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BMW Spark Plugs

No matter how budget-friendly or luxurious your car is, if it’s a vehicle that uses an internal-combustion engine — as the vast majority still do — then you can’t away from one critical component: the spark plug.

Spark plugs are devices that look deceptively simple but perform a vital function in your BMW engine. In short, they generate a spark that ignites the mixture of fuel and air which makes your engine literally explode to life.

Sure, it’s a tiny explosion, but it’s that essential first spark of power that makes your entire engine go. Today, we’re exploring the interesting world of BMW spark plugs.

What Spark Plugs Does BMW Use?

Like many other components in your car, BMW cars can make use of an aftermarket spark plug set as well as the OEM ones, but the original supplier is typically the best for general use. In the case of BMW, their original suppliers for spark plugs include Bosch and NGK. The ignition system of your BMW is optimized and set up to use this brand of spark plug.

A Bosch or NGK spark plug set can set you back anywhere from $130 to $170, and individually they are about $15.

The aftermarket offers a rich selection and many are advertised as being perfectly compatible with BMW models. In this case, it’s always to read customer feedback to ensure that third-party spark plugs work properly within the BMW system.

How Much Does it Cost to Change Spark Plugs on a BMW?

It’s always hard to give accurate estimates on cost because it can vary wildly depending on your maintenance supplier. The cost estimator at offers fair insight into the average costs nationally. Below are some estimates on replacement spark plugs according to RepairPal, using a BMW 328i xdrive as an example.

RepairPal estimates the total cost as somewhere between $226 and $342. It breaks down into labor and parts:

  • Labor – $150-190
  • Parts – $76-152

This is looking purely at the cost of the spark plugs and the labor required to replace them. It does not, unfortunately, include additional taxes and fees that may apply in your particular location. Some people may end up paying more or less for new spark plugs.

How Often Do You Change Spark Plugs on a BMW?

The general consensus from BMW is that the recommended interval between spark plug changes is 30,000 miles. Like any other car parts, however, that exact distance will depend on your car model, and more importantly how often and how far you drive your vehicle. Any and all automotive products have a fixed lifespan.

You can expect the Bosch and NGK spark plugs that usually come as standard with your vehicle will last for that 30,000-mile period. It’s always much harder to estimate with the aftermarket products, but the 30,000-mile guideline is quite steady for most items.

It’s a simple bit of maintenance that you really shouldn’t ignore. The benefits to your BMW when you have working spark plugs are numerous and significant. First of all, properly working spark plugs will help restore a failing fuel economy. When spark plugs get worn, fuel efficiency can drop by as much as 30 percent, according to BMW.

Working spark plugs will also mean you get smooth BMW starts every time and a nice, even, and constant production of combustion. Finally, spark plugs near the end of their life start to impact the emissions of your BMW, which if you live in a state like California is very significant.

Regardless of how many miles it has been since you changed the spark plugs on your particular BMW model, there are several signs that will indicate the need to check or possibly replace your spark plugs. We’ll deal with them below.

What are Signs Your Spark Plugs are Bad?

The key to knowing if your spark plugs are in need of attention is arming yourself with the right information. Here are some crucial signs to look out for that your BMW spark plugs in need of attention.

  1. Losing fuel efficiency – Have you noticed you’re having to fill up the gas tank more frequently? As we mentioned above, you can lose almost a third of your capacity when the BMW spark plugs are in need of replacement.
  2. Check engine light illuminates – This much-feared light can mean a number of things, but one is that your spark plugs are going bad and may need replacing.
  3. Trouble starting the engine – Under normal conditions, your BMW should start up very fast and smoothly with no excessive cranking sounds or much of a delay between pushing the start/stop button and hearing the engine roar to life. If you are experiencing this, then your BMW spark plugs might be experiencing issues.
  4. The engine fails to start – Finally, when the spark plugs have truly lost their viability, the engine will simply not start. Without that key spark to combust the fuel/air mixture, you can’t get the energy you need to start up.

The spark plug is a relatively simple part, and spark plug replacement a relatively simple process. It’s no different on BMW models, but the place, style, and distances in which you are driving can have different impacts on the spark plugs.

Check your BMW owner’s manual for more information on BMW spark plugs and the required steps to maintain and replace them. If you don’t, even the ultimate driving machine will start giving you problems!

6. Target Icon Indicates the Destination

The Target Icon allows drivers to use the interactive map to select destinations. This is a quick and easy way to select a nearby destination without having to enter the address. You can pick any location on the map as the destination by moving the location pointer to the desired spot.


How to Use the Location Pointer to Selection a Destination

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to select a destination on the navigation with the location pointer.

  • Press the iDrive controller located on the center console to activate the location pointer (shown as a target symbol) on the navigation screen
  • Move the location pointer to an approximate vicinity to the destination on the map using the iDrive controller
  • Push down on the iDrive controller and a popup will appear with the gear icon. This popup shows you Points of Interest option in the selected area
  • Select a specific destination from the “A-Z Search” or the “Category Search” within the Points of Interest option


7. Directional Icon Provides Different Map and Route Views

The Directional Icon provides alternative map and route views regarding direction, map perspective, and route views. When you have an address mapped in the navigation, directional and route view options are available to help optimize your driving experience.

Available Map and Route Views

  • View Facing North
  • Direction of Travel View
  • Perspective View
  • Route Overview

8. Information Icon Allows Customization of the Map Content

The Information Icon allows drivers to add customizations concerning how the navigation is being viewed. For example, you can change the map to a 3D view and get a better sense of the area you are traveling to.

Customization Options in the Information Icon

  • Show Points of Interest
  • Weather
  • Satellite Images
  • Perspective View in 3D
  • Additional Settings


Learn more about the evolution of the 3 generations of BMW’s navigation system

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