BMWs have earned a reputation for being incredible driving machines – but just like any other vehicle, they can occasionally have problems. Unfortunately, electrical issues are quite common, with as many as 20% of BMWs experiencing some type of electrical issue during their lifespan. BMW electrical issues can show up out of nowhere and create problems with everything from your motor to your climate control. Some of these issues are simple and easy to fix while others can be severe and expensive to remedy. Here’s a look at some of the most common BMW electrical problems you may encounter.
1. Locked Up Steering Wheel
A problem with your BMW’s onboard computer can cause ignition issues. In this case, you may notice that the steering lock symbol on your dashboard lights up and you may find that you can’t turn your key in the ignition.
Sometimes, simply turning the wheel before you turn your key will fix the issue. However, be sure not to force it as this can lead to your key breaking off inside the ignition. If the problem is caused by an electrical issue, it will likely continue to get worse until eventually, you’re unable to start your vehicle at all.
2. Ignition Switch Issue
If your ignition is a critical part of your BMW’s electrical system. It’s what gives the vehicle the “boost” it needs to start. If the ignition switch isn’t working properly, your BMW won’t start up and you won’t hear a click when you turn your key.
If you’re having this problem, be careful not to keep trying to start your vehicle. Otherwise, you will flood your engine, creating another problem that needs to be fixed.
3. Alternator Problems
Alternator problems can cause electronic power fluctuations while you’re driving. Some common issues you may notice may include problems with your heating and cooling system and/or dim headlights. A defective alternator will prevent your battery from charging correctly, creating these power issues.
4. Damaged Cables
A cable that is frayed, broken, or otherwise damaged can disrupt the flow of electricity to a variety of internal systems. This issue can be caused by anything from common wear and tear to vandalism. It’s often one of the most overlooked electrical issues and is fairly easy to fix once it’s discovered.
5. Fuse Failure
Your BMW’s fuses are designed to blow in order to prevent more serious electrical problems. When a fuse blows, it can interrupt the flow of electricity throughout your vehicle and/or disrupt an area of your dashboard.
If you suspect this may be the issue, you can troubleshoot it by inspecting your fuse box and replacing anything that looks burnt, loose, or otherwise damaged.
6. Stored Fault Codes
When your BMW encounters a problem, the body control module stores a fault code that allows a mechanic to diagnose and repair the issue. However, these stored codes sometimes cause additional errors. For example, if your battery power is low, there may be insufficient voltage to retract the steering wheel lock. Even after you re-charge or replace the battery, this residual code can lock out your steering wheel.
The good news is, a BMW mechanic can easily clear out these codes using a specialized tool. If this is the cause of your problem, once the codes have been cleared, the issue should resolve on its own.
7. Dead Battery
One of the simplest and most common electrical problems is a dead battery. This issue is often caused by human error, such as leaving your lights on too long. The average high-quality BMW battery lasts about four years, so if your battery is older than that, it may be nearing the end of its life. In some cases, you’ll be able to revive your battery by jump starting it before you need to replace it.
8. Low Power
If you turn your key in the ignition and only hear a clicking sound, this low power is likely caused by problems with your battery. If your battery isn’t dead or dying, your cord connectors or terminals could be corroded. This will lead to an unreliable or inconsistent power flow.
Simply cleaning the terminals and charging the battery may fix the problem. However, if you take these steps and it doesn’t fix the issue, then you’ll need to visit a qualified mechanic to determine what else is going on.
Trust The Haus to Fix Your BMW Electrical Problems
Since BMWs are such complex vehicles, it’s always best to have suspected electrical issues examined by a qualified mechanic. The certified and experienced BMW service technicians at The Haus will diagnose your vehicle’s electrical problems and fix them quickly so you can get back on the road. Contact us today to schedule a VIP appointment at one of our two convenient locations.