really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,410 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 BMW 525 Owner Comments

problem #9

Jul 302011

525 8-cyl

  • 79,000 miles


Vehicle lunges forward at low speeds such as parking; 4 times in the last month, when I am pulling out of a parking space, the vehicle has lunged forward. 2 of those 4 times, I almost hit the vehicle in front of me. I had shifted from reverse, to drive, and just taken my foot off of the brake, and the vehicle jumped forward. The dealer has continued to say that things are ok and normal. They are not normal. Additionally, I have other shifting issues below: --35mph (5th to 6th hesitation) 5-6 hard shift (sport mode going 45-55 mph) slow to engage reverse -- gear shifting in general is just sloppy (the loaner that the dealer provided, shifted great).

- Romulus, MI, USA

problem #8

Jul 252010


  • 78,250 miles
Had my car 2004 545I (78,250 miles) serviced at BMW dealership in long island for a defective transmission pan leaking at fluid. Dealership replaced and test drove before I picked it up but also denoted that there was an oil leak attributed to vacuum pump/vanos seals which needed to be replaced soon. As I was driving it back to NJ from long island dealership I noticed a transmission 'kick/jerk/surge' as car decelerated several times. Drove the car to the market on Sunday (7/25/2010) and on the way back warning engine malfunction stating 'engine operating at reduced output'. emailed the BMW sa in long island that replaced defective transmission pan/at fluid and he felt it may be attributed to oil leak and bad vacuum pump/seals and have it looked at asap. My local BMW sa in NJ just emailed me today (7/28/2010) stating: "looks like the trans is bad waiting for bmwna to get back to us we sent them all the faults sorry for the bad news" reports of these type of transmission 'surge' is not isolated to 2004 545I model but to many 5-series up to 2008 as noted in the following forum: www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=401524 this issue needs to be addressed not on a local dealership but on a corporate, with government oversight, level as it poses serious risks to all drivers.

- Secaucus, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jun 102010


  • 68,438 miles
1. I identified a problem with the 2004 BMW 545I which I have. I researched the issue, which I will explain below (in section 2 as requested), online, and found that hundreds of people have had the same issue. I found that in some instances, BMW correctly diagnosed the issue, however in many instances, they did not (in section 3, as requested). 2. "the car would shift into 5th gear & then between 35-40mph at a very low 1200rpm or so I would get the surging or slipping of the transmission. It was a very light repetitive hesitation. It almost felt like the electronics were trying to decide whether it should stay in 5th or shift back to 4th because of low RPM's. it would happen with an extremely light accelerator pressure. If you gave it a little more gas it would go away. A couple times I'd get a really harsh surge almost like the "slam". the manner that the car behaves can really cause an accident with the surge in the transmission, & the distraction that it causes to the driver. It has become a distraction to me, being the driver, & also noticed by passengers in the vehicle, when they feel the car surge, & their is another vehicle in front of me. 3. I took the car to a BMW dealership, & described the issue. The service advisor (representative) stated that they would look at the vehicle, as they had other complaints about this, as well. He said that they would probably need to do a software upgrade, or replace the transmission. I received the car back, & was told that the software was upgraded, & to take the vehicle and see how it drove. I drove the vehicle home, & the issue was still there. The repair invoice says the software was not updated. It already had the latest version. I took the car back, and they stated the operation of the car is normal. It is not normal. You may reference www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=401524 for other who have had the issue. The mechatronics unit was replaced on some, and always resolved the issue.

- Romulus, MI, USA

problem #6

Jul 152010


  • 65,000 miles


Transmission slams into gear when taking off from an almost stopped position causing the vehicle to jump forward violently. This has launched me into intersections and caused me to almost rear-end several vehicles. This happens on a weekly basis of daily driving. The dealership wants to reprogram the transmission computer at a cost to me(vehicle out of warranty) even though this is a known problem.

- Chanhassen, MN, USA

problem #5

Nov 012009


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW 545. The contact was driving approximately 10 mph when the accelerator pedal was engaged, the vehicle began to shudder. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who recommended that the transmission be replaced; and offered to pay for half of the repair cost. The vehicle had not been repaired when the complaint was filed. Additionally, prior to the transmission failure the vehicle was taken to the dealer in regards to a burning odor and a transmission fluid leak in which the vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 73,000. The current mileage was 74,100.

- Farmington, UT, USA

problem #4

Mar 312010


  • 48,000 miles
Car suddenly and violently lunges forward from a stop, slow speeds or when at low rpms. It occurs several times per day and it feels as if being rear ended.

- Chatham, IL, USA

problem #3

Sep 082009


  • 92,000 miles


I own a 2004 BMW 525I with 92,000 miles on the engine. I experienced my car cutting back and thought I needed a tune up. I called my mechanic who stated I didn't need a tune up. He requested that I bring the car in to the shop. The next week I was driving along and the car slowed down losing acceleration. The message on the diagnostic screen stated "transmission fault". car will lose acceleration and you may not be able to go into "reverse". failsafe status..drive moderately. I took my car to my mechanic. He put the car on the diagnostic machine and stated no code was indicated. It did not show any problems with the transmission. I followed up by making a call to a local BMW dealer. I took the car in to have the problem checked. I was informed that I needed a new transmission. I was devastated. I called BMW na after I read that numerous BMW owners have and are still experiencing the same problem. BMW na was not willing to offer me any assistance to replace my transmission. I was told the warranty has expired and the engine's at BMW did not agree that the "no reverse" transmission problem was a recall issue. I received a follow up call on 9/22/09 from BMW na restating the fact that they could not offer me any assistance. I feel their is a problem with the engineering of all BMW transmissions.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #2

Sep 032009


  • 70,000 miles
2004 525I BMW with 70,000 mi had transmission go out suddenly. I am the original owner and have had all scheduled maintenance at the dealer where the car was purchased. I was told the transmission is a total loss and it is nothing that I did or could have prevented, but the repair bill is ~7,000.00.

- Camp Hill, PA, USA

problem #1

Nov 232008


  • 42,000 miles
My 2004 BMW 525I transmission has failed. I was driving and had stopped at a stop sign and attempted to proceed and the car inched out and just stopped.. I almost had an accident at that time because the car would not proceed in the intersection.. a message on the dash read that the "trans drive safe drive moderately" or something to that effect. When I got to my destination I turned the care off. The next time I started the car the message was gone until about two weeks later. I looked up any information that I could find on BMW transmissions and found out that there are numerous consumers who have experienced or are experiencing the same problems and are desperate for help. The main malfunction at this point is that the car is sluggish at take off and definitely will not go into reverse and the dealer has told me that the transmission is shot. Driving this vehicle is very dangerous and at any time, unknowingly the transmissions on these cars can fail. People driving these BMW's with faulty transmissions should be made aware of the problem before some one is seriously hurt. I am still paying on this automobile it's four years old and it has failed with a major problem. Please go to Consumer Affairs on the internet and you will see the numerous people who have the same complaint about this expensive automobile that has failed and consumers have to pay thousands of dollars to get repairs done. My car is in the shop as we speak, I haven't received a quote on the cost as of yet, but the mechanic has advised me that the transmission is no good.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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