Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,802 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 BMW 330:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 BMW 330 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #84

May 012013

330 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles

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

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

330

  • 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

330

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

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #81

Apr 012013

330

  • 61,000 miles

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

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

problem #80

Jun 012011

330 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
I own a 2004 BMW 3 series sedan with optional bi-xenon headlights. About 10,000 miles into my purchase (or 57,000) I began to notice my headlight output deteriorating significantly. My girlfriend owns a 2004 BMW 3 series coupe/convertible also with the optional bi-zenon and 60,000 miles. I compared our vehicles headlights side by side. My bi-xenon headlights in both low and high beam form were significantly dimmer and had a yellow tint when compared to her bi-xenon headlights. This is a common issue on BMW 3 series sedans with the optional bi-xenon headlamps. The problem is that the bi-xenon reflector housing bowl in BMW E46 3 series sedans is made from a different manufacturer than the coupes and convertibles. The headlights in my vehicle are made and classified under the title (zkw). The coupes and convertibles are made and classified under the name (al). The difference is that oem zkw headlights reflector housing bowls are made from a type of plastic. While the oem al headlights are made out of metal. The metal housing in al style headlights in coupes and convertibles are able to stand up to the heat of the xenon bulb, the plastic housings in my sedan are not. Due to this it literally gets too hot and burns the plastic reflective housing to a brown crisp, which is not a reflective surface and deteriorated my headlight output to an extremely unsafe level. The output level has dimmed so that when there is any oncoming traffic my lights get drowned out and I must put on my fog lamps to maintain any type of visibility. The output level is below any halogen lamp I have seen. This is extremely unsafe at any speed and is a known issue on all bi-xenon equipped BMW E46 3 series sedans. BMW is aware of this issue and has done nothing to address this design flaw, which compromises the safety of myself and others. Pictures of the issue are available upon request. Thank you.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #79

Feb 182013

330

  • miles
My bi-xenon headlights have been slowly fading resulting in extremely poor visibility during normal nightime driving. This degradation has been occurring without my knowledge until it became obvious after driving another vehicle. As it turns out, my mechanic has advised there is a common issue with certain BMW assemblies that the projector lenses literally burn due to heat resulting in the need to replace the entire assembly. This loss of headlight intensity resulting in poor visibility is a significant safety situation and request someone look into why no recall has occurred as this is obviously a safety concern. I have entered today's date as incident date as I am not sure when degradation of the projectors began.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #78

Feb 042013

330 6-cyl

  • 124,250 miles

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

The vehicle came equipped from the factory with bi-xenon auto leveling headlights manufactured by zkw. The past couple months, the light output has steadily decreased. Brown scorch marks are visible in the projector when the headlight is on. On the driver's side, the xenon bulb burned off all the reflective material in the projector bowl. The light output from the projectors has been reduced to a thin beam of light. It is becoming very difficult to see while driving at night. This problem is getting progressively worse.

- Agoura Hills, CA, USA

problem #77

Jan 092013

330

  • 103,000 miles
Burnt bowl in the headlights causing the xenon light to have diminished light output. Night driving is very difficult due to the headlight not being bright enough anymore. Replacement of the assemblies will only fix this temporarily until the bowls but again and the problem returned.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #76

Dec 202012

330

  • miles
BMW E46 equipped with zkw brand headlights suffer from a burnt, melted, and cracked reflector bowl dramatically reducing the bi-xenon light output, making it difficult and unsafe to drive at night. This is a very common issue and needs to be resolved for drivers and others safety during night.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #75

Sep 192012

330 6-cyl

  • 99,960 miles
E46 BMW's with zkw xenon head lamps suffer from poor bulb projectors which burn to the point that light output is nearly none. This is defect is known by bmwna but nothing has been done to correct it.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #74

Mar 012012

330 6-cyl

  • 81,875 miles

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

It appears that a design defect has caused housings for bi-xenon headlights to be subject to heat stress, resulting in discoloration and cracking. As a result visibility during nighttime driving is significantly impacted when using both low-and high-beams. Approximate cost for replacement parts is in excess of $2,000, not including labor.

- Irvington, NY, USA

problem #73

Mar 042012

330 6-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
The headlights of the car get progressively dimmer over time. Changing headlight bulbs (xenon hid D2S 4300K) does nothing because the reflective coating on the headlight bowls has melted / burnt off. There is a scent of hot plastic with the headlights recently on and protective covers removed. The headlight bowls appear darkly charred just above the bulb area.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #72

Jun 012012

330 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
After purchasing my 330I in North salem, NY, I spent about 30 hours driving the car home to Florida. I made it home late at night and pulled the car into my garage. Once inside, I noticed small wisps of smoke exiting the hood, just above each headlight. I opened the hood and smelled a faint burning plastic smell. Through online research and investigation on the vehicle, I found the projector headlight reflector bowls were severely 'burnt', something very common on these style headlights on this car. I researched more and found that these reflectors were made of plastic, and over time would overheat and burn, losing their reflective coating. This loss of reflective coating eventually leads to severely diminished light output. I researched how to replace or repair the lights, and eventually retrofitted newer metal projector bowls from a 2006+ BMW. This retrofit while not permanent, has helped. This is a very serious problem. In addition to the lack of headlight output, there is a serious fire hazard involved with this design flaw.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #71

Jul 162012

330 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
I have owned this car for approximately 4 years now and have noticed a gradual decrease of the brightness of my headlights during that time period. I took the car to BMW and they said I have a model of car that the reflectors break down due to the heat of the xenon bulbs. It apparently occurs in my model car with zkw reflectors from years 2003 - 2004. I asked the mechanic if this was something that was going to be recalled and he literally laughed. This defect costs well over $2000 in parts alone and is a definite safety hazard. When I am on roads that are not well lit, it seems as though my fog lights actually provide better illumination of the road that my headlights do. In my opinion this is a serious safety hazard and warrants a recall. Please investigate this matter further.

- Saint John, IN, USA

problem #70

Jul 162012

330 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
I have owned this car for approximately 4 years now and have noticed a gradual decrease of the brightness of my headlights during that time period. I took the car to BMW and they said I have a model of car that the reflectors break down due to the heat of the xenon bulbs. It apparently occurs in my model car with zkw reflectors from years 2003 - 2004. I asked the mechanic if this was something that was going to be recalled and he literally laughed. This defect costs well over $2000 in parts alone and is a definite safety hazard. When I am on roads that are not well lit, it seems as though my fog lights actually provide better illumination of the road that my headlights do. In my opinion this is a serious safety hazard and warrants a recall. Please investigate this matter further.

- Saint John, IN, USA

problem #69

Jul 132012

330

  • 68,000 miles
Dear NHTSA, the headlight design of BMW's E46 bodies are just horrible. Light output is close to none creating a significant problem regarding visibility. The reason is due to BMW's reflector bowl that deteriorates through out time due to its plastic material and finally ends up burning. It is so bad that the fog lights produce much more light then its low beams. We definitely need your help NHTSA because BMW sure does not want to help, their solution is that you have to replace the whole headlight which is 1200 a piece. Millions of E46 owners have to deal with this problem and is a major safety concern. NHTSA investigators must go and investigate the problem so they know how bad it really is. Yes that means BMW will loose millions of dollars but it is safety that matters, we don't want any person or child to be killed just because of a poor headlight design. Only solution to this problem is up to your guys, NHTSA. Thank you for taking time to read my message, I really appreciate it. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #68

Jul 132012

330

  • 68,000 miles
Dear NHTSA, the headlight design of BMW's E46 bodies are just horrible. Light output is close to none creating a significant problem regarding visibility. The reason is due to BMW's reflector bowl that deteriorates through out time due to its plastic material and finally ends up burning. It is so bad that the fog lights produce much more light then its low beams. We definitely need your help NHTSA because BMW sure does not want to help, their solution is that you have to replace the whole headlight which is 1200 a piece. Millions of E46 owners have to deal with this problem and is a major safety concern. NHTSA investigators must go and investigate the problem so they know how bad it really is. Yes that means BMW will loose millions of dollars but it is safety that matters, we don't want any person or child to be killed just because of a poor headlight design. Only solution to this problem is up to your guys, NHTSA. Thank you for taking time to read my message, I really appreciate it. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #67

Jun 262012

330

  • 92,000 miles
Both bixenon headlamps assemblies have failed on the vehicle they emit little to no light due to the known bowl burn issues with the plastic reflectors (should have been fabricated from metal), inside these headlamp assemblies. In looking at the light assemblies, they seemed to have failed a long time ago. This is a very unsafe and hazardous situation that renders the vehicle basically inoperative at night to the owner, because fellow drivers, pedestrians, and/or bicyclist may be not able to see your headlights. This could cause or may have already lead to fatal vehicular accident(s) or the death of a pedestrian(s) and/or bicyclist(s) because of the low to no light emitted by these faulty headlamps. While performing in depth research on the internet discovered that this is a very common and known problem on this make and model at all mileages. The BMW forums are full of complaints about this problem and an open complaint seems to be open and in process with NHTSA since 2009 some three years ago. Neither BMW or its supplier of this faulty part make a reasonably priced service part that can be purchased to correct this known product and safety problem. Not even the aftermarket industry makes a service part to correct this product problem. To correct this issue, you must purchase two new complete head lamp assemblies at a cost of approximately $ $1,200 each from BMW which is outrageous especially for such a know product and safety problem. I can't understand why a recall has not been initiated for such a known problem on so many vehicles that has been on going for so long.. I contacted BMW North America for relief with this know safety and product problem and they could not help me with this issue because there is no open recall for this known product and safety problem.

- Miami Springs, FL, USA

problem #66

Jun 012011

330 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330I. The contact stated that both front headlights illuminated very dimly. The contact examined the headlights and noticed that the front driver side headlight bulb burned a hole through its housing. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed. The contact replaced the bulbs himself, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The contact was informed that the entire headlight housing needed to be replaced. The failure mileage was 65,000. Updated 07/25/12 the consumer stated the brand of headlights on his vehicle were factory installed. Xenon bulbs. The projector bowls were the pieces that burned and not sold separately, but instead were sold with complete headlamp assemblies. There was very little visibility when driving in the dark, and he has to use the fog lamps in order to see the road. Updated 07/30/12

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #65

Oct 202011

330 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
For a little over a year now I've been noticing that at night I've been having a real hard time seeing at night while I am driving. For a while I thought it was my eyes going bad until multiple people started asking if my lights where on, ( I was like good it's not my eyes) it gets real bad especially when it rain or the roads or wet which is almost every night cause live in Hawaii and it rains all the time. But of course the problem is not getting better it's gotten so bad that I have to drive with my fog lights at night. I went to the dealer thinking it was the bulbs and they said that it was not and I would have to replace the whole headlight assembly right and left. I have never heard this before so I started to search the net and come to find out that I am not the only one with this problem. Please help!

- Honoluku, HI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

Not what you are looking for?