I have a 2004 BMW 325xi, when I turn the key the everything works but won't turn on 2004 BMW 325xi

It will eventually start if I shake the steering wheel and/or the steering column while I am turning the key. Sometimes it starts right away other times it takes several tries. Occasionally I only need to mess with the gear shifter to get it to start. What do you think is the problem?

by in Newcastle, WY on October 16, 2013
1 answer 6 comments
ANSWER by on October 16, 2013
Looks like a worn out/sticky or out of adjustment shift interlock cable.
COMMENT by on October 16, 2013
Does the shift interlock cable have anything to do with the steering column or steering wheel? The starting issue began as a minor annoyance when the car was parked with the steering wheel turned, if the steering wheel pressure was released by turning it slightly it would start fine. It has progressed to not starting unless you rigorously turn the wheel back and forth while lifting the steering column up and down at the same time turning the key to the start position.
COMMENT by on October 17, 2013
Could be the ignition switch only. In this case removal of parts for inspection is necessary. I'd suggest to find a good BMW specialty shop in your area.
COMMENT by on October 17, 2013
Thanks, that kind of makes sense. Are there any visual observation on the ignition switch that will tell you for sure if it is bad? Do you have any other advice if the switch does not fix the problem? How common is this problem, and will I need to buy a new key if the switch is replaced?
COMMENT by on October 17, 2013
The ignition switch problem is not very common, but happens. You need to replace the electrical part only (part# 61326901961) and not the lock cylinder, so no key replacement is necessary. Sometimes the lock cylinder has to be replaced too if the key is sticking, hard to turn. We check the switch and the cylinder individually after they are separated.
COMMENT by on October 18, 2013
Can you think of anything that links the gear shift stick with the steering column? Most of the time the car will start by messing with the steering wheel only, but a few times I have put pressure on the stick shift without touching the steering wheel and turned the key and it started, was that a coincidence or is there some electronic related connection also?
COMMENT by on October 18, 2013
Yes, the shift interlock cable. It links the selector shift with the ignition key. You can't remove the key unless the shifter is in park.

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