How Can I Read the Fault Codes on a BMW 525?


If sold in the United States, all vehicles made after 1996 must be compliant with On-Board Diagnostic coding. This includes BMW vehicles. These codes are easy to access, provided you have the hardware to do so. OBD-II scanners are readily available at most automotive retailers. If the vehicle was put together before 1996 you may not find a device that can read older codes.

Things You'll Need

  • Diagnostic Code Reader
  • Slide the BMW's key into the ignition. Don't start the car or switch on the electrical system. Just leave the key there for later use.

  • Connect the diagnostic scan tool to the port beneath the dashboard and steering column. You may have to feel around for it, but it's a large outlet and you will not need tools to find it.

  • Turn the scanner on.

  • Turn the key in the ignition. This will boot up the BMW's diagnostic system.

  • Wait for the code to appear on the scanner. Jot the alpha-numeric code onto a scrap of paper before turning the BMW and the scanner off.

  • Copy the alpha-numeric trouble code into a search engine. You will likely get a page of results that offer definitions for that particular fault code. Write this definition down. If you seek out a professional mechanic, offering this information will save him time, as he will not have to troubleshoot the issue.

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