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1.8

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,798 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 BMW 325 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #63

Jan 152016

325

  • 95,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Driving at night has become impossible with out risk. The zkw xenon headlights have become so dim that the fog lights now provide more illumination. The problem has been traced to burned/discolored plastic reflector bowls on both sides with the passenger side being slightly worse. After research it appears this problem is wide spread in zkw headlights. There are several reports here and it appears BMW also realized the problem and had zkw switch to metal reflector bowls on newer models yet offer no solution other than buy complete headlight assembly's to the tune of $1200 a side. Might a possible recall motivate BMW to at least offer the individual part. I understand the vehicle is almost 13 years old but to treat a blatant safety issue like this is ridiculous. NHTSA please help solve this safety related problem.

- Kenmore, WA, USA

problem #62

Aug 152012

325

  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the rear brake lights failed to illuminate. The contact replaced the bulbs but the failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact was made aware of recall NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting), but did not receive notification. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Branford, CT, USA

problem #61

Jun 272014

325

  • 133,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325xi. The contact stated that the headlights failed to function and were detached from the housing. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the housing compartment and bulbs needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 133,000.

- Mephis, TN, USA

problem #60

Jan 312014

325 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My current vehicle is a 2003 BMW 325I with bi-xenon headlights manufactured by zkw. Over the last year or two, the light output from the xenon headlights had dropped to the point where I get almost no noticeable illumination of the road at night (in average city levels of street illumination). I turned to using my foglamps to be able to see anything. Mechanic inspected the headlight assembly and the upper portion of the projector bowls are burned. They are made of plastic and painted with reflective paint, but the upper ~60% of the bowl is now browned and nonreflective. This is due to an inability of the paint to withstand the high temperatures generated by the xenon bulbs. Also, this seems to be common to many/all zkw brand headlights utilized in 2003-2004 model years of 3 series (E46) BMW vehicles, according to postings on the BMW-owner forums. Reflector bowls can not be purchased and replaced separately and the entire headlamp assembly must be replaced at a cost of appx $2400. Zkw has changed the design so there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they and BMW are aware of the design flaw and resulting safety hazard.

- Tucson , AZ, USA

problem #59

May 202014

325

  • 197,300 miles
There is limited light output from the xenon/hid headlight assemblies due to "melted" projector bowls from BMW. This is a serious safety defect that prevents end users from being able to see the road and objects ahead of them.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

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problem #58

Feb 062013

325 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the rear passenger's side tail light failed. The contact replaced the bulb more than once but the failure recurred. The contact then learned of NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting: Turn signal). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in the recall. The failure and current mileage was 125,000.

- Oceano, CA, USA

problem #57

Jan 022012

325 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Oem projector headlights burnt behind projector causing very dim lights.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #56

Jul 022012

325

  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the brake lights and the turn signals failed. The contact checked the wiring harness and found that the harness was melted. The contact spoke with the manufacturer regarding NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting: Brake lights), but was told that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The failure mileage was 105,000 and the current mileage was 110,000.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #55

Nov 012012

325 6-cyl

  • 115,650 miles
My tail lights and turn signals work for a while then quite working. The exact same symptoms as recall #11V438000 for the same type, model and year as my car, but BMW says my vehicle is not included.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #54

Sep 282012

325

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the rear passenger tail light failed. The contact replaced the bulb twice but the failure recurred. The contact mentioned that after inspecting the vehicle he noticed that there was a short in the electrical system. The contact was then informed of recall NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting: Turn signal). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The failure and current mileage was 100,000.

- Ewa Beach, HI, USA

problem #53

Feb 012011

325 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The passenger side hid headlight fails to come on. This occurs randomly and seems to happen more frequently in the winter time when the temperature is colder and the air has more humidity. This is not a bulb issue in that I have replaced the bulb several times.

- Granite Bay, CA, USA

problem #52

Jun 122012

325

  • 122,426 miles
The warning light for my passenger side tail light has been going on and off for months as if there is a short in it. It stayed on permanently this month, showing a dimmer light than the working side tail light, so I had it checked when I had the oil changed at my BMW mechanic. He informed me there was a recall for tail light assemblies for my vehicle and told me to call the dealer to check the VIN number. I called the dealer last Friday, June 22, 2012 and was informed that my vehicle was part of the recall and that someone would call to make an appointment for the work. No one called, so I called again today and they said the VIN was not part of the open recall. The tail light is acting like the other tail lights that were recalled so I do not understand how it cannot be part of the recall.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #51

May 012009

325 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Low beam reflectors on 2003 zkw hid xenon headlights was burn and scorched and posted as a fire risk. The scorched reflector also reduce the low beam light output and posts as a driving hazard.

- Los Altos, CA, USA

problem #50

Mar 242012

325 6-cyl

  • miles
Due to the plastic bowels in the headlight projectors, which are chrome like lined, and the high heat of the hid bulbs, this chrome like coating has burned off making the light output of my hid head lights very dim. The outside of the bowels have gone from a chrome like coating to a bronze/caramel color/coating. This problem is very obvious. I have had other vehicles with hid headlights, and the light output of those cars is easily double or more, to the point where alot of times I have to drive with my fog lights on just to light the road up to be able to see well enough so that I don't have a accident. I have pictures I took of the discolored bowels im talking about on my phone that I would be able to send.

- Glenn Heights, TX, USA

problem #49

Feb 142012

325

  • 154,000 miles
Purchased vehicle new while I was stationed with the us air force in germany, to my understanding it was made in germany unlike most 325's at the time. It was produced under us specifications as I'd planned to bring it back to the states. I have continuously had problems over the years with the exterior lighting turn signal acting intermittently as mentioned in recall NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000. However, after contacting my local BMW dealer, and BMW N.a., they have informed me my VIN isn't covered under the recall. I believe I may have slipped through the cracks as a VIN identified in the recall as my BMW was produced outside the normal channels of bmws affected in North America. I believe this because my vehicle exhibits the exact characteristics of the recall in question. I would like my VIN included on the recall as even today driving the vehicle this morning I didn't feel safe because the turn signal is intermittent.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #48

Jan 022012

325

  • 50,000 miles
Zkw xenon headlight reflector bowl is burned resulting in very dim light output. I am often afraid of driving at night because I feel it is a danger to my safety.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #47

Jun 012011

325

  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 323. The contact stated that the headlights would flicker on and off. The turn signal light would also flicker abnormally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where they advised him that the taillight assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting:tail lights). The failure mileage was approximately 150,000.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #46

Jan 032005

325 6-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
Tail lights continue to fail on this model. Called the manufacturer, BMW, and they said that eventhough a recall exists for 2003 BMW 325I models for tail light failure (id no. 11V4380000), my VIN number did not correspond to production run failures under recall.

- Wyckoff, NJ, USA

problem #45

Jan 022006

325

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the rear tail light failed. The contact examined the vehicle and found that the rear tail light wires were burned. The manufacturer was contacted and advised that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting:turn signal). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 161,000.

- Pearland , TX, USA

problem #44

Jan 012010

325 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The BMW E46 (3 series BMW) that was made from 1999 to 2006. In some cases during these years they used a lighting manufacturer "zkw" for their xenon headlights. Unfortunately these lights have a common failure issue commonly referred to as a "burnt reflector" on the internet and on BMW forums. This is a non-consumer replaceable part. When this part fails it causes the vehicle to not have effective headlights. I personally have had times where my field of vision could not see items on the road due to the dim lights. The only remedy appears to be to replace the entire headlight assembly to the tune of hundreds of dollars (well over a thousand if you do both sides). In my opinion BMW should correct this issue for the consumer. Headlights are an important safety item. To have a part fail that is not consumer replaceable is unacceptable. Many people have this issue but have no way to remedy it. Just google it or check E46fanatics.com. You will see that there are plenty of people that realize this is an issue.

- Orlando, FL, USA

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