Car won't move until warmed up

2004 BMW 325i

So I’m a new BMW owner, young dude trying to learn about cars so bear with me…

The previous owners have told me that the car needs about 2-3 minutes to warm up before being able to drive properly. After owning the car for about 2 months, I’ve come to conclude that the car won’t drive until the temperature meter is in the middle, even then when putting the car into drive it’ll rev the engine and not move for a moment, but then come to function normally. It takes about 15-20 minutes having the car idle for the temperature gauge to reach the middle. If anything it’s just a bit of an annoyance having to wait so long before driving the car. Also, the car goes in reverse fine regardless of where the temperature gauge is, it’s only when it’s in drive that the temperature gauge must be in the middle for the car to move, otherwise the engine just revs up and the car stands still.

I have a friend who’s a BMW mechanic and he told me that the car is just old and just needs time to warm up before it can go. Though part of me is satisfied with such an answer, still, if there was any way of knowing how to fix this it would be nice to know/just want to know more about me car.

Sorry this was long to read, just wanted to be thorough in explanation. Any advice appreciated!

TL;DR - 2004 BMW 325i won’t drive unless temperature gauge is in the middle. Engine just revs if the needle is anywhere below the middle.

Edit: Apparently in becoming a new member I need acivity to be observed before I can reply to stuff?.. so I’ll go with an edit.
Just wanted to say thanks to all you guys and the advice given, and it will definitely be taken. Seriously appreciate it as I’m still trying to figure this stuff out.
Side note: Car was bought from a family friend so that we all could have our own car as our work schedules conflict so much.
Again, appreciate all the advice! :slight_smile:

I see a replacement transmission in your future.



Yup, agree, trans problems. I assume this is an automatic and not a manual…


You might get lucky with a trans fluid and filter service, and check the trans fluid for level and color.


Absolute nonsense. I understand the appeal of something like this BMW 325 but you should of passed when the previous owner said it needed to warm up. If you can have a real mechanic look at it and it going to cost a lot of money you have a choice of repair or bail. Either way you are going to loose.


Loose is a matter of opinion, It may cost some money, but some people just love a BMW for whatever reason, and are willing to put up with expensive repairs. You know @VOLVO_V70 You are like Oscar the grouch on sesame street, a majority of your comments are not constructive,

If your friend really said that, I suggest that you use a different mechanic. As others have said, you have a transmission that’s probably on its last legs, but you should still get an accurate diagnosis and estimate at this point.

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Agree, crystal ball sees a transmission in your future. The only time I’ve ever had that was when the transmission was nearing the end. And a trans on a BMW might be very expensive. Might try a change of fluid or an additive but the seals aren’t sealing until the fluid is warmed up I would guess.

Edit: Yeah my son has had two BMWs now and no way he would wait 5 seconds without driving away, so this is not normal.

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I expect you already know that the vast majority of BMW owners – as well the owners of all brands of cars – are able to start the engine and drive a way immediately. The need for the 20 minute warm up indicates you’ve got a serious problem there. Presuming your car is equipped with an automatic transmission, good idea as posted above to start w/a proper transmission service. If it helps but doesn’t solve the problem, do another one after 100 miles of driving.

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Not much of a “BMW mechanic,” is he?

Sounds like the OP is young person who perhaps jumped in a little too soon. Hopefully this is a good lesson. Unfortunately, my best lessons in life have been ones where I’ve made mistakes (big and little), but these stick better in my mind.

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He may be a friend, But he is NO mechanic. Find a real mechanic.


Yes it is an automatic

Needs a transmission and your friend is NOT a BMW mechanic. Or any kind of mechanic at all because this scenario applies to any make of car.

I wonder how much garbage goes on around that guy as to customer repairs.