really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,027 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.

2007 BMW X3 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2007 BMW X3 Owner Comments

problem #19

Nov 012016


  • 105,000 miles


In cool climate on November 1, 2016. Turn on my heat seat, then I smelled something burned, then I felt sharp burn on left butt cheek. Then I knew something wrong with heat I turned off, , on November 7, 2016, I tried again, ,, burning smell is so bad, the heat still burned almost through out side layer of seat

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #18

Mar 272016


  • 110,000 miles
BMW X3 heated seat burned hole through seat. If heated seat is turned on, visible sparks or fire will come through hole. Hole is directly below driver's left thigh. BMW has issued a recall for other models, but not the X3. The X3 is susceptible to the same issue.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #17

Nov 012015


  • 107,000 miles
My 2007 BMW X3's driver side seat heater overheated while I was driving and burnt my thigh. I reacted to the burn and almost ran off the road. When I stopped I found a black burned spot on my seat. From my research it seems this has been a common problem with this model. I think the company should have to fix this problem before someone is hurt badly.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #16

Jan 212016


  • 147,000 miles


Due to cold weather, engaged the driver side seat heater. Noticed a sharp pain in my leg and then began to smell and see smoke. Fortuneatly, I was quickly able to realize the seat heater appeared to have a short in it, and turned off before burning through the leather and setting my cloths on fire. I will be contacting my local BMW dealership to see what, if anything they are will to do. I feel there should be a recall before someone is seriuosly hurt or killed. The engine was idling when seat heater was on. I was backing out of driveway and driving down street when I noticed. If I would have had seat heater on and then stepped away from vehicle as it was warmimg up, I am confident the driver seat would have caught on fire or at least severly damaged it.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #15

Jan 202016


  • 131,154 miles
While driving this morning the drivers side heated seat was in use since it was cold outside. I began to smell the oder of something burning and my left leg felt extremely warm. Not knowing what was burning I turned off my heated seat and my passengers seat which was occupied. I also turned off the vehicle heater and defrosters. Upon arrival at my destination I found that the drivers seat had two burn marks just above the electric seat controls where my leg was as I was positioned while driving.

- Oviedo, FL, USA

problem #14

Nov 272015


  • 125,000 miles
The car is equipped with seat heaters. One of the heating elements failed, overheated and burned through the seat surface. In doing research, this appears to be a problem with the vehicles. BMW did do a recall on the X5, but does not show a recall on the X3. On various sites, this issue has occurred many times with owners, some with the vehicle catching on fire. I found complaints on the following sites; carcomplaints.com, bimmerfest.com and arfc.org. Just on carcomplaints, this complaint is shown 23 times; madbury, nh, portland, or, westfield, in, derwood, md, tampa, fl, annapolis, md, louisville, ky, bergenfield, NJ, holderness, nh, Liberty township, oh, laurel, md, novi, mi, cromwell, ct, prairie village, ks, hillsborough, nc, daly city, ca, alexandria, va, saginaw, tx, bethesda. Md, pittsburg, pa, selah, wa. Same issue with each. BMW of North America was contacted and their response was "it's a part of wear and tear....no offer to assist" from BMW na. Yet, the issue has continued to arise and BMW na did replace the heater element and seat surface in some instances, making the replacement a matter of preference or discrimination, or dealer's opinion of the car owner versus correcting the manufacturing/design defect problem. I would request the assistance of NHTSA to review this matter and protect the public from hazardous over-heating/ fire threats. I was fortunate to have been just getting into the vehicle and smell the burning leather and turned off the seat heating system before a fire could occur.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #13

Jan 192015

X3 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles


While driving smelled something burning and also realized my upper leg was in pain. Turned off the seat warmer and investigated after reaching my destination. There was a scorch mark in the seat near the bottom left bolster. Lucky this didn't cause a fire or bodily injury.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #12

Aug 162014

X3 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Experiencing recurrent electrical issues including multiple episodes of complete loss of engine power, power steering, and power braking while driving at 15-25 mph. This includes an episode of the vehicle's engine cutting off without warning during a turn on a busy street resulting in immediate loss of power steering and brakes, nearly resulting in a head-on collision. Vehicle will restart immediately and without difficulty after incident occurs. Vehicle has also experienced multiple episodes of a battery drawing down voltage and non-start in the morning despite a new and fully charged battery. Battery has been replaced and problem persisted. Software was updated yet problem continues to persist. No issues found by mechanic.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #11

Feb 182014

X3 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
I purchased the vehicle on February 07, 2014 and while driving home from work my vehicle started jerking. It would jerk really hard and when you would try to stop by pressing on the brake the vehicle would jerk harder as if it is about to break down. The second time was in April, I believe the 5th I was having the same problem and then several warning lights came on. I called the dealership and brought the car in. As soon as the service advisor checked on the vehicle she said the car is not drivable and how it is unsafe to drive. There was another problem with the vehicle. I brought the vehicle in may for an oil change but when I was driving the vehicle towards the end of June it said I was really low on oil. I went to turn the vehicle in and it would not start.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 302013

X3 6-cyl

  • 67,698 miles
23 month old toddler gained access to vehicle keys and locked himself in with the remote key. After several attempts of him trying to open the doors with the door levers, they would not open. We had a lock smith attempt to unlock the doors by pushing the door lock/unlock button located on the upper center console, but this also didn't unlock the doors. The driver side door finally opened after pushing the center lock/unlock button and then pulling on the door lever two times to actually be able to unlock and open the driver door. This entry system requires the use of electrics prior to the mechanical system becoming active. This situation could be very dangerous during high temperature days if a person is locked inside and dangerous in the event of an escape if the electric system fails with the doors in the locked position.

- Martinsville , NJ, USA

problem #9

Sep 012012


  • 96,000 miles


The contact owns a 2007 BMW X3. The contact stated that while driving with the heated seat warmer activated, the contact smelled a burning odor. The heated seat warmer had burned a hole through the driver's seat and the contact's pant leg, burning the contact. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 96,000 and the current mileage was 100,000.

- Avoca , IN, USA

problem #8

Apr 092012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2007 BMW X3. The contact stated that the battery and battery cables failed. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was advised that the battery cable connecters needed to be replaced. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage and current mileages were unknown.

- Calsvad, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 082013

X3 6-cyl

  • 78,653 miles
Driving vehicle noticed a burning smell, at first thought it was coming from outside of car, then while in heavy traffic and unable to pull over felt a burning pain on thigh. Immediately turned off seat warmer and tried to pull over. Found that drivers side seat warmer had burnt a hole thru the leather seat cover and burned my pants. This could have very easily caused a wreck!

- Liberty Township, OH, USA

problem #6

Dec 172012

X3 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
I had car heating system on and felt some thing very hot under my thigh. I got down to inspect and found a hole in the car seat. I put off the heating system to reach home safely. I have sent pictures and my complaint to BMW ag and BMW usa.

- Cromwell, CT, USA

problem #5

Dec 042012

X3 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Turned on heated seat on driver's side. After approximately 2 minutes, felt burning on left side of seat. Turned off the heated seat, turned on the light and the seat was smoking substantially. A small hole was burned through the leather seat (about the size of a dime) and through my pants. I have a small red mark on the top of the back of my leg. The vehicle smells like smoke. Luckily, I was in the driveway when this happened or an accident might have occurred. Very concerning and will likely be a costly repair. Have noted several other similar incidents repoted on-line.

- Hillsborough, NC, USA

problem #4

Dec 152011

X3 6-cyl

  • miles
Driver's side seat heater has malfunctioned and has burnt the leather and caused discomfort while driving. Heavy burnt smell in the cabin resulted from using the seat heater.

- Selah, WA, USA

problem #3

Feb 262010


  • 21,000 miles
After multiple attempts to remedy the situation, BMW has been unable to resolve the transmission and the intermittent loss of power and most recently "limp-home" mode occurrence associated with the drivetrain on the 2007 BMW X3. The symptoms 1st presented itself as a loss of power from a start. Upon pressing the accelerator, the vehicle did not respond and then responded with a surge or lurching forward. This makes for unpredictable and dangerously erratic vehicle performance. After multiple visits (+4) and multiple complaints along with the sound of gear or differential noise, the dealership finally did some type of ECU update that appeared to resolve the problem. The noise never subsided and recently the car was inoperable forcing a tow after upon pressing the accelerator the vehicle went into transmission limp-mode. As usual, the symptoms "can't be duplicated" once codes are cleared yet the ECU is throwing multiple codes for transmission limp-mode and code 56be for clutch gears 2 and 6. I believe that this is a very dangerous situation to either press the accelerator and for it to be non-responsive then have a delayed vehicle surge not proportional to the input and timing of the accelerator depression and/or press the accelerator and experience significantly curtailed vehicle power due to the "limp-home" condition. This has been a recurring issue since the purchase of the vehicle on 5/31/2009.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 122009


  • 30,000 miles
BMW X3 needs new computer system due to water damage allegedly emanating from a clogged drain in the sunroof. New computer costs appx $2,000. Dealer and BMW say the drain can't be seen or accessed by owner and it isn't cleaned as part of any servicing. Clear design flaw. I know of others who have had the same situation and bmws response is to try and file an insurance claim.

- Beverly Hills, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 202008


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 (na) BMW X3. The contact stated that the brake lights illuminated automatically several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for service, but they found no failures. The light illuminated again and the contact was able to reset the system by turning off the vehicle. The light illuminated again and remained lit. He took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the electrical switch failed. In addition, the brakes failed while driving at an unknown speed. The contact drove onto a curve and crashed into a tree. There were no injuries. The gear shifter failed and stuck to the floor when it was pulled. The transmission is also failing. During acceleration, the vehicle pulls backwards violently and the contact's hands released the steering wheel. The instrument panel indicators also illuminate. A report was filed with the manufacturer and they stated that nothing was wrong with the vehicle. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was 7,300 and the failure mileage was unknown.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

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