The heads-up display on every vehicle tells drivers when a potential problem exists. If you have a BMW at home, you may have seen the drive moderately error appear. This malfunction warning indicates that something has happened with your transmission or engine.
Most drivers see it appear when they place their vehicle under a stressful acceleration profile. It can also come on when the weather turns cold.
Some BMW owners even report that the warning light appeared under normal driving conditions when nothing was wrong with the vehicle.
Is there a way to tell if the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem is serious or something that can be ignored?
BMW Drivetrain Malfunction Drive Moderately Problem
BMW vehicles can offer a drivetrain malfunction drive moderately error on the dashboard while driving. When this message occurs, it indicates that the car has suffered a transmission or engine problem. It often happens during steep inclines, heavy acceleration, trying to pass, or fast acceleration.
The only way to diagnose why the drivetrain malfunction warning appeared is by using a BMW scanner.
If you want a portable tool to take with you on the road, I highly recommend using the AUTOPHIX BMW diagnostic scanner tool. It can read the auto fault codes generated within your system for all models built after 1996.
With its eight-inch screen size and multiple menu options, you can enjoy an affordable tool that can deliver a full system review to discover why the warning light appeared.
When the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem appears, it means the Engine Control Module on your vehicle detected a transmission or engine issue. The diagnostic scanner tool will read the fault codes that triggered the alert, allowing you to understand if a repair is necessary.
◼️ What Are the Symptoms of a BMW Drivetrain Problem?
If you see the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem appear, there could be several symptoms you notice behind the wheel.
It is also possible for this warning light to turn on without any noticeable symptoms on display from your BMW.
When you see the drivetrain malfunction error message or alert appear, here are the most common issues you’ll see while on the road.
- Smoke starts coming out of the exhaust.
- The vehicle begins to shake more than it typically does while driving it.
- The engine dies or cuts off when placed in gear (drive) or while idling.
- Idling for the vehicle is rougher than usual.
- The transmission gets stuck in the gear while going up a steep incline.
- You cannot get the car to start.
- There isn’t enough power to pass a vehicle on the highway.
Once you start experiencing the symptoms or see the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem develop, the transmission might go into a safe mode where it no longer changes gears. That means you’ll be limping home.
What Can I Do with a BMW Drivetrain Problem?
When you experience a BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem, you can take a few essential steps to restore your vehicle’s functionality.
Before you attempt any of these techniques, please ensure that your vehicle is in a safe location. Try to pull over to the shoulder if you are on the highway and turn on the emergency blinkers.
If you are in your driveway or on a hill, take safety precautions to prevent the vehicle from rolling unexpectedly.
Once you know that everything is safe, you can attempt to use these techniques to address the warning light or message you’ve experienced.
◼️ Restart the engine.
The easiest way to clear the coding fault if there isn’t anything wrong with your BMW is to restart the engine. Here are the steps to follow to have a successful experience with this restoration technique.
- Find a safe place for your BMW to be parked for a few minutes.
- Turn the ignition off and remove the key if you don’t have a push-button starter.
- Allow the vehicle to remain inactive without using the battery for at least five minutes.
- Restart the car.
In most situations, these steps will reset the BMW drivetrain malfunction. If there isn’t a problem with the vehicle, you can likely continue the trip under regular driving conditions.
◼️ Inspect the engine for potential problems.
If you continue having the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem, park the vehicle in a safe location and turn off the engine.
You’ll want to pull the hood release. It is located under the dashboard.
Step outside of the vehicle when the conditions are appropriate to do so safely. If you’re on a road or highway, wait until there is a lull in the traffic pattern so that you have space to operate. Always keep one eye on the road while managing this option.
When you get under the hood, inspect the engine for any unusual smells or a potential leak. The three most common problems that can trigger the malfunction are an oil leak, a serpentine belt problem, or a coolant distribution issue.
You can check the engine oil levels, monitor engine temperatures, and look for signs of smoke coming from the area.
◼️ Read the codes from the BMW scanner.
The codes stored in your Engine Control Module can let you know why you’ve got a BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem. You’ll need something to read the manufacturer’s fault codes for the more complicated issues that can develop with this issue.
That’s why you’ll want a full-service product like the AUTOPHIX BMW diagnostic scanner tool. If you use a generic OBD2 device, it might not give you the information needed to understand what repairs might be necessary.
These steps can help you use the scanner and understand what it is saying.
- You’ll need to connect the scanner tool to the diagnostic port underneath the dashboard.
- Turn the ignition on, but do not start your BMW’s engine.
- Turn the scanner on and select your model. If you’re using a more generic tool, you’ll need to choose “BMW” first, then the car you own.
- Read the codes from the engine and transmission model.
When you see the code, you’ll find several different variations to manage. The complete list of what is currently available is located at several motorsport websites, including this one.
You’ll need to know what chassis supports your BMW, the engine it uses, and other vital facts about the vehicle to ensure the code gets interpreted correctly.
◼️ Visit an experienced and trusted mechanic.
If you’re unsure of how to use the scanner tool, do not have one, or your car encounters severe symptoms, it is better to take it to a mechanic for a full inspection.
You should never ignore a BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem.
Whenever your car experiences reduced power or has the transmission enter its safety mode, you should not drive it unless you need to reach a safe place. Turn the engine off, call your dealership, or contact your mechanic.
The BMW requires service as soon as possible. Even if the drivetrain warning disappears, a professional diagnosis is often helpful because the issue often comes up repetitively once it starts.
Common Problems That Cause the BMW Drivetrain Malfunction
Engine misfires are the No. 1 reason why the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem appears. That’s why it occurs during times of stressful acceleration.
Although any engine can misfire without being a severe issue, it is often better to play it safe when dealing with this concern. Before replacing any parts, it also helps to read and understand the fault codes or have a conversation with your mechanic to determine the next steps for your BMW.
Here are some of the parts you can expect to potentially replace when dealing with the drivetrain problem on BMW vehicles.
1. Spark Plugs
If you have an older BMW vehicle displaying the drive moderately problem for the first time, it probably wants new spark plugs. Once they get too old to work efficiently, the warning gets triggered for you to see.
You don’t want to replace one spark plug. They should all get updated at the same time using the parts recommended by your dealership or mechanic.
I highly recommend using NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs if you need a replacement.
2. Ignition Coils
Failed ignition coils cause engine misfires. That’s why this issue is a common reason for the drive moderately problem to develop.
When you test the engine, you might get a consistent misfire on a specific cylinder. That indicates that the ignition coil for that particular one has become defective.
You can verify that this is the case by swapping the coils for another cylinder. If the scanner now says that the problem exists on the new one, you’ll know what needs to get replaced.
3. Fuel Pump
If your BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem occurs when accelerating rapidly, it could be due to a fuel pump that isn’t delivering the required pressure for that experience.
You might not get the warning under regular driving conditions. If it is only on a rapid acceleration profile, try to avoid situations where that driving behavior is necessary.
When it occurs on each hard acceleration, it’s time to replace this part.
4. Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter on some BMW vehicles can get clogged by leftover materials from the exhaust gases. Although it is technically possible that this issue could happen on any model, it’s usually the older cars that have it happen the most.
You can also experience this problem when you have a high-mileage BMW.
Since the clogging restricts the exhaust gases, the only options are to clean out the part or install a new one. In almost all circumstances, the latter choice is the one recommended by the dealership or a mechanic.
5. Fuel Quality
If you purchased low-octane fuel for your car, it might be the cause of your BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem.
Most BMWs perform better when you fill the tank with fuel that comes with a 93-octane rating or higher.
When this fuel option isn’t available, it helps to have an octane booster available to bring the rating to an appropriate level to restore your vehicle’s performance levels.
I’m a big fan of the Lucas Oil racing formula octane booster. It gives you 3-4 points on the octane scale, which means you can turn a 90-octane product into the fuel rating needed for your vehicle to operate without triggering the warning.
6. Fuel Injectors
When one of your fuel injectors gets clogged or damaged, it can cause a BMW vehicle to start driving under reduced power.
The typical recommendation is to replace all your fuel injectors simultaneously to ensure your performance remains consistent.
If all the injectors are relatively new, you might be able to get away with only replacing the faulty one.
Additional Issues That Can Cause the Drivetrain Malfunction Problem
Although the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem can cause anxiety, most causes of this warning are relatively harmless. Unless you drive an older model, turning the vehicle off and turning it back on after a few minutes will usually clear the problem.
I experienced the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem for the first time after getting the oil changed in my car.
After freaking out for a few minutes, I discovered that some oil got spilled on the engine. That ended up being the cause of the problem, so a quick clean-up was all that was necessary to clear the fault codes and get on the road.
I’ve also experienced this warning when a sensor gets unplugged when services get performed on my vehicle.
As my car got older, the BMW drivetrain malfunction drive moderately problem started appearing when the weather turned cold. The first time this issue happened, it was due to a battery problem. It’s also happened when my family uses too many devices that get plugged into the vehicle’s auxiliary outlets.
The exact wording of the warning varies between models, but the issue reflects the same problems that all BMW drivers face. When you can read the codes with a product like the AUTOPHIX BMW diagnostic scanner tool, it’s much easier to have peace of mind on the road.