The “Transmission Malfunction” light will come on when the car suspects there to be a problem with the transmission. Your car will typically put the car into “limp mode” when this light comes on. This “Limp Mode” limits the car in speed in an attempt to save the transmission from further damage.
Most of the time this light comes on because a sensor is acting up or the transmission fluid is low. Yes, worst case the car could need the transmission replaced but this is rare, especially when its been maintained properly – read on for more info on that!
Most BMW’s don’t have a transmission dipstick so the fluid level must be checked with the car put on a lift. If there is ANY sign of a leak, the leak must be fixed and the transmission fluid brought to the correct level. It doesn’t work to just “top off” the transmission fluid since filling it is such a sensitive process.
We recommend a transmission fluid & filter service every 50k miles. Performing this service also replaces the transmission pan gasket which is the typical source for most transmission leaks. We’ve found that our customers that perform this service every 50k miles get to operate their car without worry or hassle and they save tons of money because their transmission doesn’t need to be replaced.
So if you’re asking yourself “Why does my bmw says transmission malfunction” have it tested by your local independent BMW specialist and be sure your transmission fluid service is up to date!