really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,884 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.

2008 BMW 535 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 BMW 535 Owner Comments

problem #18

Feb 112012

535 6-cyl

  • miles


Consumer writes in regards unresolved fire safety issues with a 2008 BMW 535xi the consumer stated on Feb 14, 2012, the battery was replaced. However, six days later, a spark of fire and ball of smoke occurred as the consumer was driving. The dealer informed the consumer the alternator was faulty and needed to be replaced. An inspection also revealed an oil leak. The consumer stated the vehicle burst into flames and exploded, totaling the vehicle. The entire front hood and engine compartment were melted and destroyed, as well as the front driver and passenger areas were affected by the fire. The consumer and his passenger suffered minor injuries. The consumer stated he had taken the vehicle to the dealer in December 2013, and January 2014 after complaining about electrical problems. He complained of low coolant, the trunk randomly opening, the key not starting the vehicle right away, and the clock suddenly showing a the wrong time. Both times, the dealer stated there was nothing wrong. Updated 03/10/14

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #17

Apr 282011

535 6-cyl

  • 66,490 miles
Rattle from engine compartment that dissipates once engine warms up. Advised that the turbo chargers are failing and need to be replaced, only 66K miles! estimated $3K in repair cost!

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #16

Nov 222010

535 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
Car check engine light came on, reduced power on dash, and sluggish. Towed car to dealer, replaced spark plugs and high pressure fuel pump. Check engine light came on again, took to dealer, needed pressure sensor. This has occurred 4 times now, dealer states this is ongoing problem with this engine, and have I would have to bring the vehicle in whenever this occurred, no loaner car available. I do not feel safe in the vehicle when this occurs.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #15

Jul 152009


  • 35,000 miles


The car showed engine malfunction sign without warning in middle of busy street. All power, steering, everything went dead without warning. I couldn't move the whatsoever. I was lucky enough to make a right turn before this happened and avoid potential accidents.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 242010


  • 17,641 miles
Engine malfunction -- reduced power and then the car either reduces power or dies completely. Also, cold engine rough start and rough idle. To date, fuel injectors were replaced, where upon it was recommended that I no longer buy sam's club 93 octane gas but a "name brand." I did -- problem re-occurred on July 24, 2010, out of the blue without warning, this time with my 6 year old in the car on a highway. I was able to get over to the right shoulder of the road without incident, and turn off the engine, wait a few moments and restart. The BMW dealer has had my car since late July, and have now replaced one of the turbos in the engine. I am hoping nobody has to die before BMW is asked to recall N54 engine BMW's or buy back the ones they have sold. The dealership has recommended that I write a complaint to BMW North America. I will. There is also a petition going -- www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?fixpump which I think will give you some idea about the scope of the problem. I do not have the old parts. Thank you. '

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #13

Jun 072010


  • 30,000 miles
2008 BMW 535I "engine malfunction - reduced power!" message on 06/07/10. It has around 30K miles. I took it to the dealer, and they diagnosed the problem as a wastegate malfunction. I picked it up from the dealer on 06/08/10 and drove it to Florida on 06/09/10. After being in Florida for 4 days, the problem returned. The I-drive system froze and eventually powered off and came right back on. The car sat overnight, and I made it back to atlanta the next day without any issues (no error on the display). Took it to the dealer on Monday, 06/14 and this time a low pressure sensor was diagnosed as the problem. Picked it up from the dealer yesterday (06/16) and drove home without incident. Drove to work today (06/17), no problem. On the way home today, the problem resurfaced. The car will be going back to the dealer tomorrow. This will be the 3rd time in less than 2 weeks. These cars appear to be defective. This is really frustrating!

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #12

Jun 072010


  • 27,000 miles


2008 BMW 535xi- engine failures and reduced power at high speeds- very dangerous.

- Barto, PA, USA

problem #11

Mar 192010


  • 18,300 miles
Car has sudden reduced power. Check engine light and engine malfunction warning and "reduced power" warning sign come on. Happened 4 times. BMW has "repaired" three time (reprogrammed car, replaced fuel injectors) to no avail. Almost got in an accident this morning. When I tried to hit the gas, power dropped precipitously and I nearly got rear ended and hit in an intersection.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #10

Feb 132010


  • 28,000 miles
1) starting/driving car 2) engine malfunction, loss of power, rear end collision possible when driving.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #9

Oct 102009


  • 26,000 miles
Car in for service for the third time. The first two times, high-pressure fuel pump was replaced. This time, 2 fuel injectors and plugs will be replaced. Symptoms have been the same each time - engine light comes on, low power message is displayed and car runs extremely rough. One incident required the vehicle to be towed to the shop as it stalled while driving and would not re-start. Based on information on this site and in the BMW forums, I am concerned that the car is not being adequately repaired, but just patched. I do not feel comfortable driving a car that might stall or lose significant power while driving in highway conditions.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #8

May 192009


  • 5,785 miles


Was driving at highway speeds when car began to "sputter" causing rough ride. After another 5 miles, the engine warning light came on. I pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the car, then restarted it. The light disappeared, but reappeared after another mile of driving. Contacted BMW who said the car was safe to drive. Service center found that it was stored fault codes, which a previous service bulletin had advised. These fault codes were cleared and the car functioned properly. Please note: This is for a 2009 BMW 535I. The choices available for 2009 BMW's do not include the 5 series.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #7

May 202008


  • 700 miles
2008 535I BMW repeated engine malfunction warning lights and numerous visits to the dealership, problem has been hpfp, software programming and injectors. Still not 100% resolved.

- Glens Falls, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 022009


  • 3,000 miles
We purchased a 2008 BMW 528xi as a demo. It was said to be certified. It ticked from the day we purchased it. BMW said all it needed was an engine bleed-down. This was done 4 times. The vehicle still ticked and we took it to our trusted BMW dealership and wa stold it needs a new cylinder-head due to a manufacturer defect. The car only has 3,000 miles on it. This is unacceptable. The car has been in the shop since March 2nd, not even begun to start the work. I feel the car should be replaced as it is a lemon, and we desire a 2009 528xi with the same options.

- Huntley, IL, USA

problem #5

Feb 042009


  • 15,500 miles
1. rough riding - loss of power on highway 2. dozens of times over the last few months. Car has been in shop for two months out of last 12 for the same issue. 3. BMW keeps trying different things but no final fixes as yet.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #4

Aug 242008


  • 400 miles
Purchased new 535I 8/22/08. With less than 400 mile, received engine malfunction-power reduced warning while driving at interstate speed. Limped to dealer, who had car for 4.5 days. 1st question: What type of fuel? shell. Response: May have to much ethanol. Service found an engine mis-fire code; replaced injector and swapped coils to validate inj. Replacement. 2nd occurrence at 3200 miles, again at hi-way speeds. Mis-fire code again found by dealer service. Injectors were "swapped"; I'm not sure to what end. The car was also "reprogrammed".I get the impression that service people do not know what is truly causing the problem. Or else that they are trying not to commit. Now have approx. 4100 miles w/O any recurrence. Apparently this is an issue that is not just with the 5 series, but the 3 series also, both types with the N54 turbo charged 3 liter engine. First fixes involved the high pressure fuel pump, now they are appear to be swapping/replacing injectors and reprogramming the ECU. It is also a common point of discussion in on-line BMW forums when searched under engine malfunction.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #3

Aug 292008


  • 600 miles
I have a 2008 BMW 535I with sport package and premium package. I have had an "engine malfunction/reducing horsepower" issue with this car 3 times since purchasing it in August 2008. The first incident occurred within 3 weeks of delivery and only 600 miles. The second incident happened about a month later with approx 1500 miles; and the third incident occurred on 11/3/08 with approximately 2200 miles. BMW says each time that it's a misfire in one of the cylinders - but that they do not know how to fix it. So each time they reset the computer and send me away. This is a very dangerous situation. I drive on California freeways most of the time and when this engine malfunction occurs, the car starts "limping" and missing and I have to slow and pull to the side of busy, busy freeways that are very dangerous. Bimmerfest forum shows that there are lots of owners of the BMW 535I having this same problem - but BMW will not address the issue...... each time the problem occurs, the BMW dealer asks me what kind of gas I'm using - and it's always been 91 octane. Then they ask me what brand - which is chevron, though I didn't realize the brand of gas would be a problem in modern day cars. This is a very dangerous situation to be occurring on the California freeway system, not to mention any freeway system given the speeds at which people drive and the danger of power loss in the middle of traffic and having to pull over on very small shoulders where other cars pass at high rates of speed within only a foot or two of my car when the engine malfunctions.

- Goleta, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 122008


  • 2,500 miles
Driving on the highway and the engine started to run rough. This is the second time this has occurred. The first time this happened was in July and brought it to dealer and could not find problem. Second time I had car towed and said it was faulty ignition coil. Replaced and seems ok now, but every so often it runs rough for a few moment.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 062008


  • 5,000 miles
I purchased a new BMW 535I on May 26, 2008 and on Aug 8, 2008 while I was driving my car at 70 miles and hour the car started was shaking as if running on 3 cylinders. There was a message from the car stating engine malfunction reduced power! I waited 3 hours for a tow truck and after a few days I received a call from richmond BMW stating I needed a new high pressure fuel injection system. I said fine and then received a call the next day saying my car was ready. When I picked it up they didn't repair anything they said they were told by munich to just reset the light and claim atmospheric conditions!! on Friday September 5th while trying to cross an intersection I was almost T-boned when my car again lost power. Then on Saturday September 6th the engine lost power again and same message popped up on the idrive screen. When I went back to the dealer I was told that the high pressure fuel injection was a "high profile" part in munich and therefore they were told to just reset the light to see if it happened again. Needless to say I am outraged that BMW put my family in such danger so as to not have to replace high profile parts. Please investigate what is going on with BMW this is very dangerous as it comes on without notice or warning power just is gone. I have asked BMW to refund my money but they have had my car since September 6th and I am getting nothing but the run around.

- Richmond, VA, USA

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