Most Common Problems of a BMW F30

Most Common Problems of a BMW F30 [EXPLAINED]

Talking about common problems on all kinds of vehicle models is second nature to us, whether it concerns American models, Japanese models, or European models like those from BMW.

For this specific guide, we’re diving into all the common problems that you can possibly come across with the BMW F30, the 6th generation of the BMW 3 Series sedan lineup made between 2012 and 2019.

You can also expect to see possible solutions for each common problem of the BMW 3 Series F30, which will further prepare you for when you plan on getting your hands on the luxury sedan.

What are the common problems of a BMW 3 series F30?

Common problems of the BMW 3 series F30 include engine issues, transmission issues, electronic problems, exterior and interior problems, turbo problems, and various suspension problems.

Though the BMW F30 is one of the newer generations of the 3 Series lineup, this does not make it immune to all sorts of issues caused by either natural wear and tear or some kind of factory defect.

The short summary above gives us only a general idea of what kinds of issues we can expect to have on a BMW F30, so we’ll be further elaborating on each of them as well as including their possible solutions below.

Engine Issues

Problems that concern a vehicle’s engine are just about the last thing that you’d want to experience, and unfortunately, the BMW F30 has been reported to develop a couple of them.

Engine Stalling (Leaky Gaskets)

One of the most prominent engine issues that a BMW F30 can have is engine stalling, but this is only the main symptom of the actual underlying cause.

While there can be several different causes of a stalling engine, in the BMW F30’s case, it has been traced back to oil leaks coming from either a worn-out valve cover gasket or an oil filter housing gasket.


Just like any other rubber gasket, the BMW F30’s oil filter housing and valve cover gaskets can harden if they haven’t been changed for a long time, resulting in them losing their adhesion and eventually leaking oil.

Other than potentially causing your engine to not have enough lubrication, oil leaks from these areas can also leak into surrounding electrical components (e.g. eccentric shaft sensor), thereby causing them to malfunction and result in the engine stalling.

While the gaskets themselves only cost less than $100 depending on the brand and specific model application, factoring in labor fees will set you back several hundred bucks more.

For that reason, we’ve also included a useful tutorial video below just in case you plan on doing all the dirty work yourself. 

Timing Chain Jumping and Whining


Another possible issue that can develop under the hood of the BMW F30 is the timing chain “jumping” from its proper position on the sprockets.

The timing chain is a very important component of the engine timing system. If it even jumps a few teeth off from its original position, it can throw the engine off its proper timing and, in the case of the BMW F30, also cause whining sounds.

If not remedied right away, the timing chain can even break off completely and cause the engine to stop working and not start again.

When you start to hear whining and vibrating sounds from the engine, be sure to have the timing chain checked and replaced with a new kit for about $700 in total.

Additionally, a mechanic can also perform a diagnostic scan of the BMW F30. If it does have a jumped timing chain, then the crankshaft and camshaft angles are not aligned with each other, which will throw the engine code below:
130E20 – Intake Camshaft: Angular Offset to Crankshaft Out of Tolerance

Transmission Issues

The BMW F30 has been known to also develop all kinds of issues relating to the transmission system, which is yet again another major component with potentially costly repairs.

Such issues can all generally fall under “transmission failure” and can include any of the following symptoms listed below.

BMW 3 Series F30 Failing Transmission Symptoms:
Transmission fluid leaks underneath the carIlluminated transmission warning light on the dashboardJerky and irregular shiftingSlipping gearsSmell of burnt oil

Other than the aforementioned issues, BMW F30 models are also known to run into problems with their dual-mass flywheel, which starts making rattling noises as you start the car.

Furthermore, a bad flywheel can also cause gearshifts to become pretty shaky and rough. You may even notice your clutch pedal vibrating in manual transmission models.

In this case, replacing the flywheel and (potentially) the clutch for about $1,200 will do the job. However, getting to the bottom of the other transmission issues can be like opening up a can of worms if you’re doing it yourself.


Since transmission-related issues can be a very broad topic to resolve, it’s worth getting your transmission checked by a certified mechanic to make it easier to narrow down what the culprit is and what parts need replacing.

Electrical/Electronic Problems

If you’ve read up on our other “BMW common problems” articles before, then you know that BMW models are quite notorious for having a plethora of electronic problems, and this is sadly the case for the 3 Series F30 as well.

From sunroof problems and the radio not working to the seatbelt sign remaining on even with no passengers, lots of different electronics on the BMW F30 can start to malfunction if their software is outdated.

However, one particular electronic problem that doesn’t concern outdated software is the rear parking camera not working.


The BMW F30 is quite known to have a parking camera that fails to work, and this has been linked to a failed wiring harness for the camera. Replacing this wiring harness will set you back around $400, but it will resolve the issue for good.

Interior Problems

Moving on to problems that can be found on the inside of the BMW F30, the luxury sedan is prone to develop cracked buttons on the center console, rust on the front seat frame, and an audible rattling noise from under the armrest.

Cracked Buttons on the Center Console


Despite being a luxury sedan, the BMW F30 makes use of plastic parts for its center console, and all we can say is that these parts don’t exactly retain their original condition after a while.

Cracks on the plastic center console buttons are one of the most widespread issues on the BMW F30’s interior, and getting a new set of buttons alone will cost about $60.

Rusting Front Seat Frame

Another common problem inside the cabin of the BMW F30 that can be easily missed is the rusting of the front seat frame.

This type of problem is quite hidden from sight, as it requires you to look underneath the seat or take off the upholstery material in order to see the rust on the seat’s metal frame.


It has been found that pre-2012 production models, in particular, are quite prone to rust on their front seat frames.

Because of this, BMW went ahead and applied corrosion protection treatment on all the front seat frames equipped in all BMW F30 models manufactured after 2012.

Rattling Sound from Under the Armrest


Many owners of BMW F30 models experience all sorts of noises inside the cabin, but the most prevalent one is a rattling or grinding sound coming from under the center armrest.

This rattling or grinding sound has been reported to be heard most frequently when the vehicle is accelerating or is going over bumps.

The main cause of this is that there are two cylinder hoses at the back side of the armrest base (rear climate control cover) that are already loose and rattle against the plastic material every time the vehicle is moving.

To stop the hoses from rattling, you can use zip ties to wrap around each of the hoses and anchor them by running the zip ties through the holes in the plastic bracket. Take note that you need to remove the tabs in order to access the holes in the bracket.

We recommend watching the tutorial video below to get a better visual understanding of how the entire process is done.

Exterior Problems

As with its interior cabin, the exterior of the BMW F30 can also potentially show some annoying problems of its own, which can involve something as simple as the body paint or a more complex mechanism like the sunroof.

Tail Light Falls Off Suddenly


One exterior problem of the BMW F30 that is quite unexpected for a luxury car to exhibit is that the tail light just suddenly falls off.

However, when you take a closer inspection of the types of material that BMW chooses to use, you’ll find that the F30’s tail lights are actually only held by plastic clips that are known to be quite fragile.

While it is just cheap plastic that’s causing the problem, a BMW tail light falling off and shattering into pieces is not exactly the cheapest thing to replace ($139 per tail light on eBay, to be exact).

Since the plastic clip is already part of the tail light assembly itself, this means that you would have to replace the entire tail light. 

Just make sure that you properly inspect the clip of the replacement tail light to see how firm and sturdy it is compared to the last.

Paint Job Gets Easily Scratched or Chipped


The paint job of your car covers the majority of its exterior, so it’s quite an annoyance if it’s very sensitive to getting scratched or chipped, as many BMW F30 owners have had the misfortune of finding out.

Regardless of the color you choose, if you tend to be really meticulous about every inch of your car, then you’ll definitely not appreciate how susceptible to damage the factory paint job is on the BMW F30.

If you’ve found out that the previous BMW F30 owner installed a paint protection film (PPF) immediately after buying the car new, then you should be fine for now.

Otherwise, you should expect to see some amount of chips and scratches when buying a secondhand BMW F30. Either that or it has been completely repainted (we recommend checking its registration or documents for this).

Leaky Sunroof/Panoramic Roof


We’ve talked about leaky sunroofs before on other BMW models like the X5 SUV and the F10 sedan (bmw f10 problems), and the BMW F30 is no different from them.

BMW F30 models with either sunroofs or panoramic roofs are prone to leak just like the majority of cars (especially older ones) that come equipped with them, and this is due to how delicate they can be to any sort of damage or outside exposure.

In the BMW F30’s case, the rubber seals that close the gap between the glass panel and the roof structure are prone to harden and lose their adhesion over time, which will easily let water or any sort of liquid leak from the sunroof.


The good news is that simply replacing these seals will get the job done and are pretty inexpensive at just $50 if you install them yourself.

Turbocharger Problems

Another major component that can significantly impact the BMW F30’s performance when something goes wrong is the turbocharger.

Commonly reported turbocharger problems on the BMW F30 include the turbo overspeeding, the turbo not being lubricated enough, and the turbo wastegate becoming faulty.

Turbo Overspeeding


While a faster-spinning turbo can mean the buildup of more boost, the turbo on the BMW F30 (and many other turbocharged vehicles) is only set to a certain boost level that’s enough for the engine’s stock tune.

However, if there are any significant performance modifications done to the F30’s engine while still keeping the stock turbo, the turbo may be pushed past its factory limits, resulting in overspeeding and potential damage.

Once something goes wrong with the turbo, it can cost $700 to $1,200 to get a new OEM turbo kit alone and up to $3,500 if you choose to have it installed by a shop.

Lack of Lubrication


Any kind of vehicle requires adequate lubrication for its various mechanical components, especially a BMW and its turbocharger.

Unfortunately, BMW F30 models are quite known to run into issues with their turbos not receiving enough lubrication or oil, and the culprits have been most commonly different turbo lines and oil feed lines being damaged or bent.

Such lines are susceptible to the elements inside the hot engine bay, especially in older models that never had them replaced for years.

These lines are also constantly under pressure due to the flow of oil every time you use the car, and if they get too worn out, they can produce bulging spots that can tear open and leak oil.

Oil lines for the BMW F30’s turbocharger can cost from $50 to over $100 in parts depending on the shop and which lines need replacing. 

Faulty Turbo Wastegate


One more important component of the BMW F30’s turbo that is known to run into issues is the wastegate, which is tasked to regulate the amount of boost that the turbo builds up by redirecting excess gases away from it.

In the case of the BMW F30, the turbo wastegate has been known to malfunction by either being always fully open or fully closed, meaning that it can either cause the turbo to build up too much boost or none at all.

By simply taking a look at the nature of the issue, it’s actually quite easy to diagnose it as a fault in the wastegate actuator itself, as it is the one doing the opening and closing after all.

Getting the wastegate actuator replaced will resolve the opening and closing issue, though be ready to spend between $200 to $250 on average for an OEM replacement part.

Suspension Issues

No list of common BMW problems would be complete without issues that relate to the suspension system, and the BMW F30 has several of them.

The BMW 3 Series F30 can develop suspension-related issues such as various rattling noises from worn-out components, the e-brake lines rubbing against the driveshaft, and too much body roll while cornering.

Various Rattling Noises from Worn-Out Components

If you hear something rattling from outside your BMW F30, then chances are that it has something to do with one or several of the suspension components.

BMW F30 owners complain of hearing rattling, clunking, or squeaking noises accompanied by a loose and unbalanced steering feel, which are all signs of worn-out ball joints or suspension joints.


However, other suspension components such as the strut mounts and sway bar links are also worth checking out and replacing if necessary, as these parts can also make rattling noises when they get too worn out or damaged.


E-Brake Lines Rubbing Against Driveshaft (Creaking or Bell-Like Sound)


One specific issue of the BMW F30 that’s not necessarily suspension-related but does give similar-sounding symptoms happens to be the e-brake lines rubbing against the driveshaft underneath the car.

The resulting friction of the components causes them to make a specific creaking or bell-like sound at the rear of the vehicle, which can be easily mistaken for a suspension-related issue.

The reason for the components rubbing in the first place is that the plastic holders of the e-brake lines loosen over time or get swayed in the direction of the driveshaft during hard acceleration.

These plastic holders, also called “cable clips/brackets” are relatively inexpensive to replace, though you can opt for a more durable metal version of them that cost $129 at the time of this writing.


Just keep in mind that you would have to lower the gas tank underneath the car a bit in order to do the installation yourself. Otherwise, be prepared to spend about $400 if you’d rather have a shop do it.

Too Much Body Roll While Cornering


If something feels off about how your car corners, then you wouldn’t be wrong to think of it as being a suspension issue. For the BMW F30, this can be in the form of too much body roll while cornering.

It’s natural to have some amount of body roll on any vehicle while cornering, but if it feels like your car is tilting to the side a little bit too much than usual, then this can be a sign of a bad sway bar.


The sway bar connects the vehicle’s parallel wheels with each other, which aids in stability and reduces body roll when taking a turn.  

However, a damaged or worn-out sway bar will not be able to transfer cornering forces properly between each wheel, resulting in less precise steering and more body roll.

Replacing the sway bar will also replace its links and bushings, which can also make squeaking sounds when worn out. 

An entire aftermarket sway bar kit (front and rear) for the BMW F30 can cost over $600, so it’s important to have a mechanic determine whether both sway bars or only a single component of the sway bars need replacing. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)