hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
92,744 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.

2001 BMW 330 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 BMW 330 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Nov 232011

330 6-cyl

  • 89,200 miles


My 2001 BMW 330I stopped going in reverse last Wednesday. Apparently, this is a known issue, as I was very suprised to see dozens of websites dedicated to this no reverse issue. How come there was no recall for this common failure?

- Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #21

May 062011

330 6-cyl

  • 156,000 miles
Reverse suddenly stopped working with no warning. All other forward gears work fine - (automatic transmission). Based on a quick search on the internet this is a common problem with 3 series BMW's.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #20

Mar 282010

330 6-cyl

  • 126,500 miles
I own an automatic 2001 BMW 330I. I have had no prior problems with this vehicle and on March 28, 2010, I pulled into a parking space and when I put the car in reverse (2 minutes later - without stopping the engine) the car did not move backwards. I proceeded to turn off the car, wait and put it back into reverse and pressed on the gas. The vehicle rev's up but does not move as if it were in neutral. After some research online it seems the 2001 330I power train is a common failure with no prior warnings even with all maintenance done to the vehicle.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #19

Feb 252011

330 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


Lost the ability to drive reverse, I searched on the internet it was a lot of compliant about BMW transmission especially the model 5hp19 zf, there is even a website called noreverse.org where thousands of complaint about this model. BMW wont acknowledge the issue, and we definitely need an action.

- Farmigton, MI, USA

problem #18

Jan 132011


  • 123,456 miles
Nothing led to the problem but my BMW reverse stopped working. Last fall the transmission was flushed per recommended maintenance. No reverse has stopped working.

- Plain City, OH, USA

problem #17

Jan 222011


  • 99,500 miles
Nothing happened leading up to my transmission won't go into reverse. It just failed and won't engage. Found out this happens very frequently on BMW transmission.

- Brentwood, NH, USA

problem #16

May 202010


  • 105,000 miles


Car's transmission will not engage reverse gear. Electrical detects reverse gear, reverse lights, backup sensors and mirrors functional, transmission will not reverse, acts as if car is in neutral. Noticed online it is a very common problem. Cost of repairs: Over $5,000. Price paid for vehicle in perfect condition: $9,000. Mileage, 105K.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

May 032010


  • 150,000 miles
On Monday May 3rd, 2010, I started my 2001 BMW 330I and selected the reverse gear on the automatic transmission, the car did not move in the reverse gear, it drives forward with no problems. I have read some of the complaints and postings on the web. Is there a class action suit filed against BMW as it seems the transmission was not designed properly and substandard specifications were used in the design and construction of the components of the transmission, a manufacture defect. I have been able to schedule an appointment for the car to be inspected and repaired on Monday May 17th, 2010 I am sure the cost and extent will be evident at that time. As I have been informed the most common problem with the reverse is failure of the D clutch drum, because the snap ring comes off of the drum, after that what happens is different on each transmission. This is a poor inferior design, and BMW is aware of it. They have redesigned the clutch drum, to move the snap ring away from the drum's edge and constructed the drum of stronger material and an increased of the drums thickness. The redesigned and improved material is available from BMW and the repair cost may exceed the current value of some of the BMW models affected. It's the cost in time and dollars to me of a poor and knowing inferior design and material application, a willful decision on BMW's part as was the design and material specification for their coil suspension springs.

- Winsted , CT, USA

problem #14

Jan 082010


  • 145,000 miles
BMW 330I transmissions reverse went out checking internet several people are having the same problem was coming home put auto in reverse to park in drive no reverse out of the blue need your help!

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #13

Sep 162009


  • 158,700 miles
While backing up, the transmission suddenly jumped out of reverse and went into neutral. Reverse could no longer be engaged. The transmission was removed and examined. The reverse clutch drum had sheared and physically failed. Complete transmission rebuild required.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #12

Aug 022009


  • 86,530 miles


2001 330I BMW,81000 miles no warning lost reverse, while on a downward slope trying to back into a parking space, almost hit the car parked in front of me, had to have 3 valet guys push me into the parking space. Then the next day my husband took it out at first it went into reverse so he drove it parked tried to back up the car no reverse, someone pushed the car back for him it hit another car and damaged the headlight and dented it.

- Bellmore, NY, USA

problem #11

Jun 042009


  • 119,800 miles
I have a BMW 2001 3330I. The car has 120,000 miles on it. I have had the car for one year, purchased used with 106,000 miles. I was backing out of my driveway when suddenly and without warning, the reverse gear disengaged. The reverse gear has not worked since, approximately two weeks. The other gears work fine. The car has an automatic transmission.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #10

Jun 092009


  • 112,000 miles
Hello, I am the owner of a 2001 BMW 330cic. Yesterday, my car lost the ability to drive in "reverse" once the car is shifted into that gear. While searching the internet, I found that this is a very common failure for this transmission model, and was thus led to this website to file a complaint. My car is equipped with a "zf-5hp19" model transmission. From what I gather this transmission commonly has this failure. 1. no events leading up to failure. 2. my car suddenly lost the ability to drive in "reverse" 3. since this happened yesterday, I a searching for solutions.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #9

May 162009


  • miles
2001 BMW 330I no reverse.

- Casa Grande, AZ, USA

problem #8

Oct 082008


  • 88,569 miles
2001 BMW 330I, 88,500 miles. Reverse failed completely without warning. The car has the zf5hp19 transmission which seems to have the common problem of the D-G clutch drum failing. The car was well maintained with no symptoms leading up to the failure. My mechanic replaced the reverse drum at a cost of $2116.34. I have a copy of the service order and have in my possession the failed part.

- Depere, WI, USA

problem #7

Dec 052008


  • 116,112 miles
Reverse gear does not work. I started my car let it idle for 3-5 minutes since the temperature outside was cold. I shifted into reverse gear, and nothing happened. I had just parked the car approximately 2 hours earlier. There was no indication prior to this incident that there was a problem with the transmission. On the next morning I called the local BMW dealership and explained what had happened. They stated that I needed to replace the transmission. How can you determine that from a phone conversation, I wondered. I pushed the car out of my garage and proceeded to a mechanic. When I completed my dialogue of what had occurred he responded that I was number 4 for him this year. A replacement transmission cost between $3K - $5K. I returned home and began my unofficial internet research...I am not alone and BMW of na is doing nothing to address the manufacturer's defect. I consider this a safety issue. Suppose I was 100S of miles away or if I was in a position where I need to use reverse to get out of harms way and it did not work. As other BMW owners have stated, at least my Chevy or Ford used to tell me that it was sick and needed some attention. BMW has no maintenance requirement for this transmission. I am assuming that they think it is replace upon failure. Unacceptable, the part that failed is called the drum. A band beaks and the reverse gear is broken. They have modified the materials in the newer drums to alleviate the problem. That tells me that they are aware that the material they installed in my vehicle was inadequate. I have not repaired the vehicle at this time still shopping around for options. This is a safety issue and a recall is warranted.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #6

Aug 092008


  • 116,000 miles
I have a 2001 BMW 330 ci with 116K miles. I put the car in reverse and it would not go into reverse. There were no warning signs that indicated that something could be wrong with the car. My mechanic told me that I have to get a new transmission and would cost approximately $4000. I went to the Consumer Affairs website and discovered that many consumers reported the same issue. I would like to know how BMW is addressing this common issue and identify if there are any class action lawsuits.

- Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #5

May 312007

330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
BMW 2001 330ci. Reverse gear failed and inoperable (acts like neutral and does not engage) allowed vehicle to roll backwards down hill before I (the operator) noticed I was moving. Could not use engine throttle to control speed as it was like it was in neutral. Vehicle only has 75K miles on 'no service' automatic transmission.

- San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 052004

330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
I bought a 2001 BMW 330cic [xxx] in Oct. Of 2003 from a private person. Before I bought the car I paid ~$200 to a BMW dealer and got it checked for major problems because the car had ~ 53K miles on it and they said no problems. Hence I went and bought the car from this private owner. Just after 2 months I had to replace the front control bushings that cost me about ~$500 and after another 2 months the power steering pump went bad. I paid about $800 for the replacement and parts. Now just a few days ago the car stopped driving in reverse. I have no problems going forward and using the streptronic transmission (A/T). Now the car has 64K miles and I took it to the dealer. They charged me $100 to tell me that the transmission is burnt up by looking at the transmission fluid. The dealer is asking for ~ $4100 for a new transmission installed. I have called the 800 number and the response that I am getting is that BMW will not cover this. But I have issues with that approach; 1.as a new owner I am at a loss because I am not entitled for goodwill just because the previous owner used it. This is unfortunate since I put my trust in BMW and paid a handsome price for the car. (transmission is a major problem especially if it brakes at mere 64K miles). 2. the transmission is supposed to last in excess of 20000 miles, but becomes dysfunctional at a mere 64000 miles (product quality) 3.from what I can understand there is something wrong in the transmission which is causing the reverse gear not to work but that obviously does not mean that the whole transmission has gone bad. I am sure that this is definitely not the impression or experience that BMW wants me to have! please suggest or advise me what to do. The car is still with the dealer (united BMW of roswell, ga phone:- 678-832-4600 BMW customer relation phone:- 1-800-831-1117 thanks, [xxx]. updated 07/25/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #3

Aug 132002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission would intermittently shift without warning. Vehicle been todealer, but problem still reoccurring.feel free to provide any further information.

- Chaple Hill, NC, USA

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