hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,636 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.

2002 BMW M3 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 BMW M3 Owner Comments

problem #4

May 012014


  • 70,045 miles


I am filing this complaint on behalf of myself and the countless others experiencing this potentially fatal defect in BMW's smg pump unit. I was driving on the freeway for about 5 minutes when I noticed my car immediately shifted into neutral without me making that decision. I was in the middle of changing lanes when this happened. The smg warning light came on. I put my hazards on. The car abruptly slowed as it chose to shift back to 4th gear as I was going 65mph. I tried shifting back up to gear safely get to the shoulder but with no luck as the vehicle went back into neutral. The cars behind me came very rapidly and two almost hit me as a result of this pump failure. By this time I was traveling around 40mph in a 65+ traffic zone. I finally rolled my car down the shoulder to safety. I replaced the smg relay with a spare new one I always carried in the car. I waited 10 minutes for the vehicle to cool off as I knew this was the infamous smg pump issue. The car started back up with no light and drove me almost the entire route back home. Just about a mile from my home, same thing happened. This time leaving me completely stuck in a busy intersection. Luckily, the people behind me were kind enough to help push my car out of the way. I called a friend and we pushed the car all the way back to my garage. Now this is just the first time it has happened. It happens in less than 3 minutes of driving the car just when I try to move it never breaking 15mph. Bmwna ignores our complaints as their dealerships make money hand over fist with this $4000 repair. My complaint is not with the repair amount. Us M3 owners are aware of the maintenance and repair costs for our highly specialized vehicles. However, this pump malfunction is a very real danger to all drivers. We've seen this happen to vehicles with anywhere from 15K to 120K miles on them. BMW needs to issue a recall.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 262012

M3 6-cyl

  • 77,500 miles
Multiple incidents since the day after we purchased the car: ?driving in 4th gear (anywhere from 10 to 40 mins of driving) will suddenly feel as if clutch is engaged so I cannot accelerate, yellow transmission warning light comes on, then I have to coast to a complete stop and shut the engine off. It can take several attempts to restart the car to re-engage back into 1st gear. Noticed if I wait long enough, once the transmission warning light also turns off then I can restart back in first gear. All this while driving in auto mode. "same issue as above but has happened in the lower gears while accelerating or when cruising at higher gears, for example, 6th gear and manually shifting into 5th, warning light will come on, car will not be in gear, will have to coast to a stop and attempt to restart with 1st gear again. ?same issue as above, but has happened while parked at a red light, indicator shows 1st gear, but when I try to go, the warning light comes on and I?M not in gear, requires a stop/restart of engine again ? sometimes multiple tries. This happens on both even, declined and inclined road surfaces. "this is extremely dangerous as we have been left dead in the road attempting to restart the car while there's on-coming traffic around us!

- Murphy, TX, USA

problem #2

Jul 012011

M3 6-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
Trouble with smg transmission. Car will not stay in gear and bucks hard trying to engage.

- Bedford Hills , NY, USA

problem #1

Mar 152003


  • 1,000 miles
The transmission has failed 4 times. It has been repaired 4 times with no effect. The dealer drove it over 300 mile to "test drive" the car. BMW does not respond with anything but rhetoric and poor service. Other owners have had their engines literally blow up! BMW is a terriblel company with defective products and poor service.

- Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA

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