really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,344 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.

2004 BMW X3 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 BMW X3 Owner Comments

problem #16

Nov 072017


  • 155,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW X3. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled and was unable to restart on several occasions. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. Burdick BMW (5947 E circle dr, cicero, NY 13039, (315) 459-6000) was contacted, but the vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 155,000. The VIN was not available.

- Oswego, NY, USA

problem #15

May 112017


  • 0 miles
Vehicle fires.

- Merced, CA, USA

problem #14

Dec 162016

X3 6-cyl

  • 5 miles
Driver's side seat burned through the seat and burned the jacket when the seat heater was turned on while my wife was driving. This is the second time it happened in this car. First time it happened while the car was under warranty, and the dealership (silver spring BMW of md) replaced the seat under warranty. In this case got lucky it did not catch fire or cause any injury to us. This situation easily could have ended up in a car fire. I was stunned to hear how lithely BMW na approach towards my concern when I called to lodge a complaint. At highway speed this could have been a fatal situation due to distraction this burn created worst car on fire.

- Clarksburg, MD, USA

problem #13

Aug 222014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW X3. The contact stated that the 4X4 warning lamp and the ABS warning lamp illuminated intermittently. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was previously involved in two separate crashes. After the most recent crash, the vehicle was taken to the authorized dealer and unknown repairs were performed and the warning lamps continued to illuminate for the ABS warning lamp and the 4X4 warning lamp. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The details of the crash were unknown. The failure mileage was not available.

- Compton, CA, USA

problem #12

Dec 252012

X3 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving on freeway and driver's side seat heater overheated burning seat and creating abundant smoke inside car's cabin. This was a very dangerous situation on the freeway and I have no doubt that the seat would have caught fire if I hadn't felt the burning sensation early enough. Dealer stated that they had never heard of this happening and quoted $1200+ repair. Researched online and found many similar occurrences. Decided not to repair and chance the same happening again. Disconnected wiring to seat heater.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #11

Sep 012013

X3 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Door locks work intermittently - key fob and central lock button work normally at times. Other times all will fail, causing all doors except for the driver's door to become locked from both the inside and outside, when this occurs the key fob and central button fail. This causes you to be locked in the vehicle if you are not in the driver's seat. The only key fob button to work when this occurs is the rear hatch. Other failures are when the doors will lock with the key fob, but only the driver's door will unlock using it.

- Philomath, OR, USA

problem #10

Mar 142013

X3 6-cyl

  • 98,621 miles


As I was driving on the freeway with the driver's side heated seat on the low setting, I felt a sudden burning sensation on my back of my upper left thigh and shifted slightly, putting my hand under the area to see what was the matter. The rear area of the left side seat bolster had gotten so hot I had to turn off the seat heater immediately. I decided not to turn it on again until another time in late March when I again turned on the seat heater. The same sudden feeling of "overheating" was immediately felt in the same area, I turned off the seat heater, and I haven't used it since then. When my car was in for service for another issue, I mentioned it to my service advisor and asked whether he knew of other similar incidents or whether there was a BMW recall for the issue. He said no to both questions.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #9

Jul 222013

X3 6-cyl

  • 140,500 miles
There was a very mild rain last two days in madison. Now my car has central lock problem and also wet floor. I'm happy that I was not driving the car while it was raining. I read over the internet that many BMW X3 have this water leakage and electrical problems. A wet interior and a live electrical system, and you know what might happen.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #8

Jun 012010

X3 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Short circuit in heating element for driver's side seat. Shocks occur through leather when heater is active. Turned off heat and discontinued use of heating element to avoid damage/burns. Passenger side heating element is still ok.

- Aloha, OR, USA

problem #7

Jan 272012

X3 6-cyl

  • 47,598 miles
Driver's seat back heater grid shorted causing damage to the insulation and leather seat cover. It was hot enough to cause physical burns.

- Newport Beach, CA, USA

problem #6

Jan 232012


  • miles


On January 23, 2012 after a whole weekend of downpour rain, I get into my X3 to notice water on the center console (near my cup holder) I look up and notice the water is dripping from the top middle console (where the moon roof control, air bag button and sos call button are located). Not only was it dripping water but the whole area around but it was soaked and wet. After reading about this on-line that other people have and are experiencing this water leak problem, I realized I need to check the other areas people mention they had water leaks. That's when I checked the floor on both the driver and passenger side and to my surprise the driver side had more water than what I could ever imagine, it was drenched. So now that I have all this water in my car it looks like it has caused some problems with my sos button. Without me touching it, it tries to calls and doesn't get a connection. It reads BMW phone inactive and it keeps making a noise that comes through the speakers. I've also noticed that light from the middle top console is not working correctly. I am sure I'm going to end up with a lot more electrical, lighting problems than just these few. This is a problem that needs to be looked into and fix by BMW.

- Oakland , CA, USA

problem #5

May 102011


  • 48,600 miles
While I am driving the instrument cluster light turn off, all digital display on cluster disappeared about 10 seconds and turn back on. It seem like all headlight and tail light also turn off. It seem like happened 1 or 2 times a year.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #4

Jul 202009


  • 74,568 miles
Started the car and the airbag warning lamp came on and will not go off. The airbag has not been deployed and there has not been an accident. The passenger airbag status lamp is also on all the time. I am concerned the airbags are not working. The warning lights have been on for about 2 weeks.

- Abilene, TX, USA

problem #3

May 012005

X3 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,500 miles
Hi, I was woundering if anyone has heard of 3series spontaniously catching fire while driving down the road. My lady and I were driving in houston May 1st when smoke started to come out of the air ducts.then the guages started to go up and down, as soon as I saw that I pulled over and started to get my valuables out. Within 9-13 min the car was fully envolved with fire. I was in awe standing there watching my 2004 BMW as it wnt up in smoke. The next day BMW of houston North, my local dealer, went and picked it up from the tow yard and took it to the dealership. They said a team is coming down and it is under investigation. I was wondering if anyone had any advice, comments or just to say "sorry to hear that".I finally talked to my contact at BMW na. His name is brian babcock and he stated to me that the investigation team could not find the cause or nature of the fire. Since they could not find the cause, that I file the under my insurance. I was very disappointed that they told me this. I asked for his supervisors name and # and said, thank you for you time and I will contact him. I got off the phone just so mad, but I kept my cool on the phone. I called my dealership and stated to them what coustomer relations told to me. I talked to the service manager and told him he needs to start contacting someone about this issue, very quickly. BMW na they said they are standing with"we cant find the cause of the fire and we cant help at all" end qoute. They also said your options are to get with your council and send a certified letter. Everyone that I talk to about this, is amazed that BMW has dropped me in the grease and is not willing to do anything. Allstate called me thur and told me that there team of investigators found the cause of the fire that took the life of my car on May 1. they said they found that it was the "correct me if I say this wrong" B cable going to the starter was pinched and caused the ignition. P.S. make of my car is 325ci, not a

- Kingwood, TX, USA

problem #2

Mar 152005

X3 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Consumer experienced computer failure, that included all of the gauges on the dashboard I.e., fuel, temperature, electronic speed). The exterior and interior lighting failed, brake lights, signal lights. The vehicle always had a electronic message stating that there was an airbag failure. The consumer contacted the dealer and they advised not to worry about the airbag failure message. The consumer experienced door lock failure. The locks would not lock. The locks would work most of the time with the keyless entry. The radio never worked. The check engine light remained on continuously. Consumer states she had the vehicle to the dealer at least 8 to 10 times. The dealer would take the car in the back and adjust something and then return it to the consumer and tell her it was fixed. Consumer states vehicle is unsafe due to exterior lights failing and airbag failure light. Consumer does not own the car any longer. Dealer contacted him to bring the car back in and he would give his money back. Consumer is concerned that this vehicle has been passed on to another consumer with all the problems.

- Boca Rotan, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 032004

X3 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120 miles
Multiple electronic problems from day of purchase. Fuel gauge problems/air conditioning shut down and slowing/dashboard malfunctioned, cumulating in failure of ignition. 3 days later, battery indicated a green sensor, therefore assumption electronic failure occurred elsewhere.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

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