really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,150 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 BMW 325 Owner Comments

problem #8

Oct 022015


  • 92,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW 3251. The contact stated that while driving at various speed, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to restart. In addition, the contact noticed a strong abnormal odor from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the coil cylinder needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure persisted. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 92,000.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 042015


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325xi. While driving at approximately 50 mph, smoke appeared under the hood of the vehicle and filled the driver's cabin. The contact exited the vehicle and observed oil between the valve gasket and the head gasket as well as oil leaking underneath the vehicle. The vehicle was turned off. When the oil dip stick was removed, hot oil shot out onto the contact. The contact was burned, but did not receive medical attention. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the PCV system failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Etters, PA, USA

problem #6

Jan 162015


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325xi. When the ignition was turned to the on position, the vehicle failed to start without warning. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 082014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325xi. The contact received notification for recall NHTSA campaign number: 14V280000 (engine and engine cooling). However, the part needed to do the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Port Townsend, WA, USA

problem #4

Jun 302014

325 6-cyl

  • 91,200 miles
While driving on the freeway my engine just shut off and continues to do so every time I drive my car. So, my brakes and steering lock up because the engine shuts off. My mechanic told me there was a recall dme MS45 - fc28B2, 28aa, 28ac; internal Ram faults model E46 M54 with MS45.1 from 9/00 to 7/06 E83 M54 with MS45.0/MS45.1 from 9/03 to 9/06 E85 M54 with MS45.0 from 10/04 to 1/06 E60 M54 with MS45.1 from 9/03 to 3/05 situation customers may complain about a crank/no start or a rough start situation. The "service engine soon light" or the dsc light is illuminated, and one of the 3 scenarios may apply: Fc 28B2 "RPM limiting reset " is stored in the dme together with one, or more of the following faults which are caused by the 28B2: Fc 28ac - "nominal torque", fc 2796 - "throttle flap: Adaptation wrong", fc 27A1 - "throttle flap: Start check", fc 2869 - "dme self diagnostic: Ram check failed". fc 28aa "idle speed regulator" is stored in the dme. Fc 28ac "nominal torque" is stored in the dme. Cause fault codes 28B2, 28aa and 28ac indicate an internal dme Ram fault. Procedure perform the appropriate dis/GT1 test modules for the 28B2, 28aa or 28ac. Replace the dme if prompted by the dis/GT1 test module results. Important: Do not replace the throttle body for the throttle faults, stored in conjunction with fc28B2, even when the test plan recommends to do so. Please can I get this repaired and covered for all the cost before I kill myself or my grandchildren... at courtesy motors chico 2520 cohasset rd. Chico, ca 95973 thank you kindly

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 042011

325 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
My 2003 BMW 325it stalls unexpectedly while driving. The engine shuts down, I loose power steering, the check engine light goes on and have to pull off the road. I then put it in park and start the engine again. This started to happen in 2011 and now occurs with increasing frequency. It happened three times in 2014, including today October 11, 2014, while I was driving on a two lane road at about 40 mph. I am very worried about my personal safety and hope to have an early response from you about this critical matter. I have also written to BMW corporation. I am the original owner of the car, bought on October 22, 2002 from vob auto sales 1396 rockville pike, rockville, md 20852 usa.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #2

Apr 092008

325 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The BMW E46 3-series (1999-2006) suffers from a design flaw in the cooling system. Plastic parts in the cooling system fail as soon as 4 years and 80,000 miles from manufacture date, often failing catastrophically and causing the engine to overheat. Continued driving of the car in this situation leads to complete engine failure and loss of power (including power steering and power brakes), potentially causing an accident if it happens at highway speeds. Typical failed parts include the coolant expansion tank, radiator end tanks, and water pump impellers or bearings. (BMW came up with an improved water pump design around 2004 that is more reliable.) cars with automatic transmissions also suffer failures of the mechanical fan clutch and the transmission cooling thermostat. Failure of the fan clutch (found only on automatic transmission cars) can cause the fan blades to break off and damage the radiator, serpentine belt, and water pump, as well as the car's hood. At higher mileages (>150,000 miles) the plastic coolant pipes often fail, causing overheating and requiring major work to replace. On my car the coolant expansion tank and radiator both failed and were replaced. The thermostat also stuck open resulting in lower gas mileage until it was replaced. Now one of my plastic coolant pipes is leaking. BMW should be required to repair failed plastic cooling system parts on the E46 3-series with higher-quality parts designed to last at least 10 years and 100,000 miles from manufacture date.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 112012


  • 140,000 miles
Brought in my car to local mechanic three times for oil leak (oil on driveway, oil light sensor on dashboard illuminated). In each case, I thought the problem was fixed but after two weeks the dashboard oil light came on again. I thought my mechanic was inexperienced with BMW's, so I took it to a BMW dealer and all seemed fine ($1,000 repair) until two weeks later when the oil light yet again appears on the dashboard. I am taking it back to the BMW dealer next week for a second time. I believe every possible gasket has been replaced - remember it's been "repaired" for the same problem four times now, soon to be five. The problem started last year. I have place upwards of 15 quarts of oil (one quart of oil a week at times) in between mechanic repairs just to save up money to bring it back in for yet another repair. Nobody, including BMW seems to know why or where the oil leak is happening. I have spent thousands of dollars on repairs and as a consumer am getting tired of it.

- Foxboro, MA, USA

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