Drivetrain Malfunction BMW Problem: Reasons with Solutions

The drivetrain malfunction BMW problem occurs because of worn-out spark plugs, a damaged fuel pump, faulty fuel injectors, and a clogged catalytic converter.

Broken Ignition Coils Can Cause Drivetrain Malfunctions

Poor fuel quality and faulty ignition coils can also trigger the warning, and so can leaking transmission fluid. Read on for tips on resetting the warning light and protecting your BMW from poor performance.

What Are the Causes of the Drivetrain Malfunction on BMW?

The causes of the drivetrain malfunction on BMW are a damaged or clogged catalytic converter, old or faulty spark plugs, bad fuel injectors, broken ignition coils, and low-quality fuel. Engine problems such as leaks and overheating may cause failure in resetting the drivetrain malfunction message.

– Worn-out Spark Plugs

Spark plugs supply the electrical power needed to ignite the air and fuel mixture and start the engine. The spark plugs’ performance declines when they get old or damaged. Worn-out spark plugs cause engine misfires, a rough idle, and problems starting your vehicle.

Worn-out spark plugs also trigger the drive moderately problem, especially in older BMW models. If you have not replaced the spark plugs for a while, check their condition and replace them if worn out.

You may find that some spark plugs are in good working condition while others are broken. However, it is advisable to replace all spark plugs with a new set. Visit a BMW dealership or mechanic for premium plugs.

– A Failing Fuel Pump

The BMW drivetrain malfunction may occur when the fuel pump does not deliver the pressure required to accelerate. You can tell that the fuel pump has a delivery problem because the drive moderately warning does not appear when driving under normal conditions.

The warning will appear when you attempt to accelerate rapidly. Rapid acceleration in a BMW is fun but risky. Avoiding this driving behavior will clear the warning and ensure your safety. When you drive moderately, you’ll find that the drivetrain BMW warning disappeared.

– Failed Ignition Coils

Faulty ignition coils trigger engine misfires, leading to the BMW drivetrain malfunction problem. You can identify the broken ignition coil by testing the cylinders with a scanner. The cylinder that records consistent misfires has failed ignition coils.

Connect the suspected ignition coil to another cylinder to confirm the results. If the new cylinder also misfires, replace that ignition coil. You need a BMW mechanic to replace broken ignition coils without damaging other components.

– Clogged Catalytic Converter

Exhaust gases leave some materials in the catalytic converter. The buildup clogs the converter, restricting the flow of exhaust gases. The problem is common with older and high-mileage cars.

Causes of the Drivetrain Malfunction on BMW

Cleaning the catalytic converter is necessary to remove the buildup and restore normal functions. Some BMW mechanics recommend buying a new converter if the clog is too thick to clean without damaging the catalytic converter.

– Damaged Fuel Injectors

A damaged or clogged fuel injector causes the drive moderately issue because the BMW engine runs under reduced power. The engine may stall or misfire if you continue to use defective or clogged fuel injectors. The injectors also lead to bad fuel economy.

Cleaning the buildup with the right cleaner may solve the drivetrain problem. However, replacing all fuel injectors is advisable for optimal and consistent performance. If the injectors are new, inspect them to identify and replace the faulty injector.

Cleaning the fuel injectors should be a part of your regular car service to prevent clogging and save repair costs.

– Poor Fuel Quality

The need to save a coin when buying fuel is understandable. However, low fuel quality affects your car’s performance. The recommended fuel for a BMW should have a minimum 93-octane rating. A lower octane rating will lead to the drivetrain malfunction.

You can purchase an octane booster if high-quality fuel is unavailable in your area. The booster increases the fuel quality to the recommended level and restores your BMW to its optimal performance.

How To Fix the BMW ‘Drive Moderately’ Drive Train Malfunction?

To fix the BMW ‘drive moderately’ drive train malfunction, inspect the parts prone to triggering the message for damages. Repair any visible damages and clean any dirt or clog on the parts. In addition, check the computer system for stored error codes and fix the issues related to the codes.

– Visual Inspection

When it comes to how to fix drivetrain malfunction, BMW cars should first be inspected for obvious damages and clogs. Start with the parts that cause the drivetrain message when broken. For instance, you can inspect the fuel injectors and catalytic converter for buildup or defects.

Repair any broken parts and replace worn-out components. For instance, replacing worn-out plugs is better than repairing one faulty plug. You can also test faulty ignition coils and replace all of them, especially in an old BMW.

It is also important to inspect the drivetrain system’s components, including the drive shaft, wheels, differentials, CV joints, and transmission. Problems with any of these components will affect the power transmission from the engine to the wheels.

– Diagnose Error Codes

Modern cars have computerized systems that simplify diagnostic tests. Use an advanced diagnostic tool to check the stored error codes in the computer system or perform a BMW drivetrain malfunction software update. The system stores trouble codes from different vehicle sensors.

Diagnosing the error codes will give you ideas of the faulty parts that a visual inspection cannot reveal accurately. The codes reveal the malfunction that triggered the drivetrain malfunction error.

The BMW drivetrain malfunction alert appears on your dashboard when the powertrain control module (PCM) detects a malfunction in the transmission system or engine. A diagnostic scan helps to identify the specific problem in the engine or transmission that triggered the message.

Conventional OBD2 scanners cannot read manufacturer error codes. Purchase a BMW scanner for this process. It will be useful in the future when new warnings appear on your dashboard and help you figure out the drivetrain BMW warning meaning. Here now is the process of reading the error codes with the BMW scanner:

  1. Locate a safe parking spot to park your car and switch off the engine. Allow the engine to cool off for a few minutes.
  2. Find the diagnostic port under the car’s dashboard and insert the OBD2 scanner.
  3. Turn the ignition key without switching on the engine.
  4. Switch on the BMW scanner and select your car model.
  5. Check all the trouble codes on the transmission and engine control modules.

Fix the issues that the trouble codes signify. You may need a mechanic’s help to troubleshoot some errors and repair the faulty parts. However, some parts may be easy to replace with the BMW manual and manufacturer instructions.

– Replace Broken Parts

Your mechanic can replace a broken fuel pump, damaged fuel injectors, spark plugs, ignition coils, and catalytic converter. How much does it cost to fix drivetrain malfunction? Well, it depends on the specific part that’s damaged. It is also advisable to test the differentials, driveshaft, and transmission for malfunction when the drivetrain malfunction warning appears.

You can use a diagnostic test or a road test to identify faulty components that are responsible for the common symptoms you’re observing. For instance, rapid acceleration can enable you to identify a broken or worn-out fuel pump. You can also diagnose failing spark plugs and ignition coils by checking the starting process for delays or engine misfires.

– Restart The Engine

How to reset drivetrain malfunction BMW? Restarting the engine resets the drivetrain malfunction, allowing you to continue driving as you explore other solutions. Park your BMW safely, switch off the engine, and remove the ignition. Restart the car after five minutes or more.

The message may not reoccur if you have fixed all other issues. However, if the warning appears after restarting, you need to test battery performance. An old battery cannot support all systems and modules.

You need to replace an old battery. However, if the battery is new, check the charging system. A broken alternator does not charge the battery properly, leading to low charge. Ask your mechanic to inspect the alternator and battery terminals.

– Inspect the Engine

Car experts recommend that you inspect the engine after the physical inspection of internal components, reading error codes, and repairs. Check engine leaks if other solutions do not clear the drivetrain malfunction message.

Repairing BMW Drive Train Malfunction


Turn off the engine again and let it cool off for a few minutes. Open the hood with the switch under the dashboard and inspect the engine compartment for leaks. Check for coolant and oil smells as well.

The coolant or oil leaks may dry up before you can see the leaks. A low engine oil level can also indicate oil leaks. Switch on the engine to monitor the temperature. Switch off the engine if the oil light appears or the engine overheats.

It is advisable to allow professional mechanics to fix engine problems, especially when the problems are not obvious. However, you can add the engine oil and coolant to normal levels to drive the car safely to the mechanic’s shop.

– Test Drive

A test drive is necessary after all the repairs and resets to ensure all parts work. Test the new spark plugs and ignition coils for misfires or delayed starts, but also test how the engine performs when you accelerate and change the transmission.

In addition, rescan the computer system for any new error codes after the repairs. The previous errors should be cleared if the mechanic checked all the faults. However, do not ignore any new issues or error codes.

– Car Service

The drivetrain warning is not a cause for alarm. However, it gives you a few miles to check and fix the underlying cause. The issues could lead to a shaking engine or reduced power.

Wondering, “Drivetrain malfunction BMW, can I drive?” Do not drive the car under such conditions. Visit a mechanic immediately for a complete diagnosis. Car service is also necessary after fixing the issues at home and clearing the trouble codes.

The drivetrain error may disappear for a while and return because you did not fix all the issues. Regular service also allows your mechanic to replace old parts in time before they trigger error codes. A good BMW mechanic will inspect the parts prone to wear, clog, and leaks on your regular maintenance visits.


1. Can You Drive Safely With the BMW Drivetrain Malfunction Warning?

You can drive safely with the BMW drivetrain malfunction warning. However, an immediate check-up is necessary because the message indicates an engine problem. Allow a professional mechanic to diagnose the severity of the problem and schedule the necessary repairs. The problem may worsen when you ignore the warning.

2. What Is the Cost of Fixing the Drivetrain Malfunction on a BMW?

The cost of fixing the drivetrain malfunction on a BMW depends on the cause. Some issues require buying new car parts, while others need quick repairs. A BMW mechanic can assess the causes and recommend cost-effective solutions. The estimated repair cost is $2,000 and $150-195 for labor costs.

3. How Long Does a BMW Drivetrain Last Without Repairs?

A BMW drivetrain lasts 100,000 to 200,000 miles without repairs. Drivetrains are supposed to last for as long as the car is in use. However, regular service and maintenance are necessary to prolong its life. You can go up to 300,000 miles without repairs with proper maintenance.

4. Does Your BMW Warranty Cover the Drivetrain?

Your BMW warranty covers the drivetrain as long as your car is still within the warranty limit. Check the warranty limit or call your BMW dealer to verify that your car is still covered. Some dealers offer an extended warranty that can help you with repairs.

5. Is the BMW Drivetrain Malfunction Serious?

The BMW drivetrain malfunction is serious because of the potential causes of the drivetrain error. An immediate diagnosis is necessary to identify the cause and its severity. Ignoring the error message may lead to severe engine problems with high repair or replacement costs.

Drivetrain Malfunction BMW Problem

What Could Be the Possible Solutions for a Drivetrain Malfunction in a BMW?

A drivetrain malfunction in a BMW can be frustrating, but there are causes and solutions for transmission slipping. One possible cause could be low transmission fluid levels, which can be resolved by checking and refilling it. Another solution may involve replacing a worn-out clutch or torque converter. Seeking professional help is advisable to diagnose and address the issue accordingly.


The BMW drivetrain malfunction indicates a problem with the transmission, ignition, or engine. Remember the following when the message appears:

  • Fuel system problems such as clogged fuel injectors, a faulty fuel pump, or low-octane fuel trigger the message.
  • Broken ignition coils and worn-out spark plugs can cause drivetrain malfunctions.
  • An advanced BMW OBD2 scanner helps you to review the error codes and determine the underlying cause.
  • An engine inspection is necessary when resetting the drivetrain malfunction error message.
  • A drivetrain can last throughout the car’s service life with consistent and proper maintenance.

Professional help is advisable even with the correct diagnosis and repairs to rule out engine problems and prolong the drivetrain’s service life.

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