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December 26, 2021

5 common issues to watch out for in BMWs

By Bruce Powers

A well-maintained BMW car can last 10 to 15 years and go as far as 150,000 to 200,000 miles. On average, it should undergo maintenance every 5,000 miles or at least twice a year, depending on overall usage, to keep it in top running condition.

BMW is a reputable car brand famous for its high-performance luxury vehicles. However, BMW cars aren’t perfect. If not serviced regularly, these vehicles may become damaged. It’s important to keep an eye out for common BMW problems and address them immediately before they worsen and require costly repairs or part replacements. Read on to learn about what to watch out for in your BMW.


BMWs have convenient automatic headlights that eliminate the need to manually flip the headlights on when it gets dark. However, some BMW cars experience issues with this feature, such as the lights staying on even when they’re not needed, leading to unnecessary battery consumption and eventual electronic problems.

This issue can be difficult to detect. Automatic headlights use photoelectric sensors that detect ambient light levels rather than the driver’s visibility. Inspect your headlight sensor from time to time to ensure it works properly. If it fails, immediately consult a mechanic to fix the problem.


BMW cars generally come with alloy wheels. Made from forged aluminum and painted, alloy wheels are durable, attractive, and lightweight. However, alloy wheels are prone to cracking and corrosion. When the paint flakes off, the results are unsightly white patches on the wheels, a phenomenon referred to in BMW enthusiast circles as “white worm.”

There are no easy or DIY fixes to corrosion and cracking. Replacement is often the best course of action. To help prevent this costly problem from happening again, avoid going to car washes that use high-powered pressure washers that can scratch the wheels. Also, regularly wash the interior walls of your wheels and the tires themselves. Removing accumulated dust and dirt can keep your alloy wheels’ luster for longer.


When owning a car, security is one of the most important aspects to prioritize. BMW owners may find a problem with that since one of the most common issues with the car is defective electric windows.

The car’s windows run on a motor that can overheat depending on the vehicle’s condition and its window regulator. When this happens, it will render the window utterly useless until it cools down. If this happens, wait for the motor to cool down and then try rolling it again.

It can also fail when the regulator freezes, but it is more common with older BMW models. Opening and closing the window with a frozen regulator will further damage the system.

If you find that your BMW has faulty windows, immediately consult a mechanic. An automotive technician will be able to identify the source of the problem, whether it’s the motor, regulator, or cable, and address it.


inside BMW's machine

The heater core is part of your vehicle’s cooling system. It resembles a small radiator, and it works by transferring heat from the hot coolant to warm the air inside the cabin.

If you crank up the heat but your vehicle’s interior stays cold, it may be due to a problem with the heater core. Other symptoms of heater core issues are coolant leaks, an odd, sweet smell inside the car, and engine overheating. The latter could lead to unexpected breakdowns when driving, which in turn can cause accidents.

If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately take your vehicle to a trusted BMW technician. They will

Frequently inspect your car for leaks and read your owner’s manual to find out when to top up your coolant to ensure the engine maintains the right temperature. If you have this issue and are still unsure of the source, meet with your mechanic to check the problem.


Usually, BMW batteries can last around four to six years. However, some owners report their batteries draining overnight. A common cause is accidentally leaving the lights on or the doors open all night.

Other possible reasons for a dead battery in your BMW are:

  • Plugged-in external devices that drain power from the battery
  • A faulty BMW Intelligent Battery Sensor (IBS) that prevents the vehicle from going into sleep mode
  • A defective alternator

If your BMW’s battery is dead, recharge it using the jump start terminals under its hood. BMW sells a special battery charger that makes this process very easy. However, after recharging, you may want to take your vehicle to an automotive technician to have the battery tested. The technician will also be able to identify the root cause of the problem and recommend a long-term fix.


Autowerkes specializes in the maintenance and repair of BMW vehicles. Backed by years of experience, our ASE-certified and factory-trained master technicians can be depended on to get your BMW back to excellent running condition. Reach out to us today at 714.842.2277 to learn more about our auto repair services in Huntington Beach or fill out our online form to book an appointment.