The ignition module is a critical component of your BMW’s performance, but unlike tracking your oil changes or tire rotations, can be difficult to diagnose. Knowing the warning signs of when to replace it can help maintain the dynamic health of your BMW and prevent serious damage to other parts of your ignition system or to you as a driver.

We’ll break down the warning indicators of a faulty ignition module and enable you with the knowledge to take appropriate action and keep you and your BMW safe on the road.

The Early Symptoms: Heat and Loss of Power

Before your BMW reaches an advanced stage where the car won’t move from the driveway, telling signs exist which may help you prevent a more severe automotive crisis.

Loss of Power

Your ignition module is like a dam, fed electricity from the battery, and allocates the distribution of that electric current to the necessary members of the ignition family as needed, like an irrigation system. The module sends power to the ignition coils to increase or decrease speed, the coils convert the energy to the spark plugs, which then ignite the fuel/air mixture in the engine to power your car.

When an ignition module breaks down, it no longer knows how to send the proper strength of signals to the other elements of the ignition process. The engine won’t be able to draw the power it needs, and may result in:

  • sputtering and misfiring, like the engine has a bad cough
  • sluggishness to accelerate
  • low fuel economy (engine has to try harder to compensate for faulty module)

Overheating and Effects of Long-term Heat

If your car starts fine on a cool day but reacts differently the next week to a heat wave by exhibiting any of the above-mentioned indicators, then you can start to narrow focus towards a failing module.

Over time, consistent extreme heat from the engine or external elements will corrode the module and lead to eventual failure. An overheating module will begin to display visible external ailments:

  • odor of gasoline from the exhaust
  • smoke from the engine
  • your temperature gauge substantially increases

It’s Past Time: Stalling or a “No Start” Vehicle

When your car won’t start at all, the ignition module is no longer capable of sending the necessary electric current to the ignition coils to start the engine. You may hear your engine cranking as you turn the key, but the spark plugs aren’t being fed the sparks to initiate power.

You may also find your car stalls and after giving it a few minutes, it will start. A defective module ceases to function when it overheats, but if not yet fully defective, may allow you to start again when it cools. At this point, the vehicle needs immediate care.

Serious injury could occur if your car stalls in heavy traffic or while merging lanes, and it’s imperative to seek repair for a deteriorated mechanism.

The Importance of Scheduled Preventative Maintenance

Diagnosing an ignition module failure can be tricky. The car may have stalled because the battery, starter or alternator is dead or defective, and this would prevent your ignition system from receiving the needed “juice”.

Ignition coil failures manifest many of the same symptoms as failure of a module. The best way to accurately know your issue is to allow a professional to assess and service your BMW on a regular maintenance schedule.


Masters of European Ignition Modules: Dell’s Service Center of Green Bay

At Dell’s Service Center, we take immense pride in our care for all types of German, European and domestic autos, including your BMW. We will accurately diagnose your ignition module, but our care extends to so much more. It’s not hard to find car owners in the areas of Green Bay, Manitowoc and Sturgeon Bay, WI who can attest to our committed and friendly team of mechanics, a shop with 46 years of exceptional service experience and our ability to provide for needs ranging from a simple oil change to advanced transmission or suspension repairs.

Please give us a call to let us know how we can help you maintain peace of mind with your vehicle’s health. It is our privilege to provide you with the elite professional care your BMW deserves.

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