How to Identify a BMW Engine

Written by jasey kelly
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Identify a BMW Engine
Identifying the BMW engine requires breaking down codes. (BMW Fronto image by crossgolfing from

Identifying the engine on your BMW assists you if you need to replace the engine or various parts of your power plant or have them repaired. It will also aid the mechanic or other person looking for your parts if you have given them the complete engine code and VIN number. While the identification codes are a series of numbers and letters and may seem confusing, breaking down the codes into their meanings also pays off.

Skill level:

Other People Are Reading


  1. 1

    Find the identification code for the engine and power plant of your BMW. Each engine has a special place for this code as determined by the factory.

    The first line is the engine identification code, the second is the engine number and the third is the part number.

  2. 2

    Write down the code. The code consists of a series of letters and numbers which tell various aspects of your engine. In the example code: 39 8 D 1, the first two numbers, "39", indicate displacement; "8" indicates the number of cylinders; "D" indicates concept and "1" indicates differentiation concept.

    For the concept code, the following lists each code and interpretation: "D" stands for diesel; "E" stands for fuel injection; "K" stands for catalytic converter; "S" stands for 4-valve technology; "T" stands for turbo and "V" stands for carburettor.

  3. 3

    Look at the power plant identification code. This code contains the engine production code followed by variant and new or remanufactured codes. For example, the power plant identification code for the above example may be 39 8 D 1 01 A. The "01" indicates the variant and the "A" indicates a remanufactured part. Had an "N" replaced the "A," the part would be new.

  4. 4

    Search for the VIN of your BMW. BMWs list the VIN on the left side of the dash looking in through the windshield or in the right inner bumper. The fourth through eighth number in the VIN indicate features including the engine type.

Tips and warnings

  • When ordering new parts, always compare your current engine code to that of the new one.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.