Rough Running Issues in Your BMW or Mini after an Oil Change? Possible VVT Damage

Car Oil Change

Non approved Oil Filters and Incorrect installation

You can avoid some issues by making sure you are properly taking care of your vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer, but some issues may be unavoidable as the car begins to age. We have seen many failures caused by quick change oil stops using low quality oil filters and incorrect techniques. When a non-approved oil filter is used contamination that is supposed to be filtered from the oil can pass into the sensitive micro orifices of your VVT solenoids and damages them. This damage allows engine oil to be forced into the camshaft adjustment units at times that are inappropriate and cause your engine to be out of time.

Lack of Maintenance

Your vehicles CBS (Condition Based Service) BMW VVT Issue indicator on the dash will tell you to change your oil at variable intervals, but most often it will tell you to wait over 10000 miles between oil services. This is not advised. You can see the results of these extended oil services in the picture below. Engine varnish has built up on the surfaces of the metal components. This varnish then breaks loose and piles up in the corners of the head and under the cams. This is the same debris and contamination that bypasses the filter when you use cheap parts. There are instances where the contamination is so bad that even a proper oil and filter change will produce these results. This can happen time and time again and may require the engine to be rebuilt or replaced. Change your oil every 5000 miles and use approved engine oils and filters.

What Does it Mean to Have VVT Issues?

Understanding what the VVT is and does is the first step in figuring out how to solve any VVT issues. The VVT system is the system that helps your car to have better fuel economy, provides better power, ensures smooth idling, and even helps with emission management. Since this system helps with so many different components in your car’s overall function, it sounds like it would be complicated. As you might expect, the system does utilize quite a few various components in order to do its job properly. One such component is the VVT or VANOS solenoid. This part is what causes the position of the camshafts to change.


The solenoid is able to adjust the supply of oil pressure that is going to the camshaft. If this component is not functioning properly it can cause problems for your vehicle. You will likely be alerted that there is an issue when your check engine light becomes illuminated. However, there are some other signs that can also indicate that you are experiencing an issue with the VVT in your Mini.

Signs of a Faulty VVT

Ultimately, the biggest sign of an issue with the VVT is a significant decrease in your car’s overall performance. If your car is not starting easily, or it cranks and does not start at all, it could be the result of a VVT issue. Another indicator of a VVT malfunction is if you have noticed that your car is not able to increase its speed or power as easily as it has in the past. And most commonly a rough idle that smooths out at higher RPMS.

Since the system helps to increase the fuel economy of your car, if the VVT has any problems you may notice that your car is less efficient and is not achieving the gas mileage you have come to expect out of your vehicle. The best way to ensure that your car is properly diagnosed is to take it to a trusted mechanic for an inspection.

How We Can Help

Here at Mike Johns Imports we always aim to provide our clients with the best services on their vehicles. We specialize in services and repairs on Mini Coopers and BMWs. This allows us to hone our craft and to become experts on these types of cars. If you think that your lubrication system has been compromised and your VVT system is experiencing a malfunction, we would be more than happy to take a look and diagnose the problem for you. Our technicians will be happy to work with you to find the cause of the malfunction and to help you find a solution that is best for you.

Our location is convenient to the residents of Louisville, St. Matthews, Jeffersontown, Crestwood, and Hurstbourne, KY. Our mechanics have been trained in the latest technologies and will be able to help you with your car problems and get your car working and back out on the road. If you are concerned about your BWM or MINI’s VVT system and want a second opinion or you would like to learn more about the services that we offer, please visit our website or contact our office where a representative will be able to help you.

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