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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 13
Injuries / Deaths:
11 / 0
Average Mileage:
93,542 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.

2005 BMW X3 accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2005 BMW X3 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Feb 022016


  • 183 miles


Both seats. Purchased this vehicle with 183K miles. Was getting cold out, turned on the heated seat function and noticed a burning smell upon driving down the country roads from my house. The side of the drivers seat melted through. Could see it glowing inside of the seat. Someone had done a seat repair previously to cover this issue. Approx. 1 year later I was driving down the highway when my passenger had turned on his heated seat. He started yelling and noticed the seat had burned through the leather. Luckily no accidents were caused.

- Rogersville, MO, USA

problem #36

Oct 232015


  • 140,000 miles
The left side of the drivers side seat heater has overheated and burned through the leather and my pants. There appears to be similar complaints on this website and a NHTSA recall bulletin number 04V575000 for older 5 series vehicles. I think this investigation should be expanded since so many people have experienced this behaviour.......updated 12/03/15

- Breckenridge, CO, USA

problem #35

Oct 302015


  • 102,000 miles
Two minutes after turning on driver's side seat heater, I began to smell something burning. Lower left lumbar section of the seat was extremely hot, felt hot instantly even through a winter coat and sweatshirt. Immediately turned the seat heater off. Extremely considered the car would catch fire. Car has 102,000 miles. No visible wear or burn marks on this seat.

- Weston, MO, USA

problem #34

May 142015


  • 137,000 miles


I own a 2005 BMW X3, purchased new 5-5-05. On 12-19-11, while at the dealer for service, tech advised that during short test, he noted faulted pass seat mat sensor. Dealer replaced pass seat mat sensor and enabled. At no time were prior recalls on this issue mentioned nor was I provided documentation concerning any extended warranty. On 5-14-15 (note the date) the SRS warning light on the dash came on and remained lit while the pass seat air bag light would not go off. Took car to dealer 5-19-15. They confirmed the same seat mat sensor they replaced on 12-19-11 was again faulty. However, this time they would not replace as it was beyond the heretofore "extended warranty" by 14 days. Took vehicle to local shop who replaced seat mat sensor. Faulty seat mat sensor retained for possible testing. This is a significant safety issue that BMW is ignoring. How many more complaints need to be made before this issue is resolved? do people need to be injured (or worse) before BMW is held accountable" with seat bag recalls being in the news daily, how much bad publicity does BMW want before they actually do what is right"

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #33

Apr 302015


  • 147,200 miles
The heated seat got hot enough to burn a hole in the seat. When I felt the hot spot I turned off the heater, there was no fire. I understand from the internet that this isn't that uncommon and I was hoping the NHTSA could work towards a recall so those that have had this problem could get it warranted

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #32

Mar 012015

X3 6-cyl

  • 110,340 miles
I left home and turned on the seat heater for the driver seat. In just a few seconds I felt discomfort in my left buttock. I repositioned thinking something was pinching me and then smelled something burning. I was able to pull off the roadway and get out of the car. I saw the seat bottom scorching and immediately turned off the seat heater. No further damage was noted, but now afraid to use either seat heater.

- Hull, GA, USA

problem #31

Dec 012014

X3 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


The driver's seat (bottom) contains a heating element. When on, even on the lowest setting, a hot spot develops near the left rear side that is so hot I have to shut off the heater out of fear of a fire.

- Peabody, MA, USA

problem #30

Nov 242014


  • 98,576 miles
The heated seat was so intense it burned through the seat and burned my leg. I originally thought the area affected was a burn hole in the seat from a cigarette, afterwards I realized that the burn hole had been created by an heating element that was exposed in that area and burned through the leather and then my leg. We've been afraid to drive the car for other electrical issues. I contacted both the dealership and the manufacturer and no one has helped me to this date.

- Fairlawn, OH, USA

problem #29

Jan 202015

X3 6-cyl

  • 183,700 miles
Was driving with seat heater on. The seat felt very hot on my legs at it smelled like something was burning. I immediately turned off the seat heater. I pulled into a parking lot and exited the car. I noticed a burn mark on the drivers side seat. There is a matching burn mark on the wool coat I was wearing. The coat is what prevented me from being injured. I have pictures of the damage if you need it.

- Columbus, IN, USA

problem #28

Nov 242013

X3 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
While driving down the road the heated seat got hot enough to burn a hole in the seat. When I felt the hot spot I turned off the heater and there was no fire. I understand from the internet that this isn't that uncommon and I was hoping the NHTSA could work towards a recall so those that have had this problem could get it warranted and BMW would have an incentive to make sure they improve on this system. I have been a vol. Firefighter and I know first hand how quickly ( almost instantly) a vehicle will become fully engulfed. Thank you.

- Newton Falls , OH, USA

problem #27

Nov 282014


  • 130,000 miles


While driving my BMW X3 2005, I turned my seat warmer on and it ended up burning a hole through the seat. My pants were burned and so was I. luckily I had turned the seat warmer off without any additional damage or shock during my drive.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #26

Nov 032014

X3 6-cyl

  • 152,803 miles
The seat heater in my 2005 BMW X3 caught fire and melted a hole in the seat and burned my left butt cheek while I was driving. My left butt cheek was burned a little but I was otherwise uninjured. I read online that a ton of other people with the same/similar make and model car as me have had the same problem. The dealer said it would cost about $2000 to replace the entire seat. There is clearly a major flaw in the seat heater and it could pose a major safety issue should a fire occur and the driver is not able to leave the car right away. BMW should recall and/or pay for the replacement/repair of the seat.

- Burbank, IL, USA

problem #25

Sep 022013


  • 40,000 miles
Driver side heated seat heats up to the point of injury. Unusable.

- Union City, NJ, USA

problem #24

Apr 032014

X3 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
I was driving home from work on I-90 in Washington state and felt a sudden painful sharp pin point sensation in my left upper outer posterior thigh. I thought I was being stuck by a pin or something sharp. I put my hand down to pull out the sharp object and then felt a small spot in my seat that was burning hot. I almost lost control of my car from the severity of the pain in my fingers and thigh. I turned off the seat heater and the hot spot went away quickly. When I got home I turned the heater on again - and the same thing happened. I had a dime sized red burn mark on my thigh. This was only a minor injury, but I am lucky I did not receive a more serious burn, and that a fire did not start and that I was not in an accident. This is an extremely dangerous defect.

- Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #23

Feb 272014

X3 6-cyl

  • 107,100 miles
Upon turning on my driver side heated seat within 2 minutes of driving started to smell a burning and then a burn/shocking sensation on left thigh. Adjusted while driving then realized my seat was burning me on the left leg. Pulled over and got out of car and saw my seat was smoldering (smoke and burning). Realized it must be the heated seat. Turned off seat warmer and waited for 5 minutes and realized had a small hole through my pants. After seat cooled, drove home and inspected a burn hole better at home and put ice on a 1st to 2nd degree burn on my left upper thigh.

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #22

Dec 032013

X3 6-cyl

  • 101,720 miles
While driving to work (approx. 2 mile trip) on a cold morning (outside temp 18 deg F) turned on driver's side heated car seat at maximum setting. Prior to this incident, the seat heater had functioned properly although left side of seat always seemed to somewhat hotter than rest of seat. Within 1.5 mile, seat became extremely hot on left side of seat bottom 2/3 back from front and I began to smell a strong burning plastic odor in the car. I immediately turned off seat heater. Arrived at office and upon inspection, discovered a blackened burnt spot on the seat leather at the location where extreme heat had been.

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #21

Nov 232013

X3 6-cyl

  • 131,450 miles
Driver seat heat mat got too hot causing smoke, damage to clothing, and skin injury in less than a minute after turning the system on high. The seat had been functioning normally the day before. The seat cover is visibly damaged at a single point about the size of a quarter. The spot is on the left seat pan bolster 2/3's back from the front edge of the seat pan.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #20

Nov 012011

X3 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
Driver's seat at left leg bolster area heats up when seat heater element is activated. Shocking or burning sensation is felt due to overheat problem.

- Oil City, PA, USA

problem #19

Nov 052013

X3 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
I turned on the heated seat feature on my 2005 BMW X3 and about 5 minutes later my leg started to get very hot. I reached down with my hand and it was so hot that it burnt my hand. I started to smell smoke and quickly turned off my heated seat. When I got home I looked on my driver seat and noticed a small brown burnt spot on the left side cushion of my driver side seat. Thankfully I noticed it right away, if it was on any longer I'm not sure what would have happened! this is very dangerous and I could have been badly burnt.

- Franklin, NC, USA

problem #18

Apr 292013

X3 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
When I use the heated seat on the drivers side, there is a hot spot that gets so hot if you don't roll onto your right hip you will get a serious burn.

- Stony Brook, NY, USA

Read the next 17 complaints »

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