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BMW Electrical Problems: How to Solve Them Easy!

Updated on December 23, 2016

Stop Worrying, Anything Can Be Fixed!

Having car problems can be very stressful. Newer cars have increased comfort by incorporating more and more electrical parts (motors, name it). These parts of course will fail in time and it could seem like the end of the world but don`t worry, it`s not!

First things to check:

Most electrical problems can be easily fixed by checking the following:

  • The fuse box
  • The wiring in the the trunk that is attached to the battery

BMW Fuse Box Location

Most BMWs have the fuse box located in the glove box compartment. Older BMWs have it in the trunk near the battery so check out both these locations.

Check for bad fuses by taking them out one by one

A bad fuse is most of the time the cause of electrical problems so start with this step before taking your car apart trying to find the bad wire or contact.

BMW won`t start electrical problem FIX

Have your car`s battery tested

A discharged battery won`t let you start your car in cold weather, a very discharged battery won`t let you start your car even in warm weather.

Battery Voltage and State of Charge:

12.66v . . . . . . . . . . 100%
12.45v . . . . . . . . . . 75%
12.24v . . . . . . . . . . 50%
12.06v . . . . . . . . . . 25%
11.89v . . . . . . . . . . 0%

Many shops will test your car`s battery for free. Please keep in mind that a discharged battery doesn`t need replacing most of the time. The problem is with short trips in the city traffic you alternator won`t be able to charge your battery enough and it`s just a matter of time until it starts making problems.

BMW Steering Wheel Lock (ELV)

The "steering wheel lock" error pops up when the battery is low and usually in cold weather. The bad thing is that after this error pops up you will have a limited number of times to start your car after which the Start button will be useless. It`s not a problem with the steering wheel column, but due to the fact that the mechanism didn`t go all the way back (low battery) it will store that error which cannot be reset from the dashboard.

FIX: Get yourself a BMW K+DCAN cable and diagnostic software to reset your ELV lock.

The software suite and many more info on coding your BMW can be found online.

By running that simple job your car will be fixed!

You will have your own diagnostic and coding tools to work with and you won`t have to pay a dime at the stealership!


If you run into any electrical problems you can leave a comment and I will gladly help you and add the problem to the list so that other people can learn how to fix them. If you like to DIY you can save a lot of money and most BMW problems can be fixed easily with the right tools and software.


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    • profile image

      DaveM 5 months ago

      My 2008 335 is sick, I've had to disconnect the entire entertainment system as it is causing all my gauges to go wonky as well as all the warning lights. the car also does this when the oil temp gauge reachs 120 degrees? Any ideas where the problem lies. other than that the car drives fine

    • profile image

      Rick 4 months ago

      Hi, I am having lighting issues with my 2015 BMW 550i. It was involved in an accident in there right rear quarter next to where the fuse box is. Now my lights are going crazy. When I turn the headlights on only the left side headlight and left tail lamp work. When I turn the fog lights on only the right side works. If I step on the brakes the left side brake does not work but the right does. If I turn on the right turn signal only the mirror and rear tail light flash, not the one on the corner of the headlamp. If I turn the left signal on only the corner headlamp works, not the rear or the mirror signal. Do you have any idea what can be causing this before I go spend alot of money to try and have the dealer figure it out?

    • Sebastian Balog profile image

      Balog Sebastian 3 months ago from Worldwide

      The lights that do not work might have short circuit errors because of the accident that`s why they`re not working. You need to reset those short circuits to make them work. At the dealership they will not be able to reset them and they will want to replace those parts. You need to find a good coder in your area or if you purchase a K+DCAN coding cable I can do it for you remotely.


    • Sebastian Balog profile image

      Balog Sebastian 3 months ago from Worldwide

      Check if something has spilled in the trunk. There are some modules in the trunk which make the gauges act like that if water or other liquids have been spilled.


    • Drippy Art profile image

      Drippy Art 7 weeks ago

      i have a 330i 2002 bmw and the electrical problems are everywhere. first the radio stopped working completely then the AC stopped working as well and defroster stopped working as well and after the that the car wont even open, im either locked in or locked out the car trying to open it, the windows sometimes dont roll up aswell, i checked the fuse box so i am not sure. i also got the battery checked at autozone and they said it was fine, but its wierd because the last time i got it charged it was on its last leg, any help?

    • profile image

      Skylinechili1 7 hours ago

      Hello. I'm sending this in an attempt to keep my sanity.. After spending the past month, late nights after the kids are in bed and days off replacing my engine, I am completely stumped on an electrical short. 2011- E92 335I w/ N55 engine. After the install was complete, new fluids and battery fully charged, my attempts in starting the car have all failed. Getting strong crank, fuel is present but no spark. Fuse #11- 20 amp engine controls consistently blows once the vehicle ignition goes in to position two. I've unplugged all sensors, plugs, ect one by one to try and locate the short. Relays test good, engine ground test comes back good. Fault codes I've gotten;

      Terminal 87 , supply switched by main relay

      Code: 00332E

      Terminal 87 , supply switched by main relay

      Code: 003330

      Boost pressure sensor, electrical: Short circuit to positive

      Code: 002C6F

      Absolute pressure sensor, intake manifold, electrical: Short circuit to ground

      Code: 00281B

      Tank vent valve control: Short circuit to earth

      Code: 003156

      Charge air temperature sensor, electrical: Short circuit to positive

      Code: 0029E0

      Intake air temperature, electrical: Short circuit to positive

      Code: 0029D0

      Quantity control valve, control: Short circuit to earth

      Code: 002C3E

      I'm trying to remain positive but having a real hard time. Any suggestions in solving this issue are greatly appreciated. Cheers!

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