hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,876 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.

2003 BMW X5 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 BMW X5 Owner Comments

problem #12

Jan 202011

X5 6-cyl

  • 56,790 miles


Oil separator malfunctioned in cold temperatures. When driving experienced smoke under the hood and was forced to pull over. Drove slowly with hazards to nearest mechanic and incurred $1,955 in repair charge. Mechanic informed me that this was becoming a popular defect with the oem oil separator on this make and model.

- Saint Louis Park, MN, USA

problem #11

Dec 092011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW X5. The contact stated that the timing change fractured. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the timing change needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- East North Port, NY, USA

problem #10

Feb 132010

X5 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
While traveling in the middle lane of traffic at 55 mph my BMW X5 started pouring smoke from the exhaust and completely shut down leaving me helpless with no power on a major highway.

- Reading , MA, USA

problem #9

Jan 212011

X5 6-cyl

  • 58,076 miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW X5. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph smoke starting coming through the vents without any warnings. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the ccv valve froze causing an oil spillage. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 58,076. Updated 3/14/11 according to the invoice, the valve cover gasket was leaking oil excessively. Updated 06/24/11

- Glendale, WI, USA

problem #8

Feb 132008


  • 64,000 miles
Cold weather (New York winter). 2003 BMW X5, 3.0 engine seized without warning. Oil separator and valve cover gasket faulty. The crank case valve freezes, causing oil to spill into the engine. This problem occurred three times. 1. Feb 13 2008 2. Jan 28 2009 and 3. Jan 2011. Total cost for used engine $6,000 this year and $3000 in 2008/2009 to repair. Spark plugs needed to be replaced, engine needed to be cleaned 2008 and defective disa valve replaced 2009.

- Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA

problem #7

Oct 192009


  • 70,000 miles
BMW 2003 X5 stalled 3X. ABS, engine failed safe turned on. Irvine BMW repaired the problem. Last Monday Oct. 19, 2009 I picked up my vehicle after driving in the freeway for about 10 miles it stalled again for the 3rd time.

- Ladera Ranch, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 082003


  • 48,000 miles


The engine seized without warning. At the time the engine stalled; light, white smoke came from the exhaust. The car and engine seemed to operate fine for about 20 minutes prior. No warning lights came up or smoke came from the exhaust during the 20 minutes of driving. Regular engine and oil changes were previously done. The mechanic is saying a new engine is required.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #5

Feb 072009


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW X5. While driving 10 mph, the vehicle stalled and then completely shut off, losing all power and electricity. There were no warning indicators illuminated prior to the failure. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that the oil separator was the cause of the failure. The vehicle is currently being repaired. The manufacturer has not been notified. The current and failure mileages were approximately 83,000.

- Yarmouth, ME, USA

problem #4

Jan 242008

X5 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 54,000 miles
Without prior warning, the car (2003 BMW X5) will stall. The stalling has occurred in traffic and in parking lots.

- Santa Fe Springs, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 152005

X5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,200 miles
The contact stated while driving the engine temperature raised all the way to the red without any warning. There wasn't any smoke or any other indicators of problems with the vehicle. She contacted her dealer, and was advised to have the vehicle towed to the dealership.

- Boundbrook, NJ, USA

problem #2

Dec 152004

X5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer was traveling 45 mph and vehicle surged forward, and drove roughly. A loud grinding noise was heard coming from the front. Consumer noticed that the check engine light flashed on then off. Consumer drove it to the dealer, and mechanic determined that two ignition coil springs needed to be replaced inside of the engine.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #1

Jan 062004

X5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,451 miles
I have a new BMW 3.0 X5 with 3,500 miles and had my vehicle die and requiring towing to the dealer with a crank case valve freeze up draining oil all thru the engine and requiring a non original designed replacement valve that no serice tech feels with be reliable below 10 degrees above zero. I live in Minnesota and this is not acceptable for a new vehicle in this weather. Now my vehicle is no longer reliable and it presents a safety issue because this could happen on the highway or any where. No guarantees of it not happening again. I purchased the vehicle from the dealer new only five months ago.

- Minnetonka, MN, USA

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