Your BMW will be unable to move in the way it was intended if the transmission is malfunctioning. The engine can’t produce torque without the gearbox. You can change gears and get your wheels turning thanks to this torque. The gearbox is the part of a vehicle that transfers power from the engine to the wheels. The most common reason for BMW transmission malfunction is fluid-related issues; however, we will get to that in a little. Let’s start with the basics and examine the signs that your BMW could be experiencing gearbox problems.

What Causes BMW Transmission Malfunction

There are a lot of potential faults that might arise with your BMW’s transmission, but the three most typical ones are as follows. Now, let’s go deeper into these:

Low Level of Transmission Fluid

Fluid is essential for the transmission system because it keeps the moving parts lubricated and helps to lower the heat that is generated during gear changes. There are two possible causes of transmission fluid becoming low: a leak or the fluid simply having reached its expiration date. You should check the transmission fluid reservoir at least once every six months to make sure it is full, and replenish it as needed.

Transmission Problems

To maintain the transmission fluid contained inside the transmission system, several seals and gaskets are employed. Transmission fluid leaks might be caused by the gradual failure of these gaskets and seals as your vehicle ages. Even though the leak might be somewhere inside the vehicle, transmission fluid commonly seeps out and lands on the ground beneath your vehicle. Transmission fluid has a slightly pleasant aroma and can be either dark red or pink. The water will collect beneath your BMW’s front end.

Transmission Fluid Filter Blockage

Dirt and grime can settle into the transmission fluid as it travels through the system. As a result, a filter is built into your BMW transmission malfunction system to capture any particles. Maintaining a clean transmission system is aided by this. The transmission fluid filter becomes clogged as it nears the end of its useful life. This blocks the transmission fluid from flowing through, creating the same problem as when the fluid is low even if there is plenty of fluid in the system.

Mechatronic Bridge Seal Adapter

The mechatronic bridge seal adapter is prone to failure, which impacts BMW transmissions. To keep the transmission system’s pressure from dropping, which would otherwise cause gear changing to be less harsh, this part is essential.

The mechatronic valve’s pressure output drops and fluid leaks out when the plastic adapter cracks in BMWs. As a result, problems with the transmission and unpredictable shifting occur.

Fixing a BMW Transmission Malfunction?

Three effective methods exist:

  • Restart engine
  • Reset the adaptive settings
  • Check the fluid level

1. Restart Engine

How to reset the BMW transmission malfunction? Is the BMW gearbox failure warning light on, or is your vehicle stuck in gear? The next step is to quickly find a safe space, turn off the engine, and start the car again. Do not do this for approximately one minute. The motor control unit might be reset and the power chain message disabled as a result. Even while we can’t promise this strategy will work every time, it’s worth a go.

When everything is back to normal, that’s great news! But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried; if you don’t fix the problem right away, your car will have the same problem again.

For a more in-depth diagnosis and recommendations, get in touch with the manufacturer right away.

2. Turn Off Adaptive Mode

Is the gas pedal unresponsive or do you notice erratic shifts? If that’s the case, incorrect shift points could be to blame. Resetting the adaptive settings is something we think you should do. It won’t take long and doesn’t require any additional tools. Without damaging the gearbox, it will return the gear shift lines to their factory values.

  1. Start the engine to check the BMW transmission malfunction. Press the Power button, not the brake pedal, to start or stop your car if it has a Start/Stop button.
  2. The dashboard lights will turn on. Please make sure to turn off the engine.
  3. To begin, press firmly on the floor with the pump pedal. (Greet the kick-down lever to turn it on.)
  4. Keep your foot firmly planted on the accelerator for approximately 30 seconds. At this point, you should switch off the engine but keep the key in the ignition.
  5. Let off of the gas pedal.
  6. Start your engines.

This simplified strategy will reset the gearbox to its original factory settings. Your car’s system will remove the shift locations of the adaptive gearbox.

Be cautious not to drive too aggressively because it will evaluate your driving style throughout the following few cycles.

3. Check the Level of Transmission Fluid

Verifying the level of the transmission fluid is another possible solution for BMW transmission malfunction. If you keep the input level low, the gearbox may go into limp mode to protect itself.

Just 10 minutes of running the engine will give the oil in your BMW’s automatic transmission a good chance to warm up. Make sure the flow can change gears in every possible way. While you’re driving, the temperature of your fluid should reach about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Check a level surface or an elevator with the car.
  2. Put it in idle and leave it in the park.
  3. Pull up the hood of the car.
  4. Take out the fill cap. If you could tell me which transmissions you have, I could tell you which ones use the drain stopper as a level indication.
  5. Is the oil level filled to the brim? After that, the oil pan should only leak a minor amount of fluid.
  6. However, no extraction should occur if the levels are inadequate. Putting too many gears into the transmission might cause shifting problems as well.
  7. The Powertrain Failsafe Prog will be shown on your dashboard when the fluid level in the powertrain decreases. For more efficient acceleration, use active power steering with extreme caution.

Can You Drive With the Transmission Malfunction Message?

It is possible to drive within a rather small distance, yes. You can end up spending more money fixing the BMW transmission malfunction if you keep driving the car with it. 

Sometimes, your car could enter a limp mode, which is essentially a fail-safe that lets you drive it to a repair shop safely with reduced capabilities.

But don’t keep driving if you hear strange noises, feel vibrations, or have trouble shifting gears. For a more complete diagnostic and repair, consider having your vehicle towed to an authorized BMW service shop.

The BMW transmission malfunction has some important answers in this article. You shouldn’t have any problem following most of them because they are rather simple. Additionally, keep in mind additional suggestions for improved longevity and automobile upkeep.


Nancy is a dedicated writer with years of experience. She is focused on the latest vehicle technology and high-end cars of various brands. She combines her passion for automotive advancements with a clear, engaging writing style, making complex topics accessible and enjoyable for her readers.

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