really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,750 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 BMW 318 Owner Comments

problem #4

Oct 102009


  • 60,000 miles


I was the previous owner of a BMW 325I that I have been told needs a new transmission. Age - 2003, miles 60,000. It's unacceptable that a car with so low miles, has been maintained and driven gently has experienced this problem. After searching on the web, I find that this is a recurring problem with BMW's. why has nothing been done? how can BMW say this is not their issue when clearly this is a problem with their cars. I'm spending an additional 6,000 on this car. I recently purchased a brand new BMW and sold the 325 to a close friend. I replaced the transmission as I could not expect them to pay for it. Prior to the sale, the car checked out with BMW. Little did I know 2 wks later it would have this problem which appears to be a standard problem with BMW. I regret that I bought a new one.

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #3

Jul 182001

318 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Delay in transmission engagement (20-30 seconds) when cold. Hazard on hill and entering traffic.

- Spicewood, TX, USA

problem #2

Nov 112006

318 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
Please refer to fr doc 04-10644. My problem concerns this exact issue with my 2003 BMW X5, ie, delayed park to drive engagement on cold start. On 11-11-06 I backed out of my drive (I live on a corner lot) and immediately am at a stop sign. I pulled out, but the transmission would not fully engage in drive and as a result I came within inches of being smashed by a truck that was coming down the road I was entering. In the document mentioned above it was determined that the defect was not a safety hazard. You were wrong. In this document BMW argued that they had a technical service bulletin sib 24 07 03 to correct this situation by installing a new transmission. Unfortunately, in July '04 they revised this tsb to reprogram the egs module (increasing the pressure in the transmission so it takes longer to leak down) and not to put in new transmissions. I have had my X5 reprogrammed by BMW and it did no good. I had a BMW customer service advisor tell me that the reprogramming was a partial fix but did not solve the problem. He said it was a matter of money for BMW. My car is still under factory warranty. I bought it used. The BMW representative, jeff fitz, then had the nerve to tell me if I had bought the car new I would have a better chance of getting a new transmission. He said I should think about learning to live with the problem since his experience is that the new transmissions are not satisfactory either. I ask that you review your findings on the basis that BMW is not correcting the safety problem as indicated in fr doc 04-10644.

- Orangeburg, SC, USA

problem #1

Oct 012004

318 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
While driving 2003 325xi on county hiway slowed down to make right turn to about 15-20 mph. Halfway through the turn loud noise emitted from transmission area (previous failure of trans. Comp. Module @ 1500 miles-replaced by dealer) and vehicle locke up, hard enough for myself and my wife to move forward against the seat belts. Pressed on accelarator, motor running but would not respond. Dodge truck struck my vehicle in rear, driver and witnesses saw no brake lights or other indication I was stopped other than not moving forward. Shut car off. Had to restart car to move same to side of road, respnded normally. Towed to dealer, unable to find anything abnormal. BMW to send engineer to shop.

- Vernon, NJ, USA

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