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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,160 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.

2011 BMW X5 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 BMW X5 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #40

Sep 022016


  • 62,504 miles


On Sunday 08/16/2016, my 2011 BMW X5 lost steering power, and I got a bunch of errors on the dashboard including engine not charging. When I looked under the hood, I was able to see that the engine belt is off its track, and idle pulley has broken off. This is the same failure for which BMW created a recall: (recall number -NHTSA campaign id-: 12V5500, recall date: 11/27/2012, component: Steering: Hydraulic powers assist system). On Monday 08/15/2016, I called BMW of North America llc and informed of the failure and requested that they pay assistance since the issue was a known design flaw under the recall above. Repairs were made to this car (BMW of rockville, 12/21/2012), but failure appears to continue to repeat. BMW instructed me to tow the car to the BMW dealer and once an estimate from the dealer was given they will make a decision. The estimate was available Monday, and when I called them back Tuesday morning, they informed me that a decision will be made within 24-48 hours. I called every day after the period for three days, but was never transferred to the case manager (sam), instead, I was asked to supply my information over and over. On Monday 08/22, I called and requested to talk to a supervisor. The supervisor sounded irritated by my call, and proceeded to tell me that a decision will be made within 5 business days. Two days later, sam called me and informed me that he got the paperwork, and will be working on my case. On Tuesday 08/30, I called BMW back since I haven┐T heard back from them, I requested to talk to sam, but the phone assistant informed me that he is not available, but based on the notes available to her, I am being denied because of the high mileage on the car (62K miles). After two weeks of stringing me along, BMW didn┐T even bother to call me with the bad news. This is a design flaw that BMW should own and pay for

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #39

Aug 122016


  • 42,000 miles
As I was driving a check battery light came on, I drove for approx 2 more mins as I tried to park an engine malfunction light came on. Then the steering wheel froze and I could not change gears. I blocked city street traffic for over 2 hrs before a tow truck could get me. At the time of the malfunction I was driving 15-20 mph. Thankfully, I was not on a freeway or this would have been a major accident. I was told by BMW that the drive belt fell apart, (while I was driving) it went into the engine and destroyed the timing chain and cam system. The engine is damaged beyond repair. I feel this is a design flaw that the drive belt would destroy the engine in a matter of 2 mins and/or it is defective drive belt. The car has approx 42K miles. BMW offered for me to pay $2800 for them to take the engine apart and investigate the engine malfunction. This car has had numerous problems since I purchased it. Attached are my service records.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #38

Jul 032016


  • 66,000 miles
Driving my wife and kids on a busy city street traveling 30 mph. Suddenly without warning engine overheat needs to cool down warning appeared. I turned on the hazard lights. Vehicle began to slow down and we were almost hit twice. Was able to pull over and proceeded down a side street. Engine overheat shut down engine warning which appeared in red came up so I stopped the vehicle and turned off the engine for an hour. My family sat for an hour hoping the engine would cool off but to no avail. We were left stranded @ 1:30am in baltimore city which is known for senseless random acts of violence.

- Pikesville, MD, USA

problem #37

May 262016


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. While driving at an unknown speed, the engine overheated warning message illuminated and the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the water pump was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Demois, WA, USA

problem #36

May 062016


  • 49,000 miles
Drive shaft failure... on highway driving 70 mph and the car became uncontrollable. Pulled off the side of the road and stopped the vehicle. Car then would not go into drive only neutral. Car towed to performance BMW. I had previously complained about how loud the cabin was with engine noise and a slight vibration when stopping. Now the drive shaft is ruined as well as leah in oil housing, pan etc

- Creedmoor, NC, USA

problem #35

Mar 272016


  • 100,100 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. While driving 55 mph, a warning message on the instrument panel indicated that the vehicle was overheating. The contact pulled over to the roadside and observed the engine, but there was no indication that it overheated. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the water pump failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V161000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,100.

- Belvidere, TN, USA

problem #34

Mar 222016


  • 71,400 miles


Previous vanos recall campain / fix has not worked and has caused catastrophic engine failure. After one year from recall work the turbo failed resulting in loss of engine power. Upon replacing turbo dealer noticed metal shavings in oil. Less than one year later and multiple engine issues there is loud engine knocking. Dealer claims again there is metal shavings in then oil and the engine and turbo need to be replaced. BMW na is refusing to cover work even though the vanos bolt issue is a well known and documented problem. These vanos bolts shear and drop into the timing chain causing metal shaving contamination to engine oil. Engine will eventuality loose power and shut down as metal works its way throughout the engine resulting in complete failure and necsitating replacement. BMW na knows this is a problem and they are refusing to do anything about this serious safety issue.

- Andover, NJ, USA

problem #33

Feb 132016


  • 61,400 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact stated that while parked, the engine was running however, a large amount of coolant leaked onto the ground and the engine compartment. The oil reservoir melted onto the engine. There was no flame visible. In addition, the vehicle failed to shift out of the park position. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the water pump would need to be replaced. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V521000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 61,400.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #32

Feb 012016


  • 66,000 miles
Previous vanos recall campaing fix is not working. After one years replacement bolts are loose and loud engine knocking is back. If continue driving bolts will be sheared and break timing chain causing engine to suddenly loose power and shut down with no previous warning. When engine RPM reaches the 2000 mark engine starts to loose power and hesitates due to the bad vanos bolts. BMW is refusing to repair the vanos unit and replace the bolts under warranty.

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #31

Dec 312015


  • 75,000 miles
Margining onto freeway accelerated car suddenly lost power went into neutral and brakes went hard engine malfunction lights on the dash build date Dec 2010 falls into vanos repair fixed once already and has made the vehicle inoperable BMW corporate is claiming not at fault when hundreds of cases have been reported online every vehicle made from Feb 2010-Dec 2010 is a ticking bomb

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #30

Jan 052016


  • 69,716 miles


The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact stated that while driving, the vehicle was overheating causing smoke coming from the engine. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the water pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine cooling pressure needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V521000 (engine, engine cooling). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 69,716.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #29

Jan 232016


  • 59,100 miles
Engine malfunction reduced power output. Driving on a highway my BMW X5 suddenly started misfiring and heard noise from the engine. After couple of misfires it have eninge malfunction reduced power output warning. Had a vanos bolt replaced as part of recall but this is happening more often. I think there is serious issue with BMW eninge. Can anyone help.

- Southlake, TX, USA

problem #28

Jan 112016


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 40 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to turn after the engine and battery warning indicators illuminated. The contact restarted the vehicle however the failure persisted. The vehicle was towed to the contacts residence and was examined by an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the idler pulley bolt had fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 12V550000 (engine and engine cooling, steering) however, the VIN was not included. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #27

Dec 102015


  • 45,000 miles
Electric water pump failed at only 40K-50K miles. Engine overheated and risky for safe driving. I checked online for any related recall and find the following, which is the same problem for my vehicle. But it was not covered by the recall. This recall should cover more vehicles. Electric auxiliary water pump report receipt date: Oct 20, 2011 NHTSA campaign number: 11V521000 component(s): Engine and engine cooling

- Foster City, CA, USA

problem #26

Oct 192015


  • 25 miles
I received a noise from the engine and started an alert on dashboard engine malfunction reduced power drive safely to the BMW dealer. BMW dealer looked at the vehicle and suggested to change engine oil, solenoids, belt tensioner and deflection pully, however the engine sound did not go off. Now they asking me to change the engine and turbo. The only service did earlier was the vanos gear bolt recall. Dealer and BMW na says it's because of aftermarket oil filter. I think aftermarket oil filter damaging the engine is irrelevant. I think there is a serious problem is getting hidden by BMW. Can anyone please help.

- Lucas, TX, USA

problem #25

Jul 282015


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. While driving at approximately 40 mph, an abnormal loud noise was heard from the vehicle and an unknown warning indicator illuminated. In addition, the brake warning light illuminated. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 65,000.

- Hollywood , FL, USA

problem #24

Jul 112015


  • 79,800 miles
Driving from highway speed to exit then around 20mph, engine just stopped, went into neutral, steering locked, check engine lights. Depressed brake and was able to restart car. It happened 2 more times within the next 2 hours. Will be getting to dealer or BMW shop.

- Missouri City , TX, USA

problem #23

Jul 032015

X5 8-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
I was driving at the hallway at 65 mph and the power to the car shut off. I almost crashed into other cars, when the engine reduce power light came on. I pulled over and waited 10 minutes to start the car. I went back home and it happened again.....updated 09/28/15 the went to the shop four times, and no one was able to diagnose the problem. Updated 10/08/15

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #22

May 092015


  • 79,000 miles
My vehicles purchased last year from BMW local dealer {jackie cooper imports] is equipped with 8- or 12-cylinder, turbocharged engines.the circuit board for the electric auxiliary water pump overheated. This lead to a smoldering of the pump and an engine compartment. BMW was supposed to notify owners, replace the auxiliary water pump, thermostat, and coolant reservoir free of charge. The two safety recalls related to this problem apparently did not include my vehicle. Ref NHTSA compaign recall #11V521000 and NHTSA compaign recall # 12V161000. I have logged a complaint about this with the dealership, and their recall resolution department in vain. I am being charged for parts and labor which I belief should be free a snoted by the two recalls.

- Oklahoma, OK, USA

problem #21

May 042015

X5 6-cyl

  • 40,375 miles
My wife and a toddler were driving home getting off the bridge and about to get on the on ramp to highway in nyc (bqe). All the sudden the car overheated and went into limp mode. Luckily there were no car behind her otherwise would be rear ended. She was able to pull to the right from the left lane and got onto local street to wait for it to cool down. This car had many close calls for serious or fatal accident. This car only has a little ok 40K miles. This is too early for a water pump to fail. This car is out of warranty and the cost of fix will be over $1000. The worst is my wife uses this car for work and drive the kid to school. Can bmwna be contacted and put this failure into recall. Thanks

- Rego Park, NY, USA

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