really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,200 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.

2002 BMW 330 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 BMW 330 Owner Comments

problem #17

Dec 282018


  • 120,000 miles


The smell of electircal fire and thick black smoke poored out the left side of my stearing colum. Flames started to shoot out and enguffed my BMW to nothing!

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #16

Oct 022017


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 BMW 330I. While the vehicle was parked, the contact was advised that the front passenger side caught fire. The contact extinguished the fire and called the fire department. The contact was unsure if a fire report was filed, but stated that the fire department advised that a fault in the wiring harness may have caused the fire. There were no injuries. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. A dealer was not contacted. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #15

Apr 102017


  • 129,000 miles
I opened the passenger door in the morning after the car had been parked overnight. I had a hockey bag with approximately 25 lbs of equipment sitting on the passenger seat which I removed from the car and closed the door. I forgot something and went back to the car, about 40 seconds later, and saw a cloud of white smoke at the ceiling and I opened the door. The car had a strong smell of burning plastic/electronics. Whatever was burning stopped and there was no visible flame. I checked all the electrical switches and all the equipment seemed to work fine and no fuses were blown. The burning seemed to come from the passenger seat heater as there was evidence of the seat cover having smooth marks on the surface (instead of the normal pebble surface) where it might have melted. I'm not sure if the seats are real leather or simulated.

- Lake Elmo, MN, USA

problem #14

Mar 112015


  • 45,000 miles


Look at this - another BMW recall is in order my battery keeps getting flooded with water and then the car won't start under snow the ice melts and somehow getting into the compartment with the battery in the boot nothing else in the boot is wet - not even on the plastic plate that covers the battery but it gets into the battery compartment and there is no drain for the water to go so my car fails to start many many complaints on this one website is this also check on bimmerfest - too many people having this dangerous condition and complaining to BMW which won't do the recall you need to force them to do the recall www.E90post.com/forums/showthread.php?T=949111 they should be fixing the leak when they do the lamp recalls which is also probably causing failure to start issues next issue is the window regulators - google that issue you will see the internet is flooded with people complaining they can't get their windows to roll up on this car I have very little mileage for a 2002 - under 50K and yet I am already replacing my third window regulator - that is the regulator on both front windows went and one of the back windows now went - $200-400 repair job big problems with BMW and I called them and complained and they won't reimburse unless there's a recall which they said they've no intention of doing too many people having these issues for it not to be a BMW recall - they won't pass your car for inspection with the window down obviously also a safety issue.

- Franklin Square, NY, USA

problem #13

Jun 232014

330 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
Using key fob to unlock doors, sometimes only driver door unlocks. Sometimes no doors unlock/lock. Interior master lock switch sometimes works sometimes does not. Replaced switch twice. Been in car and unable to unlock any doors to get out of vehicle using electric systems and even manual ie. Door handles. In a non stressful situation, got out by rolling down window and inserting key in driver door to unlock. For panic situations bought a window shatter tool to break windows to get out.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #12

Mar 012013


  • 200,000 miles
This is not as much a complaint as a request for help. Since March of 2013 I have replaced 5 throttle bodies and 3 gas pedal sensors, all oem parts. The problem that happened again today: Driving at normal highway speed [55/60] the eml, traction control and brake warning lights all went on. Pulled over and turned off. Restarted, now "service engine, eml, traction control and brake lights" were on. Turned off, restarted, same lighting situation, very rough idle and car would not drive, as it was struggling for fuel. Unplugged the "mass air flow sensor": car started, displayed no warning lights, drove fine about 8 miles to repair shop. Code read shows, "throttle position sensor", replaced..same problem within minutes of driving. A little internet research on E46 finds this an all to common problem with no solution. Thanks in advance.

- Mt. Airy, MD, USA

problem #11

Mar 012013

330 6-cyl

  • 86,900 miles


The battery of the car drains out every morning and I need to jump start my car everyday in the morning. I have got the battery, alternator and the charging circuit checked and there are no faults with those. The battery is only an year old. I suspect that something is running in the background after engine stop or there may have been a short circuit which is draining out the battery.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #10

Jan 262012


  • 65,000 miles
After the recall, NHTSA action number: EA09019, I brought in my car and they added a ground wire that was to fix the issue with an intermittent lights-out warning at the dashboard. After several months, the issue was still there. I brought the vehicle back to BMW and they said that they already added the ground cable and that's all they could do. The same issue still exists. Upon reading further regarding this issue, it appears the wiring harnesses had "melted" due to excessive heat created by a faulty ground cable. The damage has already been made and BMW refused to fix the issues caused by this faulty design. They quoted me over $800 to replace the entire harness and charged me 1 hour of labor @$195/hr to find that out. The faulty ground cable created the excessive heat creating issues with the wiring harness to the rear of the car lights. BMW should pay not just to prevent issues but to pay for issues already created by this faulty design.

- South San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #9

Oct 302012


  • miles
The report is in response to not being included in a recall of the rear taillight assembly. Some vehicles seem to be excluded for no reason from the recall and replacement of faulty wiring. NHTSA campaign id # 11V438000.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #8

Jul 202012

330 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
This car is 2002 BMW 330ci. I noticed that the warning light illuminated, which indicated that a tail light or brake light was not working. I replaced the bulbs, however, the warning light remained illuminated. I also noticed that the wiring harness plug had some damage in the middle and lighting assembly on the right had a connector in the middle gone. My mechanic stated that there was a recall on this problem. I contacted the recall center who stated my car was not covered. I noticed a lot of the BMW models were covered including 330I and the 330xi. I also went to a BMW dealer who again said my car was not covered. I don't want to be pulled over for a problem that should be covered by BMW. Updated 8/7/12

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jul 042012

330 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles


The red positive wire terminal overheated and potential fire hazard. The problem would kill the battery and car would not start. Shop said due to the location (the trunk) of the battery their was not enough ground. The shop fixed the problem by grounding the engine.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #6

Apr 302011

330 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Car was driven daily. Parked in garage at 6:30pm. At 7:20am the following day it was noticed that a white vapor/smoke was coming from the front grill of the BMW 330ci. The car had not been started since being parked the evening before. Within minutes, the white vapor turned into heavy black smoke and the entire engine compartment became engulfed in flames. (flames were visible from beneath the car as it was parked in a garage) the fire department was called at the first notice of vapor and firemen arrived 12 - 18 min. Later, at which time the fire was fully engaged. Two explosions emanated from the car. The fire and its significant heat caused structural damage to a portion of the home, including a bent lolly column and burned framing. It took the fire department over 2 hours to fully extinguish the fire which led to major smoke and water damage as well.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #5

Feb 102009


  • 82,000 miles
Failure of the general module 5 which results in failing to opening the door via the unlock button on the center console and key remote. This will also result in the double locking mechanism to activate to which passengers are unable to exit the vehicle properly either electronically or mechanically (manual locks do not work) forced to leave either through the window, trunk through rear seat if the car has this feature or possibly only through driver side door. This is a safety hazard, if the locks fail electronically the passengers inside should be able to trigger a mechanical way of exiting the vehicle.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 192010


  • 123,000 miles
I have intermittent problems on hot days unlocking my car doors. My key button does not always open the door. I have to manually open the door. The real problem is when I'm inside the car, the unlock button does not work, even when I manually pull on the door handles from inside the car, the doors continues to be locked. This creates a very dangerous situation and a major safety hazard for all the passengers because the doors do not open. Once the car is cooler, they start to work again. I'm afraid that if I ever get into a car accident, nobody will be able to get out of the car. There is no BMW recall for failed locks. Please help. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 182007


  • miles
I am leasing a 2002 BMW 745li. I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle. The car has gone to the BMW service center a total of 33 times for service mechanical & electrical problems. A few times car has broken down while driving and needed to be towed. This vehicle is a manufacturer defect. I feel very unsafe in this car. I have contacted BMW of North America via phone, emails, and letters, they seem not to care? the service manager at the dealer ship told me that this BMW model year has been nothing but headaches and problems for them. I fear for the well being of my family when they enter this vehicle. The car shuts off while driving. This model has had so many problems that BMW of North America extended the warranty on the car from its original manufacturer's warranty. I am paying for a piece of metal! this vehicle is one problem after another. I demand that BMW of North America stand by its product and purchase this vehicle back from me. The manufacturer (BMW of North of America) built a product that has defects. Their own technicians cannot fix this vehicle. I have taken this vehicle to 4 different BMW service centers. I have complete records. Again I demand BMW of North America to relieve me from this vehicle!

- Great Neck, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 012007

330 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
After driving my 2002 BMW X 5 five blocks from my home, I smelled something burning and parked the car. From the time it took me to get out and walk to the rear of the car, it was filled with black smoke and in short order the car burned. My insurance company declared it a total loss and hired an independent professional company that specializes in vehicle fires and causation. The conclussion of the report was that it was an electrical short, originating in the center of the dash. I have since researched this situation with BMW fires on different web sights, including roadfly, and have found to my shock, there are way to many other BMW owners out there with a simular situation. This is an extremely dangerous problem that could cause someones life. If my grandchild or elderly mother had been in the car with me, I would not have been able to get them out in time! I appreciate your help. Thank you, hope pessis.

- Marina Del Rey, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 012003

330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,500 miles
A/C blows extremely hot when set on maximum cooling power about 40% of the time (intermittently). Problem seems to be inherent in the model...BMW says if they cant duplicate the problem at a service center in front of a technician, then it must not exist.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

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