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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    is to improperly fuel up your car. The OBD II systems can be particular. Never fuel up with the key in the ignition or key in & turned on (either with car running or not). Fuel up with the car off, key out, and nothing running. And make sure to properly put back the fuel filler cap. Follow whatever instructions are there.
  • zeenzeen Posts: 401
    No question that BMW's are more expensive to repair than Hondas. Hondas can last forever if properly taken care of. I have seen 4 cylinder Hondas speed by me in my 528 on the highway. They are great cars.
    That being said, there is nothing like the 528 driving experience. My 97 528 rides better than most new cars and it has 63,000 miles. Repairs have been minimal. There is also the prestige factor of course. An Accord is just another car on the road.
    I found a local mechanic who repairs BMW's and has all the latest diagnostic equipment. He charges about a third less than the dealer.
    My vote is the BMW.
  • sharrissharris Posts: 32
    I recently picked up my 2003 530i after doing ED in late October. Car is great, but I'm having a problem with the NAV system. I used it while in Germany (brought the German NAV CD with me) and it worked flawlessly. Now the car is in the states, and just a few days ago I received the new NAV DVD for the US. I loaded the DVD, only to find that the car still "thinks" it is in Germany! It shows the current coordinates as about 53 degrees N latitude, 8'30 degrees E longitude. That is around Bremen, in northern Germany (near the port of departure, if I'm not mistaken). I can enter a destination and it will display the correct map, so I know it is reading the DVD just fine. But when I try to get it to display directions to the destination, it shows something like ">10kmls", which I take it to mean the destination is over 10,000 miles from the current location (which would be true, if the car were still in Germany!).

    Anyway, I don't see anything in the owner's manual that accounts for this. I wonder if there is a way to "reboot" the system, to get it to accurately update its position. I've got a service scheduled with my local dealer in about 10 days (it will be my first!), but meanwhile, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions on how I might correct this, please let me know. Thanks!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yes, is a terrific site-if you are a psychology student looking for case studies on psychosis, paranoia, and multiple personalities. It's composed almost entirely of unsubstantiated stories- several of which are posted anonymously. Here are a few examples of the "horror stories":


    "1976 2002"- this genius is upset that an eight year old '02 is not as reliable as a new Acura. It had a squeaky heater fan and a bad u-joint. And he's dead wrong about M10 rocker shafts. They CAN be replaced. Notice he never cites the vehicle mileage.

    "740i LEMON" Owner has been reduced to tears. Poor baby. She never describes the vehicle age, mileage, or the "problems". - you have to read this moron's message yourself, I crack up when I try to type it.

    "Gasket Problem"-The profile gasket failed and BMW UK fixed it under warranty. But it took them a week and they gave him a 316 sedan for a loaner. How sad.

    "What another 318 Gasket problem?"-profile gasket died at 97000 miles. Mean old Munich wouldn't pay for the repair. How unfair!

    "1994 525i"- Idiot buys a CPO and after purchase "discovers" problems that would have been obvious on even a brief test drive. BMW gives him another 525i but that's not good enough. The imbecile pledges to "fight on".

    "BMW=DEATH" This guy blames BMW for the fact that his girfriend was tailgating the car she hit at "40 mph". And if the seat belt failed, why didnt she suffer any facial trauma from hitting the wheel, dash, or windshield? Can you say, "I can't drive, but it's STILL BMW's fault."?

    The site is a true moronic convergence

  • can anyone help? manual states check engine light is related to emission problems, but i cleared my emissions..can it be related to other problems? such as thermostat? my thermostat recently doesnt work, the needle is always in the cold/blue zone, and now the heater does not even put out hot heat, also the 'REST' function -allows heat after car is turned off- doesnt work too..please advise anyone...thank you.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    jjohnjohn... Have your dealer's service department check it out. Then let us know what they find out. ("Check Engine" light can come on for a lot of reasons. OBDII system is rather particular. Sometimes it is just how people fuel up their cars. Advice I've seen about that in Roundel, Bimmer, etc. is to shut car off completely, ensure key is out of ignition, don't overfuel, and then put fuel filler cap back on carefully as per instructions.)

    What year and model do you have?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yes,if your thermostat is stuck open it will activate the CEL. Get it fixed ASAP; you could kill your catalyst if you run it too long in that condition.
  • ibmb1ibmb1 Posts: 5
    I continue to have problems with uneven inside tire wear on my 530i w/sport suspension. I replaced the original Continental Sports with same tire and have once again, experienced uneven wear on inside of all four tires. The alignment has been checked twice, suspension checked for damage, tires rotated at 3000 miles. Any suggestion on replacement tires that don't exhibit uneven wear with so little mileage??
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Do you mean that the inside edge (facing the car, not the curb) shows greater wear than the outside edge on all four tires? (If it's the other way around--greater wear on the outside--that's normal.)

    If so, I'd first check for proper and even tire pressure, but I'm assuming you've done that. Then, my second assumption would be that there's too much negative camber on the alignment, and/or perhaps a modest toe-out. But, still, I'd expect it to affect one or two tires at most, not all four. And, presumably, two alignment jobs should have corrected any such problems. After that, I would suspect worn or bent suspension arms (or other components), but you say that's been checked out as well.

    So, I'm stumped. Where do you live? What sort of roads do you drive on? What tire pressure do you maintain?
  • ibmb1ibmb1 Posts: 5
    I've had the alignment performed at two seperate BMW dealerships and both state alignment and suspension are "in spec". I live in South Florida and the roads are generally very good. Per recommendation of BMW service rep, I've been running 36psi rears, 34psi fronts. Still developed inside cupping on all four tires....Bridgestone re730 G2's have been recommended. Any experience with these second generation tires?
  • r1_97r1_97 Posts: 181
    You'll probably get better response if you turn off your cap lock key. It's rude; like shouting at everyone.
  • dsbp58dsbp58 Posts: 1
    We have a '98 528 that we bought CPO in Sept. '01. Last winter and again this winter, we are having problems with the door latches - sometimes they freeze shut and you can't open the door and other times they freeze in the open position and they won't latch and instead bounce off the frame. We've taken it to MAG BMW in Columbus, OH and they claim they can do nothing. Needless to say it is very annoying not to mention very UNSAFE. Does anyone have any ideas on what is going on? Any solutions?
  • awd2003awd2003 Posts: 44
    I had problems with driver's door latch. Specifically the outside handle would remain in the "pulled out" positon and the door would not close. The dealer lubed the mechanism and it did the trick.
  • I purchased a 2002 530i in October, and I've noticed in the past month that I'm getting diminishing reception on certain radio stations, especially AM. Anyone seen this?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I don't know about "diminishing reception," but complaints have abounded for years about the E39's relatively weak AM reception. My guess is a combination of a mediocre antenna and weak AM radio signals.
  • Just wanted to inform everyone, my problem was result of a broken thermostat. Everything works fine now...Recently I had a car wash that resulted in minor scrapes throughout the entire car...Best example would be if someone took a broom and swiped it all over the car!!! I can't stand to look at it...Any advice on how to get rid of the scrapes??? Buff it out? but will that ruin the paint? new paint job? how much?..Greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Start with something mild like 3M Hand Glaze, which is a superfine polishing liquid that does well in (temporarily) hiding minor swirl marks. Apply several coats, either by hand or with an orbital buffer, and follow up with a good wax. Use mild shampoos (like Sonax or P21S) to preserve the glaze and the wax as long as possible.

    If that fails, you can advance to harsher compounds and/or clays, which are coarser and more abrasive: more powerful, but more dangerous. It's easy to make things worse fast if you're inexperienced with them, so it might be worth taking to a professional detailer to do. Last resort, of course, is a repaint. Cost there is probably a couple of grand, but unless this car wash scrubbed your car with sandpaper it probably won't be necessary.
  • thanks for the you know anything about the p21s paintwork cleansing lotion vs. 3M hand glaze....i am wondering if i should use all the same company or if one is better than the other...i am planning on getting the p21s carnuaba paste wax due to your advice...well, much appreciate it, hope to hear from anyone about my problem. thanks!
  • My wife drives our 2000 525i most of the time with her own key and as a result our second key remote, since its used so sparingly, seems to have lost its charge. The service dept. at the dealership said to just drive around with the spare key for a few hours and it should work again. I've tried this on a few long trips (four hours or more) and still no luck. Anybody have any experience with this and if so, how long should one have to drive with the dead remote in order for it to recharge? Is there a way to charge the remote outside of driving with it?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    The dealer is correct, but the manual also recommends you use each of the keys at least once a year to prevent them from atrophying to death. If that key hasn't seen action since it left the factory three years ago, it's possible the battery is beyond charging.

    I would assume/hope the battery is covered under warranty, but even if not the dealer should cover it for free or a minimal charge.
  • seanl3seanl3 Posts: 5
    I have a '98 528i and I am thinking about installing the 'Angel Eyes'. A couple of part sellers that I have talked to said that the headlights could definitely be installed by a non-professional. Has anyone here done this? and are the Xenons worth the addition $700-$800?

    and for the tail lights, are they just as easy install?

  • spyderredspyderred Posts: 137
    Personally, I don't like modifying things like this especially, things that has to do with electrical components. Don't know how easy for a DIY install, however, I have driven BMW's with OE Xenons and without and I can definetly tell you that once you drive with xenons there is no going back. They make a huge difference and in my opinion are worth every penny (for the OE, not sure about after market xenons and how much of a different they would be). The OE makes it feel like you're driving in the daytime. Really awesome.

    You may want to pose your question on the site. A lot of guys there have done the angel eye mod as well as a few have done the xenon mod on pre 2000 models,

    check out the below url,

    Good luck w/your decision,


    Good luck,
  • I'm with spyderred on this point...once you have'em, you will love them. I drive on a lot of roads without good lighting, couple this with my so-so night vision and then along came xenon lights! I can see!!!...If you have great or normal vision and drive in well-lighted areas, then you should...get them anyway! If these are compatible with your older vehicle,what a great upgrade...test drive a new one at night before you decide...and review websites recommended above...these boards really do provide a lot.
  • seanl3seanl3 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the suggestions. Spyderred, you are right about the electrical stuff, I will leave that to the pros. But I think that I will get the Xenon ones put in by a great all-german vehicle shop in Berwyn, Ill. The dealer would probably try and kill me on the install price, not that I am too concerned about it, but I don't like to overpay, if I don't have in point, I needed, both, front and rear brakes, dealer wanted $1450, the shop did them both for under $850 total. Great service, authentic parts, warranty, 20 years of servicing BMW's, and all those other German cars, only bad thing is no loner car, but hell, for saving over $600 I will rent my own damn car, (or least drive my wife's C320 for a couple of hours, ohhh the pain, the pain!!!!).

    anyway Thanks for the advice guys.....
  • Thanks for the advice on the key. I actually do use the spare key periodically when my wife and I go out together in it. I think I'm going to give it back to the dealer and let them fix it or give me a new one while its still under warranty.
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    I have a '02 525iT 5spd Premium, cold weather with 7K miles.
    My car was running and all of a sudden my Climate control LED goes out at about 8:00 pm and the blower goes on high. All display was out and I could not shut of the blower. Even when I turned the car off, there was no change in the situation. I called Roadside Assistance and there were useless. (What a joke this service is if the local dealer is closed when you call).

    I decided to find the fuse and pull it so I could shut off heat. Either my brain was frozen with the 7 degree temparuture or the fuse schematic is dumb put I decided to go fuse by fuse and see what worked.

    Luckily I only had to reach #4 and it shut the blower off. I replaced it and everything works fine.
    Three questions:

    1. #4 fuse is for Trunk and Compartment lighting. How does that affect the Automatic Climate Control?
    2. What happened. Did a relay get stuck because of the frigid weather?
    3. Should I get it checked out by the dealer. I drove today and no problems.
  • Hello to all.
    I just purchased a 2000 528 sport with 17" wheels and 235 45 17 summer tires. I would like to get a set of winter tires with rims to use for 3-4 months of the year. I am not concerned with performance during those few months. My question to a11 is, is there a problem with moving down in size to 225 55 16 or 225 60 15, which are sizes used for the non sport 528?
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