Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Bmw Usa

August 19, 2013

Mandy asks…

I own a BMW in Germany. It will need US modifications if it goes back to USA. Good or bad idea?

Going to the State of Georgia.

Administrator answers:

Not a good idea.
Although they seem alike from the outside, they’re deeply different.
USA has way more stricter emission regulations than Europe, so expect to spend $4000 to modify it to meet US-standards.
If caught without it being modified, u can be charged and have the vehicle taken away.
And it will cost like $800 to bring it to the USA, just buy a used one here.

Thomas asks…

How can i tell if my BMW car is made in usa or germany?

Administrator answers:

If your car was made in the USA, then it was assembled in Spartanburg (Greer), South Carolina. As far as I know, only Z3′s, X5′s, some X3′s, and one 318i were assembled there (possibly a few X6′s, but I’m not sure about that). The vehicles that were assembled in that plant had serial numbers starting with 4, 5, and W (so the first digit of the serial number is not a reliable indicator of the assembly plant). The only reliable digit is the 11th digit of the serial number. That digit will tell you the location of the BMW assembly plant.”L” is the BMW code for “Greer, South Carolina, USA”. (A,F,K = Munich, Germany), (B,C,D,G = Dingolfing, Germany), (E,J,P= Regensburg, Germany), (N= South Africa).

Apparently, there are different interpretations of the meaning of the first digit of the serial number. One interpretation is that it means where the majority of the parts were manufactured (not necessarily where the car was assembled). There is also some additional confusion over the legal interpretation of a “free trade zone” (is the free trade zone at the plant “legally” considered part of Germany for duty purposes?)

Anyway, look at the 11th digit, that will give you the assembly plant.

This link will take you to a BMW serial number decoding chart;

James asks…

Is a BMW warranty transferrable to other countries?

I am importing a BMW from USA to Korea.

Administrator answers:

If it is a warranty from BMW, then yes. They will honor the contract of their work and engineering anywhere as long as it is not extraordinary circumstances or where you may have caused damage to the vehicle. To be sure what will be covered, you should read your warranty letter.

David asks…

Would a Canadian 2004 BMW 545i be identical to the USA model?

Would a 2004 BMW 545i meet all the highway safety and emission requirements of the EPA and the NHTSA? I need to know since I’m planning on driving one across the border but am not sure if I need a letter from the manufacturer or not stating conformity.

Administrator answers:

If you are talking about purchasing in the US and bringing it back there are many various things that you will need.

1. Letter stating that all outstanding recalls have been done (BMW USA) and they will charge for that
2. You must pay GST at the border when you cross. Call ahead at least 3 days in advance. Have the VIN handy.
3. Be prepared to wait while they inspect at the border.
4. Once you get past the border, you’ll then have to take it for a Canadian compliance inspection at a BMW dealer (Lots of cost)

Given pricing on these cars, it might not really be worth your time or effort unless it is an immaculate example or being given to you by a relative.

Donald asks…

How can I get the radio code for my BMW without having to pay the dealers?

I replaced my battery without knowing that it’ll reset the radio. I don’t have the manual or anything that came along with the car, but I do have the registration papers for the car. I tried bringing it to a BMW dealership but they’re charging me $150 for the code. Thanks in advance for helping out.


Administrator answers:

Write down the vin numbers and call the customer service number for BMW/USA. Or visit

Robert asks…

What to do about the speedometer error in the BMW, any ideas?

I have a ’03 525i and have noted an error of about 10-12%. When I’m going 75 mph on the speedometer, I’m only going approxmately 67 mph. I’ve checked on other BMW sites and everyone is having this problem. Why is this allowed? Has anyone been able to get this fixed? This adds 10-12% to the total mileage that is shown and for a lease vehical is could cost you some serious bucks.

Administrator answers:

Yes, this is a common problem among many BMWs and in fact is engineered deliberately to err on the side of caution. BMW USA wants to avoid lawsuits where people say “had I known I was going that fast, I would have slowed down and my injuries would not be so severe from that accident.” It is harder to make such a claim if you were talking about “had I known I was going so slow…” When BMW errs on the side of cautoin, they are basically trying to avoid the above “type” of scenario. So, to some extend, the “error” is deliberate. However, if it is too off, and your car is under warranty, you can have your local BMW dealer replace the gauge cluster with a “hopefully” better calibrated gauge cluster speedometer.

That said, the problem is only apparent in the speedometer. It does NOT affect your odometer or tripometer. A relatively accurate speed signal is received from the sensor in your car’s differential. The error is simply in the calibration of the speedometer to that signal. The accurate signal is used for your odometer, tripometer and trip computer (OBC). No worries about inaccurate odometer and “lost mileage” on your lease.

One way to get your accurate speed is to hold the car steady at a particular speed. Go to your OBC trip computer and reset the “avg speed”. Since you’re at a constant speed, the new “avg speed” reading will be your real speed at that moment. You will see that the speed signal is relatively accurate compared to what is shown on your speedometer.

Besides everything else above, you can throw off the accuracy of the speed signal with incorrectly sized tires/wheel combinations.

Chris asks…

Where can I find motorcycle riders who are intersted in crossing the USA?

This summer, I would love to cross the USA, California to the East Coast, to fullfill a dream of mine. Where can I find a web site that will allow me to find riders who may also have the same idea?

I’m not interested in paying for this experience I would like who ever I am with and I come up with where to go and when to stop!

Administrator answers:

Hey JJ:
Do you ride? If you do a search on clubs that are connected to the brand name of what you’re riding, you will come up with groups that “tour”.

For example; BMW has one that is an owner’s group and frequently posts riders looking for partners to do exactly what yo are doing.

By experience; plan on at least three weeks to round trip or even do a “five points” trip.

Good luck on your dream ride!

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