really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,307 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.

2013 BMW X3 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 BMW X3 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #51

Aug 032019


  • 51,000 miles


We purchased a 2013 BMW X3 in December 2012. The vehicle has been dealer serviced from day one. In 2018, fairfax BMW replaced the timing chain at no cost when the vehicle had only 45K miles which is highly unusual. In early August I was driving on interstate 81 South travelling from Virginia to Arizona. The car began making a ticking sound which became progressively louder. I exited the busy highway and barely made it to BMW of roanoke, va. I was travelling the speed limit when the problem began, and was barely able to go 45 miles per hour when I exited. I soon learned that my particular engine (F-25/N20) has a major defect and will literally blow up while driving. BMW is aware of the problem, and has endangered my health and safety by refusing to correct the problem. A class action lawsuit has been filed in New Jersey (chris williams, et.al. V. BMW North America). The dealer in roanoke said the engine is unrepairable with only 51K miles on the odometer. One last observation in noticed is that prior to starting my trip I checked the engine oil level and it was almost a quart low which had never happened before. I filled the engine to it's recommended capacity and began my travel. There is a list of affected vehicles with engine defects, and my vehicle is on the list.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #50

Aug 022019


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 BMW X3. While driving 15 mph and approaching a stop sign, the check engine warning indicator illuminated and "drivetrain malfunction" and "low oil pressure" appeared on the instrument panel. In addition, the contact stated that a rattling noise was coming from the engine compartment and the vehicle started to shake. The contact coasted the vehicle to the side of the road and powered off the engine. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to the contact's residence. The following day, the vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the timing chain was fractured and the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer and was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 79,000.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #49

Jul 042019


  • 115,000 miles
Driving on highway around 70 mph, drivetrain malfunction message came on monitor within a few seconds another message saying low oil pressure pull to side and call for service. Manged to pull to the side, but potential was there after losing power to get into an accident. I was 300 miles from home on July 4, 2019 no shop was open, so had aaa tow the vehicle to BMW dealer, met with them the next day and found out it was a timing chain issue and needed a new engine, he also informed this was a known issue and the BMW had extended the warranty to 70K miles, but since I had 115K it was out of warranty. Called corporate BMW and informed them that this is the known issue of timing chain and they should provide assistance, I have been driving BMW for over 10 years and currently own 2. they came back and said they will not be giving any goodwill or anything to help with the repair. They would not stand by their vehicle on a known issue with a loyal customer. Needless to say, I won't buy a vehicle from a company that does not stand by their vehicle. I have looked at the database and found many vehicles with the same exact issue, enough for BMW to extend the warranty for this issue but currently not enough for an investigation or recall.

- Mcmurray, PA, USA

problem #48

Mar 142019


  • miles


Faulty plastic timing chain guide that fails prematurely. At 113,000, my mechanic is telling me to either replace the timing chain and components, or get rid of the vehicle, as the engine will eventually fail if this in not addressed. At nearly 5K or more in repairs, that is basically 50% of the vehicle's resale value. BMW is aware of the issue and should issue a recall for a bad design and faulty components. Many others with the BMW N20 engine have had their engine fail completely, or had to pay astronomical repair costs to correct BMW's design error. A multi-billion dollar company should be held responsible for selling a problematic engine, not the owner.

- Cerritos, CA, USA

problem #47

May 272019


  • 104,344 miles
Driving West on I84 in ct. Just East of exit 33 before rt 72 merge low oil pressure message comes on. Within 30 seconds drivetrain malfunction message appears and the engine starts to power down. Barely made it across the 2 lanes merging on the right and onto the shoulder before the engine lost power entirely and shut down. Could have been a total disaster given the high speed merge and volume of traffic.

- Ossining, NY, USA

problem #46

May 212019


  • 75,000 miles
I was driving down a busy road, moving at about 25 mph and received the drive train warning and as I was pulling over, ir, then studently I got a message, engine loss power, and the car suddenly stop not have a chance to pull over..how dangerous is this I was with my grand kids in the car. The car would not restart and had tow to the dealer.. waiting for estimated..dangerous situation pulling into traffic specially on a highway would never recommend this "ultimate driving machine" to anyone! they waiting for a fatal crash to take actions "????"

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #45

May 112019


  • 94,000 miles


Driving on highway braking to slowdown at a light as I was coming into town. Message came on that oil pressure was low and to call roadside assist. Moved off highway and cut engine on and of twice. Message cleared but decided to drive home. Message came on drivetrain malfunction drive moderately so I continued on for about 1.5 miles at slow speed. A clicking sound could be heard. The car jumped into neutral so I coasted to a safe spot and tried to put car in drive unsuccessfully. Turned engine off and would not restart. Tow truck put on flatbed to mechanic who then ran a a scan. He said the engine is ruined and will need replacing. The dealer in san antonio, tx replaced the turbocharger twice with the last being in the fall of 2017. Nothing was mentioned that there was such a problem with this that an extended warranty had been given. Our car has 94,000 miles. We had just driven through houston in a storm. This could have cost us our lives if we had been stranded in the flooding highway blocking traffic let alone other lives.

- Victoria, TX, USA

problem #44

May 152019


  • 88,000 miles
Driving at normal speed. Notification appeared of drivetrain malfunction. I stopped the car on the side of the road and turned the engine off. Restarted the engine and the notification was off. Started driving again and notification came on low oil pressure. The engine started to make a loud ticking noise while I pulled off the road. Car was towed to my home. Contacted the dealer for service. They stated that it was likely a timing chain issue which they have extended the warranty to cover. My car has 88K miles. When I told them the mileage they told me it wasn't covered over 70K miles. They said that it sounded like the damage would likely ruin the engine and require possibly a new engine. Either way, it would be at least $1000 for the inspection and diagnosis. I have had regular service at the dealer and they never mentioned no checked for this potential problem while my vehicle was in for service when the mileage was under 70K.

- Montville, OH, USA

problem #43

Apr 252019


  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle stopped in the middle of the road and sensors lite up and vehicle stalled. Mechanic determined it was the timing chain, warranty company demanded engine be opened up to check values, found timing chain bolt broken off in the engine not to be found. Warranty company blamed bolt and refused to pay repairs, new engine required since bolt could not be found. None issue with BMW

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #42

Apr 232019


  • 69,550 miles
While driving on the highway low oil pressure light came on and the engine locked itself. Got towed to the dealer and was told timing chain problem and new engine potentially. After some research found the same incident happening to lots of people. I also found that there is an extended warranty on this 7/70,000. We were lucky to have 69,550 miles.

- Collegeville, PA, USA

problem #41

Apr 172019


  • 86,947 miles


My 2013 X BMW was giving a message on the dash board stating if I stop the engine I may not be able to re-start the car. On April 17, 2019 I drove to prime motor group BMW of norwood, MA for service. I was told that the replace a part and the car cannot start, at this point I was getting an E-mail from the dealer with an estimate cost of close to $5,500 to repair it. At the time taking the car for the problem, there were 5 recalls pending for my car that needed immediate attention repair, but the recalls was kept secret from me until on April 24, 2019 I towed the car back to the dealer to replace the battery for $525 as I was toll by the service counselor to get that start back. As off now, my car is still seating at the dealer, but I don't have $5,500 to repair the engine and the electrical issues.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #40

Mar 282019


  • 93,000 miles
I was driving in the highway with my 7 month old baby and all of the sudden my car stops, it was towed to the closest BMW dealer. One day later I get a notification in my email that the engine is no longer working due to a timing chain problem. The total cost for repair is 15K!

- Netcong, NJ, USA

problem #39

Apr 072019


  • 70,800 miles
2013 BMW X3 sdrive28I (F25) timing chain rail guide failed at 70,800 miles on route 80, near akron, Ohio. "low oil pressure" warning displayed on dashboard, traveling around 77mph on cruise control. BMW of akron said that bmwna will cover 35% of the cost of a "goodwill" engine replacement. Out of pocket expense: $7,706.67. The car is currently worth $14,000 retail at this point (April 2019).

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #38

Mar 252019


  • 92,000 miles
In the morning of March 25th, 2019 in rush hour highway traffic the BMW X3 2013 with 92,000 miles on odometer ceased normal operation and was making very loud metallic noise. Car went to "limp" mode and was able to be driven off the highway and park. Car could not be re-started at that time. Car was towed to local BMW dealership where the service dept diagnosed car with major engine failure, admitting was likely related to malfunctioned timing chain guard a known engineering defect for the BMW N20 28I engine for the 2013 model year. Suggested resolution was new engine quoted originally at $16,000 but lowered to $11,300 plus tax for a car valued at roughly $12,000. BMW na offered assistance in discounting the repair to the quoted amount of $11,300 but will not authorize full coverage for repair cost as car is outside of the extended warranty of 7 year/70K. The original warranty was increased due to known defects and failures of the N20 engine and apparently no proactive offer at BMW na's expense to fix this issue.

- Harrison, OH, USA

problem #37

Jan 122019


  • 66,000 miles
January 12, 2019 car was parked unoccupied on street for 2+hours after driving it 20 miles. Vehicle spontaneously caught fire and burned to the ground, total loss. Engine replaced by BMW one year prior under warranty for timing chain guide failure. Complete service performed by BMW in October 2018. Approximately 66,000 miles on vehicle.

- Tualatin, OR, USA

problem #36

Jan 252019


  • 91,000 miles
Jan/25/2019 4P cst, wife was driving at low speeds, car showed "engine oil pressure low" warning, and then stalled at the intersection of 15th St SE and 5th St SE, Minnesota, mn. The vehicle was towed to motorwerks BMW service dept, 1300 american blvd w, bloomington, mn 55420. Service advisor, lorren, suggested that the timing chain broke, and has caused catastrophic, irreparable damage to the motor, and a new motor would be required. Now, I'm no car expert, but there 1 thing for sure that there no way a timing chain should just break like that, and destroy the engine, unless there a major design flaw so, I did some digging, and there are a lot of similar cases for 2013 X3 28I with N20 motors. It seems like BMW has aware of the design flaw, and BMW redesigned the problem components, had extended the warranty to 7yrs/70K miles, but never issued a safety recall. This issue is so widespread that there's already a class action filed for this issue - bmwenginefailureclassaction.com/ some reports: Https://defectiveconsumerproducts.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/BMW-N20-N26-engine-timing-chain-andor-oil-pump-drive-chain-component-failure/ bmwenginefailureclassaction.com/"fbclid=iwar3-wggd2djjswtiphsqsum9avl43Q3lp3zwjeqrexn3luxipqar2V2O9yk https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2017/BMW-N20-N26-engine-lawsuit-blames-timing-chains.shtml https://www.carcomplaints.com/BMW/X3/2013/engine/broken_timing_chain_guide.shtml https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/community/BMW-problem-timing-chain-293617047394760/ www.rightfootdown.com/cars/automotive-news/BMW-redesigns-N20-timing-chain-components-N26-too/ https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=901376 https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=912547 https://X3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php"T=1496333

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #35

Jun 192012


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 BMW X3. After the contact added coolant to the vehicle, the check engine indicator illuminated and "coolant low, refill coolant and check status" appeared on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to steven's creek BMW (4343 stevens creek blvd, santa clara, ca 95051, (800) 298-1501) where it was determined that the vehicle was not included in a recall. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and did not assist. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #34

Jan 212019


  • 77,998 miles
Timing chain broken

- Westminster, CA, USA

problem #33

Dec 302018


  • 1,060,714 miles
I was driving on the highway at speed 55 - 65 miles per hr, then studently I got a message, engine loss power, and the car suddenly stop. I was able to slide to the side off road. Car was towed to bmx dealer. The I received later, I had engine failure. They said it is common problem due to manufacturer problem. Car was 106,117 miles. Really surprising to see car engine failed this way. Something must be wrong with the manufacture. Also so dangerous for a car to failed studently on road this way. Risk of accidents.

- Edgewood, MD, USA

problem #32

Dec 032018


  • 90,000 miles
Vehicle had poor acceleration when driving on the road. Brought it into BMW service center and was informed that the timing chain and oil chain had failed and I needed a new engine. No prior problems before this. Only 90000 miles on the vehicle.

- North Aurora, IL, USA

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