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BMW Squeak at Rear When Entering & Exiting Car – E39 & All

May 18, 2010

This answer is applicable for many BMWs in addition to the one listed below.

car year: 1997
car model: 540i
When I enter or exit the car I hear a squeak noise from rear of car, by the rear wheel. Can it be the swing arms(trailing arms)?

Without having the car here to physically diagnose, I can only give you some suggestions in tracking down the squeak noise.

I would suggest that you have a helper create the noise (enter/exit the car), while you poke around on your hands and knees to try to get a general or actual location for the noise. Once you have determined the general location, you can then work on narrowing it down (control arm bushings, swaybar links, shocks, etc.).

If the noise does seem to be coming from the rear, and happens when you enter/exit, it is likely suspension related (suspension being compressed as you enter and extended as you exit). This could be any of the rear suspension bushings, the swaybar end links, swaybar mount bushings or the shocks. Additionally, it could be the park brake assembly. If you normally have the park brake applied when this happens, try leaving it off (put the shifter into gear if it is a manual trans, or PARK if it is automatic).

Feel free to let us know what you find.

  1. Van Phan permalink

    I actually had the same problem with my ’97 528i; it turns out to be a broken driver’s side spring. Noise was gone after spring replaced.

    • Thank you for your input. We have started to see broken front springs on the E39 (5-series 97-03) and E38 (7-series 95-01) chassis. In fact, one of our employee cars (01 740i Sport) has had both front springs break within a year of each other. Of course, this would produce a clunk or potential squeak at the front, vs the rear, but sometimes noises can seem to come from an area that isn’t the true source …. until you actually make a point of localizing the origin.

  2. Ted permalink

    I have the same issue with my 04 Z4 but as noted it seems to be when the parking brake is applied. When it’s left off, it doesn’t happen, go figure. My son also had the same issue with his 05 X5 and same thing, park brake…

    • If you hear any clunks or squeaks as the suspension is moved, with the park brake on, this is likely the park brake shoes rubbing on the backing plate as the wheel moves slightly. The potential fix would be to disassemble the park brake, inspect for any broken or worn hardware and then to properly lube the back of the shoes and the shoe contact points for the adjuster and stops. Use a high temp brake lube such as the Sta-Lube synthetic brake grease.

      Click HERE for Sta-Lube Synthetic Brake Grease

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