There’s nothing prettier than a freshly-washed Bimmer parked in the driveway, except when it leaves a puddle of fluid on the concrete. The BMW e39 five-series has been known to spring leaks in the power-steering hose, valve cover and other lines. This includes all model years of 1997-2003 in the 5-series which included the 525i, 528i, 530i, 540i and M5, also known as the Sedan, Sport and Touring.
There were no 4-cylinder e39s distributed in the U.S., but the V6 and V8s were quite popular and many are still on the road today. The eight-cylinders are especially known to bust a leak in the power steering hose. This results in low pressure and could damage several associated parts. If you feel the handling of your Bimmer is poor, or that there is a rubbing or grinding when you turn, this could be the cause. This is a rather costly part, and should be replaced by a local Bimmer service expert.
A large puddle of oil on the driveway could be caused by something as simple as a loose plug, or possibly a faulty valve cover. First check to see that the oil plug is secure, as it could have shimmied loose since your last oil change. If that plug is tight, then look for other symptoms, such as a misfiring while driving. If the valve cover is leaking it could drip oil onto the spark plug wells and cause misfires and do quite a bit of damage to the engine. Contact a specialized BMW repair expert for professional repairs.
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