hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
95,189 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 330 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 BMW 330 Owner Comments

problem #12

Sep 012014


  • 150,000 miles


The headlights are useless at night. The bulbs all function perfectly, but the reflector housings are "worn" according to my mechanic. I understand the need to replace bulbs over the lifetime of a vehicle, but $3,000 for a whole new headlight assembly is outrageous! this is a design defect that the NHTSA refuses to investigate. There are thousands of complaints regarding this design defect all over the internet. This is a serious safety issue!

- Orefield, PA, USA

problem #11

Jul 092015


  • 112,000 miles
Headlight reflectors on hid being burnt therefore not giving enough light when driving at night. This is a common problem with owners of this model that has the zkw brand.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #10

Mar 242015


  • 140,000 miles
The headlight reflectors on this car (and other of this year model) are manufactured by zkw and they have failed causing very low, unsafe levels of light output. The reflectors are burnt and cracked. The only way to get any reasonable or safe light output for night driving is to use the fog lights and this is an unsafe condition and I am surprised there hasn't been a recall. This is a well known problem. Unsafe lighting and proceed while unknowingly endangering themselves and others. Do not pass state inspection light out put in some states, this problem should be address, if you look on the inter net people are modifying them to give more light witch makes it more unsafe.

- Dillsburg, PA, USA

problem #9

May 012014


  • miles


I purchased the car, I noticed the headlights where dim. I went out and got new bulbs for my car. I didn't help at all! I can barely see at night and I have to use to fog lights just to be able to drive at night. It is also unlawful to drive with my fog lights on. After much research, it seems that the root case of my headlight being as dim as they are, do to the reflective bowl being burnt out in the headlight it unit. The cost to replace the lights is insane $1000 for a set, just to be able to see at night. It is unsafe to drive at night. It is so bad, that I often don't drive at night because I don't want to put my safe in a bad situation.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #8

Aug 012012

330 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

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problem #7

Mar 202010


  • 51,345 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330ci. The contact stated that there was an unknown liquid leaking from the rear view mirror. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but the failure was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 51,345. The VIN was not available.

- Clovis, CA, USA

problem #6

Sep 192012

330 6-cyl

  • 99,960 miles


E46 BMW's with zkw xenon head lamps suffer from poor bulb projectors which burn to the point that light output is nearly none. This is defect is known by bmwna but nothing has been done to correct it.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #5

Oct 082012

330 6-cyl

  • 99,960 miles
The general module 5 in E46 3 series model years 2004-2006 fail causing failure of turn signals, central locking, wind shield wipers, and hazard lights. This defect is known by bmwna but has not been addressed.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #4

Aug 092012


  • 94,000 miles
Module that controls central locking, wipers, and several other parts (the GM5) started to develop a fault. We had problems unlocking doors, locking doors, using windows, and worst of all - the wipers were hit or miss. BMW wanted $750 for the part replacement.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #3

Jul 132012


  • 68,000 miles
Dear NHTSA, the headlight design of BMW's E46 bodies are just horrible. Light output is close to none creating a significant problem regarding visibility. The reason is due to BMW's reflector bowl that deteriorates through out time due to its plastic material and finally ends up burning. It is so bad that the fog lights produce much more light then its low beams. We definitely need your help NHTSA because BMW sure does not want to help, their solution is that you have to replace the whole headlight which is 1200 a piece. Millions of E46 owners have to deal with this problem and is a major safety concern. NHTSA investigators must go and investigate the problem so they know how bad it really is. Yes that means BMW will loose millions of dollars but it is safety that matters, we don't want any person or child to be killed just because of a poor headlight design. Only solution to this problem is up to your guys, NHTSA. Thank you for taking time to read my message, I really appreciate it. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 262012


  • 92,000 miles
Both bixenon headlamps assemblies have failed on the vehicle they emit little to no light due to the known bowl burn issues with the plastic reflectors (should have been fabricated from metal), inside these headlamp assemblies. In looking at the light assemblies, they seemed to have failed a long time ago. This is a very unsafe and hazardous situation that renders the vehicle basically inoperative at night to the owner, because fellow drivers, pedestrians, and/or bicyclist may be not able to see your headlights. This could cause or may have already lead to fatal vehicular accident(s) or the death of a pedestrian(s) and/or bicyclist(s) because of the low to no light emitted by these faulty headlamps. While performing in depth research on the internet discovered that this is a very common and known problem on this make and model at all mileages. The BMW forums are full of complaints about this problem and an open complaint seems to be open and in process with NHTSA since 2009 some three years ago. Neither BMW or its supplier of this faulty part make a reasonably priced service part that can be purchased to correct this known product and safety problem. Not even the aftermarket industry makes a service part to correct this product problem. To correct this issue, you must purchase two new complete head lamp assemblies at a cost of approximately $ $1,200 each from BMW which is outrageous especially for such a know product and safety problem. I can't understand why a recall has not been initiated for such a known problem on so many vehicles that has been on going for so long.. I contacted BMW North America for relief with this know safety and product problem and they could not help me with this issue because there is no open recall for this known product and safety problem.

- Miami Springs, FL, USA

problem #1

May 012012


  • 190,000 miles
Bonjour, les Réflecteurs zkw de mes feux Xénon sont bruléS. mes feux Néclairent plus.

- Saint Ouen L'aumone, WA, USA

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