Speedometer Problems [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Speedometer Problems

07-14-2004, 08:23 AM
I have had a problem with the speedometer reading higher than the actual speed on my X5 since the day we bought it. The dealer kept saying that the spec on it was +10 %, but I didn't believe them. After numerous problems and replacing the transmission, the speedometer still reads too fast. The dealer provided me with a copy of a BMW bulletin that states that the actual range is +10 % + 2.4 mph!

After the new transmission, the X5 jerks like it running over a washboard. It only does it intermittently and never, of course, when the service manager is driving. Has anyone else had these problems?

Eric B
07-14-2004, 12:49 PM
Can you post the copy of the spec from BMW? I would like to use it as possible evidence on an upcoming court date for speeding....I know I wasnt going as fast as the wrote me up for!

07-14-2004, 12:55 PM
Can you post the copy of the spec from BMW? I would like to use it as possible evidence on an upcoming court date for speeding....I know I wasnt going as fast as the wrote me up for!
The speedo error is in the court's advantage, not yours. Your speedo will be reading higher than it should, which is indeed "normal" per BMW.

07-14-2004, 02:47 PM
Speed reading higher than actual is actually part of vehicle regulations in many countries.

ECE R39 in Europe states that a speedometer must be within +10% +4kph

07-14-2004, 05:03 PM
My 2001 X5 did the same thing about 3% above actual speed. Everything I read agrees with what everyone else is saying "normal for a BMW". That said I've had 5 BMW's in the last six years including a 2004 X5 and the 2001 X5 was the only only one with an incorrect speedometer. I'm shocked they replaced your tranny due to the speedometer issue. Was it new or reconditioned?

07-16-2004, 07:16 AM
The tranny was replaced because of problems with it, not the speedometer. The new trans is developing problems again after only 1000 miles. Intermittently, the X5 jerks like it's running over a washboard. It doesn't do it when the service manager is around, so I guess I'll just drive it until this trans falls out.

The reason I'm concerned about the speedometer reading is because of the drive train controls. If they can't tell the speed any closer than 10 %, how can the system work properly?

07-16-2004, 07:40 AM
I would see a 10% higher speedo reading as a good thing. Let's say you're cruising the freeway at 95mph, a trooper pulls you over and gives you a ticket for 'only' 90mph...as an example.

07-16-2004, 04:34 PM
I would have to disagree I believe the speedometer should read the actual speed of the car. In my 2001 X5 I always assumed I had a 3-4 mile an hour error so I always went 3-4 miles an hour faster. I checked the speed by going 60 miles an hour (in cruise control), clearing the actual speed computer reading. Then I let the actual speed reading reset. I also checked this reading with the mileage markers on the highway. My personal opinion is that in some countries the speedometer cannot read less than the actual speed of the car so BMW decided to just insert a little error for breathing room. But 10% is outrageous!

07-17-2004, 03:19 AM
In my experience, the computers on board knows the actual speed/mileage pretty much exactly. It is only the speedometer display that is biased. Next time, go at a steady speed by using your cruise control, then reset the average speed reading on the on board computer. If you have a GPS, you can verify the speeds, and it should be with 1 or 2mph of each other.

Since the European laws do now allow the speedometer to display lower than the actual vehicle speed, BMW intentionally bias the speedometer readings high to make sure they do not violate that law. The speedometer spec should be -0/+10%, plus 4 or 5km/h. That means at 70mph, any reading between 70 and 80 is within spec.

That said, my E36 is fast by 2mph, and my R53 is fast by 1mph.

07-22-2004, 07:47 AM
Iím with BMW of North America, LLC. Iím so sorry your service experience was not what you expected. We are here to work with you and your BMW center. If you would like our assistance, please give us a call us at (800) 831-1117, and mention Reference #200420400127 so that we can help you more efficiently.

03-05-2010, 08:28 PM

03-05-2010, 08:30 PM
sorry wrong post. please ignore.

Imola 4.6
03-31-2010, 11:52 PM
hey i have a 2003 4.6.... i have the same exact problem.. every where i read and research, they say that it was made to be 10% more.. but that is not true because i had a 2001 4.4 and a 2000 540i.... none ever had that problem but my 4.6 does.. strange..

04-01-2010, 06:20 AM
My speedo runs around 5 mph high across the range. I checked it with GPS. It is normal on most vehicles and, if I remember correctly, is required by the DOT. I seem to remember a discussion on another board where the actual DOT requirement was posted.