Among luxury carmakers, BMW is renowned for making some of the most reliable, safe, and fun-to-drive vehicles on the road. This reputation has helped to make BMWs one of the most popular choices among luxury car buyers. When it comes to reliability, BMWs are consistently ranked among the top performers in independent surveys. In terms of safety, BMWs are equipped with a host of cutting-edge features that help to protect occupants in the event of an accident. And when it comes to driving enjoyment, BMWs offer a level of performance and handling that is unmatched in the luxury segment. All of these factors combine to make BMWs a popular choice for luxury car buyers.

One unique aspect of the BMW is its use of the VANOS system. This system is proprietary to BMWs, making it a bit difficult for some mechanics to diagnose and work on. In this blog, we’ll cover what the VANOS system is and why it’s so important for you to know when it is malfunctioning.


VANOS is a German word that stands for Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung. It is a system used by BMW in its gasoline engines to improve engine performance. The system adjusts the timing of the intake & exhaust valves based on engine speed and load, providing optimal power and fuel efficiency.

VANOS was first introduced in 1992 on the BMW M50 engine, and has since been used on a variety of other BMW engines. While it is a complex system, VANOS can provide significant benefits in terms of engine performance and fuel economy. For drivers who want the best possible performance from their BMW, VANOS is an essential piece of technology.

Signs of VANOS Failure

The main purpose of VANOS is to improve fuel efficiency and engine emissions. However, over time, the system can begin to fail. There are several signs that may indicate that VANOS is failing. These include a drop in engine performance, an increase in fuel consumption, and a decrease in engine power.

In some cases, the engine may also produce a rattling noise when idling. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to have your car examined by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in further damage to the engine.

Leaving VANOS Failure Unchecked Can Lead to Severe Engine Damage

VANOS is operated by two solenoids that control oil pressure to the phasers. The phasers advance or slow the timing of the intake and exhaust cams based on input from the ECU. When the engine is started, the ECUs initial baseline timing settings are used. As the engine warms up, the ECU starts to adjust timing based on driving conditions.

If either solenoid fails, or there’s a loss of oil pressure, it can cause the intake and exhaust camshafts to become out of sync with each other. This can result in engine performance issues such as loss of power, increased fuel consumption, and increased emissions. In severe cases, it can also cause engine damage. If you suspect that your VANOS system is failing, it’s important to have it checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Trust Your BMW to Momentum Motorworks

When you suspect your VANOS may be failing, it is important to have a BMW mechanic you can trust. Afterall, BMW Engine Inspection VANOS is specific to BMW vehicles, so not every mechanic will know how to diagnose and work on the system. If you live in or around Alabaster, Homewood, Helena, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, or Birmingham, AL, Momentum Motorworks is here to help.

At Momentum Motorworks, we specialize in German automobiles, including BMWs, so you can rest assured that our skilled service technicians know exactly how to handle any issues that may arise with your vehicle. We have a commitment to exemplary customer service and reliable, quality work that has made us the go-to for BMW owners in the area.

Because we realize life doesn’t wait for car repairs, we do our best to make your repairs as quick and painless as possible, with 24/7 drop-off and pick-up available and same-day service possible for many diagnostics and repairs. If you suspect your VANOS is failing, call or stop by today to learn more about how we can help.

* BMW Car image credit goes to: Ivelin Denev.

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