Heater Problems in a BMW E36

Updated July 19, 2017

One of the conveniences most of the people expect from their cars is a climate control system with air conditioning and heat. A properly functioning climate control system keeps the passenger cabin comfortable throughout the trip. On the BMW E36, the air conditioning or heater may develop problems or fail over time. In addition, certain models have known problems with the heater unit being defective.

Affected Vehicles

The BMW E36 includes the 3-Series models, specifically the M3, 318, 323, 325 and the 328. The vehicles that have been identified as having faulty climate control units are from the 1992 through 1999 model years.

Climate Control Module

The BMW 3-Series has a digital module to control the functions of the climate control system. The module plugs into two wiring harnesses. One harness is for the vehicle's electrical system; the other harness is for the climate control system. The module is the component that most often fails.


The symptoms of a faulty E36 climate control system include the system resetting itself, the system being turned off but the fan motor continues to run, a dimly lit display or the display shows no image. Another symptom of a faulty climate control system in the BMW E36 is the system switching itself on and off.

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About the Author

Edmund Gary began writing on a volunteer basis in 2001. He writes press releases and newsletter articles which center around the activities of his Knights of Columbus Council. His stories appear in "Knightlife," the official publication of the James C. Fletcher, Jr. Council No. 11422. Gary has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Bowie State University.