BMW Trouble Code Definitions

This article contains information on BMW trouble codes OBD1 and the retrieval method needed to gather.

Gathering codes on a BMW before 1995 is performed using the check engine light. When the code gathering is activated the check engine light will flash on and then off, count the blinks. The first set of blinks will give the first digit of the trouble code. After the first set of blinks there will be a pause, then restart blinking, this will be the beginning of the next code digit and so on. For example: twelve flashes followed by fifteen more flashes the code number is 1215.

Trouble Code Retrieval

  • Turn the ignition key to the "on" position (do not start engine.)
  • Press the gas pedal five times to the floor in rapid succession within five seconds.
  • Write down the flashes to and assemble codes using the code table below.
Code 1211 MCU (computer) malfunction.

Code 1215 Air mass flow sensor fault (MAF.)

Code 1221 Oxygen sensor (O2.)

Code 1222 Oxygen sensor control.

Code 1223 Engine coolant temperature (ECT.)

Code 1224 Air intake temperature.

Code 1231 Battery voltage.

Code 1232 Idle throttle valve switch.

Code 1233 Full load throttle valve switch.

Code 1251/1252 Injection valve.

Code 1261 Fuel pump relay circuit.

Code 1262 Idle speed control valve.

Code 1263 Fuel tank vent valve.

Code 1264 Oxygen sensor heater relay.

Code 1444 No failure.


Written by
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35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2015-01-02)