really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 6
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
92,948 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 BMW 525 Owner Comments

problem #20

Dec 202016


  • 101,000 miles


Wire rot deterioration at the headlight assembly. Concern electrical fire due to bare exposed wires. Notified the dealer and manufacture without resolution. Personally had to pay over $500 to he dealership just to wrapped with electrical tape. After 3 months, currently experiencing high beam failure (hid adoptive passenger side) which the dealer to replacement cost of $2599.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Jan 052016


  • miles
While driving my 2004 BMW 525I, my right hip started burning. Followed by an odor. When I pulled the car over, I looked to my right & on the back portion of the seat I noticed a burn mark. The seat heater got so hot that it burned my blouse to the seat. I sent an email to BMW who responded they would get back to me after asking me to send them my VIN #, along with pictures of the seat. I did so, and as of today no one has gotten in touch with me. (?) after purchasing the car brand-new in 2004 this same situation happened to the passenger seat in 2005-06. The seat literally caught on fire with my mother sitting in it. The dealership where I purchased the car in Massachusetts respectfully did the right thing and replaced it, "immediately" for me. ~ it is incomprehensible, that a company such as "B-M-w" is not only not standing behind this ongoing issue, but refuses to get back in touch with the consumers to come to some resolution of their inferior & damaged product. Which at some point, will cause bodily harm and possibly give someone third degree burns. Maybe it will take a serious injury or dateline nbc to run an undercover program, before BMW manufacturers smarten up & fix this unacceptable issue with a feature we all paid extra to have... the cold weather package. ~in closing; I was once told by other owners I would never go back to any other car once I owned a BMW. I honestly can say this experience has changed my opinion of that. BMW customer service is outstanding until the warrantees are gone and until there are no more recalls. At least at the corporate level. You have a better chance going back into the dealership who welcomes & values your continued business! what a disappointment from such a high end manufacturer.

- Bristol, RI, USA

problem #17

Jul 072010


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW 525I. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle failed to restart until after repeated attempts. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that the computerized system needed to be replaced. The vehicle not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Oxnard, CA, USA

problem #16

Apr 082015


  • 160,000 miles
Driving down the road and smelled a burning smell. Turned off the seat heater. The seat felt very hot on my lower back. When I got to work noticed that the leather was burned through on the drivers left side. You can see the exposed wiring. Very dangerous. BMW would not replace. In searching on line, I saw that this is a common situation on the seat heater element.

- Clinton, CT, USA

problem #15

May 022015


  • 190,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 525I. The contact stated that the service indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the lighting wires were zip tied together and the casing was missing. As a result, the lighting assembly on the driver and passenger side would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 190,000.

- Fairborn, NC, USA

problem #14

Jan 012013

525 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


BMW recalled 2004 BMW 525I and others for the seat mat sensor. I had called them (2012-13) and they told me that my vehicle (based on VIN) wasn't part of the recall. I informed them that my vehicle's mat sensor was also defective and should be replaced by them. They, BMW usa told me that mine was not defective. I still cant understand if the rest are defective, how come mine is considered not defective when its inoperative and same problem as thousands of other 2004 525I.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #13

Apr 072014

525 6-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
Sudden acceleration on a BMW 525I 2004. No previous incidents. While turning into a parking space, perpendicular to the road, in front of a bakery, during the final approach the engine suddenly accelerated, abruptly and without a reason, going over the bump stop. The car ended up in the sidewalk, no injuries (fortunately no pedestrians were on the sidewalk at the time). Luckily the driver had the foot on the break pedal and could take action preventing a crash with the building's door and avoiding hitting the people inside the shop. Car was taken to the dealer and will undergo testing. Service adviser claims no issue like this has happened before, only in Toyota's. not true at all.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #12

Mar 052014

525 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
I started my car and turned the seat heater on low. Approx 5 mins later, smoke started coming out of the dash because the seat heater had burned two holes in the leather and smoke had circulated in my car. I stopped the car, turned it off, and turned it back on and the smoke cleared. I had contacted my local dealer and BMW na in Dec 2012 because I felt the seat heaters were getting too hot - the drivers seat registered 132 degrees at that time. The dealer told me there was nothing wrong with the seat heater and BMW na never responded, outside the standard form email telling me they would get back to me. Today, the seat heater finally burned through the leather and I was fortunate not to have been burned.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #11

Aug 062013


  • 97,000 miles
There is a component called mpm(micro power module) beneath the spare tire and is completely burnt due to some water in the trunk. The plastic case which covers the component is burnt and there is clear indication of fire. Spoke to BMW customer relations and they advised me to file a complaint here. Please look in to this issue as this may be hazardous.

- Hopkins, MN, USA

problem #10

Apr 122011

525 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


The passenger side air bag warning light is on and will not turn off. I have called the BMW dealership and they stated that they would have to run a diagnostics test which will cost over $100 just to find out what is wrong with it. They stated that my VIN number was one of the cars that was fixed in a previous recall for the same issue. I told them I do not have the money to pay to see what is wrong it. What if the passenger airbag fails and someone is actually injured do to this issue. The warning notification on the dash has been on for two years. The car currently has 80,000. I don't understand why the same issue happens for a previous recall and they cannot take ownership of the recall. Very disappointed. The car has a very high price tag and you would expect some sort of ownership and honesty from the BMW corporation.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #9

Apr 142010

525 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
My navigation and radio system just stopped working and I had taken it to the dealership and they said that it was common for the car communications computer to go bad and that they would replace it for $1300 and the fact that it was common that the part went bad that often was confusing and I think should be a recall for that part.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #8

Aug 212012

525 6-cyl

  • 79,678 miles
In June 2012, I received service for the battery cable recall for my 2004 525I at bevery hills BMW service center. One week after my service a service indicator on my I-drive said there was passenger restraint/airbag malfunction. The beverly hills BMW service department determined that this service indicator was triggered by a malfunction of the battery safety terminal which happened shortly <1000 miles after the repair of the battery cable recall. The recall service done at beverly hills BMW was related to the mounting of the battery cables to a connection in the mid-trunk, and the positive terminal cable that connects there runs back to the right corner of the trunk and connects to the battery, communicating directly with the battery safety terminal. From what I have read, the battery safety terminal can malfunction if any connection to it is loose causing an abrupt change in impedance in the circuit, or on the contrary can be caused by blown fuse related to a rapid rise in voltage. Another possibility is that heating of the battery cable (the issue the recall exists in the first place), could have caused the battery terminal to malfunction, though that does not explain why this problem would surface only after the repair work. Furthermore, the battery safety terminal is not a wearable part, so it seem illogical to think that's it's malfunction, timed to the recall repair was just a coincidence. BMW of bevery hills is attmepting to charge me for the battery safety terminal repair $870 even though this is a direct result of their falled attempt to repair the recall. BMW of North America was notified of this problem.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #7

Dec 102011


  • 89,627 miles
My problem with my vehicle was all of a sudden when I tried to unlock my car only the front driver and passenger doors unlocked. My rear doors remained locked. I cannot open my doors from the outside or inside and I am worried if I ever have an emergency and my passengers have to get out they cannot. Also with this problem my interior lighting went out. This isn't an issue but my doors are.

- Yakima, WA, USA

problem #6

Nov 172011

525 6-cyl

  • 89,655 miles
Warning notice on "I drive" system that there was an emergency with the lighting system and the car should be stopped immediately. Directional signals no longer worked, emergency flashers were inoperative and headlights not operating properly. Brought car to dealer the next day and the problem was corrected with an update to the "I drive" software leading me to believe that BMW is aware of this very serious safety issue but has chosen to ignore it until owners experience the problem and then the owner has to pay for the update to correct the software glitch. My cost was $320.92.

- Bogart, GA, USA

problem #5

Jul 242010


  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 545I. The contact stated that he noticed that there were various warning lights that illuminated on the instrumental panel. He stated that the vehicles I-drive would malfunction causing the radio to fail, gps, and he was unable to make phone calls from the vehicle. The speedometer also displayed 0 instead of the actual mph that was being driven. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer and they were unable to diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 88,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #4

Oct 162010


  • 60,000 miles
The contact would like to use his submitted email as the actual complaint. Our 2004 BMW 530I had the driver's heated seat catch fire. I am not getting much help from BMW on this matter. To me, this is one helluva of an easy way to cause a major accident. Only because of my partner's quick thinking and turning off the heater was she able to stop the fire. It was hot enough that it melted the foam (toxic I am sure) in the seat. Something like this happening while you are going down the road is right up there with Toyota and their acceleration problems. Either way a major accident can happen. Not to mention that a person could be severely burned. While the car is out of warranty this seat has never been abused. The driver of the car weighs in at about 120 pounds. From checking the internet there seems to be a quite a number of such instances. Thank you scott the failure mileage was 60,000.

- Sisters, OR, USA

problem #3

Sep 252010

525 8-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
04 BMW 545 electrical failure mpm.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #2

Jun 102009


  • 93,000 miles
Radio, navigation, cd, phone, not working. I drive is blink. Car has 93,000 miles.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #1

Nov 122008


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 5 series. The contact noticed a burning smell and felt something burning her leg. She sustained burns to her thigh and buttocks area due to the seat warmer. The manufacturer was unable to assist. The contact was able to locate NHTSA campaign id number 08V384000 (air bags:frontal) for the same year, make, and model vehicle. She also stated that the passenger side air bag was inoperable. The manufacturer advised her to expect a recall on the air bag; however, without a recall, they could not assist. The manufacturer stated that there were no open recalls based on her VIN, but NHTSA campaign id number 04V575000 (seats:front assembly:seat heater/cooler) was referenced. The failure and current mileages were less than 54,000.

- Dumfries, VA, USA

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