really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 9
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
102,438 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Dec 022018


  • 211,000 miles


On Dec.2 my 2004 BMW 525I was sitting outside my house when it cought on fire at the fuse panel in the trunk on the right fender well. The car had been driven over 100 miles that day. My step-daughter had gotten home at midnight and parked the car. She said the car was fine when she got home at 3;30 am my neighbor knocked on my door to tell me the car was on fire. The fire department was called to put it out as ever time we would get the fire out it would spark and start again. They reported that it was a mechanical problem that caused the fire.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #24

Dec 202017


  • 147,000 miles
About 3 weeks ago we noticed in the front passenger seat "a mark" that looks like a burnt - we thought that it was just a mark or somebody put a hot bottle O cup on the seat - but this morning we turn the heating in both seat to warm up a little bit then smell and smoke start to come out the burnt mark. We turned it off both sides and open the window - now our conclusion is the heating element caused that burn in the seat.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #23

Jul 202017


  • 184,000 miles
Micro power module (mpm) started smoking while driving, causing erratic engine RPM, and causing smoke inside cabin and burnt electronics smell. Complete loss of radio and idrive functionality. Module is located in trunk under the spare tire. Notified BMW of North America, and they just said that the car was out of warranty and nothing could be done. I feel that this is a serious defect that could possibly start a fire. Several BMW online forums have discussed this issue. Others have remedied the problem by relocating the module to a higher place in the trunk. Most of who own these cars do not know that these vehicles have this vulnerability. Vehicle was moving in the early morning when this happened.

- Thomasville, GA, USA

problem #22

Apr 172015


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owned a 2004 BMW 525I. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire and blew up in the garage without warning. The fire department was contacted and stated that the fire was started by the battery cable. A fire report was filed. The contact sustained injuries that required hospitalization. The vehicle was totaled and the contact's home was damaged extensively. The dealer was not contacted. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that it was not their responsibility. Six months prior to the fire, the vehicle was taken to the dealer (chapman BMW in phoenix, ar) where a recall repair of the battery cable was performed. The recall information was lost in the fire. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #21

Jan 232017


  • miles
I really need some assistance. My seat caught on fire while I was driving. The seat heater keeps turning on and occasionally won't go off I've driven the car maybe 35 minutes tops since the seat caught fire 3 weeks ago. BMW North America has tried to assist me unfortunately the dealers are either booked solid or are capable of fixing this technical a problem. They've agreed to fix everything for free & provide me with a loaner car until the issues are totally resolved BMW does not want my vehicle to catch fire again. I was told not to drive it unfortunately none of the dealership consider a car fire top priority. There is a huge likelihood it could continue burning without immediate repairs. I wish BMW North America would assist me like they said. I've had 8 BMW's and never have I had an issue. That is why I've bought bmws because as long as I did all the scheduled maintenance (a side from this one) my vehicles have been not only reliable but a pleasure to own. I've had very few issues with my current E60 until 3 weeks ago. Since then my life has been chaotic borrowing vehicles renting vehicles and relying on others because BMW doesn't prioritize car fires. I need someone to help me otherwise I will have no choice but to continue driving a vehicle that is a danger to myself as well as my minor child and any other vehicle around me if it were to become fully engulfed in flames. Please call me at your earliest convenience so I can be safe. My contact info is susan gold 160 concord road keene nh 03431 (603)571-1387 email susanbgold@mail.com call me day or night I'll be ready to get the vehicle to the proper facility for repair. I have contacted all dealership in New Hampshire. Tulley BMW said that the repair was beyond their expertise. I spoke to an absolutely clueless gentleman name john bowland at tulley BMW nashua

- Keene, NH, USA

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

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