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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,059 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.

2004 BMW 325 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 BMW 325 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #85

Mar 222016


  • 175,000 miles


Hid (xenon) headlights very dim. Can barely tell they are on when driving at night. (the fog lights are much brighter than the headlights). Creates a dangerous situation when driving at night. Headlight assemblies manufactured by zkw. The reflective material deteriorates inside the headlight assembly leading to very poor light output. Issue has been reported over and over. I guess it's not important enough until somebody dies because of the issue, that is if that hasn't already happened....the ridiculous cost of fixing the issue compounds the problem. Sorry I don't have an extra $2,000 laying around to replace my defective headlights. Come on BMW step up to the plate and fix the problem you're very well aware of, please.

- East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #84

Jan 042011


  • 190,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the rear exterior lights became inoperable as the rear taillight warning light illuminated. The contact stated that upon inspection around the connector and the panel, there were scorch marks and the connectors coating was completely melted off. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting). The failure mileage was approximately 190,000.

- Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #83

Jul 132015


  • miles
Takata recall: TL* the contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V428000 (air bags) and 15V318000 (air bags). The dealer was unable to indicate when the parts would become available to receive the recall repairs for several months. The contact did not receive notification of NHTSA campaign number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting) and was to check with the manufacturer to determine when the recall repairs would be scheduled by the dealer. The contact was not experiencing a failure. Parts distribution disconnect. VIN tool confirms parts not available. Parts distribution disconnect.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #82

Apr 062009

325 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


Head lights are very dim. Reflectors are burned. Headlights do not project on the road. Cannot see at night.

- Spring Green, WI, USA

problem #81

Jul 032013

325 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Zkw hid xenon low beam reflectors burnt or corroded causing a significant decrease in light output that BMW wants ~$3000 to fix. Lights were a premium option and cannot be corrected by xenon bulb replacement. The output has dimmed as to be unsafe.

- San Diego, CA, USA

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problem #80

Jan 132013


  • miles
The very first time I tried to drive the car at nighttime to go back home, my wife and kids were on board, and we were more than 200 miles from home. After I turned on the low-beam head lamps and started rolling, I could barely see the road because the headlamps were not properly illuminating. I flipped the switch several times to no avail. putting lives and properties at risk, I continued driving until we got home, all the while driving with the high-beam lamps on and apparently getting the others drivers on the road fuming. I took the car to both a lamp-adjusting station and a BMW dealer where I was told the lamps could neither be adjusted nor their bulbs merely replaced because the problem was the reflector bowls were defective and had lost their ability to project light properly. I was also told that both that the reflector bowls could not be replaced individually, and that both (left and right sides) assemblies must be replaced at a total cost of more than $2000. Many posters in the BMW forums have voiced out exactly the same problems, and I wish that all would file a complaint to NHTSA. I never drove this car again at night until I had " in August 2014 " purchased and finally received and installed the head lamps assemblies in October 2014. I have in my possession the headlamp adjusting station's invoice and recommendation plus the receipt and invoice for the new headlamp assemblies that had to be specially ordered from germany. On November 17, 2014, by certified mail, I sent BMW of North America my request for reimbursement, but I have yet to receive a response. Due to this defect which affects safety, I strongly and respectfully suggest that a recall be issued on this BMW model, or some sort of directive be issued for BMW to reimburse those owners 'such as I who had already replaced their lamp assemblies at their own expense.

- Midway City, CA, USA

problem #79

Nov 202014

325 6-cyl

  • 202,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the turn signals and the headlights failed to activate. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the light module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 202,000. Updated 4/7/15

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #78

Mar 012013

325 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
My zkw headlights do not reflect light anymore. BMW offer no replacement reflector bowls for the headlight, so no fix is available except replacing the headlight assembly with the same faulty assembly from the same manufacturer. Headlights produce too much heat and melt the reflectors deeming them useless and an extreme danger. Recall needed for extreme safety reasons. I can't drive my car at night anymore.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #77

Oct 242014

325 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
The internal wiring in the adaptive bi-xenon headlights gets brittle and cracks with the risk of short circuits, potential fire and headlight failure.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #76

Oct 212014


  • 156,000 miles
Wire loosing coating on inside of adaptive headlights, causing shorts or broken wires where the headlights and or turn signals will fail to work. Wire is very brittle as this is also roughly 20 gauge wire. This can be an extreme hazard especially at night. This seems to be affecting BMW's 3/5/6/ series from at least 2004 to 2008 from my independent research. Many pictures and complaints on various BMW forums to document this problem. My problem occurred when I lost one headlight on my way home in the dark and an indicator came on to identify a fault in the headlight. Originally I though it was a bulb, changed bulb and it still did not work. Further investigation led to a broken wire inside of the headlight assembly. I fixed the broken wire and then noticed two more wires where the coating on the wire seem to have flaked off causing bare wire. I also fixed those wires and all was well. A day or two later, the indicator came on again pointing to the same headlight. This time the turn signal was out. I opened the access panel to check the wiring and now a forth wire has been severed, however I can not fix it as it is down pretty far inside the headlight and to repair would require removing the headlight and taking it apart. Apparently BMW used biodegradable wire for the headlights?? source of the headlight is believed to be hella. Supposedly BMW knows about the issue but unwilling to fix unless you purchase a $800-1500 new headlight. This is crazy for a car that is 10 years old and well maintained. This is a safety hazard as you will can loose a headlight in the dark and maybe both headlights going out, plus the fact of bare wires that can short and cause a fire.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #75

Oct 012014

325 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles


Reflector bowls in xenon headlamp assembly burn and discolor, making low beam lighting almost negligible. Doesn't even seem lights are on. Very dangerous to drive at night without high beams on.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #74

Sep 252014

325 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
This car suffers from the known burnt xenon low beam bowls, its impossible to see anything at night and is not safe. This needs to be recalled by BMW immediately, headlights have been adjusted properly and new bulbs were put in and does not cure the problem. Its very common for these xenon headlights to have this problem in alot of 2003+ BMW 3 series.

- Hortonville, WI, USA

problem #73

Aug 012012

325 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
As reported by other owners, the bi-xenon headlights no longer light up the road. It is a safety hazard and is a known issue with headlights manufactured by zkw on 2003-2005 BMW 330 models. The reflector bowls on these units burn out over time and reduce the headlights ability to reflect light. Driving at night is literally no better with the headlights on or off. I have to rely on my fog lights just to see anything. Please look into this safety issue as it is wide-spread. Replacement of headlights is expensive at $1300 ea, this has to be resolved by BMW immediately.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #72

Jul 012009


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that while operating the vehicle at night with the headlights turned on, the headlights would not illuminate bright enough to see past the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #71

Apr 092008

325 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The reflective material in the xenon headlamps has melted away due to the heat of the bulbs resulting in drastically reduced headlight effectiveness at night. This causes an extremely unsafe condition when driving at night. I have discovered this is a common occurrence in 2003-2005 E46 BMW 3 series and I believe it should be recalled and fixed by the manufacturer. BMW knows this is a deficiency as they corrected it in their later models.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #70

Jan 262014

325 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
My 2004 BMW 325ci recently developed a problem with the left rear tail light (turn signal and brake light) intermitently does not work. A left tail light failure also shows on the on board diagnostic display. The problem is intermitent and with no warning. I did some research and found there was a BMW recall for model years 2001 thru 2005 for this exact problem. The recall specifies 325 sedan models, my model is a 325ci (coupe). I called BMW North America and they say my particular model is not covered by the recall. I argued that I am having the exact same issue as the recall suggests, and my vehicle falls into the model years specified. They refused to acknoledge the problem as part of the recall. BMW issued a technical service bulletin (si B63 06 11 lights) for this issue in January of 2012. A recall (id # 71087) was issued Aug. 26, 2011. I was not notified by BMW of either the service bulletin or recall. I am the original purchaser of the vehicle. My wife and I drive this car with our 11 year old daughter in the car, and this is a definite safety hazard. Please help me get this resolved.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #69

Jan 192014


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the vehicle emitted a strong burning odor while it was parked. While inspecting the vehicle, the contact found that the front driver's headlight cable was on fire. The fire department was called but a fire report was not filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware. The approximate failure and current mileage was 60,000.

- Canovanas, PR, USA

problem #68

Jun 192013


  • 112,000 miles
Thought I had a light problem fixed it first time. Signal on the dash did not go away but the light was on. Went to a different place and fixed it again. And the signal still would not go away. The light works but still show on the dash as if it's broken. I'm afraid by time it's time to get a new registration sticker that it will not pass.

- Dorchester , MA, USA

problem #67

Nov 202013

325 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Headlights very dim when compared to original brightness.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #66

Aug 012013


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the passenger and driver's side brake light failed. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The contact stated the mechanic informed her of a recall under NHTSA campaign number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting) but the dealer informed her that the VIN was not included in the recall. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Baltimore , MD, USA

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