really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,236 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 530 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 BMW 530 Owner Comments

problem #10

Jul 302011

530 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 #9

Jul 132010


  • 50,577 miles
My car was out on a test drive with a repair facility when the transmission failed.

- Decatur, GA, 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

Oct 142008


  • 40,000 miles
BMW X5 accelerator failed to respond after stop at traffic lights. It moved forward slowly for about 20 yds. Before deciding to engage...this happened three times, consecutively, at the end of drive home. Around noon on Tuesday October 14, 2008. The day before the internal door lock button failed to function. Called BMW dealership and had it towed. BMW continue to test but was informed last evening that there appeared to be nothing wrong with vehicle according to the computer! this is a major safety issue and BMW [central] have not been supportive so far. I have asked that the car be fixed and that I be supplied with a loaner until then.

- Carmel, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 282004

530 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
I have a 2004 525I BMW that periodically has a transmission slippage when driving from a stop or moving into 1st and 2nd gear. The car jumps forward and if not careful, I could accidentally hit something that is not in my control. Concord BMW has tried to recreate the problem and has only done so once. They said it was a software problem but has not been able to fix. Recently, I filed a complaint with them and now they tell me since it can not be recreated there is nothing they can do.

- El, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 012005

530 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2004 BMW 545I which has been experiencing a "transmission slip" over the past year. This is a known problem by BMW and something that is not an isolated incident on my vehicle. I have been informed by BMW employees "off the record" that my car has a problem and needs to be bought back by BMW and replaced. I am currently dealing with BMW of North America and have sent them a complaint as I have had my car serviced approximately 5-6 times over the past year for the same problem with no solution. I wanted to file a complaint with the NHTSA as well because it is apparent that BMW is trying to cover up a large and potentially dangerous problem with their vehicles. I have almost been in 2 accidents because of this issue and I feel for the safety of my family when driving this vehicle.

- Irvine, CA, USA

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