How do I Troubleshoot Problems in a BMW 550?


Take your BMW in for a service check right away if you see the warning light message, "Service Engine Soon," in the Control Display. This message means your car has a higher level of emissions or poisonous fumes.


Tighten the fuel filler cap on your car if you see the Control Display light up with a triangle. After a few days, you will see the light go out after tightening the cap. The On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system, a computer-based system that monitors the engine's main parts in your BMW, detects your car has fuel vapor escaping if the cap isn't on properly.


Check the oil level in your BMW by selecting "Vehicle Info," then "Vehicle Status" on the Control Display. Select "Engine Oil Level," and wait about three minutes for the status message to appear, if you have your car stopped on level ground with the engine running. The oil status will take about 5 minutes while driving your car, and 30 minutes if you already added oil and want to check the status. You will see messages appear on the Control Display with the status and the oil level pictured on the right side of the display.


Add one quart of engine oil to your BMW 550i if you check the level and see the message, "Engine oil level below minimum. Add 1 quart!" displayed. Make certain you add the oil during the next 125 miles to avoid damage to your engine.


Use only BMW High Performance Synthetic Oil or small amounts of other synthetic oils with API SM or higher specification. Never use oil additives, since they can harm your engine. API represents the American Petroleum Institute, and SM represents the highest quality and standard of oil available for vehicles. Also, use oil with a viscosity or oil flow rating of 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30, and 5W-40 SAE.


Take your BMW in for service as soon as possible if you see the message displayed, "Engine oil level too high! Have this checked." This message means you poured too much oil in your engine, which will cause engine damage. The crankshaft in your engine rotates the oil, adding air and making the oil foamy if the oil level is too high. Foamy oil is difficult to pump and will starve your car's engine.

Tips and Warnings

  • Used engine oil can cause cancer when exposed to your skin for long periods--wash your hands well with soap and water after coming in contact with engine oil, keeping it away from children.
  • Considered a sporty luxury car, the BMW 5 Series from 2004 through 2011 has earned exceptionally high ratings for its performance, reliability and comfort. The 2011 BMW 550i, for instance, has improved gas mileage compared to the 2010 model, with 17 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg on the highway, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. When you troubleshoot your BMW 550i, you will save money in repair costs and help maintain your car's value.