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There are more than 1,000 Q&As and DIY guides posted here. Feel free to search by keyword (upper right), browse by category (lower right), or watch one of our helpful videos. Once you've found the answer to your question, you can get the parts you need in our online store –

DIY Video, Repair and Renew Faded Oxidized Aluminum Trim on BMW and MINI

Mar 23 18


One of the things that makes a BMW look old and tired is the dull, cloudy, aluminum trim around the windows. Here at BAVauto, we sell a lot of replacement trim, but it can be expensive and quite tedious to actually remove and replace.   The folks at Classic Trim Coat have developed an easy to use kit that allows the DIYer to renew the oxidized aluminum trim to a “like new” finish.  Check out the video above and then purchase your kit by clicking the link below.

Click image below for Aluminum Trim Restoration Kit:
Classic Trim Coat Aluminim restoration kit BAVauto

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ELV Warning Fault Light, BMW Steering Lock

Mar 21 18


ELV steering wheel lock yellow fault light BAVauto

Later model BMWs with fob-style key (that do not insert into the steering column and turn to unlock the column and start the engine and vehicle systems) employ an electronic steering lock assembly.  The lock/unlock function is electrically operated when the key fob is activated and the ignition is turned on.

Typically, when the system sees a fault, the yellow warning light will come on in the Check-Control display Ignoring  the fault warning can result in a no-start situation if the lock assembly fails altogether. Obviously, addressing the fault during the “yellow” warning stage is recommended.  Once the system goes to a red warning, the engine will not start.

The first stage in addressing a yellow fault warning is to reset the ELV counter.  This is done using a full access diagnostic tool, such as a well equipped independent shop would have.  Additionally, the system fault codes should be read, using the same tool.  If an actual fault is found, address the fault.  Faults may be at the the actual ELV column lock assembly, the CAS (Car Accessory System), ESL circuit (Electronic Start Lock) or other electrical faults.

If replacement parts are needed, just contact your BAVauto® Advisor at 800-535-2002

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How to Test Alternator Output, BMW and MINI DIY

Mar 13 18


Late model BMWs and MINIs are very sensitive to system voltage.  All of the electronic control units must run at a specified voltage.  If the system voltage is low, this can often cause various odd fault codes, system malfunctions and engine running problems.

Testing the battery health and the basic alternator output is a first step in diagnosing suspected low voltage or battery charging issues.  All that is needed is a basic multi-meter (using the DC voltage range of the meter) or a higher featured electrical circuit testing tool like the Power Probe III.

Click below for Power Probe III circuit tester tool:
Power Probe III electrical circuit diagnostic tool BAVauto

Test the battery voltage after running the engine (this can be done right at the battery or via the under-hood positive and negative jumper terminals).  It should be at least 12.7 to 12.9 volts (it may higher, right after charging).  Check the voltage after a couple hours or the next day.  The voltage should be 12.5 (75% charge)  to 12.7 (100% charge),  at this point.  If the voltage is lower, the battery may be weak and incapable of holding a full charge.  If the voltage drops overnight (or in a couple days), charge the battery and disconnect the battery cables.  If the battery holds the charge over the same time period (same period that it was dropping voltage, with cables connected), test for errant current draw.

Click HERE for article on testing for current draw.

Testijng battery voltage with Power Probe III BAvauto BMW MINI

Test the alternator output by connecting a digital voltmeter across the battery terminals or the under-hood jumper terminals.  Start the engine and check the voltage with the engine at idle.  You should see at least 13-volts (more is preferable).  Turn on the heavy current draw accessories (headlights on high, rear defroster, heated seats, blower motor, etc.).  The voltage should still be 13-volts, or more.  If the voltage drops a bit (but not below 12.5-volts) as it sits and idles, rev it to about 1100 to 1200 RPM.  The voltage should come up to above 13-volts.

If the above test looks suspect, the alternator output may be low and this certainly can cause all form of faults and system malfunctions on the later BMWs (about 2000-on), not to mention simple battery charging issues.

 Click image below for Alternators:
BMW replacement alternator BAVauto

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