5 Common BMW X5 Air Suspension Problems

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The BMW X5 is not just known as the most popular medium-sized SUV on the planet, but also as BMW’s very first SUV, too. With each model, it steadily becomes more sophisticated. But the thing that most contributes to its advanced luxury is its air suspension system. 

The groundbreaking air suspension that helps X5 drivers experience more pleasant trips is the reason why this luxury SUV has seen so many users appreciate it. 

Even so, like other suspension setups, BMW X5 air suspension problems can be your headache as they have become for many owners. Especially, air springs are among the most frequent points of failure on BMW X5s. 

This is because the air springs are prone to leaking. In addition, corner sagging and level control system failure are also rather typical issues with the BMW X5 air suspension. This guide will shine a light on how to deal with BMW X5 the suspension problems. 

BMW X5 Air Suspension Basics

BMW X5 Air Suspension Problems

Before you head down to your BMW X5 suspension issues, you should have a basic idea about the air suspension system used in the BMW X5. So, here we’re going to explain how the BMW X5 air suspension works:

The air suspension system consists of several core components, such as the air compressor, airbags, air springs, height sensor, electronic control unit, air shocks, and airline sheaths. These core parts bring about the work of the air suspension system.

Proceeding from the air compressor, one of the primary systems in the air suspension system. Through this, compressed air is pumped into the airbag units by means of the pneumatic line. 

The airbags take in the air created by the compressor and use the air to maintain the vehicle’s height. Once the chassis is at height, the airbags release the pressure and maintain the ride height. 

Additionally, BMW models have an active height control system with air shocks and dampers totaling approximately eight connections to absorb the jolts. 

The damper functions regardless of road defects or drastic changes in road contours. These frontal airbag faceplate functions to quench road impacts, and every jolt is pushed by the air delivered by the shock absorber.

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BMW X5 Air Suspension Problems with Possible Solutions

If your BMW X5’s suspension begins to fail, many issues might arise, including considerable substitute costs. These issues might include worn-out or degraded air suspension or malfunctioning parts (suspension or drive shafts). 

To save time and money, some BMW X5 suspension problems with possible solutions are listed below. 

1. BMW X5 Rear-end Sagging

Have you ever noticed your BMW X5’s rear end is sagging? Whenever the rear end of your BMW begins to sag, it’s a sign that its ability to hold weight is affected. This also presumes that the ride height of your vehicle is lessening. 

In brief, it will probably indicate that a faulty compressor is impacting the air suspension system, a leakage in the system, or a faulty valve block is to blame. In some cases, the rear end sags to a level that lowers ride height completely. 

When this happens, it feels as if there’s no air suspension. This problem is more prevalent in a particular model of X5 SUV’s air suspension such as the BMW X5 F15 models. And the rear end sagging condition can occur without generating any error code.

Possible Solution:

Make sure to park the car in a safe location with the tires on the ground and level. Determine the vertical distance from the berth of the tire to the bottom of the fender on one side and, on the other side, the non-sagging side. If there is an irregularity of more than 15 mm from the right and left, there may be an issue.

In order to resolve the problem, you must have a look if the section of the compressor is functioning or if there is any blown fuse. Then, you will have to replace them if necessary. You can check the compressor in the following steps:

  • You have to hear the air compressor turn on. This function examines our EHC machine. Listen initially to find out if the compressor activates. If the compressor does not activate, there is a strong possibility that the compressor fuse is blown. 
  • Examine the orange 40A air compressor fuse in the fuse box located in the glove box underneath your vehicle’s dashboard.
  • If the compressor has failed, it’s likely due to a faulty Fuse. In most instances, the car may not be able to raise itself, even if the compressor is running. 
  • You can easily ascertain if the Relay and the Fuse require replacement by testing and determining whether the compressor is making noise and the front suspension begins to rise. If this does not take place, then the chances are almost certain that the compressor has failed.

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2. Unusual Noise While Driving

According to user complaints made on the Car Problem Zoo website about issues with their air suspension system in the BMW X5, it is common to have heard the vehicle make a rattling sound when driving. 

The cause of this noise may well be a broken suspension part or a worn suspension. An unusual noise can sometimes be noticeable as the car is lowering. The purge of excess pressure from the air drier, followed by the release of moisture into the air (known as a hissing sound), results in the extracting of air from the available space in your vehicle.

Possible Solution

To remedy this issue, you first must find the source of the noise. The easiest way to do this is to head out on a test drive or walk around your vehicle to inspect the noise. After identifying the source of the noise, replace your air suspension with any replacement parts that may have been damaged or broken.

3. Air Springs Leakage 

Airbags are primarily made of rubber and will need to be replaced once they endure too much wear and tear due to excess weight carrying or being exposed to harsh elements, dirt, mud, and sand. 

Occasionally, it could be possible to experience some early indicators of potential damage in the airbag such as sagging on both or one specific side. Alongside

Under normal conditions, the compressor only activates when required to maintain the rear’s height with a slight vertical change. If there are leaks in the airbag spring, the compressor will run frequently to intensively inflate the leaking airbag spring sheath and regain its original state.

Possible Solution:

If warning signs of damage to your airbags are becoming evident, it is key that you deal with the threat without delay. It is highly recommended if you recognize the danger, that you simply remove the hazard before proceeding with the restoration. 

The airbags, sometimes, may unexpectedly burst while you’re driving, resulting in an invoice that is very expensive. 

4. Level Control System Failure

Your BMW X5 is equipped with an adaptive air suspension system featuring an advanced Level Control System, which uses sensors to detect surface level. This Level Control System has been designed to work intuitively corresponding to your vehicle’s weight no matter whether it’s towing or not. 

This lets the X5 keep a constant ride height regardless of whether it is carrying a large or light load, ensuring the vehicle runs safely and consistently. The BMW X5 is one of the most common vehicles in which self-leveling system malfunctions will occur simply because of problems with a rear height level sensor, a faulty air compressor, or poor air suspension springs. 

If the problem is continuous, the most likely cause is a problem with the sensors. However, if the warning light goes out for a little while after the car has been running, even though the engine has not idled for a long time, it’s likely that there is a leakage in your air springs.

Possible Solution:

Knowing the factors involved in your leveling system’s malfunction or getting the “Self-Leveling Suspension Inactive” error message on your own before seeking help is feasible once you know your problem in detail. 

If you notice the error message along with other evident symptoms of suspension component failure, it’s wise to talk to your dealership or an expert technician.

However, if the issue isn’t related to severely damaged or defective components, then the Level Control System needs to be reset in order for it to work properly. Luckily, resetting it is reasonably easy and takes approximately 10 minutes. Here’s how to reset the self-leveling suspension in BMW X5:

  • First, unplug the vehicle battery from the car; then, connect the battery cables. Finally, leave the cables connected for ten minutes. 
  • All that’s required is to reconnect the battery and get the car started again after ten minutes are up. This method should reset the computer that regulates the self-leveling system
  • If you still encounter problems beyond that point, you will need assistance from a specialist-level tool.

5. Bumpy Rides

Similar to air springs but also a bit similar to shocks, the air shocks installed on a vehicle resemble an airbag. Today, the coil-over spring has been replaced by an inflatable material. They are attached to a compressor and as many as 3 sensors to regulate performance and ride height to suit the user’s unique needs.

The main purpose of air shocks is to absorb road impacts. So, when you feel extreme vibrations or bumpy rides, it’s usual to blame the air shocks. 

Air shocks share those same problems that other forms of air suspensions do, such as the airbags will ultimately degrade and then begin to leak. Though they compensate for the lack of an air compressor a little better, air shocks usually need to be replaced at some point.

Final Words

Your BMW X5 features a remarkably advanced air suspension that enables the luxury car experience to skyrocket. However, despite the suspension system and its computerized self-leveling system, your vehicle may experience various suspension troubles. 

The issue lies not with the BMW but with the air suspension itself. Given that fact, it probably is in your best interest not to take the value of such a vital part for granted. So, given the importance of this part and the need for frequent inspection and repair of it, consider replacing it whenever possible.