really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,324 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2008 BMW 535 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Oct 252016

535 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


I ordered new light bulbs to change out my halo angel bulb lights (running parking lamps).which said they were out on my screen inside of the BMW. When I twisted off the housing cap in the back, the wiring inside of my headlight housing which turns on my parking lights left and right is totally degraded and flaked off, the copper cables were touching everywhere.I read this is because germany use biodegradable material but this is a very dangerous fire hazard for driving on the highways and road in Florida. We as 5 series owners for these years need a recall of new harness with better wiring.even if you buy a new housing it will do the same thing in 4 years guaranteed. You would have to find some one to rewire it with the same cables Ford uses so it can last 20+ years. Please fix.

- Sunny Isles, FL, USA

problem #26

Aug 082016


  • 124,000 miles
My 2008 BMW 535I headlight went out and I took it to a certified mechanic to change the headlight bulb, he took out the headlight and shown to me the wiring in both headlights have flaked off and had presented a fire hazard situation which caused the fuse the blew. I researched the BMW forums and found lots of people with the same issue, hence, it is not an outlier. I contacted BMW usa and they refused to remedy the situation. I was told by them that the vehicle is out of warranty and that the vehicle mileage was past the headlight wiring should not go bad in 8 years and they were rude and told me they will not pay for it. I also learnt that most of these headlight wires in the E60 flaked off within 50K miles and are not discovered until a short or blown bulb. Hella (the manufacturer of the headlight) said it is not their problem since the make the headlights to BMW specifications.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #25

Jul 012011


  • 40,000 miles
Wires inside headlights have insulation crumbling off. Fire risk. So many BMW's have this problem. A clear issue that BMW knows about.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #24

Apr 092016


  • 100,000 miles


Wiring for daytime running light melted all wiring insulation off. I got a shock while replacing the bulb before I realized there was no insulation left. To replace the light fixure it is in excess of $1,500 each and both have all insulation melted off their wires. The bulbs do not stay on and we're having difficulty getting a valid nh inspection sticker.

- Somersworth, NH, USA

problem #23

Feb 242016


  • miles
Fraud activity possible clone refinanced identity theft remote access was put on unauthorized threat safety for owner. Two loan start dates one in repo

- Ft Worth, TX, USA

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problem #22

Feb 152016


  • 94,000 miles
Just bought a used 2008 528I (E60) w/94K miles, in otherwise perfect condition. Went to change the angel eyes from drab yellow to lux led's. noticed bare wires on both sides of the bulb connectors, on both sides of the car. Tried to use electrical tape, just made more bare wire. The more I touched the wires, the more insulation flaked off, almost like a powder. I've never seen anything like it. Can't possibly be safe. Definitely a fire hazard. Neighbor brought over a bottle of liquid tape, and I re-coated all the bare wire I could see, making sure each wire was separated so a short would not occur. That is a good temporary fix. Will have to stay on top of this problem, since most, if not all, of the headlight wiring is made with bad, quickly degrading wire insulation. A real disappointment in otherwise good german quality and engineering. I guess the source procurer at the factory saved BMW some big bucks on that wire!! this is definitely a NHTSA safety recall issue. Tort lawyers should have a field day on this one. Photos of this problem are available at: www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?2132684-headlight-wire-jackets-just-flake-off

- Canyon Lake, TX, USA

problem #21

Oct 012015


  • 139,000 miles


Electrical wiring insulation/sheathing within the headlight unit/housing is showing signs of and or outright deterioration which in turn exposes bare wires within the headlight housing. At this point, the daytime running lamps have been the only effected lights but the wires for the headlights are also noticeably troubled. The issue is not speed, movement or area dependent. For further reference, I will provide a link to an owner's forum detailing other's dilemmas due to this exact issue: www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=798640 I look forward to a response.

- Kingsville, TX, USA

problem #20

Mar 052013


  • 80,000 miles
The head light wiring has flaked off and caused a shortage in my headlights.

- Lauderdale Lakes, FL, USA

problem #19

Oct 282014

535 6-cyl

  • 175,000 miles
Right rear hatchback running light shuts off when hatch shuts or is fully open, but comes on when in between fully open and completely closed.

- South Burlington, VT, USA

problem #18

Aug 072014

535 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Headlight almost caught on fire. Started car and as I was backing out of garage I smelled a burning smell and then received a drivers side bulb out error indication. When I returned to the house I looked at the headlight and noticed the inner lens had fallen away inside the housing. I began to examine the headlight closer and discovered a lot of wires that were basically rotten. Meaning there was no insulation what so ever to protect against a short if the wires made contact. I examined the passenger side headlight only to find the exact same condition with the wiring, large amounts of bare unprotected wires. Further investigation showed the entire inner lens became so hot that the plastic welds melted and also the metal housing causing the lens to fall away. I contacted BMW na and was told on the phone they were aware of the problem but could not cover the repair because the car is out of warranty. This situation could have easily led to a full vehicle fire had I not inspected the problem and attempted to repair with electrical tape. I cannot get to all of the bare wires because they are inside the head light. The cost of replacing both headlight is ~ $3000 parts plus around 250 in labor charges. Sadly if this is not properly discovered it could lead to a total destruction from a fire in the vehicle and even death if the driver was to become a asphyxiated from the fumes while traveling on the highway.

- Simpsonville , SC, USA

problem #17

Apr 032013


  • 93,003 miles


The insulation of the wiring inside the headlight assembly is crumbling and poses a fire hazard as the wires have lost their insulation and can get in contact with each other.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #16

Dec 022013

535 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
E61 wagon, rear hatch: I discovered failures of multiple wires in the tailgate/rear window wiring harnesses. Through research online I have found this is a common problem with this vehicle over several model years - search for BMW E61 tailgate wiring problems. The failures are caused by a poor design where the wires entering the hinge guides (4) for the glass and tailgate are repeatedly flexed at a sharp angle until the insulation, then the copper wire breaks. Safety issues - possible electrical short circuit leading to fires (highest load is for rear defroster); lighting failures (rear high brake light, license plate lamps and others); reduced visibility due to loss of wiper/washer/defroster; rear glass latch opening while underway, possibly resulting in loss of cargo or ingress of exhaust fumes. This is not an easily repaired problem. It would be beyond the capabilities of all but a skilled mechanic with proper tools. I discovered it when the remote lock/unlock using the key fobs failed. As I investigated I found the broken wire, along with several others with broken insulation, some with broken copper strands.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #15

Nov 212013


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 BMW 535I. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the rear driver's side brakes failed accompanied by the illumination of the warning indicators. The failure was recurring. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 13V407000 (exterior lighting) but did not confirm if the vehicle was included in the recall. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 98,000.

- Burlington , NC, USA

problem #14

Nov 222013

535 6-cyl

  • 97,700 miles
Malfunction of left headlight. Dealer inspection revealed"headlight wires leading to bulb socket have corrosion on them and casing around the wires is coming off". there was a recent vehicle safety recall for this model car for similar issues with rear lamp bulb carrier: Recall campaign no. 13V-407 potentially serious safety issue with malfunction of headlights leading to dangerous driving conditions or crash can occur especially at night or in bad/inclement weather.

- Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #13

Sep 142013


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 BMW 535I. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the turn signal warning light illuminated as the passenger's rear turn signal and reverse light failed to illuminate. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 63,000.

- Washinton, DC, USA

problem #12

Nov 012013

535 6-cyl

  • 66,050 miles
The rear back-up lamp outage warning light came on my dashboard. I attempted to replace the bulb and saw that the wiring harness had been burnt around the brown wire. I searched online and saw that this has happened many times to other with the same yr make and model vehicle. I reported it to the deal who in turn referred me to contact BMW North America. I received an E-mail response from them saying that there is a recall in process and to wait 4-6 weeks. The problem, is that my tail light is not working. It is unfortunate this cannot be fixed immediately. I want to ensure that I am included in this recall.

- Placentia, CA, USA

problem #11

Nov 012013

535 6-cyl

  • 580,000 miles
While driving about 35 mph on a busy street at rush hour I prepared to make a right turn by indicating. The fast turn single flashing started and the computer system in my 2008 535I said rear turn single malfunction. I slowed to my the turn and the person behind me slammed on their brakes and swerved to avoid hitting me and almost crashed into the person next them. I didn't realize why this happened, so I pulled over to check my lighting system and realized that the right rear lights weren't functioning properly. I opened the rear brake compartment and smelled burning melted plastic. I disconnected the brake light connector and found that it was melted. I searched online and found that there is a NHTSA recall for this problem for my year car. When I went to beverly hills BMW I was turned away. They told me that there wasn't a recall that covered my car. They were very rude about the whole and basically told me that I'd have to deal with myself and cover the costs. After more research, I have found many complaints about this online: www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=571079 appears to have been going on for a long time. But, BMW has been avoiding the safety issue!!! please file a complaint and get this safety issue resolved before someone dies as a result.

- Redondo Beach , CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 172013


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 BMW 535I. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, smoke emitted from the outside rear of the vehicle and the engine coolant warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection. The technician informed the contact that the rear passenger's side tail light wires had failed and were completely burned. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id numbers: 13V407000 (exterior lighting) and 12E029000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was notified and informed the contact that the VIN was not included in either of the recalls. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Peachtree City, GA, USA

problem #9

Aug 282013

535 6-cyl

  • 85,500 miles
The rear right tail light stopped functioning correctly, and the brake light, the running light, the reverse light, and the blinker stopped working. This created many potential accidents as oncoming drivers could not properly see me reversing or turning right. There is an active recall for the issue and BMW is replacing the rear tail lights for VIN's that the government has identified as having the issue. My vehicle has the issue. BMW refused to replaced the tail light that has permanent loss of functionality. I was forced to pay out of pocket funds for the item that has a recall and BMW North America has refused to assist in this matter. I spoke to [xxx] at BMW North America, he is a customer relations supervisor, and his contact information is in the BMW case file with id last 7 digits of my VIN. He indicated that BMW will not do anything unless the government forces them to by providing the VIN number to them as an effected vehicle. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Sheridan, WY, USA

problem #8

May 012013


  • 55,000 miles
The rear rail light warning started flashing intermittently and then rear tail light permanently failed. Inspection of rear tail light showed melting of plastic around ground wire connection to lighting assembly and damage to both light assembly and the wiring. Quick internet search revealed that this was a very common problem in bmws due to inadequate capacity of ground wiring.

- Seattle, WA, USA

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