2
    Thanks all for the face-to-face recommendation. I went directly to the CSM and got it resolved quickly. I will have my car done by tomorrow.
  • khc8869khc8869 Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 530iA with sp that came with factory 17" wheels and I'm thinking about replacing them with the style 37 wheels. I know they'll fit fine without any problems but my question is whether it's going to affect the driving, such as handling and so on, after the installation since I'm sure the 540s sp with the M parallels have different suspensions than the 530s. Has anyone who replaced his or her 530 sport with the M parallel wheels experienced any differences in driving after the exchange. Any inputs will be appreciated.
  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    Vehicle is a 2003 530i. It was CPO'ed less than a 1000 miles ago. I was checking fluid levels and was a little confused by the coolant level. OM said red floating stick should be no more than .8 above the neck when cap is removed. My floating stick (not red) raises about 1.5 inches above the neck when cap is removed. The manual also mentioned something about a "second line" on the stick. I could only see one line and it was down in the neck a ways. My gauge reads "dead center" at normal operating temperature and after reading many of these informative posts, i understand that is normal for the "idiot gauge". Can anyone tell me if my fluid is low and if so, do you recommend I shell out the extra bucks for the BMW anti freeze? Can anyone explain checking the coolant level of this vehicle? Thank you in advance and all responses are greatly appreciated.

  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    Sounds like you are going to do a +1 upgrade. I'm pretty sure the 530SP and 540SP have the same suspension, so you should not experience any negative handling traits... maybe improved. 19's might degrade the ride a bit due to the narrower tire sidewalls.

    I'm considering the same upgrade on my 2003 530SP, so let us know how things work out.
  • pedro3pedro3 Posts: 4
    Does anyone knows where to get electrical brushes for the ac blower? I am trying to fix my e34, haven't been albe to get brusehes in autopart stores and ele ctrical shops where alternator and starters are rebuilt neither. Any imput will be apreciate.
  • dsn1dsn1 Posts: 5
    After I changed a burned lowbeam bulb, the light bulb assembly is vibrating. BMW service says the whole light bulb assembly needs to be replaced. Anybody had similar experience... (Looks like the bulb assembly floats with some arms type stuff to adjust the focus of the lamps. I am guessing the arms controlling them has broken off)...
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    (Looks like the bulb assembly floats with some arms type stuff to adjust the focus of the lamps. I am guessing the arms controlling them has broken off)...

    You're correct, the adjusting arm(s) is/are broken. However, they can be replaced; this site as well as this one should answer most of your questions.
  • dsn1dsn1 Posts: 5
    Thank you. That helps a lot.
  • vizviz Posts: 58
    I am fast approaching my end of warranty for 530i (50k miles). BMW dealer is offering for $1200. There are other companies on the internet which are giving extended warranty. Please advise on which one to choose.

    Thanks in advance,
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 53,901
    $1200? Are you sure that isn't the extension of the free maintenance plan?

    The BMW extended warranty for a 5-series is around $2700.. I'd question what he is offering for $1200.


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  • vizviz Posts: 58
    It covers:
    oil changes
    Wind wiper blades
    brakes, including rotors,pads
    scheduled service inspections
    engine air filters
    brake fluid service.

    Infact I would be keeping this vehicale for another 8k miles only.

    How is
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 53,901
    That describes the extended maintenance plan.. that won't extend the warranty.. If you have a mechanical failure, you won't be covered.

    If I were only keeping the car for 8K more miles, I would take my chances.


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  • vizviz Posts: 58
    Thank you for the info.
    Hmmm....I am also leaning towards taking chances but what are the components that are usually replaced between 50k and 60k miles? I am curious so that I can think about return on investment. So scared of these BMW repairs!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 53,901
    I'll let some 5-series owners chime in with their experiences.

    Ideally, nothing should fail during that time frame.


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  • I suspect bad weatherstipping around the right rear door.

    Does anybody know where I can get the weatherstripping other than the dealer?

    The car has 50,151 miles just out of warranty.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Hmmm....I am also leaning towards taking chances but what are the components that are usually replaced between 50k and 60k miles? I am curious so that I can think about return on investment.

    At most you may be looking at a water pump- at which time you might as well fit a new thermostat and housing. The job is a fairly simple DIY procedure,but a good independent BMW tech using OEM parts shouldn't charge over $300.

    So scared of these BMW repairs!

    Relax! Most of the "horribly expensive BMW repair" stories are spread by people who heard that his best friend's sister's college roommate knew a guy who had a dentist who told him that it cost him $3000 to change the oil on his 318i. And there ARE some dealers and independents who grossly overcharge their customers. Having said all that, there are good dealers and independents out there who charge fair prices and offer a CCA discount.
    Finally, I ran a 1997 528iA to over 130K miles and my service and repair costs averaged @$90 per month. We only sold it was because my wife wanted an X3. I needed to keep my US built Wrangler for political reasons- otherwise I would have claimed the 5er for my commuter sled :( . The good news is that I no longer need to keep the Jeep so I'm looking at a 1999 540i six speed :D
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