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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,401 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.

2003 BMW X5 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 BMW X5 Owner Comments

problem #9

Apr 152015


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW X5. While driving approximately 65 mph, there was the smell of plastic burning and the vehicle would not accelerate. The contact stated that there was smoke coming from the front of the vehicle. The engine stalled without warning. Moments later, the vehicle was engulfed in flames. The fire department extinguished the fire and filed a report. The vehicle was burned down to the frame. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a body shop. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Tupelo, MS, USA

problem #8

Nov 182014


  • miles
I purchased the vehicle used, I have had it for about 5 months and have had some serious problems (steering column, window regulators, engine, and coolant leakage). I see where these issues seem to be consistent with the vehicle, but am having a hard time getting the recall work done. I can's afford to spend a lot on this car, but I feel like I may have more than I bargained for. My extended warranty is not paying for much !!! help

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #7

Aug 302012

X5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW X5. The contact stated that the front passenger side caught fire while parked in a residential garage. The manufacturer investigated the failure and concluded that cause of the fire was not due a manufacturing defect. A police report was filed of the incident. The contact stated that the battery was replaced twice and the computer system was replaced three times prior to the fire. The vehicle was destroyed. The approximate failure and current mileage was 150,000. Updated 2/15/13 the consumer believed the fire was due to an electrical failure. Updated 02/02/513

- South Kingstown, RI, USA

problem #6

Aug 232012


  • miles


The pixels on the instrument cluster and the radio display are faded out which makes the visibility on these items extremely difficult. This is a known issue that has been brought to bmwusa's attention and discussed on many BMW forums, yet the manufacturer and its supplier (siemans vdo) refuse to fix.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #5

Jun 252012

X5 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I was driving the vehicle in stop and go traffic, the vehicle lost all power forcing me to come to complete stop in the middle of the highway. This occurred 3 other times in the past 4 months, the other incidents were in the parking lot. The car starts up and runs perfectly before and after. I am concerned about my safety. Searching for a solution, I found that BMW has service bulletin to address this issue. I am surprised that there is no recall on this since it is a huge safety concern.

- Fairview Heights, IL, USA

problem #4

Mar 012009

X5 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
The right rear brake light bulb shorts out. Instrument warning for rear brake / tail lights activates. Problem occurs multiple times due to an apparent flaw in the brake light assembly circuit and plastic that forms the split circuit for positive (+) negative (-) connection points to bulb socket leads. To repair - the metal assembly needs to be bent outward (direction away from tail light lens) to increase tension between bulb socket electrical connections and metal plate of tail light assembly. Problem seems to be caused by weakened plastic that causes the metal plate in tail light assemble to loosen creating inadequate back spring tension between the plate and socket connectors. Recall on BMW 3 series for: No. 11V-438: Lamps in rear quarter panel 2002-2005 3 series is described as the exact problem.

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #3

Jan 132012


  • 102,000 miles


The left rear tail light continues to work intermittently. The 'check brake, check rear light' warning illuminates even after bulbs have been replaced. I have replaced the bulbs numerous times, with the most recent being a few days ago. Yet, the warning message reappeared this evening. The problem is similar to those recently investigated by NHTSA on other BMW models such as the 3 series and is a common complaint in BMW forums and other forums on the internet.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #2

Nov 152008


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW X5. While pulling into the driveway at 5 mph, the driver noticed that the instrument panels light began to dim and the vehicle stalled. Approximately two hours later, the vehicle was able to be restarted and was driven to the dealer. The mechanic informed her that the instrument cluster was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The current mileage was 100,200 and failure mileage was 95,000. Updated 03/09/09. After shutting the vehicle off, the front and rear lights stayed on and the door locks were inoperative. The consumer attempted to restart the vehicle, but it would not start. The dealer found communications faults in the instrument cluster. Updated 03/12/09.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #1

Mar 102003

X5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 610 miles
October 2002 I purchased a new BMW X5 - shortly there after I started to experience intermittent electrical problems - headlights would not shut off without re-starting the car, interior lights would not turn off, the flashers would come on, the rear latch would disconnect, the keyless entry into the car would not work, battery was being drained and ultimately the batter wouldn't even hold a charge. After 3-4 months of experiencing these intermittent problems, I insisted the dealer take the car back and let me purchase a 2003 BMW X5. I received the newest BMW X5 on February 26, 2003 and on March 10, 2003, I started experiencing problems again! this time, when the ignition was turned on, the flashers came on and the interior lights would not shut off without me opening the door and closing it again - I had to manually shut off the flashers. Minutes later after driving the car, I shut off the ignition, got out of the car and used the keyless entry system to lock the car and arm the alarm. I wasn't able to lock the car doors but the alarm was activated. I had to turn the alarm off and open the door and close it again. Then I was able to lock it. The car has been at the dealer since and they do not know what is causing this problem.

- Shrewsbury, MA, USA

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