BMWs are known for many things including their engine performance. Part of this performance can be attributed to precision engineering, including the Vanos valve synchronization system.
The Vanos system uses solenoids to control camshaft motion, which can wear down over time and need replacing.
Overall, you can expect to pay about $600 on average to replace a BMW Vanos solenoid. The typical price range is between $300 to $800.
You can buy OEM replacement solenoids online for about $150 on average. The exact costs will depend on the kind of engine your car has, the age of your car, and your mechanic’s location.
There are several factors determining solenoid replacement costs. So we put together this article on the costs of BMW Vanos solenoid replacement.
We will talk about the costs of the professional replacement and talk about costs to buy the parts and replace them on your own.
- What is a BMW Vanos Solenoid?
- How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Vanos Solenoid?
- Vanos Solenoid Parts
- Factors that Affect Solenoid Replacement Costs
- Signs of a Bad Vanos Solenoid
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
What is a BMW Vanos Solenoid?
The BMW Vanos is a proprietary valve timing system used by BMW cars and SUVs. Introduced in 1992, the Vanos times the opening and closing of fuel intake valves to make your engine work as efficiently as possible.
Older systems just used mechanical friction to open and close valves, in which timing was determined by the size of your camshafts.
The Vanos system uses a special helical gear system between camshaft gears and camshafts themselves to progressively time the motion of intake and exhaust valves.
Solenoids are a special type of electromagnet that is in the Vanos system that controls oil pressure that turns the helical gears.
In other words, the solenoid is mostly responsible for timing the motion of the gear that controls the overlap of the intake and exhaust valves.
Each camshaft has at least one solenoid but some engine models have two solenoids per camshaft; one to speed up and another to slow down the timing.
There are the types of Vanos systems that BMW engines use.
6-cylinder M52 TU
Dual w/ Valvetronic
V8 N62 TU
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Vanos Solenoid?
On average, it costs about $600 to replace a Vanos solenoid. The costs are split between $200 for parts and $400 for labor. The typical range is between $300 to $800. Different BMW engines use different Vanos systems, which may cost more than others.
Below is a table showing the average cost to replace the Vanos solenoid in various popular BMW models. These prices are averages and will depend on the age of your car and your mechanic’s location.
|1-Series M Coupe||$550|
As you might expect, replacement costs generally trend downward as you approach the less expensive economy-style models.
Vanos Solenoid Parts
You can also buy solenoid parts online if you want to try to replace the parts on your own. There are two major types of parts you can buy.
Original equipment manufacturer parts are made by the car’s original manufacturer and so are designed specifically for your car.
OEM parts are more expensive but tend to be higher quality and are more likely to come with parts warranties or guarantees.
Alternatively, you can buy aftermarket parts that may or may not be made with the original manufacturer’s supervision.
Aftermarket parts tend to be substantially cheaper than OEM parts, but they are more likely to have performance issues. Aftermarket parts also do not usually come with performance guarantees or warranties.
On average, you can expect to pay about $80 for an aftermarket replacement solenoid. If you want an OEM solenoid, then you can expect to pay about $150 to $200 for parts. Below is a table showing average prices for various solenoid parts you can buy.
|BME Genuine Solenoid with Gaskets||$185|
|Dorman 917-241 Engine Variable Valve Timing Solenoid||$60|
|2 pcs Vanos Camshaft Solenoid for BMW E82||$50|
|Dorman 918-102 Engine Variable Valve Timing Solenoid||$90|
|HiSport Engine Variable Valve Solenoid||$40|
|Spectra Premium VTS1017 Timing Solenoid||$60|
|WFLMHB 11361432532 Engine Variable Valve Timing Solenoid||$50|
|APDTY 028354 Vanos System VVT Variable Valve Timing Solenoid||$30|
|OKAY MOTOR Variable Timing Vanos Solenoid for BMW 540i||$40|
|FAERSI 2 pcs Vanos Engine Variable Timing Solenoid||$40|
|APDTY 133777 Variable Valve Timing Solenoid||$70|
Factors that Affect Solenoid Replacement Costs
There are several factors that affect the cost of replacing a BMW Vanos solenoid, including:
Type of Vanos system
There are two major types of Vanos systems: the single and double Vanos.
The single system only has solenoids to control the motion of the intake valves while the exhaust side is connected to a chain sprocket.
The double Vanos system controls both the intake and exhaust valves. There is also the double Vanos with a Valvetronic system.
Most BMW cars from 2000 onwards have the Vanos valve system. Usually, the more expensive the model of car, the more expensive the maintenance.
For example, the X1 is the cheapest BMW sedan and likewise has a low solenoid replacement cost.
Age of your car
The older your car is, the more expensive it will be to maintain on average. Older cars have more wear and tear, and you may have to replace related parts.
Newer cars have more advanced systems, and so will be more expensive to repair.
Signs of a Bad Vanos Solenoid
Your solenoids work day in and day out to keep your engine valves working properly, so they can fail from overwork. Here are the most common signs of a bad Vanos solenoid.
Loss of Horsepower/Torque
The most obvious sign of a broken solenoid is a loss of horsepower. The solenoid times the intake/exhaust valves’ motion so when the timing is off, engine performance can fail.
The main problem is that solenoid valves wear down slowly over time, so you may not notice a problem immediately until it causes significant engine performance issues.
Another common sign of a broken solenoid is a loud rattling when idling. Mismatched timing between the positions of the valves can cause loud chugging sounds and excessive vibrations when your engine is idling.
Increased Fuel Consumption
Another common sign of a failing solenoid is increased fuel consumption. When the solenoid is broken, it cannot time valve movements, so your engine is less efficient.
The result is that you burn more gas and get less power than you would otherwise. So if you notice increasing fuel usage, then your solenoids may be the culprit.
The Vanos system also works to provide proper airflow to the engine. A broken solenoid can result in your engine stalling because it is not getting enough oxygen to keep the combustion reaction going.
As a result, your engine might start stalling when you are moving at low speeds with low RPMs.
When you press the gas pedal down and your car accelerates, your engine starts turning faster. If your Vanos solenoids are broken, you may notice a small slowdown right after accelerating.
This is caused by the valves not releasing exhaust quickly enough, which causes a slight dip in acceleration power.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to replace a BMW Vanos solenoid?
On average, you can expect to pay about $400 to replace a BMW Vanos solenoid. Parts cost about $100-$200 while labor will cost around $200-$300.
The costs will depend on the specific model of BMW that you have. Engines with the dual Vanos system will be more expensive to replace.
How often should I replace my solenoids?
Generally speaking, you should replace your solenoids about once every 50,000 miles for 5 years. If you fail to get regular maintenance, then they may fail in as little as 25,000 miles.
Your mechanic should inspect your solenoids every time you bring your car in for routine annual maintenance.
Can I drive with a broken solenoid?
Yes, you can drive with a broken solenoid, but it is not recommended. Driving with a broken solenoid can negatively affect your engine performance and also reduce your fuel economy.
How long does it take to replace a Vanos solenoid?
If you take your car to a professional mechanic, you can expect it to take about 2 to 3 hours to replace a Vanos solenoid. Repair times will take longer if you replace multiple solenoids at the same time.
Can I replace a Vanos solenoid on my own?
Generally speaking, no. The Vanos system is a proprietary valve system for BMW cars and requires specialty tools to repair.
While not strictly impossible, replacing them on your own will likely be too difficult or require tools you can’t buy. So your best option is to have a professional BMW mechanic replace the solenoids.
The Vanos system is popular because it provides a significant boost to engine performance and efficiency. The complex system relies on these solenoids to keep valve-timing in primal ranges.
Running an inefficient engine can increase fuel costs and damage your engine components, so you should get a broken solenoid replaced as quickly as possible.
As always, make sure to get quotes from several mechanics so you can get the best price.