hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,395 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 BMW 325 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Feb 272011


  • 90,000 miles


Brake lights and turn signals randomly not working. 2003 BMW 325I. Replaced light bulbs and noticed burnt wires and light sockets. Researched repair and found numerous other owners of same year and make vehicle with same issue.

- Mount Airy, MD, USA

problem #23

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 #22

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 #21

Dec 122010

325 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


Lens cover for head lights on BMW 325 I with only 65K in southern California are severely oxidized limiting vision at night. Called BMW and basically stated warranty has expired.

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #20

Dec 012010


  • 90,000 miles
2003 BMW 325I rear tail lights spontaneously and repeatedly quit working. Light bulbs replaced and work well. It appears to be a wiring issue.

- Centerville, IN, USA

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problem #19

Jul 012009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 330I. The contact stated that when the brake caution light illuminated, the brake light, tail light and turn signals failed suddenly. The contact replaced the rear bulb several time. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired. The contact planned to speak with the manufacturer. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000 and the current mileage was approximately 60,000.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 252010


  • 76,000 miles


I have experienced several times when our turn signal light fails to work and the indicator light of failure is shown on the dashboard. The light will work then stop working in short periods of time. I have replaced bulbs on numerous occasions with some success while other times nothing helps. There appears to be some type of electronic problem with the signal lights, especially in the rear of the vehicle.

- Auburn, NY, USA

problem #17

Aug 102008


  • 90,127 miles
Please let this notice serve as a formal petition for an investigation of a safety-related design defect. The rear tail light bulbs aren't working on the driver's side. The ground wire in the connector, connecting to the bulb carrier seems to be damaged due to a bad ground. I have been replacing bulbs for the last two years.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #16

Aug 012007


  • 44,000 miles
The tail-lights of my BMW 325I have periodically shorted out ever since I purchased the car. The warning light on the dashboard indicates that the light is not functioning correctly, and is not corrected by replacing the bulb. Before my warranty expired BMW replaced the rear tail lamp module which corrected the problem, but already the replacement module has shorted out again. Currently both tail-lights are shorting out.

- Alpine, UT, USA

problem #15

Sep 032010


  • 40,000 miles
BMW E46 3 series - zkw headlights- very low light output the zkw headlights have a design flaw in which after 2-3 years of use, they dim to around 20% of the original light output. This is very dangerous when it comes to night driving. Someone driving with this issue is nearly completely blind driving around at night. This is due to the projector reflector bowl being made out of plastic, and melting from the heat. This causes the light to bleed out from the backside of the light into the housing, instead of forward onto the road. BMW noted this flaw by replaced the zkw headlamps with al branded headlamps in all the newer bmws in 2005 and on. The al branded headlights replaced the plastic bowl with metal bowls. However, all E46 3 series sedans from 2003-2004 still have these faulty zkw headlamps. There is no easy fix to this problem, as BMW does not sell the bowls separately. The only solution is to completely replace the headlamps, which costs around $2000. This is a very serious safety concern. I can guarantee that nearly every 2003-2004 3 series sedan with oem xenon headlamps faces this issue. Owners do not fix the issue due to the heavy costs.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #14

Jun 152008


  • 72,000 miles


The zkw brand of high intensity discharge (hid) headlights equipped in the 2003-2004 E46 model 3 series BMW sedan have a plastic reflector bowl in the projector that has the tendency to have the chrome reflective plating burnt off rendering the headlights all but useless. This makes it dangerous to drive at night because you can barely see the road. The only remedy to this is to replace the entire headlight assemblies for $1200 per side, which is unacceptable for non wear item to occur when the vehicle is between 5 to 7 years old, averaging 50K to 90K miles.

- West Covina, CA, USA

problem #13

Jan 022009


  • 70,000 miles
Real light assembly (turn signal, parking light brake light) malfunctions occasionally and none of the lights work thus, posing a dangerous situation when vehicle in motion, turning and especially at night. Problem has been going on for at least a year. It appears that the wire connector in the assembly is burning out thus causing a short, I have temporarily repaired the problem myself by cleaning the burned parts of the wire and reconnecting and protecting with electric tape.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #12

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 #11

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 #10

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 #9

Jan 012005


  • 40,000 miles
The right front headlight will go off sporadically and right rear tail light goes off. The dealer could not correct the headlight problem. The tail light problem began while car was in warranty. Now to correct taillight problem there is update kit which they want me to pay. Since taillight problem began in warranty BMW should cover cost.

- New Prague, MN, USA

problem #8

Dec 012008


  • 90,000 miles
Own a BMW 3251, rear end started making popping noise when put in reverse and when turning curves. When on interstate rear end locked up while driving causing my car to skid through all lanes of traffic. After having car inspected the rear end had broke, we replaced the rear end. Also having trouble with head lights staying on and blinkers. Right rear tail light over heated and burnt items in trunk. Radiator has broke and driverside window regulator and clutch fan.

- Ckickamauga, GA, USA

problem #7

Nov 102009


  • 90,000 miles
Multiple blinker and brake lights periodically malfunction on my 2003 BMW 325I. I understand from talking with several other BMW owners that this is a common occurrence due to faulty design involving the grounding of the light fixtures. Furthermore, I feel this is a safety issue that BMW should pay to have repaired.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #6

Sep 152009


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 325xi. The tail lights stopped functioning without any prior warnings. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact was informed that the entire rear lighting system needed to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were 54000.

- Huntington, WV, USA

problem #5

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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