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Gear symbol with exclamation mark inside on BMW 325xi


When I turn on the car the symbol is not there, it only appears after I put the car into gear. Whether that is reverse or drive. I went to an auto parts store and the codes that came up were a lot, I’m not sure they are all reffering to the symbol. Could anybody help me out with tips on what could be wrong with it?


I appreciate any help, thank you!

That many codes I won’t even try. Google is your friend.


P0171 lean bank 1
P0171 lean bank 2
P0300 random misfire
P0313 misfire detected with low fuel
P1083 lean bank 1
P1085 lean bank 2
P1343 misfire cylinder 1 with fuel cut-off
P1345 misfire cylinder 2 with fuel cut-off
P1347 misfire cylinder 3 with fuel cut-off
P1349 misfire cylinder 4 with fuel cut-off
P1353 misfire cylinder 5 with fuel cut-off

Did you run out of fuel?
Is the engine running terribly?
Is the check engine light constantly on at idle?
Is the check engine light flashing at idle?

Your engine is (or was) definitely misfiring . . .

The lean codes might be related to the misfire, as the oxygen sensors will read the excess unburned oxygen that accompanies the misfire

A vacuum leak, low fuel pressure, etc. could cause those lean codes

A lean condition can even be a contributing factor to a misfire

Is the engine hissing at idle . . . in other words, are there any obvious vacuum leaks?

What model year?

What engine? . . . I assume you have a straight 6

How many miles?

Are you way overdue for spark plugs?

As for that symbol, I can’t picture it. It might be pictured in the owner’s manual, along with an explanation of what it means

I was curious so I looked up the symbol on a BMW info site. The symbol means that you are low on gas. It will go away once you have filled up. Correct me if I’m wrong but that sounds a lot like your problem. I hope you are not one of those people who believe in a computer to tell you when the fuel is low. That’s the kind of people you see on the side of the road carrying a gas can.

As for all the stored codes, as you have surmised, they are not directly related to the transmission warning light. For those codes, I would suggest dismantling the air path from the air filter to the throttle body looking for cracks. At a minimum, you will likely find that the rubber hood that fits over the throttle body opening is cracked. That is a common failure. It is not too expensive.

If you have not replaced your fuel filter in the past 50k miles, I would replace that as a routine maintenance item. Instructions are here:

You don’t mention any symptoms other than warning light and codes. Is the car running normally? At a minimum, people usually complain of harsh shifts when the transmission is in default program mode.

As for the reason why the transmission is running in default program, the most common failure is the temperature sensor in the transmission. A shop or dealership with the right computer can connect to the transmission computer. If the temperature reading from the transmission does not make sense, that is the problem. That sensor is inside the transmission, but it is not expensive to replace if you were about due for a transmission fluid and filter change anyway. Note that when BMW says that the fluid in this transmission is “permanent”, they mean “will last well past the warranty period, after that, we don’t much care what happens”. It is a good idea to replace the transmission fluid in an e46 every 100k miles. It is very pricey synthetic fluid, changing it is messy, and getting the fluid level correct is tricky. Not something you want to do in your garage.

If the temperature sensor in the transmission is OK, the next suspect would be your battery. The transmission computer does not like voltage dips and spikes, so a transmission computer crash may be the first indication of a failing battery.

It has a half tank full of gas, the engine seems to be running fine but it does shake for a few seconds after I turn it on. The check engine light is on yes. I can’t hear an obvious vaccum leak but I do hear a rattle in there. It`s a 2002 and yeah 6 and it has 160474km. And I recently changed the spark plugs. How would I be able to find the leak? Is there a certain amount of hoses that suck in air instead of push out? Thank you!

I will definitely change those since they are not expensive to replace and most likely needed. While driving, when accelarating there is no problem but when Istart to slow down the gear seems to downshift. OK most likely BMW will be my best bet for the right computer. Actually I just purchased the transmission fluid, rounded up to around $80. What would be the best way to find a problem in your battery other then taking it to an auto parts? Thank you for your help!

From what the OP says, the car hasn’t recently been driven to the point that the gas tank close to empty. Given that, and with those codes (which I presume are active codes, not just pending codes) my first suggestion is the bring all the routine maintenance suggested in the owner’s manual up to date. Air filter, fuel filter, timing belt (if you have one), spark plugs, etc. If that doesn’t fix it, I’d suspect first a problem in the fuel system, like a bad fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator. This is the kind of problem where having the scan tool specific for the car would be a big help.


The car needs to get diagnosed professionally

The fact that you have so many codes, and the fact that it’s actually running badly when first started, means there is something tangible there, which will make diagnosis a little easier

I suspect the misfire and the lean condition are related. Perhaps the same thing is causing both

Here’s a few ideas . . .

You’ve got a fuel pressure problem. The fuel pressure might not be holding after you shut off the engine. Could be a fuel pressure regulator, check valve, etc. It’s possible your actual fuel pressure is simply too low

Intake manifold gaskets leaking. As the engine warms up, the gaskets swell up slightly, and do a better job of sealing. And during that cold startup, the engine is actually misfiring, because the engine control module can’t command enough additional fuel to overcome the leak.

The most effective way to find vacuum leaks is to use an evap/smoke machine. It puts a special smoke into the system (evap, intake, exhaust, etc.) and the smoke will be visible at the point where the leak is.