really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 6
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,285 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.

2004 BMW 325 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 BMW 325 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #75

Oct 012014

325 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles


Reflector bowls in xenon headlamp assembly burn and discolor, making low beam lighting almost negligible. Doesn't even seem lights are on. Very dangerous to drive at night without high beams on.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #74

Sep 252014

325 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
This car suffers from the known burnt xenon low beam bowls, its impossible to see anything at night and is not safe. This needs to be recalled by BMW immediately, headlights have been adjusted properly and new bulbs were put in and does not cure the problem. Its very common for these xenon headlights to have this problem in alot of 2003+ BMW 3 series.

- Hortonville, WI, USA

problem #73

Aug 012012

325 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
As reported by other owners, the bi-xenon headlights no longer light up the road. It is a safety hazard and is a known issue with headlights manufactured by zkw on 2003-2005 BMW 330 models. The reflector bowls on these units burn out over time and reduce the headlights ability to reflect light. Driving at night is literally no better with the headlights on or off. I have to rely on my fog lights just to see anything. Please look into this safety issue as it is wide-spread. Replacement of headlights is expensive at $1300 ea, this has to be resolved by BMW immediately.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #72

Jul 012009


  • 55,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that while operating the vehicle at night with the headlights turned on, the headlights would not illuminate bright enough to see past the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #71

Apr 092008

325 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The reflective material in the xenon headlamps has melted away due to the heat of the bulbs resulting in drastically reduced headlight effectiveness at night. This causes an extremely unsafe condition when driving at night. I have discovered this is a common occurrence in 2003-2005 E46 BMW 3 series and I believe it should be recalled and fixed by the manufacturer. BMW knows this is a deficiency as they corrected it in their later models.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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problem #70

Jan 262014

325 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
My 2004 BMW 325ci recently developed a problem with the left rear tail light (turn signal and brake light) intermitently does not work. A left tail light failure also shows on the on board diagnostic display. The problem is intermitent and with no warning. I did some research and found there was a BMW recall for model years 2001 thru 2005 for this exact problem. The recall specifies 325 sedan models, my model is a 325ci (coupe). I called BMW North America and they say my particular model is not covered by the recall. I argued that I am having the exact same issue as the recall suggests, and my vehicle falls into the model years specified. They refused to acknoledge the problem as part of the recall. BMW issued a technical service bulletin (si B63 06 11 lights) for this issue in January of 2012. A recall (id # 71087) was issued Aug. 26, 2011. I was not notified by BMW of either the service bulletin or recall. I am the original purchaser of the vehicle. My wife and I drive this car with our 11 year old daughter in the car, and this is a definite safety hazard. Please help me get this resolved.

- Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #69

Jan 192014


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the vehicle emitted a strong burning odor while it was parked. While inspecting the vehicle, the contact found that the front driver's headlight cable was on fire. The fire department was called but a fire report was not filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware. The approximate failure and current mileage was 60,000.

- Canovanas, PR, USA

problem #68

Jun 192013


  • 112,000 miles
Thought I had a light problem fixed it first time. Signal on the dash did not go away but the light was on. Went to a different place and fixed it again. And the signal still would not go away. The light works but still show on the dash as if it's broken. I'm afraid by time it's time to get a new registration sticker that it will not pass.

- Dorchester , MA, USA

problem #67

Nov 202013

325 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Headlights very dim when compared to original brightness.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #66

Aug 012013


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the passenger and driver's side brake light failed. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The contact stated the mechanic informed her of a recall under NHTSA campaign number: 11V438000 (exterior lighting) but the dealer informed her that the VIN was not included in the recall. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Baltimore , MD, USA

problem #65

Sep 242013


  • 151,000 miles


Recently purchased said vehicle and it came with zkw hid bi-xenon lighting system which appears the inner plastic bowls are burnt to a crisp with detriment light output making it almost impossible to clearly see unlit roads at night, this is a huge safety concern and needs to be reviewed and solved in a timely manner as it affects thousands of similar vehicles on the road. I'm afraid the reduced light output might appear to other drivers at night that my vehicle is further away that it is in reality giving the possibility of them crossing into my travel path incurring an accident. I know you have been reviewing this for quite some time but we need a resolution soon... thank you.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #64

Aug 012010

325 6-cyl

  • 80,500 miles
Headlight output began to dim. Replaced bulb and had clear lens cover cleaned. This did not help. Car is now unsafe to drive at night. Dealership discovered that the heat from the bulb has melted and discolored the reflector for the headlight. Online internet search indicates this is a chronic safety problem with this model of BMW.

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #63

May 142013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the brakes lights failed. The contact spoke with the manufacturer regarding NHTSA campaign id number:11V438000(exterior lighting), but the manufacturer stated that the vehicle was not included in the recall campaign. The failure mileage was unknown, but the current mileage was 72,000.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #62

Feb 022013

325 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the ground wires were overheating, melting the plug and causing the tail lights to malfunction. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 117,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #61

Jun 012011

325 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
I own a 2004 BMW 3 series sedan with optional bi-xenon headlights. About 10,000 miles into my purchase (or 57,000) I began to notice my headlight output deteriorating significantly. My girlfriend owns a 2004 BMW 3 series coupe/convertible also with the optional bi-zenon and 60,000 miles. I compared our vehicles headlights side by side. My bi-xenon headlights in both low and high beam form were significantly dimmer and had a yellow tint when compared to her bi-xenon headlights. This is a common issue on BMW 3 series sedans with the optional bi-xenon headlamps. The problem is that the bi-xenon reflector housing bowl in BMW E46 3 series sedans is made from a different manufacturer than the coupes and convertibles. The headlights in my vehicle are made and classified under the title (zkw). The coupes and convertibles are made and classified under the name (al). The difference is that oem zkw headlights reflector housing bowls are made from a type of plastic. While the oem al headlights are made out of metal. The metal housing in al style headlights in coupes and convertibles are able to stand up to the heat of the xenon bulb, the plastic housings in my sedan are not. Due to this it literally gets too hot and burns the plastic reflective housing to a brown crisp, which is not a reflective surface and deteriorated my headlight output to an extremely unsafe level. The output level has dimmed so that when there is any oncoming traffic my lights get drowned out and I must put on my fog lamps to maintain any type of visibility. The output level is below any halogen lamp I have seen. This is extremely unsafe at any speed and is a known issue on all bi-xenon equipped BMW E46 3 series sedans. BMW is aware of this issue and has done nothing to address this design flaw, which compromises the safety of myself and others. Pictures of the issue are available upon request. Thank you.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #60

Feb 182013


  • miles
My bi-xenon headlights have been slowly fading resulting in extremely poor visibility during normal nightime driving. This degradation has been occurring without my knowledge until it became obvious after driving another vehicle. As it turns out, my mechanic has advised there is a common issue with certain BMW assemblies that the projector lenses literally burn due to heat resulting in the need to replace the entire assembly. This loss of headlight intensity resulting in poor visibility is a significant safety situation and request someone look into why no recall has occurred as this is obviously a safety concern. I have entered today's date as incident date as I am not sure when degradation of the projectors began.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #59

Feb 042013

325 6-cyl

  • 124,250 miles
The vehicle came equipped from the factory with bi-xenon auto leveling headlights manufactured by zkw. The past couple months, the light output has steadily decreased. Brown scorch marks are visible in the projector when the headlight is on. On the driver's side, the xenon bulb burned off all the reflective material in the projector bowl. The light output from the projectors has been reduced to a thin beam of light. It is becoming very difficult to see while driving at night. This problem is getting progressively worse.

- Agoura Hills, CA, USA

problem #58

Aug 132008

325 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The housing for the xenon light bulbs are defective and the lighting output is very bad. The xenon bulb itself is fine but the housing is burnt and it is getting worse.

- Bayside, WI, USA

problem #57

Dec 012011


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 325I. The contact stated that the headlights became abnormally dim, making it very difficult for the contact to see the road and other vehicles. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis where they advised him that the headlight reflector needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. The current mileage was approximately 100,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Tuscalusa, AL, USA

problem #56

Oct 022012

325 6-cyl

  • 91,500 miles
Driver side brake lamp has gone out. In researching, found that this is a common problem with this model in the led tail light and can cause a crash due to other drivers not being able to tell that you are stopping. Found recall information on NHTSA site and contacted BMW. I was informed that my specific VIN was not included in this campaign, yet the problem is the same problem that affects 241,000 other cars. I would like to ask that my situation (and VIN) be evaluated and included in the recall since this is a known issue with this model. Thank you for your assistance!

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

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