Buying a BMW represents the most sound investment in quality, drivability, and classic design, that any passionate motorist can make. With sound construction, German engineering and cutting-edge technology, it is unlikely you’ll encounter any issues with your vehicle for some time after purchasing. However, as with even the highest quality vehicles, time and use will require parts to be replaced and maintained. In this article we’ll be discussing when you might need to consider replacing the ignition module in your BMW.

What is the Ignition Module?

The ignition module, also referred to as the ‘ignition control module’, or ICM, is a device which is at the heart of a cars’ engine. Its primary purpose is to control the generation of sparks within the engine. Normally coated in insulated material, and found near the cars distributor, the ignition module relies on sparks created by the battery to set the ignition system in motion, thus starting up the car.

Without a functioning ignition module, the vehicle simply won’t start correctly, commonly this results in lack of ignition due to no spark being created, the engine misfiring, or an engine which starts, but then stops and is unable to be started again.

What can Cause an Ignition Module to Fail?

There are many factors that can cause an ignition module to fail, such as a wiring short, an internal short, poor electrical connections at the spark plug, engine failure, and engine overheating. If you’ve recently experienced any of these issues with your vehicle, even if they appear to be a one off occurrence, it might be best to check the ignition module, just to be on the safe side.


There are two key, and quite significant signs that you may need to replace your BMW’s ignition module. The first is the overheating of your engine. You might find that your vehicle starts to regularly stall, and if you monitor your dashboard, you may notice that the temperature gauge is indicating as higher than normal.

In more extreme cases, your engine may smoke, this will often be an indicator that the issues within the engine have expanded further than just the ignition module. This can include heat-related damage to the pistons, cylinder walls, and sealing surfaces of the engine. If this happens, you’ll need to take your car to a professional mechanic as soon as possible, and costs may be more expensive depending on the extent of the damage – so its best to observe your temperature gauge regularly as you drive, to avoid the chance of this.

Sudden Failure

This second sign is the most obvious indication that something may be very wrong with the ignition module of the vehicle in question. The car may start up normally, and even drive normally for a time, but it will suddenly stall and become unresponsive. This can constitute a clear safety risk to you as well as fellow motorists, especially if this happens on a busy road or intersection. This will require you to call out a recovery crew, and you’ll need to take your vehicle in for repair.

Testing for Ignition Module Failure

If you have experience with cars, or are skilled with electronics, it is possible to test the efficiency of the ignition module yourself. This can help rule out other issues, such as damaged, worn out, or loose wiring. To test this, you’ll need a light timing tester. This is a tool which tests the output of the ignition module, if when the ignition is started, the tester doesn’t blink, then the problem definitely lies with the module, and not with any wiring.

Repairing the Ignition Module

Unless you have prior experience with cars, anything involving the engine really should be dealt with by professionals. As it is one of the BMW Ignition Module Check most expensive elements of any car, it goes without saying that tampering with it without experience isn’t advisable, you could completely ruin the engine, or damage it to the point where costs become high.

If you’re a BMW owner in the Tucson, Arizona area and you’re worried about ignition module failure within your vehicle, then you’re in luck. Group One Motorwerks in Tucson will put your mind at ease with their specialized expertise in German Motors. With a team of dedicated and highly qualified mechanics, there really is no problem they can’t remedy.

When it comes to your prized car, and the efficient running of one of its primary elements, it’s really not worth the risk of delaying maintenance if you expect anything wrong. In the long run, acting fast and reducing further damage, as well as seeking a professional, will save you money and give you complete peace of mind.