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

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2004 BMW 330 Owner Comments (Page 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Jan 012008

330 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


Low-beam hid headlight reflector bowls on both sides of car have burned and melted causing very low light output and dangerous night driving conditions. The reflector bowls are zkw brand and appear to be made of plastic of some kind.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #23

Jul 182011

330 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
Dramatically reduced headlight output due to defective factory components.

- Kittery, ME, USA

problem #22

Jul 122011

330 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
BMW zkw headlight defect. Burnt bowls causing unsafe nightly illumination.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #21

Jul 082011

330 6-cyl

  • miles


2004 BMW 330I sedan: Xenon headlight reflector bowls (zkw brand) are scorched practically eliminating any light output from the headlight.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #20

Jul 092011


  • miles
1. bought the car with zkw bowl reflective material deficient. 2004 BMW 330I zhp. 2. can't see safely at night to drive. 3. nothing has been done...as replacement oem lights are $1000 each.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

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problem #19

Jul 102011

330 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
The reflector portion of the vehicle's xenon headlights appear burned/discolored, which significantly reduces their brightness thereby reducing nighttime visibility.

- Easton, MD, USA

problem #18

Jul 052011

330 6-cyl

  • miles


Having recently purchased my 2004 BMW 330I with xenon headlamps, I have been researching the car and any recalls that may have occurred or are ongoing. It was brought to my attention that the xenon headlamps designated zkw were under possible investigation for scorching within the assembly that can lead to decreased light output and pose a safety hazard to nighttime driving. I confirmed that my car is equipped with the zkw headlamps, and noted that some discoloration within the assembly was occurring. I want to make sure this problem is sufficiently documented so that a proper investigation can lead to the resolution to this relatively common occurrence.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #17

Jul 052011

330 6-cyl

  • miles
Headlights have inadequate light output due to manufacturing defect.

- Longview, TX, USA

problem #16

Mar 022010

330 6-cyl

  • 54,582 miles
The bi-xenon headlights cast very little light on the road, making it very difficult to see at night without using the fog lights to augment.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #15

Jun 142010


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330. The contact stated that the plastic reflector bowl used for the headlights were burned and scorched by the heat of the bulbs used on the vehicle. The contact replaced the covering before and within a year, it burned through again. The contact stated that the brand covering that was failing was the zkw brand. The vehicle was not inspected by the dealer or repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 71,000.

- New Orleans , LA, USA

problem #14

Jun 192011


  • miles


On 2003-2004 BMW 3 series E46 sedans with oem zkw manufactured xenon (hid) headlights, the reflective bowl for the headlights will become discolored and non-reflective after normal use with oem bulbs. Over time, the heat from the oem bulb will scorch the reflective bowl and dramatically reduce light output to unsafe levels for night time driving. BMW has not notified owners of the design flaw, and no replacement parts are available other than the entire expensive, new headlight assemblies that will suffer from the same problem in time. Though BMW refuses to acknowledge that an issue exists, BMW changed the xenon headlight reflector design for later model years to a metal reflector assembly that does not degrade when exposed to the normal operating temperatures of the oem xenon bulbs. These newer designed headlight assemblies to not suffer from any reduction in light output with use. Updated IVOQ 07/26/11

- Louisiana, LA, USA

problem #13

Nov 012010


  • 70,000 miles
2004 BMW 330I - tail light wiring failure. Tail light bulb socket (part number W0133-1663035 failed due to over heating and melting of connector. Results in loss of brake light function. Problem common to both driver and passenger side. Purchasing new part to try to correct problem however problem may also include failure of the connector (female) on the wiring harness which is not readily available. Over heating appears to be due to undersizing of connector/wire. This appears to be a common problem with E46 BMW's (3 series). Problem was brought to dealer's attention while under warranty, ...they did not fix it. Contacted corporate head quarters, ...they did not acknowledge this was a common problem. (ref. EA09-019).

- Kinnelon, NJ, USA

problem #12

Apr 042011

330 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
2004 BMW 325xi sedan; taillight fails intermittently according to dashboard indicator, then failed solid. The wires melted inside the connector to the light housing and melted housing post - no easy way for home repair as this is not just a bad lightbulb. BMW has service bulletin on repair, but is a pure design defect from the factory. There is no owner-induced problem here. They will not accept responsibility for repairs or recalls. A "google" reveals that this is a widespread issue with BMW 3-series and some 5-series cars. They should be forced to recall these cars for repairs.

- Pa, PA, USA

problem #11

Sep 152010


  • 75,000 miles
2004 BMW 325I with the factory bi-xenon headlights manufactured by zkw. The lights have extensive damage to the reflective bowls such that the light output is quite dim. This is apparently a weel documented problem with these lights by this manufacturer. No replacement is available other than complete replacement at $1000 per light or retrofitting another type of projector in its place. BMW refuses to recognize this very common problem.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #10

Oct 232010


  • miles
2004 BMW 330xi sedan (E46) rear tail light indicator light consistently comes on, even though there is no tail lamp failure. Online community forums report that this is likely due to ground wire short in the tail lamp assembly. Cost of repair at dealership estimated at $700. Currently being investigated by NHTSA as EA09-019, but I'm wary of being overcharged by dealership for what should be a recall.

- La, CA, USA

problem #9

Oct 102010

330 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
The rear taillight fails on my 2004 BMW 330I due to the bulb holder assembly and issues with the grounding wire used in the harness. This is a common problem on E46 BMW's as noted in many owner forums online. The gauge of wire used for the brown grounding wire is much larger than all the other wires and eventually the heat melts down the connector pins or exposes the plastic between the other clips in the harness.

- Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #8

Sep 172010


  • 96,000 miles
BMW tail light ground is inadequate for applicable current load. Hundreds if not thousands of BMW owners have reported this situation, where the brown ground wire connected to the male pin of the tail light module becomes oxidized, eventually causing a short, melting of the connector plug, and causing brake and turn signal failure. BMW sells a fix package for the problem, so they certainly know it exists. Again, this is being reported by hundreds if not thousands of BMW owners.

- Milford, OH, USA

problem #7

Aug 302010


  • 98,000 miles
I recently purchased a 2004 330I zhp, and drove it home. Didn't drive it at night for some time, but when I finally did, found out lighting is very dim, so much, I have no confidence driving at night. I must use foglights on low beam, and high beams when I can. Failure occurs every time I drive at night, and through my research, I feel the reflective material in the bowls is baked off. These light should be better than the halogens I had on my 325I, but they are not. I have not corrected the problem because repairs are too costly.....and do not feel I should pay for the defective headlights.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #6

Jan 152010


  • 68,000 miles
The tail lights on both sides of my 2004 BMW 330I have stopped working completely (no turn signal or brake lights) due to a burned wire. This began on the left side with the turn signal light going out. When I went to change the bulb, I realized the bulb was fine. Looking closer I saw that a wire in the wire harness had burned and melted the plastic. It also melted the metal on the tail light assembly. This was a couple months ago that this happened and now the right side has done the exact same thing. I called the dealer and was told that this was a common problem with this model. The cost to fix the problem will be $350 per side. Looking online I saw that BMW issued a service report (si B 63 03 06) because the problem is so common. I am concerned that this may be a fire hazard and don't understand why there wouldn't be a recall. I am also concerned that I do not have an extra $700 on hand to fix the problem and am forced to drive with no turn signals or brake lights. It seems like since this is a design flaw and a safety hazard, BMW should be responsible to fix it.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #5

Jun 102010


  • 80,000 miles
2004 BMW 330xi sedan (E46) rear tail light indicator light consistently comes on, even though there is no tail lamp failure. Dealer indicated it was a burnt contact, and suggested repairing both sides. Cost for both sides $254.67.

- Burnt Hills, NY, USA

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