BMW Part Numbers Explained – How to Find and Correctly Read

bmw part numbers explained - a typical BMW part number label

Finding and correctly reading BMW part numbers can often be frustrating. We help make it simple with several straightforward steps.

Finding and correctly reading BMW part numbers like the ones found on our site can often be an unpleasant chore. Trying to decipher the myriad of letters and numbers stamped or labeled to a part on your BMW vehicle can often be a nightmare…especially if you don’t know where to look.

The good news is BMW actually has a (fairly) straightforward parts numbering system that when understood will help make life a lot easier. Locating and reading the part numbers on your BMW should not be an exercise in futility – instead, it should be a very powerful tool that the home mechanic can use to find and order their own repair parts and avoid an expensive trip to the dealership.

Understanding the BMW group numbering system

BMW uses a standard eleven-digit group numbering system for every part comprising their vehicles stamped or printed in the following format:

bmw part number

The most important segment of numbers within the eleven digits is the last seven – this is known as the unique identifier. This seven-digit unique identifier is different and exclusive to every part…in other words, parts may share the first four numbers but never the last seven. To demonstrate how this numbering system works, we will analyze the parts label on the back of the air-conditioning controller from a 2000 323i sedan.bmw part numbers explained - The ac controller from a 2000 323iA typical BMW parts label

As shown above, every BMW part number is comprised of three sections: a group number, a sub-group number, and the seven-digit unique identifier. Some parts sites like ours and ECS Tuning can usually be searched just using the seven-digit unique identifier. But the majority of the time, the entire eleven digits are needed in order to conduct a successful search.

Sometimes everything isn’t where it’s supposed to be

As shown above, the standard format for BMW part numbers is the group number/subgroup number (separated with a decimal point) followed by the unique identifier (split into three groups of numbers). But not all part manufacturers follow the rules. Sometimes BMW part numbers are a jumbled-up mess of digits that need closer scrutiny in order to find what you are looking for. This part, for example, uses a forward slash in place of the decimal point separating the group and sub-group numbers.BMW part number - groups are separated with a forward slash instead of a decimal

Many unique identifiers are followed by a revision number. Revision numbers are usually separated from the unique identifier by a hyphen, decimal, or sometimes just a space.A BMW part number with a revision

What should I do if I don’t have all eleven numbers?

In a perfect world, every BMW part would be stamped or labeled with all eleven digits…but this is not always the case. Sometimes there is just not enough room on the part itself to print all eleven numbers – but usually, the reason they are not present is not exactly clear.

A BMW part number missing the main and sub group
The transmission control module from a 2002 X5. Even though there is plenty of room on the label, the main and sub-group (24.60) are missing.

The good news is if you have the seven-digit identifier you can always find out the first four main and sub-group numbers by using a BMW part diagram site like ours. For example, if you type the seven-digit identifier into our advanced search bar you will quickly be returned a link to the entire eleven-digit part number…in this case 24607518709.

 

Don’t get frustrated!

The majority of BMW parts are clearly labeled with the correct part number. Fortunately, it’s a rare occurrence that you come across a “rogue” number that just refuses to return a result with any part supplier…or diagram site like ours. If you ever come across a part that you cannot read the number or is not returning any results, please contact us. We will gladly help!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here