hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,689 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 550 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 BMW 550 Owner Comments

problem #19

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 #18

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 #17

Apr 282015


  • 77,000 miles
I recently started experiencing fuses blowing on my right front head light units. Errors would indicate it was the 'right daylight parking unit' and then would clear or stay constant. When it was constant, it was due to a blown fuse. It turns out when I had a BMW certified technician look at the issue he said that the problem was related to the wiring inside the front head light. The wiring had insulation that was starting to flake off allowing contact of the two wires going to the bulb and was even apparent on other wires within the head light assembly. If I hit a bump or went over rumble strips these wires could touch and short causing the fuse to blow and/or error message. After 3 fuses and buying an unnecessary set of H8 bulbs, the technician fixed the wiring with some electrical tape but suggested that a file a complaint here since there is no open recall for this common issue. He also told me this problem with wire insulation falling off was very common on BMW's that were 5-7 years old. I could see burn marks on the wire an installation from where the short occurred and was shocked that all the wiring within the head lamp on both the right and left front showed these flaking and cracking. After researching online at several BMW forums I found many similar issues and images almost identical to the ones my technician took. I would like a recall to be issued by BMW to replace the head light assemblies or internal wiring with wires that have a better/proper insulator that doesn't flake off. I've not had the back lights checked, but found that this is common on most if not all BMW light assemblies front/back for a few online research queries. Also where can I send the digital pictures my technician took of the wiring?

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #16

Jul 302012

550 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


( I am the original owner this vehicle) while replacing a burnt out headlight, I noticed that the insulation in the sealed headlight was missing. When I checked the opposite side, I found the same thing, the insulation was broken and missing. Being that this is a sealed headlight housing, I am unable to remove and repair the problem. BMW parts stated that the wiring harness is not sold for those lights. One has to purchase a completely new headlight assembly at a average cost of $700+.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #15

Jan 152015

550 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Our 2007 BMW 530xi developed a steering wheel lock malfunction warning. A red steering wheel with a padlock appears on the dash screen with a warning on the computer. The steering wheel locks and unlocks perfectly every time. The car is drivable. The dealer says the steering lock module must be replaced for $600. I found that this is a rampant problem on bmws and that BMW corporation is aware of the problem. There should be a recall for this problem.

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 142014

550 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
All 6 fuel injectors failed. Car lost power while driving on 3 separate occasions.

- Fanwood, NJ, USA

problem #13

May 142013

550 8-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


On or about May 2013 I was traveling at 60mph on the freeway when suddenly I heard a loud bang sound and my vehicle came to an automatic stop. Scared as vehicle behind me screeched and turn away avoiding me. I remained in the middle of the road for approximately 30 minutes before the vehicle restarted and I traveled fearfully to complete my assignment. Same day on my return home vehicle stopped about 3 times but I drove straight to dealership. Without inspecting my vehicle I was told my alternator and battery was gone. I was quoted very high amount but something told me a bad alternator and battery would not start a vehicle so I offered to take my vehicle home. My vehicle stayed home for about 4 months without use only warm ups reverse and park. I did extensive research to avoid the frivolous amount the dealers quoted and found that the integrated module (ivm) was bad. I got it for $144 and replaced it and problem was fixed after 4 months. Until April 2014 I drove the out to work and barely two miles away from home I stopped at a traffic light and when released the vehicle sounded a huge banged sound this with transmission malfunction light active brake lights and several other lights on dash board. Once again I survived being ran over in the early morning rush. Took vehicle to BMW dealership. Told gear shifter was bad and replaced for $915 and thereafter I received a call the transmission was out. I was advised cost will be $15000 then later that it cannot be fixed and advice to sale it as is to some guy. I owe $17900 on vehicle. Called BMW North America to complain was told new transmission cost $9200 and I'm asked to pay $7400 best deal. There's no reason for transmission on 2008 to go out. Since dealers took my car they gave me a rental for 4 days and took it from me but kept my vehicle for additional 2 weeks and are still holding it calling to accept deal.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #12

Nov 222013

550 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 #11

Jun 012012


  • 48,600 miles
The grounding wire in the connector to the tail light bulb holder melted and melted parts of the connector. This resulted in no signal, brake and running rear lights. A recall has been called for BMW E46 3 series for this exact problem. The recall should be expanded to cover the 5 series as well.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 032011

550 8-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
Vehicle shuts off unexpectedly and fails to restart, additionally the vehicle will randomly fail to start. The engine will shut off while driving at highway speeds, when driving slowly, or shortly after shifting the car into drive from park. No warnings or errors are generally encountered or logged however in rare instances drivetrain warnings are displayed. The engine displays no strange behavior prior to this occurring and shuts off as if it were instructed to do so. The vehicle regularly fails to start. The engine does not turn over at all or make any indication that it is attempting to start. The vehicle responds as though the ignition was not activated and was never instructed to start. After a random time interval from 5 minutes to 2 hours the car will start as if no problems were ever encountered. No errors are logged in the ECU. The manufacturer has yet to find any issues which they claim are repairable after approximately 40 days of shop time and well over 100 occurrences.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 112011

550 6-cyl

  • 72,500 miles


Ground wire for passenger side tail light burned up. Ground wire, both sides of electrical connector, and tail light bulb holder all burned up. Passenger side brake light, tail light, turn signal and back up light do not function at all. Improperly rated fuse did not blow before circuit burned up and melted. This circuit is not designed correctly. This is a safety hazard to myself and anyone driving behind me. Car model is a 2008 528xi.

- Lawton, MI, USA

problem #8

May 162011


  • 28,000 miles
Vehicle is 2008 528I sedan. The tire monitor pressure indicator was displayed. I took the car to a BMW dealership to check the tire pressure. They said the tire pressure was ok on all 4 tires. However, it continued to display the tmp indicator. Then for the next couple of days, when the vehicle was started, various alert indicators would display briefly and the date and time were not set. I took the car back to the dealership and they determined fluid (referred to by BMW as ┐an outside influence┐) leaked from inside the trunk of vehicle into the rdc (communication) module, which is located under the trunk. The service advisor stated the submerged fluid shorted out the module and melted the harness. The rdc module and the harness were replaced. The trunk was not wet so I did not realize anything had leaked nor was I aware there were critical electrical components located directly under the trunk, which were not properly protected. To place the rdc module in an area where liquids can penetrate (I.e. open drunk while raining, groceries spilling┐), is extremely poor vehicle design. Since the problem was a result of ┐an outside influence┐ it was not covered under warranty and it cost almost $1000 to fix.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #7

Oct 222010

550 6-cyl

  • 27,500 miles
Our 2008 BMW 528I has an electrical problem in which the vehicle does not have the capability of charging the battery if the vehicle is driven short distances or multiple stops. This causes the battery to run down and the vehicle to become inoperative. The vehicle will stop and not start. After four (4) trips to the dealer (trucked twice) the dealer has determined that it is an operator problem and the vehicle should be plugged into and electrical battery charger when not in use. Additionally, they indicated the vehicle should be taken daily for drives of more than 20 miles to hopefully charge the battery. The issue has us in fear of the vehicle stalling in traffic and creating a serious safety issue.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #6

Dec 232010


  • 37,000 miles
Vehicle is 2008 BMW 535xi wagon. Blocked sunroof drains meant that water drained into the vehicle, gathering in the trunk where the electronics sit. Car had multiple engine failures and warnings of transmission failure, electrical failure, sunroof error and tpm failure. Cause per BMW was blockage of rear sunroof drain. This is a common fault caused by poor design of the sunroof drains (too narrow and prone to blocking). A recall on the sedan 5 series moves the electronics to a higher position in the vehicle to prevent the electronics damage but BMW state there is no similar move possible for the wagon., also it impossible to diagnose the problem before it occurs and BMW has no suggested service steps T P[revent occurrence. When this happens its very dangerous and V expensive to remediate. BMW occasionally covers a goodwill repair but won't cover under warranty. Advice from BMW is not park the vehicle under trees! dealer indicates when this re-occurs BMW will not cover the cost again.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 042010


  • 28,300 miles
Have had 3 separate instances in the past 9 months where my car stalled or sputtered with loss of power, and once I had no steering or braking ability. Dangerous situation in freeway traffic.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

May 302008


  • miles
2008 BMW 535I has an engine malfunction and a problem with the fuel valves. The consumer stated the engine had very little power. Two months later, the consumer had to take the vehicle back to the dealer due to the same problem previously. The dealer informed the consumer again it was the fuel valves. The consumer experienced the problem for a third time, in he lost virtually all power in the engine. So far, the dealer has been unable to determine the cause of the failure.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Jul 072008


  • 6,000 miles
BMW 528I - if you carry liquids which spill in your trunk, the liquid can seep through and burn the wires, or the car will stop running (per service department), which can cause an accident. On 7-5 my car had a low tire light go on. I was told to take the car in as they might need to "reset" something. I took the car in &was told to return on 7-7 as they couldn't get the light to go off. On 7-7 we took the car in.the service rep. Called &asked me if I had spilled water in the trunk.I told him on 7-4 a water bottle spilled.he told me due to the water spill, the repair would not be covered under warranty.he said they ran tests and wires were burnt 3 to 4┐. he said there is a chance when you put water bottles in trunk & they are not sealed tightly the heat can cause them to expand, & open up & spill. He said he warned his wife of this. I was not warned the wires are down there & not to carry liquid in the trunk. I asked if I could drive the car and he said no there is a possibility of the car shutting down when the wires are burned. I can't use the trunk for grocery shopping for fear that something will ┐leak┐ and cause the wires to ┐burn┐ again, creating a possible fire hazard. If there is no fire due to the burnt wires, there is the possibility of the car 'shutting down┐, causing an accident which could cause injury to myself or another party. The general public should be warned the BMW trunk can't handle transporting liquid stored in containers.the wires should have been protected from water damage due to their location and possible damage by liquid. These wires are somewhere under the spare tire in the trunk area, which is, in my opinion, a flaw in the design. I would feel bad if anyone was injured because they are not aware of the wires placed where they are & the fact that they are not protected from liquid.

- Orange, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 052008


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 BMW 528I (na). The contact stated that a sealed bottle of water stored in the trunk leaked. The leak caused an electrical shortage, which burned the wires and modulators. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 6,000.

- Orange, CA, USA

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