really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,255 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 325 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 BMW 325 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Aug 142015


  • 116,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the key failed to unlock every door. In addition, the locking mechanism switch failed to unlock the doors while inside of the vehicle. The vehicle was unlocked through the window of the vehicle manually. The front passenger side door was the only door that would not unlock manually. The battery warning indicator illuminated. The failure was intermittent. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 116,000. The VIN was not available.

- Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #20

Mar 052014

325 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Doors failed to unlock on a few different occasions.

- Sun City , AZ, USA

problem #19

Aug 082013


  • 122,000 miles
Vehicle has recurring locking issue. When inside the vehicle, door locks stop functioning. Pressing door lock button will not work. Pressing button on remote will not work. Attempting to manually open door using door handle will not work. This is a safety issue. The last incident both myself and my child were trapped inside the vehicle in the heat and had to call 911 as we did not have the key to roll down the window. The front window had to be broken and we had to be removed through a window because the door locks would not release. We were taken to the hospital for heat stroke. When I investigated, I found a girl died due to the same issue. Why has there been no recall? you have been warned and this is a fatal issue. Here is the link to the girls death: www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-girl-trapped-in-BMW-dies-20140509-story.html.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #18

Aug 142014

325 6-cyl

  • 38,125 miles


Remote unlocking/locking will not function. Doors can not be opened or unlocked from inside vehicle with central lock switch or with door handle, trapping passengers inside. The drivers window must be rolled down and key used to unlock driver side door to exit vehicle. Climbing out of windows or climbing to drivers seat is the only way out of car, BMW states "not a safety issue".

- Troutdale, OR, USA

problem #17

Jul 182014

325 6-cyl

  • 153,231 miles
Passenger doors would not unlock. All passengers could not get out of the car. Pulling on the door handles did not open or unlock the doors. Interior unlock buttons did not work. Unlock button on the key fob did not work. This is very common issue and can be very dangerous. 4 passengers had to crawl out the driver door.

- Houston, TX, USA

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problem #16

Aug 272009

325 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The car doors at times do not unlock. It is very intermittent. A key can be used to open the driver's door but a couple of times even the door key has not worked. The most serious issue is that I have been locked inside the car and unable to open any of the doors, including the driver's door, with the main lock control or even by trying to open the door with the inside door handle. I have had to have passengers crawl out of the window to exit the car a few times. There are times when the key works to get in but I cannot get the other doors open even by attempting to use the inside door handle. This is a scary situation to be in.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Jul 312013

325 6-cyl

  • miles


The general module 5 (GM5) is electronic hardware that amongst other functions primarily controls the locking and unlocking of the BMW E46's. this module has decided to stop working in my vehicle making it impossible to unlock the vehicle from any of the possible options (key fob button, central locking button, or door double locking handle). This is an extreme safety hazard because in the case of an accident the passengers will not be able to quickly escape the vehicle due to inability of the doors to unlock. After thorough research I have found that this is a very widespread problem with this make and model vehicle, yet nothing has been done by the manufacturer to address this extremely hazardous flaw. There is no way to manually override the GM5 to unlock the doors so without it passengers are essentially trapped in the vehicle. The module also controls the windshield wipers, power windows, and trunk release. Having these features inoperable on top of the inability to unlock for any given amount of time is unacceptable and should be addressed by the manufacturer as a recall and replacement.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #14

Oct 012011


  • 70,000 miles
The central locking system intermittently fails to operate; problem is influenced by temperature extremes (hot and cold); symptoms vary from requiring the driver to lock and unlock the vehicle several times before the doors will unlock to a complete failure of all doors to unlock. When the problem manifests itself, the central electric door lock button (mounted in the center console beside the hazard light switch) is inoperable. BMW crash safety features include mechanical disconnect of door latches when locked; when this particular problem manifests, sometimes the passenger side doors will remain mechanically disconnected, meaning that the doors cannot be opened at all. In a worst case scenario, if the driver's side of the vehicle unusable for escape due to damage or being blocked, the only way to escape from the vehicle is by smashing windows. Bmws are not equipped with a glass break device. The problem seems to be a body module called the GM5, which is mounted above/in front of the glove box; all lock power circuits run through this module; the problem seems to be a voltage drop in the module, resulting in insufficient voltage to the lock mechanisms, as you can hear the locks attempting to cycle when and can see the lock buttons moving when the key fob is used in an attempt to unlock the doors. A google search of the terms "BMW","doors won't unlock" gets at least 10 pages of results on the issue, including several that identify the GM5 module as the cause of the problem and ways to fix it. Repair requires a new GM5 module that needs to be programmed prior to install.

- Inyokern, CA, USA

problem #13

May 012012

325 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

problem #12

Jul 012011


  • 95,000 miles
This has been an ongoing issue regarding the door locks on my 2003 BMW 325 xi. The doors automatically lock when the vehicle is placed into gear. Which I assume is as designed. ? however the doors will not unlock once the vehicle is placed back in park (engine running or not) neither by manual manipulation of the lock buttons on the doors or by pressing the door unlock switch on the console. " furthermore, with the single exception of the driver"S door, all other door latches are rendered non-functioning (inside and outside of the vehicle) " no one but the drive can open a door to exit the vehicle all doors are rendered inop, you can"T open them from either this inside or the outside O no, the child locks are not engaged. As a member of the fire service and fire marshall for the city of carver, mn I see this as a huge life safety issue. If there were ever a fire, the occupants would not be able to self-extricate (open the door to escape smoke and fire). Furthermore, given the likelihood and great potential for rapid fire spread in car fires in general?. any passengers, children/infants strapped into in car seats in the back seats would most certainly perish. Based on a multitude of consumer complaints on various internet boards, I do not believe this to be an issue specific to my car, but much broader in scope. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chaska, MN, USA

problem #11

Jun 142012


  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325I. While the vehicle was parked, the contact attempted numerous times to access the exterior front driver's side door with the remote key fob and also manually however, the lock mechanism would not open. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who informed the contact that the door lock, remote key fob and power door actuator would need to be replaced. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 104,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Rowlett, TX, USA

problem #10

Dec 222010


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325xi. The contact stated that all four door locks could not be opened from the interior or exterior of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised the contact that the computer chip needed to be replaced at the owners expense of $1000. The manufacturer was notified of the failure who advised the contact that they would not assist. The failure mileage was 46,000.

- Pelham, NY, USA

problem #9

Dec 252009


  • 90,000 miles
Passenger side door and both rear doors failed to open. All three doors remained locked and could not be open from inside by using the mechanical handles. Neither the remote key nor the regular key was able to unlock the doors.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #8

Dec 102011

325 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
My 2003 BMW 325I will not unlock. I cant get into the car. I have tried the key and the fob and the doors will not unlock. I had to break the window to get into the car only to find out the doors still will not unlock. This is a safety issue you cant unlock the doors from the inside or the outside. This is extremely concerning and a true safety issue.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #7

Nov 262010

325 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
Doors will not open because door locks will not unlock. Key fob button will not unlock any doors 90% of the time. Most of the time I can only get in car on drivers side with manual operation of driver's side door lock (sticking key in lock and turning). Once in car, 90% of time I still cannot unlock any other doors, even by pulling on door handle (which would ordinarily unlock the door). The interior button to unlock the doors will not work. On Friday, 12/9/11, I could not even get out of the driver's side door when I arrived at my destination. (car is set to automatically engage all locks once I start driving) I had to roll window down and reach out and unlock door with key. When my son and daughter drive with me, they have to get in and out of car either by crawling across driver's seat or go through a window opening. My wife cannot ride in this car now because she may not be able to get out. Due to this defect, passengers are trapped in car. Also, entry into vehicle is delayed (because fob will not unlock doors) which also poses safety risks when parked at night in downtown parking garages. There are five other complaints on NHTSA website on this exact same issue. Recall should be initiated.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 242011

325 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
The doors will not unlock in my 2003 325I 4 door sedan. Apparently, a module goes bad and could trap people in the car with no way to get out.

- Perry Hall, MD, USA

problem #5

Oct 032010

325 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
Passenger doors won't unlock electronically or manually. This is a common problem among the cars and there hasn't been a recall issued.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 102010


  • 106,000 miles
The drivers side door would not open either with the keyless remote or by pulling on the door handle inside the car (the windows were down so I could reach inside) I had to open the passenger door and climb across the seat to get into the driver's seat. The button between the seats to unlock all of the doors also failed to open any of the locks. The hazard light switch beside it still worked, so I know the problem isn't due to that faulty switch. This door locks returned to normal after driving the car about 30 minutes and it hasn't yet returned in the five days since.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #3

Jul 302010


  • 112,000 miles
2003 BMW 325I 4-door sedan. Driver's side door lock will not unlock. Happens all the time. Started about a year ago. I have gone online and found many other people have same problem. Seems to me to be a safety issue. If I can't get out of the car.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 012009


  • 74,000 miles
GM5 locking module for 2003 BMW E46. All four lock would not unlock or lock on the remote or switch inside the car. I had to either wait in the heat or cold outside while waiting for the locking system to respond. If there are children in the car and you cannot get to in time because of the lock/unlock issue, it can be fatal for others.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

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