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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,436 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.

2001 BMW X5 cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2001 BMW X5 Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 202009


  • 109,000 miles


On cold day, '01 BMW X5 3.0, started, briefly warmed and driven 8 miles B/F engine quits and will not restart. No warning lights, nor overheating involved. Mechanic indicates engine completely seized due to oil separator freezing from residual condensation in air as well as crankcase resulting in oil forced into cylinders, choking motor, and cracking connecting rods. Engine has now failed requiring a new or used motor - estimated at $7,500 replacement (not to mention significantly lowering resale value since new motor will not match VIN). Vehicle has been meticulously maintained beyond manufacturers recommended intervals (eg: Oil change every 3K miles with BMW spec'd oil and filters). This is a very common problem with BMW, particularly the X5 - oil separator in subsequent years was redesigned to address issue. No warning from dealership who maintained car until 2 years ago. This is a well documented problem that has now caused catastrophic engine failure and could very well cause catastrophic injury or death of vehicle occupants if engine fails on highway, rather than on a neighborhood road driving @ 5 mph.. BMW should have made a recall on this part before this issue started occurring with regular frequency to anyone living in a cold climate. Old parts and motor are still available - at least for the current time. Will need to be disposed as a core charge in near future once new engine can be located.

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #3

Jun 082008


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 BMW X5. While driving between 55-60 mph, the vehicle began to overheat and smoke, and the engine failed. The vehicle had to be towed. The dealer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id numbers 01V206000 and 02V138000 (engine and engine cooling: Cooling system:fan). The current and failure mileages were 87,000.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #2

Mar 042005

X5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,744 miles
I purchased my 2001 BMW X5, new in Sept of 2000. I began having problems with it pretty quickly. The most plauging problem was the gas gauge. It took BMW 5 times to finally fix it. 2/26/01 14461 milage, 3/9/01 14512 milage, 5/16/01 18566 miles, 8/29/01 24493 miles, and finally 2/26/02 37268 miles. There were a number of other issues with the car, water pump, lower contro arm (twice), and various other non-essential items. I tried to enact the lemon law, but since the 3rd time on the fuel gauge was at 18500 miles, I was told it didn't apply. Now after 4 and a half years, I have 114,000 miles on the car and I was just told that the motor is shot and will have to be replaced at a cost of $11,500. I can't sink that kind of money into a car with that many miles but I can't sell it with a bad motor and I can't make payments on two cars. This car has been one problem after another and BMW has refuesed help me. The only offer they made was to give me $5000 off on a new car when I hired a lawyer to try to enact the lemon law, but with the milage I had on the car already I still would have owed them money on the trade-in. There hasn't been one incident. It's just been one thing after another since I bought the car. I have paid BMW over $3600 for service and repairs not covered by warranty since I bought the vehicle. Now it's going to cost me over $11,000 more to get the car running again. I have all the service records and have always pampered the car. I only used the best gas, never missed any scheduled services. I can't believe BMW is not standing behind their products better than this.

- West Chester, OH, USA

problem #1

Feb 092004


  • miles
2001 and later BMW X5's have a known problem with the oil separator freezing in very cold weather, causing the engine to sieze suddenly. This is a majoir issue BMW needs to recall!!!

- York, ME, USA

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