Common Problems with BMW E90 (3 Series Sedan)

BMW E90 3-Series is one of the best-selling BMW models of all time. This car is reliable, well-built, powerful, luxurious, comfortable, and practical. But like most BMWs, it also has several issues that interested buyers should know about. But what are some of the common issues with the BMW E90 3-Series sedan?

BMW E90 3-Series sedan has several issues that an interested buyer should be ready to face in the future. Some of these problems are oil leaks, faulty high-pressure pump, electric water pump problems, faulty steering wheel lock, valve cover gasket leak, rattling noises on older cars, and much more.

The BMW E90 3-Series has several body types, including the E90 for the sedan, E91 for the sport wagon, E92 for the coupe, and E93for the convertible. Even though all of these body types have their issues, most of them experience similar challenges.

What are the common problems with the BMW E90?

Oil leaks

This is not a problem with the BMW E90 series, but as well as all BMWs. In the E90 Series, oil leaks because of worn-out gaskets. The E90 comes with two gaskets. The first gasket is located between the oil filter housing and engine block, while the second gasket is located between the housing and oil cooler.

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After driving the E90 for some time, the gaskets become hard and fragile, causing oil leakage. However, you can rectify this issue by replacing the worn-out gaskets with new ones.

Electric water pump problems

This problem usually occurs on BMW E90 models with lots of miles. Since the E90 comes with a six-cylinder engine, it uses an electric coolant pump, whose speed relies on the engine temperature and load. After some time, the electric motor that runs the coolant pump can fail, making the engine overheat.

To fix this issue, you will have to change the worn-out electric water pump to a new one.

Faulty high-pressure pump

In some cases, the high-pressure pump can develop issues and make the engine stall. This is common on turbocharged engines as they use a high-pressure fuel injection system. This system normally has two faults, which include a high-pressure pump that leads to a lack of power, strong hesitation, and poor acceleration.

Another fault is clogged fuel injectors that occurs because of poor quality fuel. Besides, a faulty high-pressure pump can cause the oil to leak internally, even though this is not very common.

Faulty VANOS Solenoids

Every BMW E90 engine comes with a variable valve timing, which is also referred to as VANOS. Although this issue is not common, two solenoids that operate the valve timing can start to develop issues brought about by oil sludging. As a result, it leads to running problems, check engine light coming on, and lack of low-end torque.

Luckily, you don’t have to replace the VANOS Solenoids as cleaning is enough to restore the solenoids.

Valve cover gasket leak

Another common issue that you’re likely to experience while owning the BMW E90 is a faulty valve cover gasket. After being used for over a long time, the Valve cover gasket may wear out, causing oil to leak. This is usually characterized by a strong burning smell in the car’s cabin.

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Loose DISA Valve Flaps

Loose DISA valve flaps are only common on BMW E90 models with the N52 engine, such as the 325i, 328i, and 330i engines. This engine comes with two DISA flaps that change the intake manifold form. After being used for some time, these flaps can become loose and fail to seal properly. If they are not replaced, they can break off and cause massive engine damage.

Rattling noises

Many BMW E90 owners have also reported issues with rattling noises. This usually starts happening after they cover over 4,000 miles. One of the main causes of rattling noises is the extreme wear and tear between the VANOS shaft and cam gear.

Faulty steering wheel lock

Some E90 owners have reported that the key won’t turn as they try starting the car. Instead, the dashboard illuminates the steering lock symbol. This is usually caused by a bad steering column or computer issues.


What is the most reliable BMW E90 model?

The most reliable BMW E90 model is the 2009 BMW E90 328i model. This car had fewer problems than other BMWs. This is because it was equipped with the N52, which had fewer issues and is still one of the most reliable BMW engines ever.

What is the least reliable BMW E90 model?

Even though the entire line of the E90 3-Series is made up of some of the most reliable BMW models of all time, the E90 335i is the least reliable model. This is because users registered more issues than other BMW E90 models. Overall, it is still an excellent car with excellent features.

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What is the high mileage for the BMW E90?

Being one of the most reliable BMW models of all time, the BMW E90 can put on over 200,000 miles if maintained properly. However, any BMW with over 250,000 miles is considered to have high mileage and the BMW E90 is not an exception.

Is BMW E90 expensive to maintain?

BMW E90 may be more reliable than most BMW models, but the cost of maintenance is still high. However, when compared to other BMWs, the E90 is quite cheaper to maintain. The problem is that most of the issues that the BMW E90 faces are cumbersome to deal with, making the overall repair and maintenance cost to be high.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a reliable BMW series, the BMW E90 is the best choice. Besides, the car is also comfortable, powerful, practical, and performs outstandingly. However, it also comes with some common issues such as oil leaks, faulty high-pressure pumps, loose DISA valve flaps, rattling noise, and much more.

When compared to other BMW models, the BMW E90 reports fewer issues, making it one of the most reliable BMW sedans on the market. Nonetheless, fixing the common issues can be quite cumbersome and costly depending on where it is located. Overall, the E90 is nice and dependable.

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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.

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