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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    No problem at all. In fact, the wheels and tires will be cheaper, and they'll perform slightly better in the snow. The Tire Rack will help you find wheels (and tires) that are compatible.
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 266
    I've got a set of winter wheels/tires (225-55-16) from them for my 540 (17' staggered) and they fit perfectly. Even the speedometer error is the same as before.
  • cheekscheeks Posts: 67
    I started my car this morning when I noticed that I had no green indicator lights left and one yellow light was appearing along with the oil service lamp (although I had oil changed at 11,000). I concluded that at 13,900 miles it must be time for Inspection one(however, the inspection lamp never came on). Later in the day I had a situtaion where the ABS,DSC and Brake light all went on when I sitting in the car with the engine on. They later went off when I restarted the car after 10 minutes. What's going on? I welcome all feedback.
  • cheekscheeks Posts: 67
    The dealer discovered the issue and resolved it.
  • Since purchase of a new 540I 6 speed I have had cooling problems with vehicle since day 1. Radiator has overflowed from top on many occasions. The noisy irratic operating cooling fans have been replaced several times. System is still bad and dealer refused to honor anymore service. I went to BMW of NA and they directed me to another dealer, however tne new dealer refused to honor warranty service. It appears, that in order to save BMW from LEMON LAW proceedings their dealers refuse warranty service after a definite number of repair attempts.
    I am stuck with a vehicle that needs service and no dealer will help. BMW of NA refused to buy back vehicle. HELP HELP any suggestions?
  • Does lemon law apply when warranty service is denied by selling dealer and a second dealer?
    BMW of NA was of no help.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Any BMW center in the country is obligated to service your car, whether for warranty work or otherwise. None can legally turn you away. If BMW NA isn't being cooperative, be sure to document everything: all problems with your car, when you got it serviced, where, and who you spoke with. And review your state's lemon laws at Finally, get yourself a lawyer.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    snagiel... Franchise law tends to be state-controlled law. In my state, only the selling card dealer has a legal obligation to service your car. Even for warranty work. A non-selling dealer can refuse to work on your car.

    I learned this the hard way back in 1996. Went all the way to State Attorney General's office. They explained the law to me. I quickly sold the car and never bought from that dealer again.

    I've also learned never to really upset a dealer. If I'm surveyed, I never say anything bad. I'll just decline to participate and won't say why. Or I'll answer only the questions where I can say something good. In nearly all cases seems like the dealer gets the survey results back with your name attached.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Point taken about state laws, but I strongly suspect (although I've never been privy to the contractual relationship between BMWNA and its dealer network) that BMW dealers must honor all work on BMW models, warranty or otherwise. It would be in BMW NA/AG's self-interest to ensure their customers be able to receive service when travelling/relocating without issues.

    As for the customer-dealer relationship goes, I believe the system is flawed. After most/all service visits, individuals are usually contacted by a third-party marketing group authorized by BMW NA to survey you about your experience. The results are supposed to be anonymous, but I've heard of several stories where frustrated customers gave less-than-stellar grades, only to be given the cold shoulder (implicitly or otherwise) from the dealer in future visits. So, the surveys' integrity is compromised and we--the customers--are basically screwed.
  • I agree with both of your comments. If the servicing dealer feels that you are not satisified with the job, you in all probability will NOT get a follow up call from the survey people.
    I speak from experience with my present 2001 BMW 540I 6-speed.
    Unfortunatily, I had problems from Day-1 and as a result everything went down hill. NEVER once did a get a call or survey call as how I liked the the vehicle, muchless, a survey to rate the selling dealer.

    It seems that all records were kept hidden from BMW of NA.

    For your information my certified letters to BMW of NA were never answered and the return receipts were never returned. Even the Post office in Westwood, NJ (BMW site) would not respond to my many requests to investigate.

    By the way, that same dealer has been awarded the PRESIDENTS Award bt BMW of NA for many years
    What a joke!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Call me cynical, but methinks that there's a bit more to this story; check out the "GMC Yukon XL/Chevy Suburban" topic-in particular posts #2750 and #2752. I guess when it rains it pours, huh? ;)
  • rurrur Posts: 1
    I just purchased a '03 525i (Auto,Prem,Sport,Xenon) and have been experiencing the same 'check engine soon' accompanied with rough ride/idle. It has occurred when I accelerated around a corner or from a stop. I took it to the dealer and they replaced an ignition coil and spark plug. A few days later it happened again, it's at the dealer again. Service tells me they will have to replace a hydraulic valve lifter. Has either Mustang01 or Pnestler found the source of problem with their vehicles?
  • Our daughter ordered a 2002 530i so she could get manual transmission last spring. Car was great until this past Dec. She heard a noise, took it to the dealer, he couldn't hear it but changed the oil.. Two weeks later as she is backing out of the garage, unbelieveable shaking occurred. She called the dealer, they flatbedded it to their dealership, 80 miles away. She picked it up a week later and was told there had been water in the gas. Ok, however a week later it started to stall, she drove it to the dealer, asked a person to drive it to see if they could find the problem, valve lifters had to be replaced, however they were not sure if that was the problem. Again she brought it home, happened again, this time they told her valves were scrached, due to her over-reving. Now this is a doctor, 2 small children, she wanted stick shift for better control. This was not her first stick shift. The cost is $4200. this car is still under warranty with 25,000 miles and she was told it is BMW's policy not to cover valve replacement. A customer service rep from BMW called her and tried numerous times to get her to admit she over-reved. This does not happen on automatic transmissions they said.
    Bottom line, they are blaming her. Has anyone had a similar experience? If so, what was the outcome?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Ummm, can they Prove that the engine was over-reved (sp?)? By that I mean, these engines have a built in rev-limiter, and the only way that the engine could have been over-reved would be to down-shift to a low gear while traveling at a high rate of speed.

    Assuming (for the sake of argument) that something like that did happen, wouldn't the OBC have logged the event? Unless they can show you proof that the engine was over-reved, the ball is in their court, IMHO.

    Good luck, let us know how this all turns out.

    Best Regards,
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I agree completely. I can't believe they stooped to this gestapo-esque harassment. This reminds me of the whole M3 engine failure soap opera. There, at least, there have been enough engine failures to demonstrate statistically that there's something wrong--design-wise--with a given date range of manufactured M3 engines. The 3-liter 6 from the 330, 530, and X5 3.0 has generally been very reliable, but there could certainly be lemons out there. Alas, Shipo is correct: if they claim she over-revved the engine, I'm fairly sure the engine computer logs such events and they would have easily been able to ascertain as such. If you're getting nowhere with the dealer, try with the regional rep and/or BMW NA, and quickly retain a lawyer if things don't improve quickly. Good luck.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I don't know about the DME in the E39s, but the one in the E36 M3 has a telltale that records the peak rpm reached as well as any sustained high rpm operation. One of BMW NA's M managers told me how a 5 speed E36 M3 was flat bedded into a dealership. The owner said he was simply driving down the interstate at 65 mph when the car "just died". Unfortunately for the owner(and his wallet), the DME had recorded a final engine speed of over 9000 rpm. The owner's previous car was an Oldsmobile, BTW...:)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks for confirming my guess. I suspect that BMW is highly unlikely to regress in terms of what the DME can measure from generation to generation, which means that a fairly definitive answer can be had regarding what happened to the 530i in question.

    Best Regards,


    Hmmm, Pretty funny (tragic really) about the former Oldmobile owner doing a 9K pass down the freeway.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    A few years ago I hit second instead of fourth in my(out of warranty) Club Sport on the front straight of the road course at Memphis Motorsport Park. I caught it in time, but the tach still went way past the redline. Scott Hughes later told that me that he missed a shift(and saw 8000+rpm!) on his 318ti Club Racer yet he went on to finish the season with the same engine. Those M42s may not be fast but they sure are tough! Another friend did the same thing at VIR with his late model 911. The final repair bill is going to be well over $9000. You play, you pay...
  • I have 1998 528i and recently changed the battery myself with a generic/Auto Zone battery. The car seemed to work fine until tonight. There were two occasions where the car had abosolutely no electrical power when I tried starting the car, NONE whatsoever! So the first time, I just sat in the car and attempted to start the engine multiple times and finally it caught on. Then later the same night, the same problem. This time I looked into the trunk at my battery. I pressed and messed around with the positive cable and then all the sudden All the electricity came to life. My question is 'Does it matter if it was a non-BMW battery? Do BMW batteries go bad? (I heard they never go bad, they just need water or a charge) OR Did I install the battery improperly? Any answers why the car had no electrical source? ..... p.s. does that motion sensor alarm really work? Thanks everyone!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    jjohnjohn... BMW-specific publications like Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer have had numerous articles and discussions about BMW batteries. You might check out some back issues and their web sites.

    All batteries eventually go dead. Laws of physics, etc. The original batteries, installed at the factory, have a good reputation for very long life. You should follow their instructions.

    Unfortunately, BMW's replacement batteries get a ton of complaints for lasting only a couple years before failing. I've seen dozens of mentions of this in Roundel and Bimmer over the past 12 months. These publications tend to recommend alternative replacement batteries. There is nothing wrong with using a non-BMW battery, assuming you are using the right size, have it installed properly, etc.

    The battery on my wife's '00 323ia failed at around 35,000 miles. It was replaced for free. Will be interesting to see how many miles she gets from it. My '98 540i6 currently has 73,000 miles. I bought her with 53,000 miles. So far, no battery problems for me.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I have had been thinking about your daughter’s car, and I can come up with four possible scenarios:

    1) The OBC/DME confirms the engine over speed condition, and your daughter is the only driver of the car. If so, unfortunately, she gets to pay. :-(
    2) The OBC/DME confirms the engine over speed condition, and all drivers of the 530i in question steadfastly maintain that it never happened. Could it be that an employee of the dealership took the car out for a joy ride? Ouch, tough to prove. She might still have to pay. :-(
    3) The OBC/DME recorded no such engine over speed condition. The dealership may just be trying to buy time (and money) to try and figure out what the problem is. Hopefully, for your daughters’ sake, this is the case.
    4) The OBC/DME recorded no such engine over speed condition; however, the damage is too consistent with such an event. As it turns out, it is actually possible (I think) for such a combination of events to occur. On any of the occasions where her 530i was taken back to the dealership (or anywhere else for that matter) not under its own power? By that I mean, you referred to a trip to the dealership on a “Flatbed”, could there also have been another trip where the car was towed? What I am getting at here is a situation where the car was towed (either by the flatbed or an actual tow truck), and inadvertently left in gear, first gear for example. My theory is that with the ignition turned off, the OBC/DME would not record the over speed event that would most certainly have happened if the car was left in gear and towed.

    Any comments?

    Best Regards,
  • Daughter and son-in-law are basically the only drivers of this vehicle. When a noise was first noticed in early Dec. took the car to the dealer, he could not find a problem, changed the oil and said there was probably water in the gas. Odd that people at her practice heard the noise but the dealer couldn't. She even asked the service manager to drive the car to try and identify the noise/problem. Was driven for a couple of weeks, noise still there. One morning unbelieveable shaking occurred, dealer was called and they flatbedded it to the dealership. This is the first time the car was towed. They said they replaced valve lifters, were not sure that was the problem, however.. Bringing the car home she heard a noise and was told that was air being released from lifters. Shortly thereafter it acted up again, the dealer told her to drive it to the dealership, she had to take back roads as the car kept on stalling and not maintaining speed. She was given a loaner car, so she left hers. The dealer then called and said there were scratched valves, which could only occur from over-revving and BMW's policy is not to cover this problem. Up to this point there had been no mention of over-revving. Has anyone ever heard of scratched valves? The latest response from the dealer is one bent exhaust valve stem.
    We are giving you this info second hand, trying to be as accurate as possible, this is the basic scenario. We want to make clear there was no mention of recorded over-revving.

    In response to #234, this is the third stick shift BMW our daughter has had, she does not race or is not a novice on manual transmissions. Seems to me this is a good car with an incompetent dealership. By the way, the loaner car is a Buick, not an Oldsmobile.

    Thank you very much for your input, sure do appreciate it.

  • To give closure on the subject problem. BMW has agreed to cover the cost of the engine repair under warranty. The BMW rep said valves # 1 and 2 are bad. The reason for the original question is that I have some doubts about these new long times and mileage between the synthetic oil changes. We received a notice from MB a few months back that our 2000 MB is covered up to 150,000 miles now do to a class action for problems with synthetic oil changes and the variable service schedule.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Extended oil change intervals should not be a factor in the valve failures you described. I change the oil in my E36 M42 and E39 M52 at @ 9000 mile intervals using 15W-50 Mobil 1 in the E36 and 5W-40 Rotella T synthetic in the E39(though I'm switching it to M1 0W-40 at the next Oil Service). No problems- and both cars have over 78000 miles on the clock. The objective data I have seen indicates that the BMW synthetic and M1 can easily go 9000 or so miles. I'd feel less comfortable going 18000 miles between changes, but I have yet to see any evidence that indicates extended drains are detrimental to BMW engines when a quality synthetic of the proper grade is used.
  • My wife's 2000 528i had a similar problem a couple of years ago where the battery went completely dead. This was when the car was only a year old or so. Had the battery replaced once and then had a reoccurence of the problem with the new battery. After several days in the shop they finally found out that the main computer board in the car was faulty and causing the problem. It was replaced under warranty and the problem never occurred again. Maybe there is a similar issue going on in your car.
  • ii31ii31 Posts: 24

    I've owned a 2000 BMW 540ia for about a
    month. Drives great!

    Last weekend, I was to drop my daughter and
    wife to birthday party. We were running late.
    I took the risk and refilled the fuel when
    empty light was one for some time and OBC's
    "range" showed 20 miles. I was driving it
    on highway...

    Question: Should I be concerned about any
    adverse effect on engine or catalytic converter?
    My typical highway mileage is it must
    have 1 gal. of fuel left when I refilled.

    Please advise.


  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    No need to worry. Yes, running the tank low can harm the fuel pump, but I don't know of any damage that might come to the cats (the 540's got two of them). I generally try to refill when at the 3/4 mark, so I don't have to stress about that bright orange light.
  • ii31ii31 Posts: 24

    Last week, BMW service folks found a faulty
    air mass flow sensor. It's on special order now.

    This morning, while accelerating on Green light,
    my car stalled! No power steering, completely
    dead. I safely pulled it to the right, re-started
    the car. It started ok, no lights etc. It's almost
    as if there was no problem before.

    It's a 2000 540ia with 28k miles. I bought
    it used from a local BMW dealer. Thank God
    it's still under warranty.

    Anyone else faced similar stalling?


  • disco5disco5 Posts: 2
    Currently own a 2001 330i but family needs a bigger car. I am looking to buy this 95 wagon with only 50K miles. Anyone knows if it was a good year or any other information? Of course there is no warranty.
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