BMW Fault Codes: Common Problems and Fixes

    ANCLE BM700 car scan tool for BMW

    BMW vehicles are renowned for their performance, luxury, and innovative technology. However, like all cars, they are not immune to faults and issues. Understanding BMW fault codes is crucial for diagnosing and troubleshooting problems efficiently. This comprehensive guide will delve into common BMW fault codes, their meanings, and effective troubleshooting methods to keep your BMW running smoothly.

    BMW fault codes, also known as diagnostic trouble codes, are alphanumeric codes that help identify specific issues within the vehicle's systems. These codes are stored in the car's computer and can be read using an OBD2 scanner.

    Common BMW Fault Codes and Their Meanings

    P0300: Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected

    This code indicates that multiple cylinders are misfiring, which can cause rough idling, poor acceleration, and increased emissions.

    P0171/P0174: System Too Lean (Bank 1/Bank 2)

    These codes suggest that the air-fuel mixture is too lean, meaning there's too much air and not enough fuel. This can lead to poor engine performance and increased fuel consumption.

    P0420: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

    This code signals that the catalytic converter is not functioning efficiently, which can result in higher emissions and potential engine damage.

    P0301-P0306: Cylinder Misfire Detected (Specific Cylinders)

    These codes indicate misfires in specific cylinders, which can lead to rough engine operation and potential damage if not addressed.

    Related Reading: Ancel BM700: The Only BMW OBDII Reader You’ll Need

    P0133: O2 Sensor Circuit Slow Response (Bank 1, Sensor 1)

    This code indicates a slow response from the oxygen sensor, affecting the vehicle's fuel efficiency and emissions.

    P0172/P0175: System Too Rich (Bank 1/Bank 2)

    These codes suggest that the air-fuel mixture is too rich, meaning there's too much fuel and not enough air. This can cause poor fuel economy and engine performance.

    P0500: Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction

    This code indicates a problem with the vehicle speed sensor, which can affect speedometer readings and transmission shifting.

    P0442: Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (Small Leak)

    This code signifies a small leak in the evaporative emission control system, which can cause fuel vapors to escape into the atmosphere.

    P0705: Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Malfunction (PRNDL Input)

    This code suggests an issue with the transmission range sensor, which can affect the vehicle's ability to detect the correct gear.

    P2187/P2189: System Too Lean at Idle (Bank 1/Bank 2)

    These codes indicate that the air-fuel mixture is too lean at idle, which can cause rough idling and stalling.

    P0113: Intake Air Temperature Sensor 1 Circuit High Input

    This code signals a problem with the intake air temperature sensor, affecting the engine's performance and fuel efficiency.

    P112F: Manifold Absolute Pressure to Throttle Angle Too High

    This code indicates an issue with the relationship between the manifold absolute pressure and the throttle angle, affecting engine performance.

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    Troubleshooting Common BMW Fault Codes

    Diagnosing and Fixing P0300

    • Check Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils: Worn-out spark plugs and faulty ignition coils are common culprits for cylinder misfires.
    • Inspect Fuel Injectors: Dirty or clogged fuel injectors can cause misfires. Cleaning or replacing them can resolve the issue.
    • Examine Vacuum Leaks: A vacuum leak can disrupt the air-fuel mixture, leading to misfires. Inspect and repair any leaks in the intake manifold or vacuum hoses.

    Resolving P0171/P0174

    • Inspect the MAF Sensor: A dirty or faulty mass airflow (MAF) sensor can cause a lean condition. Cleaning or replacing the sensor may resolve the issue.
    • Check for Vacuum Leaks: Leaks in the intake system can lead to a lean mixture. Inspect hoses and gaskets for leaks.
    • Examine Fuel Pressure: Low fuel pressure can cause a lean condition. Check the fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator.

    Addressing P0420

    • Check the Catalytic Converter: A failing catalytic converter can trigger this code. Replacing the converter is often necessary.
    • Inspect O2 Sensors: Faulty oxygen sensors can cause incorrect readings. Replacing them may solve the problem.

    Fixing P0301-P0306

    • Replace Faulty Spark Plugs and Coils: Addressing misfires in specific cylinders often involves replacing spark plugs and ignition coils.
    • Check Fuel Injectors: Ensure fuel injectors are functioning correctly and are not clogged.

    Troubleshooting P0133

    • Replace the O2 Sensor: A slow-responding oxygen sensor usually needs replacement.
    • Check for Exhaust Leaks: Leaks in the exhaust system can affect sensor readings. Repair any leaks found.

    Resolving P0172/P0175

    • Inspect the MAF Sensor: Similar to lean codes, a dirty or faulty MAF sensor can cause a rich condition. Cleaning or replacing the sensor may help.
    • Check Fuel Pressure: High fuel pressure can result in a rich mixture. Inspect the fuel pressure regulator and fuel pump.

    Fixing P0500

    • Inspect the Speed Sensor: Check for any damage or disconnections in the vehicle speed sensor and replace if necessary.
    • Check Wiring and Connectors: Ensure there are no damaged or corroded wires or connectors.

    Resolving P0442

    • Inspect the Gas Cap: A loose or damaged gas cap is a common cause of this code. Ensure the gas cap is properly tightened or replace it if necessary.
    • Check for Leaks: Inspect the EVAP system for any visible leaks and repair them accordingly.

    Addressing P0705

    • Inspect the Transmission Range Sensor: Ensure the sensor is properly connected and functioning. Replace if found faulty.
    • Check Wiring: Look for any damaged or disconnected wiring related to the transmission range sensor.

    Fixing P2187/P2189

    • Check the MAF Sensor and Vacuum Leaks: Similar to other lean codes, inspect the MAF sensor and look for any vacuum leaks.
    • Inspect the Fuel System: Ensure the fuel system is delivering the correct amount of fuel, especially at idle.

    Troubleshooting P0113

    • Replace the Intake Air Temperature Sensor: A faulty sensor will need to be replaced to ensure accurate temperature readings.
    • Inspect Wiring and Connectors: Ensure there are no damaged or corroded wires or connectors affecting the sensor.

    Resolving P112F

    • Inspect the MAP Sensor and Throttle Body: Ensure the manifold absolute pressure sensor and throttle body are functioning correctly and are clean.
    • Check for Vacuum Leaks: Look for any vacuum leaks that could affect the pressure readings.

    Get Every BMW Fault Code Easily

    Reading BMW fault codes is a straightforward process that can save you time and money on diagnostics. Here’s a step-by-step guide to reading and interpreting these codes:

    1. Locate the OBD Port: The OBD port is typically found under the dashboard on the driver's side. It's a trapezoid-shaped connector that allows the scanner to interface with the car's computer.

    2. Connect the Scanner: Plug the auto scan tool ANCEL BM700 into the OBD port. Ensure the vehicle is turned off before connecting the scanner to avoid any electrical issues.

    3. Turn on the Ignition: Switch the ignition to the "ON" position without starting the engine. This powers the car's computer and allows the scanner to communicate with it.

    4. Read the Codes: Follow the scanner’s instructions to read the fault codes. This usually involves navigating the scanner’s menu and selecting the option to retrieve DTCs. The scanner will display the codes stored in the vehicle’s computer.

    5. Interpret the Codes: Write down or save the fault codes displayed by the scanner. Use a reference manual or online database to interpret these codes. Each code will have a specific meaning, pointing to a particular issue in the vehicle.

    6. Plan for Repairs: Based on the fault codes and their meanings, determine the necessary repairs or maintenance tasks. Some issues may require professional diagnosis and repair, while others can be addressed with basic tools and mechanical knowledge.

    Preventive Maintenance Tips

    • Regularly Service Your Vehicle: Routine maintenance, such as oil changes, spark plug replacements, and fuel system cleaning, can prevent many issues.
    • Use Quality Fuel and Oil: High-quality fuel and oil can enhance engine performance and longevity.
    • Keep an Eye on Warning Lights: Address any warning lights promptly to prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.


    By familiarizing yourself with common fault codes and their resolutions, you can ensure your BMW remains in top condition. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to warning lights will help you avoid costly repairs and keep your car running smoothly.

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