Common Problems with BMW F11

The BMW F11 5-Series is a wagon or touring, making it the perfect car for a family. It is very practical, efficient, spacious, and performs outstandingly. Nonetheless, if you intend to invest in the BMW F11 touring, you should begin by finding out some of the common problems that users experience.

Common problems of the BMW F11 touring are vacuum pump failure, timing chain problems, faulty airbags, loss of power, steering wheel noises, VANOS oil leak, engine overheating, malfunction indicator light coming on, and much more.

Note that some of the highlighted problems were serious and many cars were recalled and the issues rectified. So, if you intend to buy a used BMW F11 model, ensure that the underlying issues were handled or don’t waste your money. Despite the recalls, the BMW F11 is still a reliable car as most of the issues were settled.

What are the common problems with the BMW F11?

Vacuum pump failure

Vacuum pump failure affected the BMW F11 cars produced between 1 November 2012 and 31 July 2013. The vacuum pump failed because of a lack of lubrication. Due to this, the power brake boost unit wouldn’t be supplied with enough vacuum force; hence, reducing the effectiveness of the brake assistance function.

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BMW had to recall these vehicles as they posed a hazard to motorists.

VANOS oil leak

VANOS oil leak affected F11 cars with N51, N52, and N55 engines that were also manufactured between 1st October 2009 and 30th April 2012. The bolted connection on the housing of the variable valve timing unit adjustments units in these cars could become loose. If this happened, then the units could develop an internal oil link.

As a result, it could no longer adjust fast enough due because of the reduced oil pressure. In the end, the warning light could turn on and warn the driver. These cars were also recalled and the problem fixed.

Faulty airbags

Another common problem that BMW F11 users underwent was faulty Takata driver’s airbags. This issue was experienced by F11 models made between 2013 and 2017. The problem was that the propellant wafers in the airbags could absorb moisture over time.

So, if the airbags were applied, excessive internal pressure could make the metal inflator housing to rapture and metallic pieces could be projected towards the passengers and cause a hazardous risk.

Engine overheating

The BMW F11 5-Series touring also experiences engine overheating. If your car’s engine is overheating, check the thermostat and see if it has a problem. A faulty thermostat and fuel pump are likely to make the engine overheat. Replace them if they are damaged.

Timing chain issues

This is a common problem in BMW vehicles. So, it’s not a coincidence that the BMW F11 also has this problem. However, this problem only affected BMW F11 models with the N47 engine made between 2007 and 2011. The excessively sharp teeth of the crankshaft sprocket could break or destroy the timing chain.

The solution was to replace this timing chain before it could break and cause grievous effects. These cars were also recalled.

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Rattling noise from the engine

BMW F11 535i touring models made from September 2009 to August 2011 with the N55 engine had this particular problem. BMW discovered faulty assembled bolts that produced the rattling noise, loss of engine power, and several faults kept in the DME. They had to replace the faulty VANOS gear assembly.

Steering wheel noises

If you’re driving at low speeds as you turn the steering wheel from one side to another and hear the steering wheel making some knocking noise, this is a sign of lack of lubrication. Make sure to lubricate the steering rack to get rid of the problem. 

Failure of rear window wiper

Another problem that all F11 5-Series touring vehicles face is the failing rear wiper spindle. This problem is caused by the rear wipers not functioning accordingly. The best way to tackle this issue is to replace the damaged spindle.

The malfunction indicator light turns on

Malfunction indicator light used to turn even when there is no problem on the BMW F11 535i touring that was manufactured before July 2014. Later on, BMW discovered that the car’s DME software was to be re-programmed with the current version of ISTA/P.


Is BMW F11 reliable?

The BMW F11 5-Series Touring wagon may not be the most reliable BMW series on the market, but it has average reliability. This is better than the BMW X5 or X6 models, which have below-average reliability. But since the cost of spare parts and service is high, this car is not so reliable when compared to its rivals.

What is the high mileage on the BMW F11?

The high mileage on BMW F11 is around 200k miles. Nonetheless, this depends on how the car is well-maintained. If the car is kept under good care, then even 250,000 miles is not a big deal. But if you want to buy a used BMW F11, consider one with less than 100k miles to be on the safe side.

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Is BMW F11 expensive to maintain?

Yes, the BMW F11 is quite expensive to maintain. It is estimated that a BMW F11 owner will spend at least $1,200 to maintain their car annually. This is well above the industry average of $790 a year. Additionally, BMW parts are very costly, meaning that the cost can even go up if the issue is serious.

After how long does the BMW F11 start to experience problems?

The BMW F11 touring is a reliable car. However, as it gets older, more issues also come up. The BMW F11 starts to experience serious issues when it hits over 100,000 miles. With proper care and maintenance, the BMW F11 may start to have these problems after hitting over 150k miles.


Now that you know which problems to expect on the BMW F11 touring, you can go ahead and acquire the car or take good care of it if you already have it. No matter the number of issues that your car experiences, the key to prolonging a vehicle’s lifespan are through proper care and maintenance. Also, good driving habits are essential.

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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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