really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,360 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.

2008 BMW 320 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 BMW 320 Owner Comments

problem #11

Aug 022016


  • 160,000 miles


My car abruptly losses all power. It's lost power on the freeway (3 times), at stop lights (too many to count) and after the car sits; either at work, over night or even if I'm out running errands. In other words, the power failure cannot be duplicated, it happens randomly (my car is unable to start as I type this!!). needless to say my life as well as my families safety have been put to the test several times. On 2 separate occasions, I was nearly rear-ended on the freeway when my car lost power at highway speeds. I couldn't move over to the shoulder and ended up stalling in the slow lane. After spending a small fortune trying to fix this dilemma a friend sent me this letter that the NHTSA sent to BMW in 2013 regrading a power failure that many cars were experiencing at the time. Here's the letter: www-ODI.NHTSA.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/ucm433921/rcak-13V044-6848.pdf I've also drafted BMW this letter I sent them yesterday: (in part) to whom it may concern, I am writing to voice grave concern regarding my M3, which has: 1). lost power several times while traveling on the freeway at highway speeds and has almost caused a crash on 2 separate occasions (near rear end collision) 2). Lost power at stop lights and several times as I started to accelerate 3). Consistent failure to start the car (no power) or it tries to start and immediately turns off after a brief second in addition to the imminent danger to my family and others, this has cost me thousands of dollars the included link below shows a document which was sent by the NHTSA to BMW na in 2013. I was happy to realize that BMW acknowledged the problem for the E92 3 series (my car shares the exact same part number for the mentioned faulty part), but I was equally shocked to find out that my specific vehicle was not covered under the recall which is what my car is experiencing.

- Buda, TX, USA

problem #10

Aug 022015


  • 160,000 miles
Car was parked in the driveway, drove it earlier that day for about an hour, parked it 3pm and 2 hours later neighbor came knocking saying car was smoking. Ran outside and car was on fire. Interior was smoked out. Keyless entry was dead. Broke the window to get the car open, turned the garden hose on to try and stop the car from burning. Called 911 fire dept arrived and had to pry the truck open because it was still sizzling. Fire dept cut the battery cables and said it looked like an electrical fire under the dash. Glove box and passenger side front seat was completely charred. After 22 days, a BMW engineer and allstate ins called it a total loss. BMW engineers report still has not been published. Total loss on a parked vehicle; clearly this vehicle was unsafe and a design fault. Manufacturers are suppose to engineer cars to withstand fires.

- Ontario, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 062015


  • 79,000 miles
Door locks failed. Can only open door with key.

- Goose Creek, SC, USA

problem #8

Jun 252014

320 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


Black mold formed on rear seats, dashboard intermittently worked (1/2 of dashboard active, 1 fuse powers the dash), 6" of water pooled in rear back passenger footwell (location of main electrical unit); water was dripping on my foot when resting on petal of my 42000 mile, $50,000, 2008 BMW 328xi coupe. I contacted BMW of na who advised me not to use the car because it was dangerous. After several attempts to work with BMW of na & BMW dealership (place of purchase) a vapor barrier leak was found but more was believed to be at cause. The dash needed to be removed, for $1800. I refused to pay; requested BMW of na to pay. Request denied. The dealer said BMW of na would only pay vapor barrier repair costs. I asked for no repairs; towed the car home. Finally reaching linda vitale, exec. Customer services of BMW na, NJ, she told me the dealer did do the repairs. This was against my expressed wishes. I wanted the car investigated elsewhere too. In a later conversation, [xxx] claimed the reason for the water was from a leak from a 3rd party windshield instillation. Note: Mold, water, and electrical problems existed previous to 3rd party windshield installment. [xxx], proven wrong, due to dates, stated, in a subsequent recorded conversation, per the dealer, the water entered the car because the doors were dismantled and incorrectly put back. Note:[xxx] has proof that the doors were never removed. [xxx] totaled the car due to black mold contamination, health risks; risk of injury to me and others due to mold, the electrical compromised, and possible power cut to engine while in motion. A paid loan but having no car, BMW of na wished only to compensate me with $1000 towards a new BMW. I found many forums, on the internet, regarding 2002-2015 BMW's w/the same problems & owners sustaining same loss of property with no ethical or sustainable compensation from BMW of na. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Waterbury, CT, USA

problem #7

Jul 232013

320 6-cyl

  • 63,247 miles
Ac unit went from blowing cold to hot air with no warning.. a burning smell was also noticed at the same time. My car had just come out BMW service for an oil change. Burnt connectors, wires and ac blower replaced (at owners expense ) shortly after I (owner ) received a recall letter regarding cable wire to battery were not properly insulted and BMW would replace them at no cost to owner.. was advised by BMW service this had nothing to do with the burned up connecting wires to the ac blower.. only had my car 1/12yr under warranty when I purchased it of course not when this problem happen which was costly.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

Aug 292011

320 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The auc sensor under the hood is not well secured. The bracket securing the sensor is broken leaving the sensor loose under the hood. The loose sensor wire rubs against sharp edge of the car body, breaking the outer protective shield of the wire. The exposed wire is a fire hazard.

- Castle Rock, CO, USA

problem #5

Dec 272012

320 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


My name is ? and I'm having a serious problem getting my car fixed by the BMW dealership specifically the one located at Edison, NJ. I've also experienced the brakes not working (2) when the car has been driven in bad weather, I.e. snow and rain. Back in April (4/11/2013) BMW corporation a letter stating that if the above problem and other problems mentioned in there letter was evident, I needed to stop driving immediately and have the car serviced, which I did. Well the problem subsided for about a month then started up again (the problem is my car's dash board while driving will go completely or as you'll see in the attachment partially blank on me while I'm driving. When it goes completely blank the car shutters as if it wants to turn off). I wasn't able to make it back to the dealership until around 6/10/2013 to complain that the issue was still happening. On or around the 6/10/2013 date this same tech ran a diagnostic on my car (which I have the copy of). To make a very long story short I returned to the Edison location today 7/17/2013 and text the same attachment to [xxx] members of the BMW management/service team, to my amazement I was told they couldn't find a problem, even though management agreed that via the picture their was a problem. At this point what will it take to find the problem listed in the above attachment? death!!!!!!!...... there is a brake and electrical problem with my car. Just in case anyone wants to make the assumption that in some way I'm trying to get over, please review my payment history, I pay for my car in advance. This is ridiculous!!!! I'm fearful to drive in bad weather, and I'm fearful that in the mist of getting driving direction from my car's gps it's going to black out on me, leaving me in the middle of now-where. Thank god the times it has blanked out, I've been able to figure out where to go. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Perth Amboy, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jul 202012

320 6-cyl

  • 59,500 miles
Driver exited car to pump gas. Passengers remained in vehicle. Gas door could not be opened as main door lock was engaged (though drivers door was unlocked). Key fob unlock function would not work to unlock car / gas cap. Driver pushed key fob buttons to attempt unlock, drivers door became locked during this activity. Now no doors could be unlocked. Due to failure all doors experienced "2 pull" door unlock system failure, this "2 pull" system, that is supposed to ensure doors can be opened from inside if lock is engaged apparently require same power as general locking system. Driver could only enter car by using emergency key and unlocking driver's door. Passenger and rear doors remained lock (and are still locked / inoperable due to system failure). Power failure in door lock system (or other associated fault) made door operation impossible. All doors were completely inoperable from the inside. Passengers could not exit vehicle as doors were locked and handles did not work. Driver could not enter vehicle by key fob unlock function. Drivers door experienced intermittent operation until some kind of manual override, or some other system change, made drivers door functional by "2 pull" door unlock / open method. If driver had not been present (ie: In store paying for gas or for some other reason) passengers would have been trapped in car. If any passenger had been physically disabled and unable to crawl out of car via drivers door there would have been no way for passenger to exit car !!!!!. door lock system remains inoperable, passenger and rear doors still locked closed with no way to open them.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 232010


  • 44,717 miles
My 2008 BMW 328I, still under factory warranty, required a new battery. I was denied warranty/maintenance coverage for the battery due to my 'driving profile' - I drove more than 100 trips of less than 5km in the last 36 days. However, I drove a total of 2420 miles in the last 32 days, as indicated on two car repair receipts. Bmwna stated that due to me driving such short distances, the battery was unable to charge properly. This sounds like an engineering defect, not a driver-related issue.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #2

May 112010

(reported on)


  • miles
2008 BMW 328I. Consumer states when power is lost to the doors, for any reason, the passenger doors remain locked with no way to open them from the inside or the outside of the vehicle the driver's side door opened from the inside when the handle was pulled.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 122008


  • 11,500 miles
Go here for the entire story: www.bmwfire.com I purchased a brand new 2008 BMW 328I for $38,000 from sonnen BMW in san rafael, California. The car had a serious manufacturers defect that caused an electrical fire and resulted in my car being totaled. I had multiple issues with the front passengers side fog light falling out of its casing into the lower corner of the bumper which caused three separate fires. BMW has refused to replace my vehicle that had 11,500 miles and is covered under warranty. At the end of June 2008 I first realized this problem happened upon a closer inspection of the exterior of the car. I brought the car right away to sonnen BMW's service department, as I was worried about the safety of the vehicle. I showed them what happened, but they told me that they had no available appointments until two weeks out and that my car was safe to drive. Two weeks later I brought my vehicle to sonnen's service department, they "verified the defect" as stated in their service records. They replaced the complete front bumper and supposedly re secured the foglight. All of this was covered under BMW's warranty as it was a manufactures defect. I asked tom murtha (my service advisor) why this had happened, he told that because there was absolutely no impact damage, the only way this could have occurred was a mistake when building the vehicle at the factory. I thought all of my problems were solved until a foggy day in san francisco, California. On October 25th, 2008 at approximately 4:00 pm. While waiting at a stoplight I turned on my fog lights at the intersection of front & broadway (assuming that the foglight had been secured). It was foggy out and my passenger and I could not see the smoke that was coming from the passenger side fog light because of a small fire it caused. I was made aware of this when a pedestrian walked up to my car and alerted me that there was a fire. I pulled over right away and I dumped the contents of a large water bottle on the flame.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

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