CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Car falling apart!

,

I have a 2000 BMW 328 that is not doing well. I took it in because the ABS light was coming on intermittently. They said the problem was the tires. One had a gash. After buying all new tires, I still have the problem. They want to charge $800 for a pressure switch or $2000 if it’s broken. He says if it’s intermittent I can wait on it, but the light’s been on all day today. This is after I got all new tires and a new valve cover and gasket and a windshield washer pump. I was waiting to get the power steering fluid leak fixed since it’s rarely been a problem and I also have an oil pan gasket leak he said I could wait on. To make matters worse, today both of my front windows won’t go down. I don’t know anything about cars. My father used to help me with these things and he died last year. I would really appreciate any advice. Maybe I need to go somewhere less expensive? He came down on the tire prices after I got a lower quote elsewhere.

Are you sure it’s the ABS light and not the TPMS light? This sounds like TPMS symptoms.

ABS is Antilock Braking System.
TPMS is Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Are there any other symptoms?

You should reconsider postponing this. If that seal (it’s generally one of the seals on the rack) hemorrhages, and I’ve had it happen to me many years ago, your steering will suddenly get very, very hard. It could easily cause an accident.

Can you describe this leak? Generally it’s seepage around the pan gasket. On some cars changing the gasket can be readily done, on others it requires lifting the engine and/or removing undercarriage crossmembers.

Well, now you know not to buy used BMW’s. My daughter did…also a money pit.

;-]

2 Likes

As were my son’s BMWs. :hushed:

1 Like

I tend to agree with you

That said . . . where in OP’s post did he say he recently bought this 17 year old BMW?

For all we know, he might be the original owner

Or even she…(samantha)…

1 Like

Good point. Perhaps the OP could clarify for us?
I too got the impression that it was new to her, but in reading the post again I can now see that it may not be.

1 Like

If you were at a BMW dealer the answer is yes. I think Mr. Mountainbike is correct and it was your Tire pressure light. You can drive with it on with no problem, you should check your tires pressure monthly anyway. The windows do need to work so at least have that done. Then I would bail and trade this thing off because you will throwing money at it by the handful.

IMHO a wise recommendation.

1 Like

The ABS light means you no longer have Antilock Brake System function. Us oldsters grew up without it and knew to pump the brakes to prevent wheel lockup and skidding. ABS does the pumping for you. While the light is on, drive a bit more defensively so as to avoid needing to panic stop. I assume the brakes otherwise feel OK.

There’s a customer interest bulletin number 34-08-01 re abs faults that turn the light on. You might want to ask about that. Try googling that number to see if you can find the whole write-up.

"DSC module individually senses the wheel speeds of each wheel. For ABS to activate, the DSC module senses one wheel moving at a slower rate than the other three wheels.

The problem may be caused by a sensor wiring fault, a contamination fault, a speed sensor fault, or a pulse wheel fault."

I presume the reason they mentioned the tires is b/c if one has a low or low pressure or misshapen it might measure as rotating at a different speed as the others. At least you got good tires now anyway. If all the tire pressures measure ok and are new, then the ABS problem is not likely related to the tire pressure switch. Suggest to focus on the ABS problem per the bulletin’s procedure, not the tire pressures.

Windows that won’t go down. I presuming you have those hi-tech electric power windows. With complexity comes less reliability. First thing to do is look for a wiring harness from the body of the car to the doors affected. The insulation chaffing at that location as the door opens and closes is a frequent cause of this problem. Often the exposed wire shorts the circuit to the chassis ground and blows a fuse, so check the fuses too.

One good thing about your 328, the water pump is only a 1.8 hour job. Unlike other versions where it is over 4 hours.

You guys are so great! I am the original owner. It’s been a great car except for a cracked head that I got BMW to pay for most of years ago.

He said it was the ABS light. I just went in the car to see it and it’s turned off again. But in the book, it does look like it’s the spot for the DSC. I haven’t seen the light for the TPMS.

I went in after the tires got replaced and told him about the light. They hooked up the car to something and told me that might fix the problem, but to let them know if the light came back on. It did within a minute of leaving them. Maybe he reset it?

I don’t know how to describe the oil pan gasket leak. He told me I have one, I didn’t know.

I googled the BMW customer interest bulletin 34-08-01 but didn’t get anything about it.

I love my car.

I really appreciate your help.

You should consider having the window problem repaired, this is a major inconvenience.

The oil leaks don’t need to be repaired if they don’t bother you, an 18 year old car does not need to be perfect. If the oil loss is within reason and you can add oil when needed this can wait ten years. Generally oil leaks are an ounces per year type of concern and there shouldn’t be a fear of running out of oil as long as you check the oil between oil changes.

ABS problem occur on all makes of vehicles, not just BMWs. Last month I had a Lexus ES300 with a hydraulic brake actuator failure, it seemed that I wouldn’t have to repair the car, we have no ice here, no need for ABS but the owner wanted the ABS system fixed.

I have an appointment for the windows this week.

That’s great about the oil leak.

Do you just need ABS with ice? We have ice at most once a year.

I really appreciate your help

It helps but no, you don’t need it.

Considering that this is a 17 year old car, none of the things you mentioned replacing or repairing are at all unusual. If you’ve gotten this far with the BMW without a series of small to expensive to very expensive repairs, you are lucky. Things wear out. The older it gets the more things there are. From this point on, you will need a good mechanic, money set aside and the ability to take the bus or a 2nd car to drive while yours is being fixed. This is the reality of driving a 17 year old car. You might want to trade it for a 2-4 year old car.

Using Kelly Blue Book your vehicle seems to have a value of about $3000.00 and a trade in of $1800.00. Of course those can be high or low depending where you are. Use those numbers to decide just how much you want to spend on it.

I found it by googling “bmw 34 08 01” which directed me to a Mitchell’s site, but you may have to pay a fee to view it there. A BMW dealership shop will probably print it out for you gratis.

If you like it, great but can be expensive. My advice to my son when he bought his BMW was to trade before the warranty ran out. He didn’t and his first repair bill was over $2000 for injector service and software. He traded and bought the 100,000 mile warranty this time. While not a big fan of extended warranties, there are some circumstances. If I ever buy that Fiat Jeep, I’ll probably do the same.

You guys have been a huge help. I really appreciate it.

turn on the ignition and look at dash. ALL the lights will illuminate. for 10sec? than most go out. you can than verify which light it is using the owners manual. my wife was confused by the low tire pressure light. she always said it was the engine light. which i dont like to hear about. is it red or amber? amber is not so serious