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Common problems with the BMW 1 Series

Charlotte Phillips, 1 month ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
BMW 1 Series (2)

WhoCanFixMyCar discusses some of the common problems drivers have reported with the BMW 1 Series, and how much it can cost on average to repair them.

Launched in 2004, the 1 Series is a collection of subcompact executive cars, currently in its third generation from the popular German automaker. First manufactured using rear-wheel drive for the first two generations and introducing an all-wheel drive option in 2012, the BMW 1 Series has evolved since 2019 to a front-wheel drive layout.

However, drivers have also noted some problems with the model. Some common problems with the BMW 1 Series include:

Some of these faults have resulted in BMW announcing recalls on affected 1 Series models, which you can read about in the table below.

BMW 1 Series recent recalls

BMW 1 Series ignition coil problems

BMW 1 Series turbo problems

BMW 1 Series brake problems

BMW 1 Series power steering problems

BMW 1 Series EGR valve problems

BMW 1 Series reliability


BMW 1 Series recent recalls

Affected model datesIssue
25/01/2020 - 12/03/2020Driver airbag may be damaged during activation, and fail to properly inflate
26/06/2017 - 20/07/2017Electric adjustment on front seats may have been incorrectly manufactured, which could result in the backrest failing to lock and increasing risk of injury
08/07/2016 - 17/10/2017Airbag inflation may be reduced or non-existant, increasing the risk of injury
December 2009 - November 2011The electrical system may be susceptible to failure

BMW 1 Series ignition coil problems

Drivers have reported a problem with potential ignition coil failure on the BMW 1 Series. Whilst some drivers have reported smelling petrol in the cabin of their 1 Series, you might also notice this problem with symptoms such as a loss of power, engine backfiring, and your check engine light coming on.

If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, it could be a sign that your vehicle’s ignition coil has become faulty and may require replacement. Remember - you’re dealing with high voltages here, so we always recommend seeking the assistance of a trained mechanic. The average quote for an ignition coil replacement on the BMW 1 Series is £78.55 when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.


BMW 1 Series turbo problems

There is a reported problem with the turbo on some 1 Series models. Some drivers have reported that an excessive amount of smoke comes from the engine when accelerating in this model, which can indicate issues with the turbocharger. In some cases you may be able to repair your car’s turbo, however if unrepairable, a turbo replacement can be one of the more pricey car repairs you can get.

The average quote for turbo replacement on the BMW 1 Series through WhoCanFixMyCar is £972.90.


BMW 1 Series brake problems

Another problem drivers have found with the BMW 1 Series is with the model's brakes. There is a reported issue with the seal on the brake system on the 1 Series which could ultimately cause the brakes to operate less effectively, creating some major safety concerns if you were to continue driving the vehicle.

If you take your car along to a garage or request a mobile mechanic, they will be able to tell you with ease if your brakes are not up to standard and repair them for you. The average quote for brake repairs on the BMW 1 Series is £149.86 when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series power steering problems

Drivers have also reported uneven wear on the tyres of their BMW 1 Series. The most likely cause of this problem is with issues with a faulty power steering rack, which can in turn cause the tracking of the front wheels to become unaligned. It’s really important to ensure that your tyres are correctly aligned not only to prevent abnormal or uneven wearing, but you could also be putting yourself and your passengers' safety at risk.

If you think this could be the problem, you can request a quote for power steering repairs through our network of garages. The average quote for power steering repairs on a BMW 1 Series when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar is £102.89.


BMW 1 Series EGR valve problems

Some BMW 1 Series drivers have also reported black smoke coming from the exhaust, accompanied by an acceleration surge when lightly pressing down on the acceleration pedal. When the EGR valve in your car becomes clogged with carbon you can begin to notice these symptoms, which ultimately means that you may need a replacement EGR valve, or EGR valve cleaning to resolve this issue.

The average quote for an EGR valve replacement on a BMW 1 Series is £327.67 when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar.


Is the BMW 1 Series reliable?

When comparing the 1 Series to rival models, the Mercedes A-Class and the Audi A3 are often considered to be the main competitors of the model, with the three small family cars being particularly similar in style and price margin. However, in 2022 BMW stormed well ahead of both Audi (22nd place) and Mercedes (23rd) in their Car Buyer Driver Power survey placing in 16th position, cementing the position of the automaker ahead of the competition.

The BMW 1 Series has always fared well when reviewed by the experts, with Euro NCAP giving the model a stellar five star safety rating in 2019, scoring 83% and 87% for adult and child occupant safety respectively.


Having problems with your BMW 1 Series? Here at WhoCanFixMyCar, we can help you find a trusted local garage for the best price.