really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,901 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 BMW 330 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #107

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 #106

Dec 232014

330 6-cyl

  • 185,560 miles
Purchased car used. Upon driving it at night for the first time the headlights were noticed to be very dim. Bulbs were checked to be the correct wattage and color temperature. Plastic reflector dish was seen to be burned out (not reflecting light from the portion above the bulb.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #105

Feb 012013


  • 190,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330I. While driving at an unknown speed, both projector headlights failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the projector headlight lenses needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 190,000.

- Burlington, NC, USA

problem #104

Jul 152014


  • miles


Bi-xenon projector headlights have very poor illumination output and are unsafe. Apparently, the unit uses a plastic reflective bowl that burns over time due to the heat of the light bulb therefore losing its reflectibility. The standard halogen fog lamps in the lower bumper must be used as headlights because of the almost non existent output of the actual headlights. The only thing the bi-xenons are good for at this point is showing that a light is indeed on so that the police wont issue a citation. But as far as illuminating the road, they do not.

- Belmont,Ca, CA, USA

problem #103

Apr 012014

330 6-cyl

  • 65,123 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/or to hold on the pass to flash lights. This is an unsafe condition and I am surprised there hasn't been a recall. This is a well known problem among some but most users will never realize what it casing poor, unsafe lighting and proceed while unknowingly endangering themselves and others.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

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problem #102

Mar 012013

330 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
My zkw headlights do not reflect light anymore. BMW offer no replacement reflector bowls for the headlight, so no fix is available except replacing the headlight assembly with the same faulty assembly from the same manufacturer. Headlights produce too much heat and melt the reflectors deeming them useless and an extreme danger. Recall needed for extreme safety reasons. I can't drive my car at night anymore.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #101

Oct 212014


  • 156,000 miles


Wire loosing coating on inside of adaptive headlights, causing shorts or broken wires where the headlights and or turn signals will fail to work. Wire is very brittle as this is also roughly 20 gauge wire. This can be an extreme hazard especially at night. This seems to be affecting BMW's 3/5/6/ series from at least 2004 to 2008 from my independent research. Many pictures and complaints on various BMW forums to document this problem. My problem occurred when I lost one headlight on my way home in the dark and an indicator came on to identify a fault in the headlight. Originally I though it was a bulb, changed bulb and it still did not work. Further investigation led to a broken wire inside of the headlight assembly. I fixed the broken wire and then noticed two more wires where the coating on the wire seem to have flaked off causing bare wire. I also fixed those wires and all was well. A day or two later, the indicator came on again pointing to the same headlight. This time the turn signal was out. I opened the access panel to check the wiring and now a forth wire has been severed, however I can not fix it as it is down pretty far inside the headlight and to repair would require removing the headlight and taking it apart. Apparently BMW used biodegradable wire for the headlights?? source of the headlight is believed to be hella. Supposedly BMW knows about the issue but unwilling to fix unless you purchase a $800-1500 new headlight. This is crazy for a car that is 10 years old and well maintained. This is a safety hazard as you will can loose a headlight in the dark and maybe both headlights going out, plus the fact of bare wires that can short and cause a fire.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #100

Oct 012014

330 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 #99

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

problem #98

Apr 012010


  • miles
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.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #97

Jun 022014

330 6-cyl

  • miles


The zkw xenon lights in the BMW E46 chasis have decreased light output. This makes night time driving dangerous and could result in a crash. The reflector bowl (that reflects light onto the road) is become badly burnt. This could also start a fire, as the piece is plastic.

- Hudson, MA, USA

problem #96

Apr 092008

330 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

problem #95

Jun 192013

330 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
On zkw-headlight equipped bi-xenon BMW 3-series, the low beam projector bowls are coated with faulty reflecting material that is burned off over time, dramatically reducing the output of the headlights.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #94

Dec 022013

330 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
The bowl of the oem zkw headlight burns out. It is first and foremost a safety hazard. BMW has produced countless cars that are affected, specifically any 3 series with the upgraded xenon headlights. Not only was this an additional option but the cost to rectify light output to a safe level is high. Oem headlights cost $1200 each at the dealership. I feel as though that is the only way to approach this since headlights correlate directly with night driving and safety.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #93

Jan 262014

330 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 #92

May 152013


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 330I. The contact stated that the illumination of the headlights was extremely dim. The reflector was discolored and burned, causing improper illumination. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000. Mail out 01/13/15

- Newman, GA, USA

problem #91

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 #90

Nov 202013

330 6-cyl

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

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #89

Sep 132010

330 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
The vehicle headlights include the bi-xenon option. Zkw was the original equipment supplier for these headlights. The reflective housing surrounding the bulb suffers from severe degradation and total light output is significantly reduced. Overall nighttime vehicle visibility and safety is greatly affected. I have learned this is a common problem with the make/model/year and option package of the vehicle.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #88

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

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