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Owning and operating a BMW is a pleasure, but one that requires some attention to maintenance. The slightest disruption in performance can result in a snowball effect of problems. In order to maintain the car’s speed, functionality, and overall performance, it’s imperative to keep a close eye on its details. One of those intricate details is that of the PCV valve.

In 1964, the government issued a law that required unburned fuel from car engines be recaptured and reused. Engineers began to place accurate PCV systems into modern vehicles in order to preserve the integrity of the environment. This means recycling gases to limit emissions. Every vehicle isn’t equipped with this system, however, a vast majority of BMWs are, as they are fuel-efficient vehicles.

Resembling a traditional small pipe, the PCV or Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve works as a recycling agent for your car. Through a recycling process, the PCV valve uses crankcase gases that are already within the car and pushes them back into the engine for reuse. When this occurs properly, you are able to experience a smooth drive and get the best mileage.


The PCV valve is a one-way valve that refreshes the air inside the engine’s crankcase by recycling it. The system has an inner hose that is directly connected to a filtration system. The PCV system cleans the incoming air by taking away toxins such as fumes and vapors. The toxins and excessive moisture are then pushed out of the vehicle from an opposing hose. This innovative design helps to keep the engine clean and promote accurate air flow.


Many BMW’s are equipped with engine sensors that alert drivers of a PCV valve malfunction. If this sensor detects a problem, it is imperative that you have your service technician run a quick diagnostic on your system. Since this system works as a filtration system, it is safe to conclude that it will accumulate some debris over time. Because of this, the PCV valve can have a build-up of sticky oil. When this occurs, the car may begin to operate in a rough manner. Stalling and problems with idleness occur from PCV valves being damaged or clogged. If the accumulation of toxins continues to occur without being cleaned, this could eventually lead to terrible engine damage, as those gases that are usually filtered can corrode the metal engine parts. The bottom line is, these pipes need to be kept clean and routinely free from debris.


Car care specialists suggest that every 20,000 to 50,000 miles, the PCV valve needs to be replaced. This makes the PCV unit relatively low-maintenance with a long “shelf-life.” PCV valves require routine cleaning in order to keep the springs and filters clean. This can be done naturally by the moisture held in the crankcase. However, getting regular oil changes can help to regulate flow and keep the system clean. BMW owners know how important routine maintenance is, so routine oil changes are rarely skipped by Bimmer owners. This results in optimal performance and fewer gas emissions.

Prior to replacing the valve altogether, it is suggested that you clean the PCV valve with carburetor cleaner. This solvent should fully cover the valve until there is no sign of build-up. If you do not feel comfortable performing this task on your own, a qualified BMW service technician is able to do so. Often times, they may even take care of your PCV valve cleaning or replacement during your annual tune-up.


BMW vehicles require specialized care and attention. They are durable and long-lasting powerhouses that perform at a high standard. In order to maintain the overall up-keep of your vehicle, it is imperative to receive routine maintenance check-ups.

At Fast Lane European, our service technicians will run a routine diagnostic that will determine if your car needs maintenance or repairs. If you are specifically concerned about your PCV valve, be sure to alert your mechanic and ask them to analyze its functionality. If you live in the San Jose, California area, bring your BMW by Fast Lane European, where our expertise in European vehicles means we know how to treat your Bimmer the way it deserves.