Are you seeing the dreaded “Drivetrain Malfunction” error message on your BMW dashboard? This error message can be alarming, but understanding what it means and how to fix it can help. So, what exactly is the BMW drivetrain malfunction error?
The BMW drivetrain malfunction error is caused by a problem with the engine or transmission. When the car’s ECU detects a problem, it puts the vehicle into safety mode. This protects both the engine and transmission from damage. You may notice the car shaking, rougher ride, even cutting power completely.
As a BMW owner, you know that they can provide an unbeatable driving experience. But at some point in time, even your beloved BMW may hit a roadblock and give you an error message related to its drivetrain.
But don’t panic, understanding what this warning means is the first step towards getting back on road quickly.
In this guide, we’ll explain what the drivetrain malfunction is exactly. Then we’ll touch on when it’s safe to drive with this error message. And finally, what you need to do if this error message appears and won’t go away. Let’s get into this!
What Is a Drivetrain Malfunction BMW Error Message?
A drivetrain malfunction is an error code that is triggered when the computer detects a problem with the powertrain components of your vehicle.
The powertrain consists of all the parts that help your car move — the engine, transmission, and other components related to generating and transferring power.
When one or more of these components fail to work as intended, a drivetrain malfunction error code can be triggered by your car’s onboard computer.
In fact, you may see this error message pop-up on your dash: “Drivetrain Malfunction: Drive moderately. Maximum drivetrain output not available. Consult service center”
When this happens, the car’s computer switches into safety mode to prevent from any further damage.
Can I Drive my BMW With a Drivetrain Malfunction?
Yes it’s safe to drive the car, but for only a very short distance. Because the car’s onboard computer has switched into safety mode – protecting the drivetrain from costly damage.
However keep in mind, a drivetrain malfunction doesn’t always result in the immediate break down of the car. So you may be able to continue to drive for several miles.
However, it’s recommended you get to a BMW service center as soon as possible.
What Should You Do If You See This Error Message?
Turn off the engine and let it sit for 5 to 10 mins. This will reset the drivetrain malfunction error code temporarily. Then after a few minutes, restart your car and drive back home or to a BMW service center.
If the car fails to restart, give it a few more minutes then try again.
Is Drivetrain Malfunction Serious?
Not necessarily. In most cases, this error code is a result of low quality fuel. Filling up with a quality fuel may resolve the problem.
But the BMW drivetrain malfunction error can also be an indication of a more serious issue. For example, problems with the ignition or catalytic converter.
However, if you see this error code on your dashboard display, it’s important to take action as soon as possible.
Have a qualified mechanic scan the vehicle’s computer for trouble codes. The sooner you diagnosis a drivetrain malfunction, the better.
Why Does It Happen in BMWs?
BMW vehicles are equipped with advanced onboard computers that monitor all aspects of performance. If the system detects any issues with the engine, transmission, or emission system, it will trigger a drivetrain malfunction error code.
While the drivetrain malfunction error may seem inconvenient, it’s designed to protect your BMW from costly damage.
What are the Common Causes For The Drivetrain Malfunction BMW Error?
Common causes for this error code include: damaged fuel injectors, faulty spark plugs, faulty fuel pump, faulty ignition coil, clogged catalytic converter, or low quality fuel.
It’s possible you may get several error messages on the dashboard at once.
As an example, you may also see a drivetrain malfunction error with a transmission fault warning light, the brake system drive moderately message, or a chassis stabilization error.
But no need to panic, seeing multiple error messages along with the drivetrain malfunction will help the mechanic pinpoint the root of the issue much faster.
What Are The Common Symptoms of a Drivetrain Malfunction Error?
Your BMW might display a variety of symptoms when the drivetrain malfunction error message appears. From reduced engine power, shaking or vibrations, to even occasional smoke from the exhaust.
The most common symptoms BMW vehicle owners report are:
- “Drivetrain malfunction” error message on dashboard screen
- Noticeable shaking or vibration
- Engine warning light is illuminated
- Reduced engine power while accelerating
- Rough idle
- Transmission stuck in one gear
- Car will not restart
- Smoke from the exhaust
Anyone of these symptoms can be a sign that something isn’t right with your BMW.
Can Low Fuel Cause Drivetrain Malfunction?
Yes, low fuel pressure will result in the loss of power – triggering the drivetrain malfunction error code.
This can be the result of dirty or bad fuel injectors, overheated fuel pump, or a bad fuel pump.
Is Drivetrain Malfunction Covered Under BMW Warranty?
Generally yes, as long as your BMW is still under the 4 yr/50,000 mile powertrain warranty.
The standard BMW powertrain warranty covers problems with the engine and transmission. However, this warranty typically does not cover fuel system or wiring problems.
In any case, check your BMW owners manual for complete powertrain coverage.
Final Thoughts: Drivetrain Malfunction BMW
The “Drivetrain Malfunction” error code is an indication that something has gone wrong with one or more components within your car’s powertrain system.
If you suddenly see this error message pop-up on your BMW dashboard, pull off to a safe spot and turn the car off for 5-10 minutes. This will reset the error code temporarily so that you can get the vehicle safety home.
And remember, it’s best to get your BMW to the nearest service center for a check-up as soon as possible.
Have you experienced any drivetrain malfunctions with your BMW? Let us know in the comments below.
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Christopher is an internet technology expert and mechanical engineer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. He loves nothing more than taking something apart and putting it back together again. Email me direct, or learn more about us