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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,400 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 BMW 325 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 BMW 325 Owner Comments

problem #3

Apr 142009


  • miles


Formal petition for safety defect investigation, after replacing the tail light bulbs in on the passenger and driver's side they continued to burn out, after taking the bulb housing cover off, I noticed a burning smell and the brown wire in the unit had melted the entire connection. I was told by my local BMW dealership this is a known flaw as the ground wire is not adequate to handle the power coming through, this issue has caused me to almost be rear-ended 4 times when the light suddenly will stop working BMW usa whom I contacted is aware of this malfunction, and has done nothing to address this issue. Updated 04/27/09.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #2

Aug 102007

325 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 73,000 miles
There is a serious electrical problem on many BMW E46 models (newer cars). The tail light harness on both sides has what seems to be a faulty, incomplete, or insecure grounding wire and the result is that the wire overheats and corrodes, and in some cases arcs, which can ignite a fire. The problem is often identified by intermittent or persistent failure of the rear lights on the car and/or unnecessary rear light warnings on the dash. I have photographs to support this case and have done further research to find countless similar cases. The damage is most often characterized by charred discoloration of the brown (ground) insulator and melting of the surrounding plastics which results in the metal connectors becoming loose. The repair of the problem would most likely consist of an upgraded replacement of the wiring harness. Further work into the electrical distribution system may be necessary depending on the cause of the faulty ground.

- El Cerrito, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 262007

325 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,200 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the wiring harness for both tail lights have shortened out and melted. She is concerned that this failure could cause her vehicle to catch fire. The dealer stated that this is a common failure among the 2001-2003 models. The current and failure mileages were 57,200.

- Shoreline, WA, USA

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