hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,728 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 330 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 BMW 330 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #5

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 #4

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 #3

Jun 022010


  • 123,000 miles
I recently purchase a 2003 BMW 330I with factory xenon lights that were manufactured by zkw. The light output of these headlamps is the worst by far I have ever seen from a modern vehicle. Xenon headlamps normally have superior brightness over halogen headlamps. My fog lights put off more light than the zkw headlamps. I know that this is not a bulb issue, because they bulbs have been replaced. The bowls that reflect the light turn brown because of the heat and light output goes way down over time, from what I have read on many forums. This is a major safety issue and BMW only sells the entire headlamp to fix the problem and not just the bowl that burns and discolors. The headlamps from BMW are over $1,000 each and I really can't justify spending that right now. Headlights are not a wearable item and I never expected to have to rep.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #2

Jan 102010


  • 54,000 miles
Model 2003 BMW 330I E46 (3 series) sedan situation one of the rear lights is inoperative. Cause minor corrosion at the 8-pin rear lamp connector creates high resistance causing damage to the connector housing (it actually burned through the plastic housing potential for fire) correction repair the damaged wire(s) and replace damaged connector housing. Install additional ground wires to both left and right rear lamps.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #1

Apr 142009


  • miles
Formal petition for safety defect investigation, after replacing the tail light bulbs in on the passenger and driver's side they continued to burn out, after taking the bulb housing cover off, I noticed a burning smell and the brown wire in the unit had melted the entire connection. I was told by my local BMW dealership this is a known flaw as the ground wire is not adequate to handle the power coming through, this issue has caused me to almost be rear-ended 4 times when the light suddenly will stop working BMW usa whom I contacted is aware of this malfunction, and has done nothing to address this issue. Updated 04/27/09.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

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