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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,262 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 330 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 BMW 330 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

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problem #100

Oct 012014

330 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 #99

Aug 012012

330 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 #98

Apr 012010


  • miles
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.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #97

Jun 022014

330 6-cyl

  • miles


The zkw xenon lights in the BMW E46 chasis have decreased light output. This makes night time driving dangerous and could result in a crash. The reflector bowl (that reflects light onto the road) is become badly burnt. This could also start a fire, as the piece is plastic.

- Hudson, MA, USA

problem #96

Apr 092008

330 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

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problem #95

Jun 192013

330 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
On zkw-headlight equipped bi-xenon BMW 3-series, the low beam projector bowls are coated with faulty reflecting material that is burned off over time, dramatically reducing the output of the headlights.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #94

Dec 022013

330 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles


The bowl of the oem zkw headlight burns out. It is first and foremost a safety hazard. BMW has produced countless cars that are affected, specifically any 3 series with the upgraded xenon headlights. Not only was this an additional option but the cost to rectify light output to a safe level is high. Oem headlights cost $1200 each at the dealership. I feel as though that is the only way to approach this since headlights correlate directly with night driving and safety.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #93

Jan 262014

330 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 #92

May 152013


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330I. The contact stated that the illumination of the headlights was extremely dim. The reflector was discolored and burned, causing improper illumination. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000. Mail out 01/13/15

- Newman, GA, USA

problem #91

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 #90

Nov 202013

330 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles


Headlights very dim when compared to original brightness.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #89

Sep 132010

330 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
The vehicle headlights include the bi-xenon option. Zkw was the original equipment supplier for these headlights. The reflective housing surrounding the bulb suffers from severe degradation and total light output is significantly reduced. Overall nighttime vehicle visibility and safety is greatly affected. I have learned this is a common problem with the make/model/year and option package of the vehicle.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #88

Sep 242013


  • 151,000 miles
Recently purchased said vehicle and it came with zkw hid bi-xenon lighting system which appears the inner plastic bowls are burnt to a crisp with detriment light output making it almost impossible to clearly see unlit roads at night, this is a huge safety concern and needs to be reviewed and solved in a timely manner as it affects thousands of similar vehicles on the road. I'm afraid the reduced light output might appear to other drivers at night that my vehicle is further away that it is in reality giving the possibility of them crossing into my travel path incurring an accident. I know you have been reviewing this for quite some time but we need a resolution soon... thank you.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #87

Sep 142013


  • 155,000 miles
I purchased the vehicle used with 155xxx miles on it and noticed that the headlights cannot sufficiently light up the road. Upon further inspection, the xenon projector-bowl housing inside the headlights are burnt. Light output is significantly reduced. The lights are manufactured by "zkw"

- Hudson, NH, USA

problem #86

Aug 012010

330 6-cyl

  • 80,500 miles
Headlight output began to dim. Replaced bulb and had clear lens cover cleaned. This did not help. Car is now unsafe to drive at night. Dealership discovered that the heat from the bulb has melted and discolored the reflector for the headlight. Online internet search indicates this is a chronic safety problem with this model of BMW.

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #85

Jun 142013

330 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330ci. The contact stated that the rear passenger's side brake light and the rear driver's side blinker would not shut off. The manufacturer was contacted and advised that there were no recalls for the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 108,000.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #84

May 012013

330 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
BMW E46 models have been known for this issue regarding hid/bixenon projector headlights loosing their ability to effectively light the road. My vehicle was equipped with the zkw (BMW brand/manufacture) headlight that BMW used and the reflector bowl for the projector headlamp was partially melted and burned significantly reducing the reflective surface for the headlights to function properly. After some investigation online this is a typical problem with this platform of the BMW 3 series and there is no resolution except complete replacement of the headlamp assembly. The reduced illumination was so bad, that my headlamps would be on at night but my fog lights projected more light on the road and were brighter requiring me to use them on a daily basis for light until I replaced my headlamp assemblies. Given this is a known issue and thousands of BMW E46 owners have to replace their complete headlamp assemblies the NHTSA needs to investigate and help remedy this situation as BMW should be responsible. Please note that BMW had two different suppliers for headlamp assemblies for this series BMW (al Bosch and zkw). The al Bosch lamps are not affected as they utilized metal projector/reflective bowls where the zkw (the affected supplier) used chromed plastic that burns/melts over time.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #83

Apr 102013


  • 108,500 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330xi. The contact stated that the brake, tail and turn signal lights were defective. The lights would not illuminate when activated and the brake lights would not illuminate when the brakes were applied. The contact replaced the brake lights, tail lights and the turn signals but the repairs did not remedy the issue. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign I.D. number: 11V438000 (exterior lights) and called a dealer regarding the recall. The dealer advised the contact that the VIN was not included in the recall campaign. The contact did not call the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 108,500.

- Mcclean, VA, USA

problem #82

May 012013


  • miles
Projectors for the zkw headlights have deteriorated making night driving difficult and dangerous.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #81

Apr 012013


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330xi. The contact stated that the headlights dimmed erroneously when driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was determined that the reflectors had deteriorated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 61,000. The VIN was not available.

- Boulder, CO, USA

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