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How to Solve BMW Electrical Problems Easily

I am a tech-savvy car enthusiast who loves coding and driving BMW's.

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 might seem like the end of the world. 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 trunk that is attached to the battery
The location of the fuse box on a BMW.

The location of the fuse box on a BMW.

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

Check for bad fuses by taking them out one by one.


Test Your Car Battery

A discharged battery won't let you start your car in cold weather, but an extremely 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 that with short trips in the city traffic, your alternator won't be able to charge your battery enough—it'll be just a matter of time until it starts causing 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 doesn'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 much more info on coding your BMW can be found online.


Feedback Welcome!

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.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.