hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,375 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.

2002 BMW 318 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 BMW 318 Owner Comments

problem #8

Apr 102017


  • 129,000 miles


I opened the passenger door in the morning after the car had been parked overnight. I had a hockey bag with approximately 25 lbs of equipment sitting on the passenger seat which I removed from the car and closed the door. I forgot something and went back to the car, about 40 seconds later, and saw a cloud of white smoke at the ceiling and I opened the door. The car had a strong smell of burning plastic/electronics. Whatever was burning stopped and there was no visible flame. I checked all the electrical switches and all the equipment seemed to work fine and no fuses were blown. The burning seemed to come from the passenger seat heater as there was evidence of the seat cover having smooth marks on the surface (instead of the normal pebble surface) where it might have melted. I'm not sure if the seats are real leather or simulated.

- Lake Elmo, MN, USA

problem #7

Mar 112015


  • 45,000 miles
Look at this - another BMW recall is in order my battery keeps getting flooded with water and then the car won't start under snow the ice melts and somehow getting into the compartment with the battery in the boot nothing else in the boot is wet - not even on the plastic plate that covers the battery but it gets into the battery compartment and there is no drain for the water to go so my car fails to start many many complaints on this one website is this also check on bimmerfest - too many people having this dangerous condition and complaining to BMW which won't do the recall you need to force them to do the recall www.E90post.com/forums/showthread.php?T=949111 they should be fixing the leak when they do the lamp recalls which is also probably causing failure to start issues next issue is the window regulators - google that issue you will see the internet is flooded with people complaining they can't get their windows to roll up on this car I have very little mileage for a 2002 - under 50K and yet I am already replacing my third window regulator - that is the regulator on both front windows went and one of the back windows now went - $200-400 repair job big problems with BMW and I called them and complained and they won't reimburse unless there's a recall which they said they've no intention of doing too many people having these issues for it not to be a BMW recall - they won't pass your car for inspection with the window down obviously also a safety issue.

- Franklin Square, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 232014

318 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
Using key fob to unlock doors, sometimes only driver door unlocks. Sometimes no doors unlock/lock. Interior master lock switch sometimes works sometimes does not. Replaced switch twice. Been in car and unable to unlock any doors to get out of vehicle using electric systems and even manual ie. Door handles. In a non stressful situation, got out by rolling down window and inserting key in driver door to unlock. For panic situations bought a window shatter tool to break windows to get out.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #5

Mar 012013


  • 200,000 miles


This is not as much a complaint as a request for help. Since March of 2013 I have replaced 5 throttle bodies and 3 gas pedal sensors, all oem parts. The problem that happened again today: Driving at normal highway speed [55/60] the eml, traction control and brake warning lights all went on. Pulled over and turned off. Restarted, now "service engine, eml, traction control and brake lights" were on. Turned off, restarted, same lighting situation, very rough idle and car would not drive, as it was struggling for fuel. Unplugged the "mass air flow sensor": car started, displayed no warning lights, drove fine about 8 miles to repair shop. Code read shows, "throttle position sensor", replaced..same problem within minutes of driving. A little internet research on E46 finds this an all to common problem with no solution. Thanks in advance.

- Mt. Airy, MD, USA

problem #4

Oct 302012


  • miles
The report is in response to not being included in a recall of the rear taillight assembly. Some vehicles seem to be excluded for no reason from the recall and replacement of faulty wiring. NHTSA campaign id # 11V438000.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #3

Jul 042012

318 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
The red positive wire terminal overheated and potential fire hazard. The problem would kill the battery and car would not start. Shop said due to the location (the trunk) of the battery their was not enough ground. The shop fixed the problem by grounding the engine.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #2

Jul 192010


  • 123,000 miles
I have intermittent problems on hot days unlocking my car doors. My key button does not always open the door. I have to manually open the door. The real problem is when I'm inside the car, the unlock button does not work, even when I manually pull on the door handles from inside the car, the doors continues to be locked. This creates a very dangerous situation and a major safety hazard for all the passengers because the doors do not open. Once the car is cooler, they start to work again. I'm afraid that if I ever get into a car accident, nobody will be able to get out of the car. There is no BMW recall for failed locks. Please help. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #1

Apr 182007


  • miles
I am leasing a 2002 BMW 745li. I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle. The car has gone to the BMW service center a total of 33 times for service mechanical & electrical problems. A few times car has broken down while driving and needed to be towed. This vehicle is a manufacturer defect. I feel very unsafe in this car. I have contacted BMW of North America via phone, emails, and letters, they seem not to care? the service manager at the dealer ship told me that this BMW model year has been nothing but headaches and problems for them. I fear for the well being of my family when they enter this vehicle. The car shuts off while driving. This model has had so many problems that BMW of North America extended the warranty on the car from its original manufacturer's warranty. I am paying for a piece of metal! this vehicle is one problem after another. I demand that BMW of North America stand by its product and purchase this vehicle back from me. The manufacturer (BMW of North of America) built a product that has defects. Their own technicians cannot fix this vehicle. I have taken this vehicle to 4 different BMW service centers. I have complete records. Again I demand BMW of North America to relieve me from this vehicle!

- Great Neck, NY, USA

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