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, wires...you 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!

UPDATES:

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

      BMW owner 2 days ago

      Hi

      Just wondering if you could given me advice

      My 2010 320d e90 is giving electronic problems since the weather has got cold. It starts and drives no problem, however there is a clicking noise from behind the glove box, the speedometer and rev counter turns on and off rapidly, lights come on and off the dash and wipers stop mid cycle. As soon as interior of car heats up, everything is OK

      Would appreciate any advice

    • profile image

      Mark fulton 4 weeks ago

      Hi a have 520 Diesil with few lights on in dash electric steering a just not working all windows not working then car would start then wouldn't tried new battery checked all fuses and they were fine then found a had main live wire on fuse box in boot wasn't getting good connection replaced wire and car starting ok but still all the faults wen a start car windows don't work if a switch it of go in boot disconnect the wire on fuse bord the bk windows start working but nothing else don't no what to do now think maybe fuse bord in boot faulty

    • profile image

      John Betita 4 weeks ago

      Hi,

      I recently changed my battery in BMW 3 series car but it is showing error code CC-ID 231 - Light System Failure & light is not working even the side glass is not working. kindly guide me how to fix it.

      Thanks.

    • profile image

      Christian Falco 2 months ago

      I have a 2007 BMW 335i sport package and it has been through a flood it’s very nice it’s just that it has Electrical Malfunctions How do you repair it?

    • profile image

      Richard Elbert 2 months ago

      All wheel drive, 2003 BMW i325xi, 6 cylinders, automatic transmission won't start due to electrical problems.

      Im guessing a bad ground or possibly a short somewhere. It did occasionally have a slight burning smell, not sure what it was from.

      Most of the gauge cluster doesn’t work. Because of this, even the odometer isn’t showing, but it was just under 170,000 miles before it all happened. Signals, wipers, etc. stop working when the car is started. Sometimes it doesn’t start at all.

      Have a new battery - Will the BMW K+DCAN cable and diagnostic software work on this model car?

      KCFlavour@hotmail.com

    • profile image

      Edin Mulasalihovic 2 months ago

      Hey, I just read your post about BMW electricity issues.

      I have the following problem with my E91 2008 LCI : the window switchers, CD changer and ambient lighting have no light. The diagnostics says nothing, and I fear that this could lead to bigger and expensive issues.

      Thanks in advance,

      Edin M

    • profile image

      Jesse 3 months ago

      2007 bmw 335i electrical issues, i recently started it running driving fine I rolled windows down and chaos started happening

    • profile image

      Sams 4 months ago

      My 1994 e34 520i central locking and power window is very temperamental. At times it works, at times it doesn't. Any idea what could've caused it?

    • profile image

      Kelvin Prater 4 months ago

      I purchased a 2003 bmw 325i with a aftermarket stereo installed. A few weeks ago the lights went out in the dash, the sunroof won't open and the ac won't come on. I've checked the fuses and can't find anything wrong. A friend of mine says it may be the aftermarket stereo but it's been installed for 6 months. Can you help

    • profile image

      Rich Hamilton 4 months ago

      I have a BMW 1 series and when I drive along all is normal then all the lights flash at me and saying centrol eletrical fault then it goes back to normal and it keeps doing it

    • profile image

      Junior Gomez 6 months ago

      My BMW 1990 535i m5 no current going to mass air flow what do I look for to solve this problem

    • profile image

      redancer@sbcglobal.net Linda 6 months ago

      My BMW Z3 1987 56,000 miles suddenly loses power while driving at about 40mph but on for a split second. Yellow circle light w triangle flashes but car continues moving as normal. It is a 2.8 manual.

    • profile image

      Shaun Lavis 6 months ago

      My 2009 530d is showing battery discharge & transmission failure plus my parking sensors aren't working, any clues pls?

    • profile image

      Surfside 7 months ago

      2007 335i is possessed. The radio is full of static - and increases in volume even when you shut the music off. Headlights & tail lights blinking maniacally when the engine is either turned on or turned off. ... The original issue, we thought, was some water in the trunk that fried the amplifier. we had that switched out. Now I'm wondering if this is affecting the rest of the system, what do we do? It's been dry in there for months. The car is only driven once per month, and is garage kept & covered the rest of the time... ?!?!

    • profile image

      Chan 7 months ago

      I have a 2007 bmw 530i I spill water in the trunk of my car and now it say that I'm having a electrical problem

    • profile image

      Karl 8 months ago

      Hi I've just fit a towbar to my e87 1 series and now I'm having electrical issues. 1-Central locking not working from fob or internal button

      2-indicators/hazards not working

      3- interior light not working

      4-only centre brake light working

      5-high beam not working

      6 drivers door says it's open when it's not

      Any ideas

    • profile image

      Skylinechili1 8 months 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!

    • Drippy Art profile image

      Drippy Art 10 months 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?

    • Sebastian Balog profile image
      Author

      Balog Sebastian 11 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.

      Regards!

    • Sebastian Balog profile image
      Author

      Balog Sebastian 11 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.

      Regards!

    • profile image

      Rick 13 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?

    • profile image

      DaveM 14 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

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