Analyzing the fault codes is an excellent method to determine what’s wrong with your BMW. It is pretty helpful if your dashboard suddenly illuminates with warning lights or if you want to see how your car is doing.

There are three tools for diagnosis available for you to use: 

  • A standalone diagnostic device
  • A laptop with cables for connections
  • Your OBD2 scanner and cellphone with an app.

So, if you need an auto repair shop to do your BMW diagnostics when reading the BMW fault codes, trust us at All European Auto Repair. But for this blog post, we will tackle how to read BMW fault codes and any information regarding this topic. We’ll also share a little insight on how to use a single device to code and read the fault memory of your BMW!

Common Causes of Fault Codes

In BMW vehicles, fault codes, also known as Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), are generated by the onboard diagnostics system to indicate specific issues or malfunctions in various vehicle components. These fault codes are typically alphanumeric combinations that can be read using a diagnostic tool. 

While the exact fault codes and their meanings can vary depending on the specific BMW model and year, here are some common causes of fault codes that you might encounter:

  1. Oxygen Sensor (O2 Sensor) Issues: Faulty oxygen sensors can lead to issues with fuel mixture, exhaust emissions, and overall engine performance. It can trigger fault codes related to lean or rich fuel mixture conditions.
  2. Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) Problems: A malfunctioning MAF sensor can result in incorrect readings of the incoming air, leading to fuel injection and engine performance issues. It might trigger codes related to the air intake and fuel delivery.
  3. Ignition System Problems: Faulty spark plugs, ignition coils, or ignition control modules can result in misfires and poor engine performance. Your BMW’s diagnostic logs might record codes related to misfires or ignition system performance.
  4. Transmission Issues: Problems such as slipping, shifting delays, or solenoid malfunctions with the automatic transmission can generate transmission-related fault codes.
  5. ABS and Stability Control Malfunctions: Issues with the anti-lock braking system (ABS) or stability control system can trigger fault codes related to braking and traction control system failures.

Suppose you encounter a fault code in your BMW. In that case, consulting a qualified technician or mechanic specializing in BMW vehicles is recommended to diagnose and address the underlying issue accurately.

What are BMW fault codes?

Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), also called BMW fault codes, are alphanumeric codes produced using the onboard diagnostic system found in BMW cars to indicate specific issues or malfunctions within various vehicle systems. These codes help mechanics, technicians, and vehicle owners identify and troubleshoot problems more effectively.

Each fault code consists of letters and numbers corresponding to a specific problem or malfunction detected by the vehicle’s onboard computer system. These codes are standardized across the automotive industry and provide information about the nature and location of the issue. They cover various vehicle systems, including the engine, transmission, emissions, and safety systems.

When a problem occurs within a BMW vehicle, the onboard computer system will detect and store a fault code in its memory. This information can be accessed using specialized diagnostic tools, such as OBD-II (Onboard Diagnostics) scanners or BMW-specific diagnostic software. Mechanics and technicians can use these codes to quickly identify the root cause of the problem and perform the necessary repairs or maintenance.


What is the BMW fault memory for?

The technology in modern cars is similar to a computer’s internal systems.

These systems contain control components that interact and complement one another to maintain the vehicle’s smooth operation. Even non-experts can benefit from this highly developed technology despite its technological complexity. 

This complicated system has a faulty memory as one of its components. Every BMW has a fault memory that saves information about any mechanical or electrical issues that arise. 

This information is crucial so that repair mechanics can immediately identify the problem’s origin. But beginners may now readily read the defective memory themselves because of modern technology. 


When should you check your BMW’s fault codes?

Every two months, if you have a personal diagnostic tool, we recommend that you read out the fault codes on your BMW. It allows you to avoid issues from worsening and always be aware of your car’s health.

Additionally, you should always run a diagnostic check (fault code readout) on your car if a warning light illuminates the dashboard. That will let you know the reason for and degree of severity of a certain warning indicator being turned on.

But if you are hesitant to do so, you can trust us at All European Auto Repair for your BMW Diagnostics.


What enables you to read the fault codes on your BMW?

The BMW’s fault memory can be read out with a diagnostic tool connected to the car. 

At first, the new OBD2 port was limited to the most popular BMW models, like the E36 and E39. 

A standard 16-pin OBD-2 connector is now fitted in practically every car made in the EU since 2001 (for gasoline-powered vehicles) or 2004 (for diesel-powered vehicles).


Where on the BMW is the OBD2 port located?

Various locations within the car may house the OBD2 port on different BMW models.

For instance, depending on the year of construction, the OBD2 port for the BMW E39 series can be either in the engine compartment or on the driver’s side, beneath the steering wheel.

It would be best to inspect the region surrounding the steering wheel in the driver’s seat or the area on the center console surrounding the glove box. 

Alternatively, you can look up the OBD2 port location for your BMW in the owner’s manual. 

Reading BMW fault codes at the Auto Repair Shop

You can bring your BMW to our repair shop or attempt to interpret the error codes independently. 



The price to read a BMW’s fault codes varies according to the repair shop and, occasionally, the type of car. The faulty memory can be read and deleted for between $30 and $70. 

BMW dealerships occasionally provide complimentary fault memory readings.

Paying that amount for a 10-minute service could seem excessive. Nonetheless, a garage ought to employ an expert tool designed expressly to read out the error codes. The price of these professional tools might reach $10,000.

Even the repair shop’s supposedly “less expensive” tools might cost you as much as $3,000. You should, therefore, anticipate an accurate and dependable diagnosis from such costly technologies.


All European Expert Evaluation Of The Fault Codes

Expert evaluation of the fault codes

Usually, a combination of numbers and letters makes up fault codes. Following a reading, they can be examined by a car expert on-site, and repairs can be made if needed. Thus, you are free from the concern of whether it is safe to disregard the error code.


How To Read BMW Fault Codes

There are ways to read and clear the BMW’s error memory, whether you’re a serious auto hobbyist or want to save money for a repair shop.

You may not delve deeply into the technology inside each control unit with your diagnostic tool. With your tool, you can read your BMW’s error codes, understand them, and remove them from the system—even if you’re a novice. 

Three ways to Read BMW fault codes

We will show you the three methods below for reading out BMW error memory.


Standalone diagnostic device

Reading the error memory using standalone diagnostic equipment is simple and quick. Like a pro, you must insert the connection cable into your BMW’s OBD2 socket, and the error codes will appear on the device’s display. Typically, a diagnostic tool is both reasonably sized and weighted.

In this case, the drawback might be the requirement to purchase an appropriate diagnostic tool first. It usually costs less than $100 when purchased online. However, only some diagnostic tools are compatible with every BMW. 

Take caution! A device’s affordability does not always imply its quality. In particular for BMW diagnostic equipment. Handle extremely inexpensive devices cautiously, as they might be fake. These frequently need to be fixed or can only be utilized with expensive, specialized software that needs to be bought. 

Laptop With OBD Cables And Software

Laptop with OBD cables and software

A laptop can also be used to read the faulty memory of a BMW. To utilize this option, you will require a laptop, OBD cables to connect it to your BWM, and appropriate software to display the readout.

This equipment is available for less than $100 online. The software frequently comes with an adaptor cable that needs to be purchased.

But if you choose to pursue this course of action, it is important to consider whether the software version suits your computer’s operating system. Additionally, remember that running the diagnostics requires a computer nearby.


OBD2 adapter and your smartphone

The third and most straightforward technique is using an adaptor and your phone to read out your BMW’s faulty memory. These two gadgets, along with an appropriate app, are all you need. 

Since Bluetooth is used to link your smartphone to your car, OBD2 Bluetooth scanners are the ideal kind of adapters. OBD2 scanners are reasonably priced, and the corresponding program is frequently available for free download.

An adapter from All European Auto Repair is one such item. The adapter is perfect for reading the fault memory for various BMW models, including the BMW E39, and it works with both iOS and Android operating systems.


Las Vegas BMW Diagnostic Experts

Discover the pinnacle of BMW diagnostic expertise with All European Auto Repair in Las Vegas! When unraveling the complexities of your BMW’s fault codes, we are your trusted partners. Don’t let the confusion hold you back – if you ever find yourself scratching your head over those cryptic codes, our team of skilled professionals is here to help.

If you have any questions or want more information, call us at (702) 363-9191.