Common BMW N13 Engine Problems (114i, 116i, 120i, 316i…)

Are you interested in a model with the BMW N13 engine and want to learn more about the BMW N13 engine problems? Well, if that is the case, you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover.

Common BMW N13 engine problems include:

  • Valve Cover Leaking Oil
  • Coolant Reservoir Cracked
  • Water Pump Failure
  • Coil Pack Failure
  • Charge Pipe Failure
  • Vacuum Pump Failure
  • Engine Vibrations
  • Rough Engine Idle
  • High Fuel Consumption

Common BMW N13 Engine Problems

Now let’s further elaborate on these problems in detail and learn more about what you can expect if you go for this engine.

Valve Cover Oil Leaks

The first of the many problems with this engine is the situation with the valve cover leaks. Valve covers tend to leak on basically every BMW engine out there, even though this is not a BMW engine in essence.

Strange situation but the problem is pretty real. The valve covers can crack and leak or the valve cover gaskets can fail and cause leaks to develop in the engine.

What is worth noting is that these oil leaks have to be sorted on time before the problem gets too serious and you lose a significant amount of oil.

Coolant Reservoir Cracked & Other Coolant Leaks

The second most common problem with this engine is the loss of coolant. This engine has a rather fragile cooling system that could lose coolant from a few places.

But the most common place for leaks is the coolant reservoir. This reservoir is made from cheap plastic and can fail.

Whenever this reservoir fails, your engine will lose coolant. The more you leave it like that, the worse the problem will get and the engine will eventually overheat. Which is something that you definitely want to avoid. So, tracking the coolant level and fixing leaks is mandatory.

Also, there are coolant leaks that can occur behind the engine as you can see in the video that we attached. There are multiple places where this engine could leak coolant. So, be definitely aware of them!

Water Pump Failure

Just like every other BMW, the water pump on this engine is not something that is particularly good and will never fail.

These water pumps can fail. And when they fail, the engine would overheat. This is why tracking your temperatures and also following the right maintenance intervals is an excellent idea if you want to avoid some problems like a blown head gasket.

Coil Pack Failure

The next also common problem with the N13 engine is the coil pack failure. But what is a coil pack?

Well, a coil pack in simple words is an electric transformer. This transformer converts the 12V supply from the battery into a high-power current that is then sent to the spark plugs to create a spark.

And these ignition coils suffer a lot on these engines. In total, there are four of them on this specific application. So, replacing all of them once they start to create problems is the way to go because if they are pretty worn, it is a question of time when the other will fail as well.

They are not expensive after all. Another thing to note is that whenever you replace the coils, you should also replace the spark plugs.

Charge Pipe Failure

Another very popular failure point on these engines is the charge pipe failure. So, what is a charge pipe?

A charge pipe is a pipe that helps your turbo work the right way. This pipe is pressurized and whenever you run too much boost, it will crack.

That’s what a lot of people are doing with their BMWs and they eventually cause this pipe to fail. But this isn’t always the case, there are a lot of cases when the charge pipe even fails on its own. And many people are reporting this problem with their N13 engine.

Vacuum Pump Failure

This engine also runs something known as a vacuum pump. This is a special pump that is powering the brake booster and the auxiliary solenoids. This pump is cam driven, it drives from your exhaust camshaft. In other words, this means that the vacuum pump is mounted on the cylinder head.

What happens with these vacuum pumps is that they tend to fail from oil starvation. This pump is lubricated by the engine oil. Whenever there is a low amount of oil traveling to the vacuum pump, it could cause the pump to fail.

And this happens a lot on these engines. And having this pump failed can cause a ton of issues in the long run, so replacing it on time is the way to go.

Rough Engine Idle At Cold Start

Another very common problem is the rough engine idle at cold start. This isn’t actually a big problem but it is very annoying.

This problem is reportedly caused by the vibration of a joint at the wastegate. In other words, it is a wastegate rattle common on a lot of BMW engines. BMW just loves to make its wastegate actuators very flimsy and prone to create rattling noises.

For this purpose, there is a special aftermarket component that you attach to tighten the rod that activates the wastegate. As you can see in the video.

High Oil Consumption

And the last problem with the engine is oil consumption, which is very common in these engines since they are turbocharged.

The factory recommended spec of this engine is about 1 quart (0.95 l) per 850 miles, or 1 L per 1,000 km, quite high as you can see. But if the number goes over this, you definitely have an oil burning issue.

Which Models Have The BMW N13 Engine

Now that we covered the BMW N13 engine problems, let’s take a look at the applications of these engines and the models in which they were included.

75 kW Version

  • 2012-2015 1 Series F20 114i

100 kW Version

  • 2011-2015 1 Series F20 116i
  • 2012-2015 3 Series F30 316i

125 kW Version

  • 2011-2015 1 Series F20 118i
  • 2012-2015 3 Series F30 320i

130 kW Version

  • 2015-2016 1 Series F20 120i


Now that we covered the common BMW N13 engine problems, let’s sum up our impressions. Overall, this engine’s performance is not the greatest. It has some issues here and there that affect its reliability.

Namely, there are problems with coolant leaks that can happen, there is also the problem with the vacuum pump that is very common. In addition to this, oil leaks from the valve cover are also very common on the engine as well. But overall, nothing terrifying.


What Are The Common Problems With The N13 Engine?

Common problems with this engine include valve cover oil leaks, problems with the water pump, problems with coolant leaking, charge pipe failure, vacuum pump failure, coil pack failure, and waste gate rattle can occur at higher miles.

Is The N13 Engine Reliable?

The N13 engine is a reliable engine, it doesn’t have major design flaws like other BMW engines. The problems with this engine are mostly concerned with some of the seals and poorly made components surrounding the engine that can fail and cause problems for the owner. But overall, the N13 is not a bad engine, still, try to get an engine with lower miles since higher-mileage engines tend to drink more oil and cause other issues.

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