really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,750 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 525 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 BMW 525 Owner Comments

problem #4

Sep 302016

525 6-cyl

  • 156,000 miles


I was driving on my way to work and started smelling something burning. All electrical warning lights started lighting up the dash and then displays go blank. Passenger compartment was filling up with smoke coming from under glove box. I pulled over and called fire department. We disconnected battery and took to BMW. They said micro-processor located in spare tire storage area had shorted out due to water. I don't carry coolers and don't leave my trunk open when it rains. How did water get there. Bulletins show that sunroof drains get clogged and water gets into trunk and shorts out electrical. Service bulletin says if this happens, customer pay but move electrical to where it can't get wet. So BMW knows it's a problem and can cause a fire but doesn't care to cover repair. Now I'm stuck with $1000 repair for micro-processor just to be able to tell what else is burned up. I have to pay before I will know if it will cost an additional $5,000 to repair. I'm lucky electrical didn't catch fire and burn up entire car.

- Lakeland, TN, USA

problem #3

Mar 282011


  • 60,000 miles
Tranmission failure on this car. Had transmission rebuilt to no avail (over $3000). Wound up getting our $$ back, thank goodness. Apparently, in reading all the info online, the 2004 525I transmission failures is very common. Only remedy is a full-blown BMW replacement with the clutch already set.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #2

Feb 042004


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns 2004 BMW 525I. The contact stated while driving 30 mph the transmission would not shift and when it did shift it lunged forward. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred several times before but he was unable to be duplicate it. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the mechatronic sleeve was leaking transmission fluid and as a result it needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 20,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Blythewood, SC, USA

problem #1

Oct 132011

525 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
I own a 2004 BMW 525I with 119,000 miles on the engine. I experienced my car making a thump sound and then the I would lose acceleration. I called the mechanic and they could not find the problem because it did not show the dash errors. This had been going on for 3 weeks and then the mechanic told me my transmission needed replacing. I am disappointed that this is a common problem and nothing is being done about this. I will never buy a BMW again.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

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