Cold Weather & Your Experience

Since the recent record breaking cold-snap in much of Northern America (and even some parts of Europe) we ‘ve heard all sorts of MINI/BMW owners experiences with their cars. While the vast majority of them have been quite positive we wanted to reach out to those who have had some issues with the extreme cold. At temperatures as low as -30F we expect some issues, so lets hear about them. What have you experienced with this kind of cold? And if you haven ‘t had issues let us know that as well.

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  • Doug

    E90 335 in -10 degrees. You here a few more creaks here and there but it starts and runs fine. For instance, with ice on the window you can hear it crack when entering my driveway, since one wheel is elevated for a moment and the chassis is being torqued.

  • The only problem I had with my 2008 135i is the horn – which I think is two stages – sounded like a sick goose being squeezed to death. It’s warmer now and the horn is back to normal. Everything else worked flawlessly.

  • Bob Maroney

    Negative 5 degrees F. the other morning in Connecticut. Went to start my 08 335XI coupe, as soon as the engine turned over I immediatley received all kinds of error messages on the display. Computer malfunctions, etc. Drove the car. Shut it off, restarted all indicators cleared.

  • Bob

    My M sits in the garage till the end of March! No way I’m risking those potholes.

  • JSD328

    My ’07 E90 328xi is at the dealership having its oil level sensor replaced. Ever since I got it in late ’06 the sensor registered as “Inactive” when the temps dipped below +20 deg F. After three system software updates I insisted on a sensor replacement. Hopefully this fixes the problem. I also see the slow LCD refresh until the car warms up and some window creaking, but all is well once the car is warm and toasty.

  • Two out of three cars don’t mind the cold, but one is a little mad when it initially wakes up from a nap (the M3). Overall our BMWs have done well in the cold; knock on wood!

  • Ryan

    The E46 M3 has experienced cold weather illnesses since being launched in ’01. I prepped for winter this year by installing a brand new battery, but in 5 degree temps, my 15 mile commute never allows the battery to attain a manageable charge level. When the S54B32 meets an undercharged battery, a jump start becomes mandatory. I’ve gotten to know the folks in my parking garage on a much more personal level this winter..

  • Gavin

    E46 330i: Nothing really significant. I’ve had a lot of lifter noise on initial start until it warms a little, and my oil level sensor has apparently failed (yellow light, goes away after 15 seconds, oil level fine… yada yada). Other than that, my windshield washer fluid reservoir has exploded when I filled it and it dropped to -9F… yeah… the cheap stuff freezes apparently. Beyond that, she warms up and runs like a top, though my tires become like hockey pucks below 10F.

  • Mark Smith a.k.a MINIBro77

    E46 M3Cic: We have been in the teens and 20’s for the most part this January (I’ve had my car for about 5 weeks now). SO far so good. Unfortunately the previous owner had this car in Florida before I bought it and the washer fluid didn’t have enough concentrate in it. It froze and cracked the washer fluid reservoir. Aaaargh! Otherwise my M doesn’t mind the cold (I thankfully have a hardtop). I have the old Pathfinder for the bad stuff.

  • Mark Smith a.k.a BMWPro77

    E46 M3Cic with Hardtop: My M doesn’t mind the cold. Been in the teens and 20’s mostly here in Fairfield County CT. The only thing that is annoying is my washer fluid reservoir cracked when it really got close to 0 degrees. I just got this car 5 weeks ago and the previous owner had it in Florida hanging out before he moved to CT. Not enough Antifreeze/concentrate in the mix. Otherwise everything is fine. I have the old ’99 Pathfinder for the really messy stuff.

  • Chaz

    Well, the LSD works great! (2008 328i)

    Leaves two nice rooster tails in deep snow, and two stripes in the snow covered pavement (can you tell I don’t like driving with DSC fully on???).

    Yesterday, I made the mistake of parking my car with on wheel on the road and one wheel in deep snow, only to find the road was actually ice covered and had ZERO traction. The LSD put the power to the wheel in deep snow and pulled me out of there, thank God! I’m constantly grateful that BMW started putting the e-diff on these cars just before they built mine.

    Actually, the DSC works great, making the car as easy to drive as an AWD car – except of course it is always hitting the brakes when it thinks it is too slippery (which is why I turn DSC down alot).

    Problems? The plastic tow hook cover fell off the front bumper (driving in too much snow), and a plastic cover broke and fell off the windshield wiper. I am a little bummed to see the plastic pieces falling off.

  • Well, the LSD works great! (2008 328i)

    I think a lot of people would love to know how you manages to get LSD on your 328i – unless it’s aftermarket!

  • Chaz- I assume you are referring to the e-diff, rather than a true LSD… As we had stated here on BF, 3 series cars built after 3/08 have the same e-diff (part of the DSC system) that the 1 series touted as a feature. On the 3 it is not a marketed feature but has some benefits; as you Chaz have pointed out!

  • Dewey

    2008 135i coupe: First winter with a BMW, First winter with a rear wheel drive car. Must say the salesman was right, once you drive a rear wheel drive car in the winter, you’ll never want to go back. The E-diff works very well, the snow tires I got are very stiff below 10F, but they warm up after a little drive. My only complaint is that the TPMS keeps on going off every time I turn on, then turn off DTC. Since I basically have to use it everyday at the parking lot at work (because apparently the service guys get paid $27.00/hour to sleep in the service garage…) So I have to check the pressure and then reset the system nearly everyday.

  • JSD328

    Update: so far so good, the new oil level sensor is working. 13 deg this morning.

  • Greg G

    my 2008 135i had issues with the wiper fluid delivery freezing up on me. other than that with the dunlop 3d snow tires it is a walk in the park… german engineering rwd beats lexus awd any day of the week.

  • +15 deg F. On way home from snowboarding trip, while on hwy, every possible warning light lit up and all electronics became possessed. Shortly after, gears became sluggish and the X5 just died. I managed to pull the X onto the shoulder as cars were literally flying past me. Not a good experience at all!!! Diagnosis revealed a failed water-cooled alternator (amongst other things).

  • By the way…the X5 is a 2003 4.6is with 60k miles.

  • Sam

    Thermostat went out on my e46 when it was really cold. I replaced it, and didn’t have heat in the car because the system needed to be bled. Once I did that, I was good to go. Living in the mountains with lots of snow, I’m often hassled about having a “rear wheel drive” car by morons who insist you need AWD. Hogwash. Snow tires and DSC make this car fantastic in the snow. I can’t help but get a smile on my face when I see the F250 stuck in the snowbank after passing me like I was going 10 mph.

  • jay

    Dose any one have a knocking sound at cold start only at cold temps