hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,750 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 318 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 BMW 318 Owner Comments

problem #4

Apr 282014

318 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles


I arrived home with my son who was sitting in the front passenger seat. When he tried to get out of the car, the door would not open. The lock button stayed down and would not open with two pulls on the handle as it should, with use of the interior locking/unlocking button, or with the remote control key fob. It has now remained non-functional. In the event of a crash on the driver's side, there would be no way to leave the car or received help without breaking a window and trying to slither out through broken glass. In addition, someone who was infirm (e.g., back trouble) and could not climb over the console and driver's seat would be stuck in the car. This is a safety and health hazard and from what I have seen on line, is not unique to me. BMW should be required to make modifications that would eliminate this safety and health hazard.

- Hummelstown, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 272003

318 6-cyl

  • 0 miles
BMW did not properly design the rear floor of the car body where it supports the rear subframe. As a result under normal driving, many of the BMW E46 3-series cars (325, 323, 330, in the I, ci, or cic trims, example 325ci or 330I) suffer from torn sheet metal where the rear subframe attaches to the body. This eventually causes a major safety hazard as the rear subframe and associated suspension can separately entirely from the vehicle resulting in a loss of control and severe crash. This can affect any E46 3-series car but is most common in models built from 1999-2001 and more common in manual transmission cars. The repair costs anywhere from $800 (pre-emptive strengthening of sheet metal if it has not torn already) to $5,000 (replacement of rear body subfloor). BMW settled a class-action lawsuit in 2009 allowing 3-series owners to have their cars inspected and in some cases repaired by BMW but this did not cover all affected cars and expired in December 2010 so not all owners were able to have their cars inspected or repaired by that date. In addition many cars have experienced subframe mounting failures after Dec 2010. BMW should be required to inspect, repair, and reinforce all E46 (1999-2005) 3-series bodies where the rear subframe mounts.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 252013

318 6-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
Driver's side door will not open, either with the inside door latch or the outside latch. The lock plunger goes up and down normally with either the key, the key remote, or the inside door lock/unlock button, but in no case can either door latch open the driver's side door. All other doors operate normally. This makes entering or exiting the car difficult, necessitating either climbing in/out through the window or by climbing across the console from the passenger seat. If there were an emergency, it would be impossible to exit the vehicle quickly. No event appeared to cause this to happen. I entered the vehicle, drove it, exited the vehicle a few times during the morning before driving, parking, stopping the vehicle, and then having the door stick shut.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #1

May 012012

318 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The passenger side door lock will not work. The door stays locked and when it first occured the passenger had to crawl out the window. Neither the electronic key lock nor the pushbutton lock control on the console will open the door lock on the passenger side. All other locks work fine, including the trunk. The manual door opener will not open the passenger door either. This is extremely dangerous since, in the case of an accident, the passenger would be trapped in the vehicle.

- Harrisonburg, VA, USA

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