BMW DME failure symptoms and solutions

DME failures are one of the common problems with BMW cars systems. However, BMWs are known to be one of the best classic cars full of luxury in the world.

Digital Motor Electronics (DME) is a control system that manages all major engine operations. The car’s engine achieves optimum performance and less reliability through the DME system. However, the best result from DME is there are lower emissions and lower fuel consumption.

It is obvious for electronic items to fail after some time. As an electronic item, BMW DME can encounter some issues that fail. Once the DME fails, the car will have some complicated performance, something that a driver may not notice the cause. So, how can you tell issues in your BMW car result from a failed DME? 

What are BMW DME failure symptoms? Detecting a problem caused by a failed DME is easy if you see the following symptoms with your car; low engine performance, misfiring or stalling of the engine, the car failing to start, check-engine lights coming on, and more emissions. 

DME failure symptoms

1. Low engine performance 

Once DME develops faults, it sends temporal actions on the fuel system in the engine. As a result, the car will experience performance difficulties such as acceleration, power, and fuel potency since the entire fueling system of the engine is altered negatively.

2. Misfiring or stalling of the engine

One of the discomforts a driver can experience is a car’s misfires. In some cases, engine misfiring is caused by faulty DME. When the DME develops faulty, the responsible computer system will intermittently lead to the car’s engine stalling or misfires. Mostly, the engine misfires caused by faulty DME will not have a continuous symptom, but it will have come-and-go patterns. 

3. The car failing to start

One of the overwhelming moments while handling your car is when it fails to start. You may wonder what could be a possible problem. If you suspect fuel is down, you may realize the fuel in your car is sufficient to start the car; therefore, the big terror remains why the car can’t start!

But the problem could not be any other part of a separate issue, only a faulty DME. The work of the DME system is to provide control in the engine’s operation. Once the BMW DME fails, it means the engine control system is affected; therefore, it won’t operate normally. 

The engine will be exposed to cranking, something that will interrupt it from starting or starting with some troubleshooting. As well, the fuel setting in the car’s engine can be affected, which means the engine may lack the fuel to ignite.

4. Check engine light goes on

Although there are many causes of Check-Engine Light activation, a failed DME can be a key cause of such symptoms. The engine is connected with a PC system or OBD scanner that detects a fault in the circuit or sensors.

When the OBD scans the engine’s electrical circuit and detects any issues, it provides codes that initiate activation of Check-Engine Light. As DME is a form of an electronic circuit in the engine, upon development, foul will be detected by the scanner, and check-engine lights come on.

5. More emission

Digital Motor Electronics provide smooth functioning of the engine; therefore, the entire car’s performance is achieved. As well, fuel consumption economy is enhanced, leading to low emission of dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide to the environment.

When the DME system fails, the engine performance is affected negatively. There is a need to have a correct air-fuel ratio, a proposition that keeps the engine performing as required, something the DME system should help perform such a feature.

Therefore, if DME has an issue, the engine’s fuel settings will not work normally. The air-fuel proportion that should enter the combustion chamber may be ought, and there might be an excessive amount of fuel to be burnt. As a result, there will be a production of excess emissions of pollutants that will finally get dumped into the environment. 

Solutions to a failed BMW DME system

When you see unusual symptoms in your car, you don’t need to ignore them. Some problems are more dangerous to your car’s health since they can lead to further major issues. For example, your car’s excess gas emission is dangerous to the environment. Your car not starting brings overwhelming moments, especially when in a rush.

If the car has these symptoms, low engine performance, misfiring or stalling of the engine, the car failing to start, check-engine lights coming on, and more emissions, reach a professional car mechanic for a check-up.

Once the DME or ECU is found to cause such symptoms, there is a need to replace it or the faulty part with the new one. It is only through this way your car can be free from symptoms caused by a failed DME.

How much does it cost to fix DME issues?

Sometimes fixing the DME issues can be a challenge, especially when the damages are major. The costs of fixing these issues often vary based on several factors.

These factors can be the extent of damage, the kind of replacement required, the amount of labor required, and the mechanic you visit. When the DME has minor issues, it only needs repair, which is less costly than when a replacement is done.

In a DME repair, there are three options to consider, but the exact price of the repairs will depend on the car model. Repairing the existing DME will cost about three hundred to six hundred dollars; buying a refurbished DME will cost about five hundred to one thousand dollars.

If your car needs a new DME from a BMW dealer, it will cost around two thousand to three thousand five hundred dollars. The DME testing services will cost about ninety-nine dollars. 

Can I remove the DME from the car?

Yes, you can remove the DME from your car, but it needs effort and some knowledge on how to do it. If done wrongly, it can lead to further damages.


BMW DME, or PME, sometimes referred to as Engine Control Unit (ECU), plays a great role in ensuring the car has attained an optimum performance, acceleration, and fuel consumption.

However, when DME fails, it results in unusual issues in your cars such as low performance, excess gas emission, high fuel consumption, car not being able to start, and other symptoms.

This results from the computer system of PC detecting issues in the engine circuits, then it sends the signals to the respective parts in the car to underperform or show there is an issue.

Therefore, if you have such symptoms in your car and suspect faulty DME, reach a professional mechanic for replacement or reconnection.

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