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Old 10th April 2014, 11:54   #1
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Default '08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

While, my bimmer has so far been issue free over last 5 years, since yesterday, it is showing a "Steering Lock Fault" symbol on the indicator. Upon searching on web, i see that it is quite a usual and frustrating problem for many owners globally but generally with the models dating 2005 and earlier. Most people who did get the issue, when approached the dealership, were asked to replace the Steering column, costing ~$1000. however there have been many DIY stuff and aftermarket technicians who have figured out how to fix the issue by reprogramming the software or sometimes by some clever hacks. There are instances on people who claim that they have been running with the fix for over a year without any issue.

important to note that, There are two variants of issue in this class.
1. When this symbol appears and the car gets into a lock down state, ie it has to be towed.
2. the symbol shows up but car funcitons normally and able to drive around.

Not sure if it is good or bad, but mine falls into the second category

I also called up the BMW y'day and upon asking them they said it would generally result in changing the column and would cost between Rs. 50K-70K. However reprogramming may also work but they cant say.

so now i am confused what to do. Wanted to see if there are other owners in the forum who had similar issue and what did they do. Basically what are my options. 50K seems to be way to high a price for somehting that you generally never consider as a part of your wear and tear organs. Besides, consdering that my car has only done about 21K so far and never ever had any bad incidents with it.

Comments, Advice, suggestions and questions most welcome.
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Old 10th April 2014, 12:17   #2
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Default re: '08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

Since you are able to drive your car even with the warning light ON, its best to try updating the software first which will be on a chargeable basis. If during this step, the ECU on the column fails, then it will have to be replaced. This issue is caused mainly due to a weak battery, how is the battery on your vehicle?

It is advisable to do it at the earliest to avoid any inconvenience.
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Old 12th April 2014, 12:26   #3
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Default Re: '08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

thanks for you suggestions, Maverick

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
This issue is caused mainly due to a weak battery, how is the battery on your vehicle?

It is advisable to do it at the earliest to avoid any inconvenience.
My car is 5 yr old and driven 20K kms. i am running the same original battery. Do you think it would have gone weaker. Also are there any layman ways to check the battery strength?
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Old 12th April 2014, 12:47   #4
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Default Re: '08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by diki24 View Post
Also are there any layman ways to check the battery strength?
Five years is close to the end of a battery life, also since your running is on the lower end it is safe to say that more than 2 cells may be affected. Being a BMW I'm surprised the battery is relatively healthy after so long inspite of so much electronics draining it.

The layman way to check a battery life would be to see if it starts on first crank always. This is certainly not an accurate way as there are other things involved in ignition like fuel injectors and spark plugs. The only way to be sure is to get a multimeter and check the output of the battery. Incase it reads at 12.5v off/13.5v+ running its healthy, if readings are lower it has to be changed immediately as old batteries can fail at any time.

Last edited by dark.knight : 12th April 2014 at 12:50.
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Old 14th April 2014, 10:41   #5
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Default Re: '08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by diki24 View Post
thanks for you suggestions, Maverick



My car is 5 yr old and driven 20K kms. i am running the same original battery. Do you think it would have gone weaker. Also are there any layman ways to check the battery strength?
WOW! I am surprised the battery lasted so long with relatively less running. The battery would have gone weak, would be ideal to get the battery replaced with an original one and have the software updated from an BMW dealership.
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Old 16th April 2014, 12:28   #6
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Default Re: '08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

thanks everyone.
I have given the car for the service this morning. Will update once i hear back from them.

Thanks,
DD
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Old 22nd April 2014, 15:38   #7
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Smile Re: UPDATE: 08 BMW 3 Series - Steering lock Problem

Hi everyone,
So i got my car back yesterday and fortunately didnt have to go through the larger hole in the pocket. They took few days to diagnose the issue, but ultimately found a problem with the wiring somewhere. they were able to detect an issue as they found the current dropping at few points where they usually check. So it took rewiring and some other minor things to fix this issue.

Although, i have been told to be careful about parking the car. asked me to avoid parking on ramps and slopes for extended periods and also generally not leave the wheels in turned position in locked state. To be frank, i usually dont do either of these. my parking is flat concrete.

anyways, i am relieved that car is back and nothing major as of now.

Total bill : 5.5K

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and help.

-Dikshant
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