How To Fix BMW X5 Air Suspension Problems

How To Fix BMW X5 Air Suspension Problems

Scott Beaddles
10 minute read

Since launching in 1999, the BMW X5 has become one of the world’s most popular luxury crossover SUVs. The award-winning vehicle has earned a strong reputation for its performance on and off the road. However, X5 owners have reported consistent issues with the vehicle’s active air suspension system, especially in the 2014-2018 model years.

In the following article, we take a look at what those issues are, how to spot them, and your best options for fixing them. We’ve also included information about repair and replacement costs to help you decide which option is right for you.

BMW X5 Air Suspension Problems

Issues with the X5 air suspension are a common topic on BMW owner internet forums. Drivers report a wide range of problems with their air suspensions. However, some appear far more regularly than others.

The most common BMW X5 air suspension problems include:

  • Air suspension deflating
  • Poor or unresponsive handling
  • Leaking air struts
  • Sagging or dropping suspension
  • Air compressor failure

It’s important to note that while these are the most common issues reported by BMW owners, they are not the only ones. All air suspensions are highly complex, interdependent systems with many components – each of which can wear down or fail completely.

Early Warning Signs of BMW X5 Air Suspension Failure

The BMW X5 has an onboard diagnostic system that can detect air ride problems. When problems are detected, the system sends a warning to the driver that may read “check control” or advises the driver to deactivate the system. 

However, many owners have mentioned experiencing severe problems without the warning light coming on. Usually, X5 issues develop long before the diagnostic system can detect them – making the car uncomfortable or unsafe to drive.

Like most car troubles, detecting air suspension issues early can minimize the damage to your vehicle and help keep repair costs down. There are several early warning signs that suggest you’ve got problems with your BMW air suspension. These include:

Early Warning Signs of BMW X5

  • Sagging or drooping: The primary function of any suspension is to keep the vehicle at its ideal ride height. When the suspension is worn down or experiencing acute problems, it may no longer be able to keep the vehicle at the proper height, resulting in one or more corners dropping down. This is most common in the rear of the vehicle, but it can happen at any wheel.
  • Noisy air compressor: Under normal conditions, the air compressor that inflates your BMW’s air struts operates almost silently. If you can hear the compressor working loudly under the hood or sounding like it’s struggling, this is a sign that there is a fault somewhere in the system.
  • Poor handling: An active air suspension is designed to respond to changes in the road and driver behavior. BMW vehicles are known for tight, sporty handling. If your X5 has become less responsive or feels like it’s swaying or drifting when turning, the air suspension is likely to blame.
  • Increased stopping distance: While a car’s brakes are what stop the wheels from turning, the suspension is what absorbs much of the force of bringing a vehicle to a stop. If your X5’s brakes are in good shape but it still takes longer to stop than it should, there is a good chance that the suspension isn’t working properly.

How To Check Your X5 Suspension for Issues

You can also actively look for air suspension issues with a simple procedure known as the “bounce test.” This test can tell you whether or not the air springs on a particular wheel are healthy.

To perform the bounce test on your X5, start by walking to one corner of the vehicle and push down hard on the bumper. When the suspension is healthy, that corner will pop back into place and settle almost immediately. If the corner takes more than a second or two to rise back into place or bounces up and down before settling, there is likely a problem with the air suspension at that point. Repeat the test for all four wheels.

What Is the Life Expectancy of a BMW X5 Air Suspension?

How long your air suspension lasts on your BMW varies depending on how you drive it, how well you maintain it, and many other factors. In general, owners tend to report the X5 air suspension lasting around four to five years, or until about 80,000 miles. However, over a long enough timeline, the failure rate of the BMW X5 air suspension comes close to 100%.

How To Fix BMW X5 Air Suspension Issues

If you’ve gotten a suspension warning light on your BMW or have noticed any of the early warning signs listed above, it is important to take action as quickly as possible. As an interdependent system, when one part of the air suspension underperforms or fails, it can put more stress on other components and quickly lead to their failure as well. Furthermore, driving on a broken suspension can be very dangerous and increase the chance of getting into an accident.

When it comes to fixing your BMW X5 air suspension problems, your two main options are to repair or replace it. There are advantages and drawbacks to each option.

Repair BMW X5 Air Suspension

Most people’s first instinct when something goes wrong with their vehicle is to take it to the dealership for repairs. At the BMW service center, technicians will look for the source of the problem and replace the affected components. However, with so many parts to the air suspension, even diagnosing the problem can be a long and expensive process.

BMW X5 Air Suspension Repair Cost

As any BMW owner knows, repairs to the vehicles don’t come cheap. In addition to the premium labor fees, air suspension components – and especially OEM BMW air suspension components used at dealerships – are very expensive. 

One air spring can cost between $500 and $700. A replacement OEM air compressor also costs around $500. The suspension control module can cost over $800 for an OEM replacement. In addition, air suspension components wear out at a similar rate under normal driving. That means that you’ll often have to replace multiple components at once. 

You can buy replacement air suspension components for your BMW from a third-party manufacturer. These parts are often high-quality and cost significantly less than the OEM components. However, you’ll still have to pay for several hours of expensive BMW shop labor.

Replace BMW X5 Air Suspension

Another option is to completely replace your BMW X5 air suspension with a passive coilover system. This more traditional suspension is much simpler than the air ride. It uses cold-wound premium-quality coil springs to create mechanical resistance to support the vehicle and provide damping rather than compressed air.

While passive suspensions lack the adaptability and precision response of an air suspension, they can provide a comparable feel and performance. With fewer components, no moving parts, and no computer-controlled functions, there is also much less that can go wrong.

BMW X5 Air Suspension Replacement Cost

The biggest advantage of replacing your suspension with coils is cost. Strutmasters’ new BMW X5 coil spring conversion kit for both rear air springs is very affordableThat means you can purchase a new coil spring suspension for your X5 for much less than the cost of replacing it with an OE suspension.

The simpler coilover suspension is also much easier and faster to install. In fact, many owners who are moderately handy with vehicle repairs choose to do the installation themselves to save even more money. With a few hand tools and a safe, sturdy jack or risers, installing the new suspension tends to take around one hour per wheel.

Replacing your X5 suspension is an even easier task for a professional mechanic. That means that even if you decide to take your BMW to the shop to have the conversion kit installed, you’re still likely to save on labor fees compared to getting your air suspension repaired.

Strutmasters 2014-2018 BMW X5 Air Suspension Conversion Kit

To help owners in search of an affordable, dependable solution, Strutmasters has released the company’s new BMW X5 air suspension conversion kit for model years 2014-2018. Thanks to months of testing and refinement, this kit offers a comparable ride to the original air ride when it was new. The perfect balance of comfort and responsiveness restores the feel and function your X5 was meant to offer.

Recommended Solutions

The components in these kits are made of high-quality materials designed to stand up to all the ways you use your BMW. As a result, you’ll have years of dependable performance – extending the life of your X5 and eliminating the hassle and worry of air suspension problems for good.

Strutmasters X5 Air Ride Conversion Kit: What’s In the Box

The 2014-2018 BMW X5 suspension conversion kit from Strutmasters comes with everything you need to completely replace your failing air suspension. Each kit includes:

  • Two Rear Coil Springs
  • All installation hardware
  • Detailed installation instructions

Why Choose Strutmasters

Your BMW’s suspension is one of the primary components of its safety system. That means you need to be able to trust the dependability and performance of each and every one of its components and the company that makes them.

Since 1999, Strutmasters has been a pioneer and a leader in the suspension industry, building its name on consistently providing quality products and customer service. When you purchase a suspension conversion kit for your BMW X5 or any other Strutmasters product, you can count on the following:

  • Premium materials: Our sourcing team insists on only the highest-quality metals, rubbers, and other materials for our products. Each component we sell, from the struts themselves to the nuts and bolts used to install them, is made from durable materials that stand up to years of use.
  • Precision engineering: While some companies use the same parts across many kits for a fit that’s “good enough,” Strutmasters kits are designed and tested to fit the vehicle they’re sold for exactly.
  • Guaranteed quality: Each kit we sell is backed by a limited warranty against manufacturing or material defects. We offer this to ensure you get a product that performs exactly as sold and to demonstrate our confidence in everything we offer.
  • Helpful service: Based in our Roxboro, NC headquarters, our team of Suspension Experts is always available to provide service and advice before, during, and after your purchase.

Convert Your BMW X5 and Save

If you’re ready to end your air suspension problems for good without spending a fortune, our BMW X5 air suspension conversion kit is the right solution for you. You can order your kit from our website once you make the choice. If you still have some questions or just want to make sure you’re getting the correct kit, you can also order over the phone with the help of one of our Suspension Experts at 888-654-3881. The sooner you convert your X5, the sooner you can get back to enjoying it the way a BMW is meant to be driven.

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