really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,761 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 BMW 325 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #30

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 #29

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 #28

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 #27

Aug 032010

325 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


In 2010 the sunroof went bad I talked to a BMW dealer and they told me they have problems with them, in August of 2011 I noticed that my tail lights and blinkers were not working proper, nor was my horn, and the drivers window regulators are binding up, also a brake hose from my brake booster to the engine is collapsed in two spots. ??

- Colton , OR, USA

problem #26

Jul 032010

325 6-cyl

  • 75,172 miles
Right taillamp failure and left taillamp intermittent operation. Electrical system repair: Right rear taillamp connector and bulb carrier corroded. Dealer replaced pigtail harness and bulb carrier with updated design: Socket housing, terminal, contact, cable connector, hose, insulation housing, flat contact, cable socket and bulb socket.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #25

Nov 152006

325 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Xenon lights went out shortly after the 50,000 mark. Shortly after car kept going into fail safe mode, kept getting low voltage readings on diagnostics. One BMW dealers kept telling me I needed to rebuild transmission. All they would do is plug the car into the computer and see the tranny reading on the scanner. The reason there was a tranny reading was because the car was in fail safe mode. I eventually had the tranny rebuilt and I still had the same issue. I would cycle the ignition and restart the car and car would drive fine. It keeps going into fail safe mode everytime I start the car. Its harder to get it out of fail safe mode in the winter with colder starts.

- El Monte, CA, USA

problem #24

Apr 202011

325 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles


Ground wire on rear light wiring harness has burnt through damaging plug and socket. Potential for fire. Updated 09/07/11

- Damascus, OR, USA

problem #23

Feb 182011


  • 111,000 miles
While travelling on route 50 in Maryland at 55mph engine cut out completely. I lost power steering and brakes. Fortunately, I was able to pull over to side of road, turn off vehicle and restart it. I brought it to the dealership where I purchased it. They cannot diagnose it without at least $1100 worth of work (they think its a transmission problem). After $1100 they state it would be an easy $200 fix or a substantial $6-8000 fix. I will be bringing it to another mechanic for second opinion. I was fortunate I was not in traffic and could pull over safely.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #22

Jan 012004


  • 15,000 miles
I bought my 2003 BMW 325I new. Shortly after the sale I noticed the front drivers xenon light would go out. The only way to get the light back on, is to turn off the car and restart the engine. This works about 80 percent of the time. Another issue I have been experiencing is a false indication that my taillights are out. This is very sporratic and annoying. A third issue I am experiencing is very dangerous relating to my drivers seatbelt. The seatbelt may seam locked, but if you pull with a bit of force, the seatbelt will come out of the locked position.

- New Market, MD, USA

problem #21

Dec 302010

325 6-cyl

  • 115,232 miles
Got a warning from police about drivers side brake light being out. Took it to repair shop to be repaired. Bulb replaced. In less than 12 hours the lights were out again. Took it back to repair shop they pulled the light panel out lights came on. I drove off and the inside warning light came on again. I was told by the repair shop that if the light went out again it was an electrical problem and the panel would have to be replaced.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #20

Dec 072010


  • 115,000 miles


Central locking wont work, the key does not open the doors light comes on to say door open but they don't and also driver door opens with key the internal button also does not open the doors, intermittent fault.

- Birmingham, 00, USA

problem #19

Aug 022010


  • 90,000 miles
While driving my 2003 BMW 325ci the engine will shut off. This causes: 1. power steering stops functioining 2. I am unable to accelerate 3. braking takes excessively long with engine off 4. dashboard lights up.

- Topsfield, MA, USA

problem #18

Aug 072010


  • 33,500 miles
Our 2003 BMW 325I has had repeated stalling events occurring at increasing frequency. While idling at stop lights or at highway speed warning lights on the dashboard (eml, hazard and brake) light and the engine loses power, and RPM's drop. After the first occurrence, the BMW was taken to advantage midtown BMW in houston, tx for diagnosis/repair. BMW replaced the throttle controller which they said was defective. 1-2 months later the problem began occurring again with increasing frequency. The car stalled at a traffic light with the same warning lights/symptoms. The car was returned to advantage BMW and left for several days. Initially the service staff at advantage BMW told us that the computer had failed and needed to be replaced and was under warranty. However, after discussions with the BMW corporate office, advantage BMW did not replace the computer instead stating the that the problem may be due to low voltage in the system. I asked them what would cause this since I did not want to drive the car when it intermittently could stall. Advantage kept the car a few more days and then returned it to us with the explanation that the low voltage was due to insufficient charge on the battery. I was advised to purchase a float charger. Since then the car has been kept fully charged via a ctek float charger. However last weekend the engine stalled repeatedly while my family and I were driving on interstate 10 at freeway speeds. This forced me to pull to the shoulder of the highway and drive with reduced power. After stopping the car and restarting, the engine reset and functioned again for a while. Since this time the problem has repeated itself 5 times in 1 week. I feel that BMW returning the car to me in the condition where intermittent stalling is occurring is unsafe - I stated this to advantage BMW when I had it in for service during the second instance of these problems. I have service scheduled again at advantage BMW for August 14, 2010.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #17

Dec 012009


  • 40,000 miles
I purchased my BMW 325I in August of 2006. Since that purchase I have only driven it approximately 9-12 months collectively. The car was purchased with 37500 miles and now has 70,000 miles. The problem appears to be the electrical system which causes the lights to turn off and on when they feel like it. This car has been sitting in my driveway for the past 9 months because it is unsafe to drive and will not pass inspection. I have had it to numerous BMW dealerships, they can not find the problem. All the issues seem to be electrical in nature and are very hard to accurately diagnose. The bottom line is I am charged thousands of dollars to repair the car but car is still not safe. The rear lights have burned out and the right front light goes on and off at will. The last incident occurred in Dec 2009 when the car lit up like a christmas tree (the only time all of the lights worked.) however, when you turn the car on, the lights went off again. The car had to be towed to the shop where it remained until January 2010. I was charged $2700 and still can't get this beast inspected. This has gone beyond the point of ludicrous. I am completely disgusted with the "ultimate driving machine". in essence I am paying 650 dollars a month for nothing. The last mechanic that looked at the car recommended that we should replace the front lighting system because the current system that is faulty is not meant to be replaced, so replacement parts are very expensive. In theory the lights should last the life of the car. This is not the case with my car and to replace the xenon lights with the more common halogen lights it will cost an estimated 2,000 dollars. This is not feasible with a car payment and until the car is paid off in 2012. It will sit in the driveway, a waste of a perfect car, my retirement car.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #16

Apr 012010


  • miles
We own a BMW 325I series 2003 sedan. While my daughter started the car she noted the left headlight went out on the driver's side of the car. She was only around 4 blocks away so proceeded to drive home and during the drive she experienced her brakes grabbing and steering difficulties. All the dashboard indicator lights came on. We took the car that night to BMW to drop off for evaluation. The service manager stated that the xenon headlight failed and took at the steering system panel and had to be all rewired. He said they had never seen this happen before. I am concerned this is a safety concern in the wiring of the xenon headlight to effect a steering panel when the headlight goes out. The effect on the steering panel is immediate and gives no time to replace the headlight without further damage to the car. The cost to repair was $1800. This is very concerning. 2 months later the blinker headlight next to the xenon headlight fell completely out of the car held by a wire while my daughter was driving on the highway. It seems like there is an issue with the BMW 325I series headlights that to me is a great safety concern for those driving. I would appreciate your follow up to the make and model. I would be glad to provide my name for you to obtain copies of the service records on these events from our BMW dealership. Thank you.

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #15

May 172010


  • 99,000 miles
Faulty pin connectors in rear brakelight assemblies, causing premature failure of brake lighting harness, very dangerous.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #14

Mar 222010


  • 136,000 miles
3/26/2010 - olney, md - 2003 325xi right and left rear light assembly system failing at times, (turn signal and brake light works intermittenly). BMW acknowledged "ground" problem in assemly in tbs:630306, February 1 2007 local dealer in silver spring md, tisher BMW correct the problem only on the right side and completely ignore multipple office visit for the same issue on both sides and refuse to correct problem on the left assembly. At the same time BMW corporate office customer suport refused to offer out of warranty free repair or to initiate recall on previosly acknowledged "ground" problem. I belive this issue is the safty hazard because the "ground" red wire is burning in the connector of tail light assembly. Also people and other drivers can't see when you "braking"

- Olney, MD, USA

problem #13

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

problem #12

Dec 232009


  • 61,000 miles
BMW 325I rear blinkers shorted out causing electrical wires to burn. While driving my BMW a warning light on my console turned on indicating the left rear brake/blinker light(s) went out while at the same time I smelled wiring burning. I stopped the car and all my lights seemed ok, so I presumed it was a faulty sensor. A short while later while driving down the freeway I pulled into the left lane and really pissed the driver off behind me and nearly caused an accident. At this moment I noticed my left blinker was making a fast noise as though the left blinker bulb(s) was out. I pulled over a second time to check my blinkers, fearing I would cause an accident, and all my flashers, brake lights and blinkers were working fine. The warning lights on the console went on and off intermittently. I purchased a new bulb hoping this would solve the problem, but everything seemed ok and functional. When I returned from my trip, I was told by two european auto shops and the service manager of a BMW dealership that BMW is aware of a ground problem with the rear light cluster. When I unsnapped the plastic connection from the rear light cluster, the metal prongs and plastic were melted away. The heat apparently was so hot, the solid metal prongs 1/4" long completely melted including the plastic casing. A BMW dealership employee told me that this issue is common when driving in the city when one is using the brakes and blinkers incessantly, particularly in heavy traffic. "the grounding wire isn't heavy enough to withstand the demand for electricity required by the brake and blinker lights simultaneously". this is a known BMW defect and this can easily cause an accident, as in my case, not to mention a lot of drivers really pissed off when I cut in front of them thinking my blinkers are working. This is an issue BMW should repair!

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 012008


  • 700,000 miles
Rear lighting system, to include turn signal and brake light, on my 2003 BMW 325I works intermittently. BMW acknowledged defect in system in si B 63 03 06, dated February 2007 but to date has refused to initiate a recall to fix this safety defect. The nature of the defect causes the lamp housing terminals to burn and burns the surrounding plastic housing. This can be a fire hazard particularly of there is flammable material in the trunk. Obviously the brake lights working intermittently is an obvious hazard. The repair costs approx $600 for both sides.

- Austin, TX, USA

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