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BMW X5 Electric Towbar Not Working

BMW X5 Electric Towbar Not Working

BMW X5 contains a tow package with an electrically retractable towbar. It is located on the backside bumper and connected to the electric system of your SUV. You can retract these by pressing the button present near the trunk area.

BMW X5 electric towbar not working can be due to a broken switch, misaligned towbar components, compatibility issues, the towbar getting stuck, loose and damaged wirings, poor lubrication, and low voltage from the battery.

I faced the issue while using a retractable towbar in my SUV. Last week, I planned an off-road trip and had to carry my motorcycle for an adventurous tour. I tried to retract it several times to attach the motorcycle carrier to it, but it did not come out. I canceled my trip on that day and went to the BMW dealership for their fixing.

Problems Solutions
Broken switches Replace electric switches
Misaligned towbar components Avoid adding heavy-weight trailers
Compatibility issues Check compatibility before towing
Towbar gets stuck  Remove dust and debris
Damaged electric connectors Replace electric connectors
Loose or damaged wiring Chang frayed wires or tighten loose connections
Burned out motor Replace motors
Poor lubrication Use dry silicone lubricant
Low voltage from battery Recharge battery

Broken switches

The electric towbar contains switches near the trunk area for their retraction. You have to press these switches for their release and attachment to the towing vehicle.

These switches take power from the electric source of your vehicle and activate the motor. The motor allows the retraction of this part to connect trailers, boats, or caravans.

Sometimes, these switches get damaged and do not activate the motor. Broken buttons do not send power to the motor for their activation.

One of my friends complained that he pressed the button several times, but the BMW X5 towbar did not come out. He checked their parts, and all of them were lubricated and aligned.

I told him to access the button because it can also occur because of the failure of switches. Rear-side impacts or collisions increase the risk of breaking these switches.

In addition, these can also break when you press these frequently for retraction of the towbar. Moreover, these buttons contain springs that can wear out because of age.

Water exposure can also damage the contact points of electric switches and increase the risk of corrosion on their contacts.

Corroded contacts do not allow the current to pass through them. It is better to replace the broken switches with new ones for the efficient functioning of this component.

Furthermore, you can clean its corroded contact point with dielectric cleaner and coat it with dielectric grease for future protection.

Misaligned towbar components

Misaligned components do not allow these to retract and tow a trailer or caravan.

It happens when you haul non-compatible towing vehicles with these. In addition, their parts can also bend or become more vulnerable to wear and tear when you connect the trailers having more payload capacity.

It is necessary to check the payload capacity of the towing vehicles so they cannot affect the towbar components. Rear-side collisions can also cause bending and misalignment of their parts.

These are vulnerable to bending because of heavy loads and moving at turning points. You should check the weight of towing trailers so they do not affect their part.

Moreover, it is also better to contact BMW dealerships for alignment and replacement of their bent or damaged parts.

Compatibility issues

They are mounted on the rear bumper of your BMW X5 and are compatible with a few towing vehicles depending on their weight-carrying capacity.

These are not compatible with all types of trailers, caravans, and carriers. Attachment of non-compatible vehicles increases the risk of wear and tear on their components.

In addition, it can also bend their parts, which can affect their smooth retraction and electric components. You should read the owner’s manual of your SUV to check its compatibility and get information about its weight-carrying capacity.

Towbar gets stuck

Sometimes, the towbar gets stuck and cannot come out because of physical obstructions and their bent parts. These can get stuck inside when you press the button several times.

The issue comes because of the failure of the motor or button that does not provide sufficient power for their retraction. In addition, they can also get stuck because of physical obstructions, including the presence of dust and debris on their sides.

Corrosion on their parts is common because these are present close to the ground. These are susceptible to road elements, including mud and road salts, which cause rusting of metal.

It is necessary to clean their parts to remove the dust from their surroundings for smooth retraction. Moreover, I also faced the same problem last month, and I inspected their components to see obstructions that caused issues in their retraction.

I saw a few leaves and removed them, but the issue remained the same. I used my mobile phone torch because it was evening and my garage light was not working.

I saw corrosion on their parts that was hindering their smooth movement. I made the baking soda mixture to remove rust. I dried their parts properly and sprayed them with anti-rust spray to decrease the risk of corrosion.

Damaged electric connectors

Electric towbars also contain electric connections to connect the SUV to the trailer or caravan for safe driving.

These connectors provide sufficient power to the components of towed vehicles. The connectors become faulty because of the corrosion.

In addition, these can also break because of age-related wear and tear and cannot provide sufficient power to the trailers. However, you can use electric cleaners to remove corrosion from contact points.

Loose or damaged wiring

Electric towbars are connected to your vehicle’s electric system to gain power for their retraction. In addition, electric connectors are also connected to your SUV to supply power to the trailers or caravans.

Wires run from the vehicle’s electric system to their switches for power supply. Sometimes, these wires can get damaged because of their age, and they stop working.

Wiring issues can also come because of short circuits, which can hinder the normal current flow. Moreover, problems can also come when rodents chew the wires.

You should check the wiring connections and tighten their loose connections. You have to replace the frayed wires with new ones to ensure smooth current flow.

Burned out motor

They have small motors that gain power from the switches and allow these to come out from the rear bumper when you press the switches.

They stop functioning and cannot come out because of a motor failure. Water exposure can damage the electric parts of motors and increase the risk of corrosion.

In addition, motors can also burn out because of overheating. Overheating issues come when you frequently press the switches for their retraction.

Poor lubrication

BMW X5 electric towbar requires routine maintenance and lubrication for its proper functioning. They stop working when you do not lubricate their parts regularly.

Lubrication decreases the friction between their parts, and they come out smoothly. In addition, it also reduces the risk of corrosion by protecting road elements.

I do not prefer to use WD-40 lubricant on it because these parts are located near the ground surface, and this lubricant catches more dust and debris. I mostly use the dry silicone lubricant, which does not allow the dust to stick.

Low voltage from battery

BMW X5 batteries power the towbars for their functioning. You cannot use these because of the low-voltage supply from the batteries.

Batteries with low charge cannot transfer sufficient current to their electric switches for motor activation, which causes their retraction.

Battery voltage decreases because of undercharging and parasitic drains. It is necessary to charge your vehicle’s battery when you see the check engine light on the screen.

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