3-Series (E90-E93) – MY2005-2012

BMW M3 (E92)
BMW M3 (E92) – photo by Alexandre Prévot

BMW 3-Series (E90-93)

  • E90: Sedan
  • E91: Wagon
  • E92: Coupe
  • E93: Cabriolet


Click the links below to see common problems specific to the engines available on this vehicle.


Editor’s Note: My mechanic – who is a BMW fan – calls these the “worst and most unreliable BMW ever made.”

All Vehicles

  • Cooling system in general, especially if fluid is not changed every two years
  • Automatic transmissions can fail if fluid is not changed every 60k miles (despite BMW’s claim that they have “lifetime” transmission fluid)
  • In manual transmission vehicles, the “baulk ring” can make it difficult to select reverse gear
  • Hairline cracks in wheels – appears to be caused by hitting bumps (like speed bumps) while wearing run-flat tires
  • CEL for excessive torque converter lockup slip, due to failure of a seal on the torque converter
  • Miscellaneous electrical issues

Certain Vehicles

  • Vehicles with N54 engines and 6HP19TU transmissions: May experience delayed engagement of the forward gears and a harsh jolt when accelerating from rest during the engine’s warm-up phase, attributed to bad Neutral Idle Control calibration for the Electronic Gearbox Control software (subject to TSB)
  • MY06-07: TSB – white flakes/powder appear to come from climate control vents, attributed to surface oxidation of the evaporator; evaporator must be replaced
  • MY08 and earlier vehicles with ZF automatic transmissions: TSB – transmission warning light may illuminate and log fault codes 4F81, 507B/507C, or 507D; attributed to low fluid level or internal pressure leak caused by a defective adapter seal between transmission housing and Mechatronic unit
  • MY08 and earlier vehicles with ZF automatic transmissions: Transmission fluid may seep through the Mechatronic sealing’s O-ring