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

Written by richard ristow
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How Can I Read the Fault Codes on a BMW 525?
Reading the fault code for engine problems is only the beginning of the repair process. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Diagnostic Code Reader

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Instructions

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    Turn the scanner on.

  4. 4

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

  5. 5

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

  6. 6

    Copy the alphanumeric 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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