When you drive a BMW, you expect excellence above and beyond that of the average vehicle on the road. The brand is built on smooth performance, sleek style, and above all, mechanical perfection. When a BMW owner drives off the lot for the first time, they can expect nothing but excellence from their new vehicle.
That just makes it all the more jarring and frustrating when one of your engine’s parts calls it quits, be it a problem as big as a blown catalytic converter or as small as an oil leak. While it’s normal for your BMW to have some small fluid drips in and around the engine (such as condensation from the A/C system), what’s not normal is when you notice puddles of fluid beneath your BMW every morning. That begs the question: where is the oil coming from?
The Importance of Oil in Your Engine
Oil in your engine is responsible for cooling and lubricating all of the heated moving parts. Your oil makes sure that your engine does not overheat or wear out too quickly through normal use. Without it, you run the risk of severe and extensive engine damage that may result in your engine overheating.
Furthermore, without oil, the more heat-sensitive parts of your engine may break or crack after repeated exposure to hotter-than-normal temperatures.
Here are the most common locations of oil leaks in your BMW:
Oil pan gasket leaks
Perhaps the most common leak of all comes from the oil pan gasket. The oil pan in your BMW is where your oil sits when the vehicle is not in use, and therefore can accumulate sludge and mineral deposits over time from old or hot oil, which can wear at your oil pan gasket over time.
Valve cover gasket leaks
This is one of the most common locations to experience a leak in BMW. The valve cover gasket protects the rocker arms and valves at the top of the engine. Typically, valve cover gasket leaks are more common after 60,000 miles, although a defective gasket can leak much sooner.
Rear main seal leaks
The rear main seal tends to fail when the crankshaft of your BMW encounters too much wear. When that happens, the main seal may be unable to hold tight or it may be otherwise damaged and may begin to leak.
Timing cover gasket leaks
The timing cover gasket is the seal that protects the connection between the engine block and the timing cover. If the timing cover gasket is the issue, you may also notice that coolant is leaking as well.
Oil filter housing gasket leaks
If you notice that oil is leaking only on the left side of the engine or if it looks like it’s coming from the oil pan but not the oil pan gasket, the leak may actually be coming from the oil filter housing gasket.
Common Causes of Oil Leaks in Your BMW
The cause of your oil leak is dependent upon where the leak is coming from. However, some causes are more common than others:
Old age and high mileage are one of the most common causes of oil leaks in any vehicle, as the wear and tear over time causes some parts to fail.
Inconsistent oil changes and improper oil type can cause oil deposits to build up in your oil pan or other parts of your engine.
Rough driving habits can overexert your engine, which leads to the components of your engine potentially being damaged.
A loose filler cap usually occurs when the cap is improperly replaced after an oil change. This can cause oil to leak from your pan.
Turning Wrenches will Address Your Oil Leak in Louisville, KY
If you suspect you have an oil leak in your BMW, bring your baby to Turning Wrenches of Louisville, KY today. Our knowledgeable, friendly technicians have been working under the hood for decades with only the best diagnostic and repair tools available. Moreover, our dedication to fixing and restoring German-made cars to their best selves is unmatched in the Louisville area. We offer a 36-month/36,000-mile warranty on all parts and repairs, so you know that you’re protected until the time comes for your BMW’s next servicing. Call us today.
The reason why BMW is so well-regarded for the incredible driving and handling of their cars is largely thanks to their unique VANOS system. This high-tech part achieves what was thought impossible. It gives you the best of both worlds: smooth driving and increased power. The only true drawback to this part is when it fails, you notice it. A failed VANOS unit will contribute to a drastic decline in performance. Therefore, it is important you look after your BMW’s VANOS system and keep an eye out for the early signs of failure.
VVT units exist in many modern cars, but the VANOS system is unique to BMW cars and is the manufacturer’s rendition of this common part. BMW was one of the pioneers of VVT, and their first VANOS system was released in 1992. This changed the high-performance driving game for ever. Engine performance was dramatically increased through the reflexive manipulation of the intake and exhaust valves. Added bonuses were smooth idling and increased torque, which led to an all-round improvement in power, performance, and handling.
Additionally, the VANOS system can also regulate the flow of engine oil that the cam gears receive. It does this using solenoids, and this ensures that timing adjustments are made with the maximum level of precision. There are currently three types of VANOS systems: Single VANOS (1992 to 2002), Double VANOS (1999 to 2010), and Double VANOS with Valvetronic (2004 to 2015). So the age of your BMW will directly impact which type of VANOS system your vehicle uses.
Signs of VANOS System Failure
As previously mentioned, an overall decline in your BMW’s performance will likely indicate an underperforming VANOS unit. However, this decline may be subtle and happen over time, making it hard to notice. So, keep an eye out for the following signs:
1. Loss of Torque/Power
As the VANOS system boosts the power and torque created by your engine, if it is under performing, the power and torque output that your engine can achieve will be reduced.
2. Engine Hesitation When at Low RPM
Low RPM commonly occurs when idling, such as when in traffic or waiting at an intersection. When the VANOS system is lacklustre, the engine’s timing won’t be precisely regulated, resulting in both power loss and engine hesitation at low RPM.
3. Rough Idle
One of the great things about the VANOS system is how smoothly it makes your VANOS drive. Therefore, it’s common sense to expect that when the VANOS system becomes sub par, your car will drive much less smoothly. Also, rough idling is likely to occur.
4. Reduced Gas Mileage
The VANOS system is responsible for getting the very best in efficiency out of every part it interacts with. When it isn’t working properly, your engine won’t function at peak levels, which can result in increased fuel consumption.
5. Cold Start Problems
Many cars can struggle with cold starts, but add in a faulty VANOS system, and it’s likely you’ll find it much harder to wake up your BMW.
6. Stalling in Cold Weather
On a similar note, when winter hits and your VANOS system isn’t working, you can expect an increase rate of stalling and an unhappy, uncooperative engine system.
7. Generation of Fault Codes
Your BMW’s onboard computer (ECU) is likely to pick up on the overall reduction in engine performance and may generate error codes pertaining to the VANOS unit. If the problem becomes severe, the ECU will likely trigger the Engine Management Light (EML or check engine light).
8. Engine Goes Limp After Accelerating
Your engine works hardest when it accelerates. As the VANOS system helps make this easier by making sure timing is perfect, when the VANOS system is not operational, the engine will not be able to correctly regulate its timing. This typically results in a sharp decline in power post-acceleration and a limp engine.
You Can Rely on Us
Here at Turning Wrenches of Louisville, KY, we’re eager to help the BMW drivers with their VANOS problems. We want you to experience the very best that your BMW can offer, and we’ll make sure any problem we find is addressed and repaired to the highest standards. We look forward to speaking with you about your BMW and getting you back on the road safely and efficiently. Call us today to schedule an appointment or consultation.
All vehicles are incredibly complex machines, especially those which have been intelligently engineered and thoughtfully designed, such as BMW. Because of this, your car has a variety of systems in place to protect you and your car from the effects of severe part failure. One such system is the check engine warning light. Below, you can find out how the light works as well as the types of part failure which can cause it to illuminate.
What is the check engine light?
The Engine Management Light (EML) or check engine light is a warning indicator which is found on your BMW’s dashboard. It will illuminate when more severe issues are detected in your vehicle’s systems or parts which work with the engine and the connecting exhaust systems.
The engine management light connects directly to your BMW’s main computer, which is known as the ECU or Engine Control Unit. If the ECU detects an issue in one of the aforementioned systems, it will trigger the check engine light and send out an error code. This can be used to correctly diagnose and repair the problem.
How a driver should immediately respond to the EML depends on the severity of the issue. If the car still feels like its running fine, then lower your speed and drive it directly to a professional repair shop. However, if the EML lights up red or your car no longer feels safe, then pull over and call for a recovery vehicle to tow you to a repair shop.
Common Reasons Why the Check Engine Light may Illuminate
There are many reasons why this essential warning light may illuminate. Below, we have listed some of the most common reasons, how risky they are for your car, and how you should respond.
Vacuum Hose Leaks
Damage Level: Low Response: Lower your speed and locate the nearest auto shop.
Vacuum hoses are needed to channel both fresh air as well as emissions around the engine to allow it to run correctly. They’re made of rubber and can be exposed to high temperatures inside the engine which can lead to them cracking or deteriorating over time. When this happens, the precise balance of gases can be thrown off-kilter, leading to the engine’s sensors reporting issues to the ECU.
Loose Filler Cap
Damage Level: Low Response: Check the cap and replace as needed.
This issue is most commonly caused by drivers being distracted at the pumps and not correctly tightening their fuel cap. A loose cap allows extra air into the tank which distripts the pressure. This will cause one of the many sensors to detect an issue and inform the ECU. This is the most simple and most common cause for check engine light illumination and should always be ruled out first.
Fuel Pump Blockage
Damage Level: Medium Response: Lower your speed and locate the nearest auto shop.
The fuel pump is what provides pressurized fuel to the fuel injectors. If the pump isn’t working correctly, then the fuel will not be able to be properly delivered to the engine, causing rough running. The engine light will be illuminated by the ECU and your BMW will likely be at an increased risk of misfires.
Soot on the Particulate Filter
Damage Level: High What to do: Lower your speed and locate the nearest auto shop, or call for a tow.
The particulate filter is most commonly found in diesel models, but it is being introduced into gasoline cars too. The particulate filter is responsible for capturing the soot which is produced by the combustion process. If this filter becomes clogged, then this soot will settle inside the engine and start to contaminate the delicate parts inside. This issue needs to be resolved quickly as if the filter becomes damaged beyond repair, you are likely to be footing an expensive bill.
Turning Wrenches of Louisville, KY are experts in repairing, servicing, and maintaining European vehicles. We are open Monday through Friday to serve you. Our dedicated team will be able to diagnose and respond to your BMW’s issue quickly, efficiently, and affordably. Our friendly team is dedicated to making sure you drive away happy and safely. We are so confident in what we do that we offer a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty as a guarantee on our work. Call us today or stop by to speak to our technicians.