BMW 3 Series Maintenance Guides - Common BMW 3 Series Repair Questions Answered

The BMW 3 Series is a hugely popular compact executive car manufactured by German automotive giants BMW. Since its conception in 1975, the 3 Series has had a number of adaptations to continue competing with the automotive world's best, which it remains to be a part of.

To help drivers, we have compiled the most commonly asked questions concerning the 3 Series across the web in this one guide.

Car Maintenance Guides>BMW 3 Series Maintenance Guide

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BMW 3 Series Tyre Pressure

What is the recommended tyre pressure of a BMW 3 Series?

For the BMW 3 series the recommended tyre pressure sits between 30 and 35 PSI. Opting for the higher value of 35 makes for better fuel economy, whereas 30 PSI is a smoother ride.

Recommended tyre pressure can vary slightly depending on the exact make and model of your car. Therefore, for the most accurate reading to reference check your car owner’s manual or the tyre placard stuck on the interior of your driver’s door.

How to check BMW 3 Series tyre pressure?

Checking the tyre pressure of vehicle is a part of a car servicing (full, MOT and Interim) but can also be completed at home with the purchase of a handheld pressure gauge.

These only cost around a tenner and can save you a lot of pennies in the long run and ensure the safety of your car too!

What should I do once I see a tyre pressure warning?

If the tyre pressure warning light illuminates on the dashboard of your BMW 3 Series, it can be an indication of the wrong tyre pressure or indeed something more serious such as a slow or serious puncture.

The first point of call is to check the BMW 3 Series tyre pressure, either at a petrol station point or with an aforementioned handheld pressure gauge. Top up if needed and the light should go out once you commence driving.

If it remains illuminated, take it to a local garage to inspect tyres for punctures

How do I reset a BMW 3 Series tyre pressure light?

Once you have checked tyre pressure and/or for punctures, the tyre pressure warning light on your dashboard should’ve gone out upon driving off again.

If it stays on, you will likely need to reset the warning light.

If your car is equipped with iDrive:

Turn ignition to ON position (engine off).

Press iDrive controller to use “i” menu.

Select SETTINGS, press iDrive controller.

Select CAR/TIRES, press iDrive controller.

You may need to switch to the top field, select TIRES:RDC, and press iDrive controller.

Start engine.

Select CONFIRM TIRE PRESSURE, press iDrive controller.

Vehicle must be driven to complete relearn.

If your car does not have iDrive:

Start engine.

Hold turn signal lever in the up or down position until TPMS telltale and RESET are displayed.

Press button at end of turn signal lever.

Press and hold button at end of turn signal lever until a check appears after RESET.

Vehicle must be driven to complete relearn.


BMW 3 Series Warning Lights

What do the warning lights mean on a BMW 3 Series?

The warning lights in your BMW 3 Series are designed and operate to make your vehicle safer to use; for this car they operate on a traffic lights system. If the illuminated light is red you are instructed to pull over as soon as is safe to do and phone for assistance.

A yellow or amber light is an indication that action is required, therefore you should book in with a garage for the service related to the illuminated warning light (e.g. if it is your engine management light which is amber, quote engine problems in your job post form).

Green warning lights thus are simply a heads up and do not necessitate immediate action, although you are advised to check out the corresponding part to ensure all is well.

What should I do when my BMW 3 Series Anti-Lock Braking System light illuminates?

If this light comes on, avoid abrupt braking and consider a longer braking distance to ensure safety. It is likely that your braking force reinforcement is faulty, thus it is recommended that you book in for a brake check urgently.

How to reset a BMW 3 Series oil warning light?

If the oil indicator light comes on and shines yellow, it usually means that the oil level is low. In this instance, check your oil levels immediately topping up if you can yourself or booking in with a professional if you are unsure.

If the oil warning light shines red, the issue is more extensive and is likely to do with your pressure sensor or engine. Therefore, we wold recommend that you get the component assessed by a garage. 

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BMW 3 Series Service Intervals

When are BMW 3 Series service intervals?

BMW recommends that regardless of your mileage, you should at the very least have a full service and oil change once a year. 

You should also have your brake fluid checked and replenished at the 30,000-mile interval.

In between annual services, an interim service is also recommended at the six month mark for cars that undertake a high mileage. 


BMW 3 Series Oil

What the best oil to use for a BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is available both as a petrol and diesel model, with the recommended engine oil for the petrol version being 5W30 synthetic and 5W40 synthetic for the diesel model.

What is the oil capacity for a BMW 3 Series?

The oil capacity for your BMW 3 Series is dependent upon the specific model and year of your vehicle, hence you should consult your car owner’s manual to find out the exact quantity needed. However, the majority of 3 Series cars have an oil capacity which sits between 4 and 5 litres.

What to do if a BMW 3 Series leaks oil?

An oil leak in your BMW can be hard to diagnosis, therefore the cause too is not easy to determine. For that reason, we would always recommend taking your car to a garage as they will be able to do all this for you and repair the leak ASAP which is imperative to prevent further damage from occurring to your vehicle. 


BMW 3 Series Battery

What are the signs that I need a new battery?

Car battery’s typically have a lifespan of 3-5 years; however, we sometimes cannot prevent them from dying prematurely.

What we can do is pre-empt battery failure or that its on its way out, to carry out the replacement efficiently before any further problems occur.

The signs of a dying battery include:

A slower starting engine

Dimmer lights

Illumination of the Check Engine Warning Light on your dashboard

A misshapen or swollen battery case

Corroded battery connectors

A bad rotten eggs smell when the bonnet is open

What to do if a BMW 3 Series battery dies?

If you surmise your battery has died and a jumpstart will not resuscitate it, you will require a battery replacement from a local BMW specialist garage.

The average cost of battery replacement for the BMW 3 Series is £193.55. 

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