Common BMW sDrive Issues and Problems

The BMW sDrive system was purposely built to offer excellent handling and durability. Unlike the xDrive system that sends power to all wheels, the sDrive system only sends power to the front or rear wheels. Despite having several advantages, the sDrive also has some setbacks.

What are some of the common BMW sDrive problems?

The common BMW sDrive issues and problems are vibrating steering wheel, electrical problems, tail light issues, a faulty coolant system, discharging batteries, door handle issues, a leaky oil filter gasket, fuel system failure, and much more.

Some of the BMW models that come with the BMW sDrive system are the BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, Z4, X1, and many others. However, some models have discontinued the sDrive system from their latest trims. For instance, the BMW X6 no longer provides the BMW X6 sDrive system. 

What are some of the common problems of the BMW sDrive?

A faulty coolant system

Most owners of BMW models with the sDrive system have complained about a faulty coolant system. The work of the coolant system is to regulate the temperature in the engine unit and ensure the car doesn’t overheat. So, when the coolant is faulty, the car will overheat.

  Common problems with BMW ix

Vibrating steering wheel

Another common problem that is usually experienced by BMW sDrive owners is strong vibrations and shaking as they turn the car or brake. This normally occurs because of a wheel misalignment or faulty thrust arm bushings. Note that fixing this issue is easy and can be done by a qualified BMW mechanic.

A leaky oil filter gasket

The oil filter gasket is one of the first parts of a car that develops issues. This is because of the gasket losses strength over prolonged use. So, when it wears out, it can no longer connect to the oil filter, leading to oil leakage. That’s why it’s vital to always change the oil filter gasket as recommended by BMW.

Electrical issues

If you own a BMW sDrive model, you should be ready to deal with electrical issues. Many owners of the BMW sDrive have complained about their cars not only developing faulty electronic windows but as well as having electrical issues.

Fuel system failure

Another major issue that BMW sDrive owners usually face is a malfunctioning fuel system. For instance, in 2016, BMW recalled over 136,00 vehicles with a high-pressure fuel pump. Even though this problem is common in BMW xDrive models, some BMW sDrive models also experience the issue.

Automatic headlights issues

Automatic headlights are an excellent addition to modern cars as they eliminate the need for the driver to turn on/off the lights when needed. However, automatic headlights on some BMW sDrive models, such as the 3-Series usually stay on even when they are not needed. This is quite a challenge as they can drain the battery and cause further issues.

Door handle issues

Door handle problems are common on the BMW 5-Series. This problem usually comes about after some time of use. The user will notice the door handle will operate as normal but nothing will happen. If this happens, you will have to visit a BMW service center for proper repair as it requires specialized tools. 

  Common Problems with BMW F11

Discharging batteries

Last but not least, another issue that BMW sDrive car owners should anticipate have is battery discharging overnight. The main culprit of the battery discharging is the automatic headlights staying on without your knowledge. Also, it can be due to accidentally leaving the doors open.


Which one is better – BMW xDrive or sDrive?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a high-performance, safe, and powerful car, the xDrive is the best option. But if you want outstanding handling and swifter acceleration, the sDrive system is the ideal choice. What’s more, the xDrive provides enhanced driving dynamics.

What is the main difference between the BMW sDrive and xDrive?

The main difference between the BMW sDrive and xDrive system is that the sDrive system is a two-wheel-drive system, while the xDrive is an all-wheel-drive system. Furthermore, while the sDrive only sends power to only one axle of the car, the xDrive system sends power to all four wheels of the car.

Why is the BMW X1 series sDrive different from other sDrive systems?

This is because the BMW X1 series comes with a front-wheel-drive system, while the other sDrive models are fitted with a rear-wheel-drive system. The advantage of having an FWD system is that it delivers exceptional traction in snow or icy roads than the RWD system.

Is sDrive good in snow?

No, the sDrive is not good in snow. But when fitted with winter tires, the BMW sDrive will still perform well, but not better than the BMW xDrive. This is because it only sends power in one set of wheels, while the BMW xDrive sends power to all four wheels.

  Common problems with BMW iDrive

Additionally, BMW models with xDrive will handle the snow and ice better because of the exceptional traction delivered. The best BMW sDrive model for snow conditions is the BMW X1. This is because it comes with a front-wheel-drive system, which has better traction than the rear-wheel-drive system in icy or snowy conditions.

Which is better – Audi’s Quattro or BMW’s xDrive?

Audi Quattro has been proven and it has been the best all-wheel-drive system on the market for a while. However, BMW has also made a few changes to its xDrive, but it’s still not better than the Quattro. The Audi Quattro system provides a more balanced all-wheel drive as it provides 50/50 torque, while BMW provides 40% in the front and 60% in the rear.


If you intend to acquire a BMW car with the sDrive system, it is vital to know both the benefits and issues you may face along the way.  Even though the BMW sDrive has many advantages, it is also nice to find out some of the problems that you might come across in the course of ownership.

Common BMW sDrive problems include a vibrating steering wheel, electrical challenges, a leaky oil filter gasket, tail light problems, a vibrating steering wheel, door handle issues, a faulty coolant system, and discharging problems. Even though the BMW sDrive has multiple issues, most of them can be handled by a certified mechanic.

What to know about BMW problems and issues.
Car weaknesses, problems, issues, errors, disadvantages and realiability.

Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

Recent Posts