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BMW 5 Series Problems

Are you having problems with your BMW 5 Series? Let our team of motoring experts keep you up to date with all of the latest BMW 5 Series issues & faults. We have gathered all of the most frequently asked questions and problems relating to the BMW 5 Series in one spot to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

Should I buy an electric car now or later?

It’s definitely true that the march of new-car technology is making big changes to the cars we’re being offered almost on a monthly basis. So, if your current car is just three years old, it might be worth holding on to it and waiting for the next big thing to arrive in showrooms. Certainly, by trading-in at just three years, you’ll pretty much max out the depreciation you’ll suffer in financial terms.

But by waiting, you might find that you can buy an electric vehicle and be able to tap into newer and better infrastructure that will be in place in another few years, rather than put up with the relatively sparse charging-station network currently in this country.

At the moment, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is a pretty good way to go, provided you use the vehicle mostly in an urban setting, rather than long-distance freeway journeys where the hybrid tech is less advantageous. A hybrid is not exactly future-proof, but it’s a good next step for a lot of Australian car-owners.


As for what brand is best, the tech is getting better and better as time goes by, so it’s likely to be build date rather than brand that will determine the efficiency of the vehicle in question. That said, car owners can’t hold off forever when it comes to upgrading, so for the moment, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is a logical next car. We’re particularly impressed by the current-model Toyota Camry which is good value to buy, a classy driving experience and offers hybrid fuel efficiency in the right environment. Such cars will be a lot of Australian families’ first hybrid, and rightly so.

Why is the coolant system on my 2004 BMW 525i losing pressure?

Did you replace the coolant tank because the vehicle was losing coolant in the first place? If so, there’s a chance that even though the coolant tank is brand new, there could be a leak from somewhere else in the system (that’s allowing the system to lose pressure, as you’ve identified). Possibilities include the radiator itself or even a head gasket, not to mention any one of a number of plastic fittings that control the flow of coolant to the engine and the car’s heating system. But don’t rule out the simple stuff, either; even the humble radiator cap or loose hose-clamp can allow pressure to leak from a cooling system.

The problem with a lot of imported cars is that they tend to use lots of plastic components in their plumbing systems. As they age (and at 16 years old, your car is hardly in the first flush of youth) these fittings and couples become brittle and can begin to leak or even fall apart altogether. In colder climates, these plastic bits and pieces don’t present the same problems to the same degree, but here in Australia, our hot-climate heat-cycles are not appreciated by some makes and models. Combine that with a modern, pressurised cooling system, and you have yourself a problem.

BMW 535 2011: Using fuel additives

I can’t see any reason for using a fuel additive, particularly as you use high-octane fuel.

BMW 5-Series 2006: Where is the oil tank located?

Oil is added through the cap on the rocker cover on top of the engine, fuel is added through the filler cap on the right rear quarter panel. If in doubt check the owner's manual.

What vehicle will be best to use for a chauffeur business?

That’s a tough one given that the traditional chauffeur cars are no longer made. If you are aiming at business type clients and want to impress them consider a BMW 5-Series or a Mercedes-Benz E-class.

Will the BMW E39 525i become a future classic?

I doubt the E39 will ever be considered a classic, particularly a run-of-the-mill model like the 525i. If I were to buy one I would buy the six-cylinder.

Used BMW running costs

The idea of buying an older BMW can be attractive, but it needs to be done with caution. A 10-year-old or older car will typically have done lots of kilometres - expect 200,000 km or more on average - and that means it's in the twilight of its useful and reliable life. You should anticipate more regular repairs as a result. If you use a BMW dealer you’ll pay heaps for servicing and parts, but if you use an independent BMW specialist mechanic you shouldn’t pay any more than you would for any other brand of car.

Can you help me choose between BMW and Volvo?

Both are 5-star rated by ANCAP, both have similar levels of tech features, but the Volvo S60 diesel is marginally better on fuel. As for look, that's in the eye of the beholder.

Used BMW 5 Series review: 2000-2016
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2000, 2003, 2010 and 2015 BMW 5 Series sedan and wagon as a used buy.
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Used BMW 5 Series review: 2003-2010
Graham Smith reviews the BMW 5 Series from 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a used buy.
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Disclaimer: You acknowledge and agree that all answers are provided as a general guide only and should not be relied upon as bespoke advice. Carsguide is not liable for the accuracy of any information provided in the answers.
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