What are common causes of oil leaks in BMW X5

Asked by May 17, 2012 at 06:34 PM about the 2003 BMW X5 4.4i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

small oil stains on ground under engine.

17 Answers


Crankcase gaskets. Vacuum lines. It could also be from your power steering reservoir. Are any of your fluids low? I would recommend getting under your vehicle, removing the splash shields and an inspection. You may also want to clean the engine with a good degreaser and check for leaks after driving it to pinpoint the source.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

The most common oil leak is from the valve cover gaskets. It is common for power steering leaks from the filter/resevoir assembly, suction and return lines. Clean engine and identifying what type of fluid it is. Remove the plastic trim from the top of the engine, over the valve covers and the engine under body cover to clean and diagnose.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Hmmm. This must be good advice.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Just bought a 2006 X5 4.4i and was enamoured with how clean the inside is. Got it home and 1 week later the Valley Pan Cover starting leaking coolant all over. After digging in and replacing a leaking vacuum pump, I started on disassembly of the engine for the valley pan. It is located under the intake. I also removed the valve covers for new gaskets and added new spark plugs in. There are several gaskets that need to be replaced when removing the intake, valley pan and valve covers (i.e. throttle body, water pipe, etc...). MAKE sure and prepare to do the timing chain cover gaskets (upper) if you remove the valve covers as these can be a source for oil leaks too. Last but not least....check your oil cooler thermostat (not the oil cooler) as this goes into the motor and the gaskets have a tendency to fail. Your bolts to the "stiffening plate" (or oil catcher) are 16mm nuts and bolts and require a short socket extension. The rear bolts are part of the sway bar in the rear so be careful during re-assembly. Great cars/suvs but WOW the trouble you can have finding the oil leaks. Mine has 93,000 miles on it.

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.

DROB43, your post is very helpful. One query- is lower timing case cover (driver side US X5) also a common source of leak? I have a leak from that side which is likely from valve cover gasket but wanted to be ready with parts in case it turns out to be a leak from the lower timing case gasket.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

I have read where this lower timing cover can be a source of the issue but I have read more where the Alternator mount bracket (where your arrow is pointing) can be the source of the leak. Apparently there is a rubber seal that can fail and cause a leak. I am about to put mine up on blocks (in the next 3 weeks) and replace the power steering pump which recently started to go and handle the engine oil cooler thermostat (finally) and repair a bad gasket on the oil dipstick tube. Have seen some residue around the heads and am hoping those gaskets are still good. Also have to replace the lower oil pan cover due to some ignorant idiot stripping the threads and then covering it up with some special adhesive that "locked" the bolt into place. $300 in parts on that one. If this vehicle did not drive so nice or look this good, I would have already gotten rid of it and found something that is less finicky.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

The vehicle indeed drives so well and with much power and looks awesome with staggered 20 inch wheels- I always have a smile on my face when driving it. Mine is a 2005 4.4 sports now at 104K miles. Yes, a mechanic pointed out to me the lower timing cover rarely leaks and he can't remember when he changed it last. He thinks it's very likely the valve cover gasket that's leaking. I did change the alternator bracket, it's seal and the oil cooler seals. One of the alternator bolt had broken off. Taking out the bracket was such a challenging work requiring lifting the engine and removing the differential a little bit. I used the harborfreight engine brace sold for $60. The oil cooler seals are easy. By the way, you can get original BMW parts at this place at fantastic prices -nearly 60% less than dealer prices! http://www.thebmwpartstore.com/

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

My recent leak appears to be coming from under the oil filter unit, I just used engine cleaner to identify where it was leaking from, but any ideas what to look for that is common problem.

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.

I had a problems with my bmw x1 2015

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

My 2008 X5 4.8 is parked in my driveway out of oil. I parked it there last night with the low oil light on, then this morning when I started it I had a light come on telling me not to drive it due to low oil pressure. I added 2 quarts of oil and it came out the bottom somewhere as quick as I was adding it. The oil drain plug is in, so I'm looking for any idea's on what it could be... It's not leaking, it's dumping as quick as the oil is being added. Any idea's?

38 out of 38 people think this is helpful.

@venomgts10 My x5 did the exact same thing. Have you found the cause?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I have the same thing going on as you @venomgts10 did you find the cause?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

@datgaymonchick and Mzshaw2. I had the same problem with my 2008 4.8 x5. The source of the leak was the oil cooler thermostat gasket. The seal has been leaking for a long time but finally blow out the other day..I think the cool weather here in Arlington caused the gasket to finally give out.. Oil poured out the bottom when I added oil. Anyway I replaced the seal myself. I couldn't see paying $1500 for a independent mech shop to do it for me. I could imagine how much the dealer would charge for that job.Probably around 2 to 3 thousand. This is the gasket part number. Item number 2 http://realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/ w/p/230.png

19 out of 19 people think this is helpful.

@bigggibb That was very helpful, thanks! We did have lots of cold weather.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

No problem, let me know if you have anymore questions.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Check the intake manifold gaskets and the oil separator.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

HAVE A BMW X5 4.1 started to smoke when heated and accelerated by a traffic light after leaving smoke stops, I take it to the dealer and said they were the valve seal gasket's, after that I ask another mechanic who tells me was not engine oil it that smelled that he believed it was something else and now I do not know who to believe.what Mr LarchmereImports make sense.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

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