hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,470 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 525 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 BMW 525 Owner Comments

problem #7

Nov 212011

525 8-cyl

  • 108,000 miles


Car shut down while driving appx 35mph without warning, nearly crash due to loss of steering assist and instrument. Dealer replaced both dme and battery which was suspicious since two unrelated component failed at same time? extremely dangerous when it happened in traffic, endangering both my passengers and other drivers nearby. Recall to the dme and battery should be issued. Repair cost $2500.

- Greenwich, CT, USA

problem #6

Aug 092011

525 6-cyl Diesel

  • 125,000 miles
My 2003 BMW 530I sedan caught fire due to an electrical fault while parked in new haven, Connecticut. The fire department and police were called. Case #[xxx] was assigned by officer [xxx] of the new haven pd. The car, too badly damaged to repair, was hauled away for eventual scrapping. I was close to the car when the fire started. Flames were erupting from the dash, where the climate control switches are located. I tried smothering the flames with a sweater. This did not interrupt the progress of the fire. There was no personal injury or property damage other than to the car and its contents. Items situated in the front seat area were not recovered, due to the intensity of the fire. The apparent cause of the fire was an electrical fault. In 2010 new country BMW in hartford twice replaced the climate control fan final stage resistor, once in April and again in October, at no charge for the second replacement. In the days before the fire the climate control was again acting erratically, and the evidence indicates the final stage resistor was failing once again. BMW North America inspected the car and confirmed that the fire was caused by an electrical fault in the area behind the dash where the final stage resistor is located. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Simsbury, CT, USA

problem #5

Jan 312012

525 8-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
While driving, the car suddenly shut down and lost all power. Had to pull over to the side of the road quickly to avoid an accident; had this been at high speed, the situation might have been worse. Subsequently when trying to start, the car shows a myriad of warning lights and faults. A fuse for the main computer (dme) had blown, due to a wiring short between the electronic thermostat and the main computer. Replacing the fuse is not a permanent fix, as it blows shortly after each time the car is started, rendering the car undriveable. This fix to replace shorted wiring is in the thousands of dollars. The car had been meticulously maintained and had never suffered any related issue before. There is a poor connection, faulty wiring, design flaw, or the like in this system.

- Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 102010

525 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


Intermittent engine shut-down. Engine shuts off while vehicle is in motion at any speed. "engine failsafe" warning light comes on. Vehicle must be stopped, key turned off and re-started. This is a serious safety issue that BMW is aware of and has issued a related tsb. $2000 plus repair bill for a new "engine wiring harness". BMW should be recalling these vehicles.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #3

May 302009


  • 29,600 miles
I was driving along the freeway when all of a sudden my car engine started to run very rough and the service engine light came on. My car have to be towed to the BMW dealership and I was told the all of the ignition coils have to be replaced. My car then had only 29K+ miles.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #2

Oct 242009


  • 72,690 miles
Upon turning on the manufacturer installed drivers seat heater, the drivers seat heater shorted out causing extreme heat and smoke to rise from the left side of the seat. Although this did not cause a fire, it was extremely close to causing a fire. The heater was turned off, and the smoke and heat subsided. There was a significant electrical burning smell. Contacted a BMW mechanic who stated that this was a common occurrence and a known issue with BMW. He cited a case which caused a customers leather seat to burn and also burned his sports coat. The mechanic stated that this problem happens overtime do to the breakdown of the wiring which is caused by the driver getting into and out of the vehicle. Over time, the wires rub bare causing the deterioration of the wiring and the insulation. The wiring in turn builds resistance with the in ability of the electricity to pass through the damage wiring, which causes the excessive heat.

- Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #1

Feb 152009


  • 45,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway and turned the seat heater on. After about 5 minutes into my drive, I started to smell smoke and then saw smoke in the car. I pulled over and saw that the seat was catching on fire. I turned the seat heater off and doused the fire with water.

- Arcadia, CA, USA

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