BMWs are special and unique vehicles, and therefore must be taken care of with specialized attention and skill. All cars undergo issues at some point—it’s simply the nature of any piece of machinery—they need regular, routine servicing in order to function properly at all times. Unfortunately, sometimes despite our best efforts, things can go overlooked, giving way for performance problems to arise. Furthermore, since BMWs are unique, they have unique issues that are common to the BMW brand—further reinforcing the idea that they need ongoing specialized care. One such issue that BMW owners commonly encounter are oil leaks.
Oil leaks can occur for any number of reasons, but oil leaks due to the failure of a BMW’s PCV system is a frequent occurrence. The PCV system serves a very important function in BMW engines, and if routine maintenance of this part goes overlooked it can cause serious engine damage. Because most people aren’t familiar with what the PCV system does, here’s a little more information about it and what drivers can do to help maintain it.
What does the PCV system do for your BMW?
PCV stands for positive crankcase ventilation. While it sounds complex, really its function is rather simple: it relives pressure buildup from gasses and condensation and in order to maximize airflow. Now, you might be wondering, how does this connect to my BMW’s oil leaks? Well, when airflow is maximized it reduces the overall amount of condensation that the engine produces. Motor oil contains chemicals that are meant to reduce the amount of moisture in the engine (moisture is the engine’s enemy). When moisture accumulates, it can cause significant damage to your engine and it’s various complex systems. Moisture is particularly a problem for the metal components of your engine, as it can lead to rust and corrosion. This issue alone can create oil leaks, but the malfunction or failing of the PCV system can greatly contribute to an accumulation of moisture or other engine contaminants.
What happens when the PCV system malfunctions?
Since the PCV system is responsible for relieving the engine of pressure buildup, when it begins to malfunction it can create a large amount of pressure that can cause other engine components to become damaged or distorted, leading to oil leaks. Furthermore, if your engine is not able to properly ventilate and carry air efficiently through it, then moisture accumulation can create sludge buildup and blockages. The PCV system is made up of various smaller components, including several grommets, O-rings, and hoses. Any single one of these components can fail or become damaged, which can also lead to oil leaks.
Symptoms of a bad PCV system
BMWs are sophisticated machines, even though they experience their fair share of difficulties sometimes. Luckily, PCV system failure can be prevented with routine inspections. It is also important to know what signs and symptoms to look for in a failing PCV system so it can be addressed before the issue worsens and causes significant engine damage. Some signs of a failing PCV system might include an oil leak, or odd noises coming from your engine. Unfortunately this usually indicates the issue has affected other areas of your engine. Hopefully the first sign of PCV failure you notice in your BMW is that your check-engine light illuminates on your dashboard. This code can be easily read and diagnosed by a professional BMW specialist with the proper equipment.
Here at BMS Inc. (BMW Mercedes Service), we have been serving the communities of Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Encino, Studio City, Van Nuys, and Valley Village, CA since 1973. Specializing in German-engineered vehicles like BMW, MINI, and Mercedes, we focus the bulk of our continuing automotive education and skill-building on these unique automobiles. Our pride in our work is translated through our dedication to the communities we serve; we believe that everyone should be able to afford quality automotive services, so we offer the same dealership-quality services at a significantly discounted cost. Using state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, we are familiar with diagnosing issues with PCV systems in BMWs and addressing oil leaks, beginning by finding the true source of the problem right away. If you are experiencing an oil leak or any other automotive issue, contact us to schedule an appointment or to simply speak to one of our automotive professionals.
BMW logo image credit goes to: gokhanilgaz.