really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,226 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.

2011 BMW 535 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 BMW 535 Owner Comments

problem #8

Jan 082017


  • 101,400 miles


The SRS passenger malfunction light is turning on. I've notified BMW and have shown them that there is an open recall on my car but they have refused to acknowledge my car has been affected.

- La Habra Heights, CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 242016


  • 62,000 miles
When trying to exit the car and pulling on the door handle, the door does not unlock, the lock stays in a locked position even after multiple pulles. The issue has been diagnosed as the door lock actuator. This is a safety issue as you are unable to get out of the car. I was able to use the manual unlock button to open the door.

- Lavergne, TN, USA

problem #6

Jan 012016

535 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
BMW has disabled the safety and security features of the model year 2013 and older. My vehicle no longer has an active sos button. Among other features, the collision notification system and stolen vehicle recovery system are no longer operational. BMW has changed software from 2G to 3G which makes my dashboard hardware incompatible and, therefore, inoperable. I paid for the safety and security features when I purchased the vehicle, and now they have been disabled. In the event of a serious accident or breakdown, the sos button cannot be used. As of January 1, 2016, BMW assist safety plan is non-operational. I have communicated with various divisions of BMW, and this is their reply: "we do not have a retrofit option in order to upgrade earlier hardware to newer hardware." Rather than run old software and new software simultaneously so that our hardware is operation, BMW was disabled the safety ad security features. My dealer BMW of springfield NJ (formerly jmk) was unaware of this problem. I as an owner was also unaware that the safety and security features were disabled until I tried to use the sos button. I have only 36,000 miles on my car and cannot purchase a new vehicle at this time. BMW made an irresponsible decision to disable very important features and neglected to inform the owners.

- Summit, NJ, USA

problem #5

May 202016


  • 40,000 miles


While driving for 15 minutes with seat warmers on my husband (driver) turned it off. We were travelling on Suburban roads around 40 mph. Then at a stop light he noticed a burning smell. We continued driving when light turned green. Then I noticed the smell a few seconds later, so I opened a window expecting to find smell a fire nearby or hear sirens. At that point we saw a ploom of smoke come from under his seat towards the passenger side open window. He immediately pulled over, jumped out of the car and turned everything off. The smoke took some time to clear but did stop. Several minutes later we drove 1 mile to the BMW dealership. We were told its not under warranty, and would cost $1,700 to fix. I declined to pay $1,700 to fix and requested they disconnect seat heater. BMW personnel informed me it could not disconnect power to seat heater without disconnecting the entire ac/heat system. This is a personal safety issue, not a warranty issue. For a seat heater to cause smoke it caused a fire and this is a defect. The car will catch on fire if the seat warmer is activated. I asked dealership what if I loan my car to someone who does not know about the defect, they suggested putting tape over the button. This is not acceptable safety measure to prevent burns, fire, or even death. Consider for a moment people have small children that ride in this vehicle. On a cold morning I could have buckled kids in, turned on car, seat heater, and talk to a neighbor for 2 minutes, or teacher at the carpool line.... what would have happened to the children? there is no visible damage to vehicle but BMW personnel did agree there was smoke smell in vehicle caused by seat warmer.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #4

Nov 252014

535 6-cyl

  • 50,400 miles
Involved in an accident. Other vehicle going southbound crossed over median strip of highway, hit three cars going northbound, mine was third car to be struck. Offending car did a 360 in front of me, I slowed to about 25 and he moved into me. I struck his rear passenger side corner. I had front end damage over $5K. No airbag, but default messages and an airbag icon came on the video screen and the front instrument panel. It states "driver and passenger airbag or restraint system malfunction."

- Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jul 142014

535 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
I was driving about 40 mph and my car just died on the street and chassis stabilization light came on.. had to restart car 7-8 times to be able to move inside parking lot.

- Fountain Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 242012


  • 3,000 miles
Just parked the vehicle, turned off the vehicle and smelled something burning. Exited the vehicle, observed smoke from under the hood, opened the hood and observed flames from the left side of the engine, mostly on the top left of the engine now. Called the fire department who extinguished the flames, and had the car towed to the dealer. The vehicle is now in their lot waiting for their investigators to look at the vehicle. The first comment out of the dealership, maybe an animal built a nest in the engine area. This vehicle only had 3000 miles on it, purchased in June of 2011, and is garage kept.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #1

Aug 192010


  • 6 miles
I purchased 2011 model BMW 535I in August 2010. There are 3 cigarette lighter power outlets inside the car and electricity is supplying all the time regardless of whether vehicle is being locked or not. If I use accessories like gps, charger, coffer warmer etc. And left in the locked vehicle under summer sun could really be a fire hazard. I have contacted to BMW customer relations and local service asking to rewire to stop power supply while engine is stopped or/and vehicle is locked but they refused to fix the problem. I have another complaint regarding the steering like other owners which is that vehicle is pulling to the right all the time at all speed. I'd like to request NHTSA to order BMW to fix those problems asap as a recall!

- Macomb, IL, USA

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