hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,123 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 530 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 BMW 530 Owner Comments

problem #10

Jun 052012

530 6-cyl

  • 95,228 miles


I was driving my 2003 BMW 530I, while I was driving I used the volume control on the steering wheel to turn the radio down, after depressing the button immediately I smelled and recognized there was smoke coming from the steering wheel. I pulled over, and turned the car off. After several minutes I turned the ignition and proceeded to inspect the car. The volume controls did not work any more along with the horn does not blow anymore. Actually when I depress the horn it makes the steering wheel rise up and down. The airbag light flickers off and on. My radio works sporadically. I called BMW of North America and asked about any recalls on this vehicle after seeing a posting online about airbag malfunctioning. This seemed to fit my situation however the gentlemen who took my called said there was no recalls on this model..... this was disappointing and my problems arises more and more after this. I get a transmission failsafe warning almost all of the time because the car seems like it wants to cut off while driving at times. My brake lights flicker off and on at times and then stays on while driving. I got a warning ticket from an police officer. He said it is a safety hazard. My headlights flicker off and on at times while in operation. I get a engine failsafe warning at times and the car goes into limp mode.......

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #9

Apr 022010


  • 1,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 530I. The contact stated that the battery failed several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on numerous occasions who advised the contact that there was nothing they could do to remedy the failure. The battery was replaced at that time but the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who inspected and discovered that the battery cables were faulty. The battery and battery cables were replaced. The manufacturer was notified who stated there were no recalls for the vehicle and offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 1,500 and the current mileage was 86,000.

- Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #8

May 022003


  • 1,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 530I. The contact stated that the battery failed on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times who advised the contact that there was nothing they could do to remedy the failure. The battery was replaced yet the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic who inspected the and found that a cable and was the cause of the failure. The cable and battery was replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure who stated there were no recalls and offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 1,500 and the current mileage was 86,000.

- Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #7

Nov 212011

530 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

530 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

530 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

530 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

Dec 122009


  • 103,000 miles
I have a 2003 530I BMW with 100K miles on it the heated seat on the drivers side has burned thought the seat, this was an issue with the 7 series seats (which are the same seats and they were recalled.) the issue happened while driving the vehicles. There was a very strong burning smell, researched the issue on the internet and it is very common with this model. I also have found that it is a very well known safety concern that the pixels go out on the instrument cluster and the mid. Also the back doors have a structural problem where water pools in the back seat.

- Dumfries, VA, USA

problem #2

May 192008

530 6-cyl

  • miles
Problems throughout ownership of vehicle with plastic parts and wiring of vehicle, a 2003 BMW 530I. Wiring to brake lights which were repaired early on under warranty. The vehicle now has approximately 97,000 miles. Most of these issues have been going on since the 50,000 mile mark. I drive 20,000 miles per year to and from work. Another problem included the vehicle suddenly dropping acceleration to just a few miles per hour. With my pedal to the floor, I made it up a hill and pulled over. After shutting down the engine and restarting, my vehicle performed normally. The service advisor at the dealership indicated that the underwire harness needed to be replaced and presented a safety issue. The cost of this service was around two-thousand dollars. I've yet to do the service and have put many thousands of miles on the vehicle since. The control arm bushings were found to be cracked at just over 50, 000 miles and therefore not covered under the warranty. I've been told that they should last longer. They've never been replaced though steering seems to be affected. An interior light console simply fell out of the body and dangled by its wiring. The plastic around the clips appears to be decayed or melted by the heat of the bulbs. I wrote to BMW North America describing all these issues and was told that the light would be replaced. I asked for this in writing. This was never done. After several phone contacts, I was told that the service manager at my dealership would be my contact. He indicated that he had received communication that I should receive a free oil change (already covered under my current extended warranty). Weeks of my messages and no return calls made me suspicious that something more was going on. The last message I left was that a NHTSA complaint would be filed and finally elicited a response. No recalls have ever occurred on this vehicle.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 232004


  • miles
While driving air conditioner smelled of a strong odor coming from the front passenger side of the vehicle, and smoke started to come the from the passenger side of the vehicle, and it caught on fire.

- Lynn, MA, USA

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