hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,422 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.

2008 BMW X5 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 BMW X5 Owner Comments

problem #17

Dec 282015


  • miles


My dashboard light flick engine, ABS, parking break will shut off vehicle less than 10min driving with caution.

- Wyandanch, NY, USA

problem #16

Feb 082016


  • 70,806 miles
After parking SUV, drivers side door will not unlock/open with double pull, however, using unlock button (unlocks all doors) door will unlock. In an accident, especially one involving fire, this could be a fatal safety issue. Worked fine up until yesterday, now it won't unlock; made three trips in the vehicle yesterday and the issue occurred all three times after parking.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #15

Nov 152015


  • 82,881 miles
The first occurrence was November 15 2015. The shut down happens intermittently without warning. After sitting 24 hours, the vehicle reboots and will start - it is then good for 7 days until it happens again. Several repair shops have diagnosed, but cannot identify/duplicate problem. Battery replaced, but did not remedy issue. First occurrence, vehicle was at complete stop - various messages on nav screen (warnings: Transmission malfunction, warned if vehicle is turned off, will not start again); on dash all lights were illuminated. Turned vehicle off, did not start again, as noted on nav screen. Next day, started with no problem. Towed to shop, but could not duplicate. Drove one week, then park brake came on. Next day, same alerts-this time while driving. Did not restart after turning off. Was able to start after 24 hours, but could only drive a few feet before totally shutting down in middle of the street while make a U turn. Towed to shop that night. Next morning, shop could not duplicate, as vehicle ran smoothly. Following week, returned to shop for further testing. Battery replaced and registered. When picking up vehicle, noticed nav screen was black, would not illuminate. 4 days later, it came on, but went out again the following day. The next day, engine shut down on interstate. While waiting for tow, wipers came on, door locks and windows would not work. Could not roll down window or open door to talk to safety patrol. Patrol jump started vehicle. It was later towed to dealer (where purchased). Nav screen is still black, dvd and cd do not work (cd changer spits out cds). Shifts very hard between gears. I am very afraid to drive this vehicle, as it cuts off intermittently and without notice. However, I have no choice, as I recently purchased it in August 2015; and I have too much negative equity to trade it for another vehicle.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #14

Nov 282015


  • 126,000 miles


Engine stalled at traffic light. Unable to restart car. Everything completely locked down. Car had to be towed.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #13

May 052015


  • 91,000 miles
The rear brake lights mounted in the tailgate failed. This is due to a known fault on the E70 model, where the poor quality sealant and method used to prevent the ingress of water into the lamp housing fails. This leads to corrosion of the connector housings and the failure of the unit which must be replaced in its entirity at great cost. As BMW are aware of this happening (indeed they issued a service bulletin admitting same ) si B 63 11 10 and the item is a safety component, I feel the cars should be recalled and the work undertaken at the cost of BMW and not the unfortunate owners. They should at the very least, replace the seals with the updated item (a neoprene gasket rather than something resembling bathroom caulk) at the next sheduled service before the driver finds themselves with two failed brake light units?

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #12

Mar 302015

X5 6-cyl

  • 91,848 miles
I noted that the vehicle was not running properly so I took the SUV into an authorized BMW service center to be inspected and repaired. I was notified that the vehicle had experienced a burned up wiring harness from a short circuit to the disa valve on the engine. I was also notified that cylinders 1, 3 and 5 had failed ignition coils, which was the reason for the poor operating performance. I was also informed that the vanos valves were sticking and may need replacing. Prior to the poor running performance, last year we experienced the car filling with smoke and had to evacuate the children and adults from the car when driving the car. The car was inspected and no problems were discovered and the smoke did not return, no codes were found. A few months later, November 2014, the car suffered a "major drive failure" warning message and would not shift into gear from an engine idle condition. Car was towed to a BMW mechanic and inspected. It was discovered that a fuse had blown and was replaced without further incident. From an engineering and design perspective, no wire on a car should melt and burn, since fuses are required to protect the circuits to prevent that very event. BMW of turnersville, NJ completed the inspection under invoice #[xxx]. I fell BMW should replace the failed wiring harness and disa valve, since it caused the fire by its failure. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Middletown, DE, USA

problem #11

Sep 072014

X5 6-cyl

  • 66,000 miles


While driving on interstate 95 in philadelphia Pennsylvania just North of the airport my vehicle simply shut off in post game rush hour traffic. The engine stopped running and the power steering and power brakes failed. It was nothing short of a miracle that me and my son were not harmed and that we were able to muscle to car off the road. This car had 66,000 miles on the odometer and according to BMW, after my call, was not part of the 2008 X5's voluntary recall for this model year with normally aspirated in-line 6 cylinder engines to replace the low- pressure fuel pumps. Interestingly, in the BMW press release dated October 26, 2010 - 1130 am edt they stated that they had notified the ntsba that these pumps fail on my make and model of which they recalled 20,800 cars, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes. Wow, at 50 mph on a super highway that was a nightmare and extremely dangerous.

- Haymarket, VA, USA

problem #10

Aug 042014

X5 6-cyl

  • 50,330 miles
The 2008 X5 3.0L started to sound like a jet engine with the super loud fan noise. I thought the car was going to blow up. Took the car in for repair, and luckily the engine hadn't overheated yet. They found that the water pump was faulty, which caused the wiring to burn out, and observed oil leakage near engine. If I had driven the car any more, it would have caused significant damage to the engine of the vehicle. BMW service center told me that I have to replace the water pump, thermostat, and other parts including gasket something. Thank you.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #9

Apr 192014


  • 77,800 miles
Right rear sunroof drain did not drain properly causing electrical malfunction including failure of all safety and dash gauges - (including speedometer, gas gauge) on interstate at freeway speed. Repairs exceed $1,500.

- Thomasville, GA, USA

problem #8

Feb 152014


  • 69,000 miles
On February 15, 2014 at approximately 10:00 am, my 2008 X5 3.0si had an overheating engine problem in the middle of a blizzard-like conditions in the mountains of North Carolina where my family and I were vacationing. This was a very unsafe situation for me, my wife and three young children who were accompanying me. The car entered into a "safe mode", slowed down to almost a complete halt, just with enough time for me to pull off to the side of a steep mountain road in the middle of freezing temperatures. Then I had to try to find a safe way out of this situation. We had to stay in the car for several hours trying to keep warm until I could get a towing service to take the car back to the closest BMW service center (85 miles away) and find a car rental so I could get my family to a safe place (I.e. home, 115 miles away). The service center fixed my car at a cost of $1,400, and they traced the problem back to an electric water pump failure. This is extremely frustrating because the vehicle had manufacturer`S warranty until barely three months ago, and this expensive and vital engine part fails conveniently soon afterwards. This electric water pump ought to have a life expectancy of more than 6 years/69,000 miles. In short, my family and I were put in a dangerous situation, and I had to spend more than $1,800 (including towing and car rental charges) out of my pocket because of a notoriously bad BMW part (the subject of numerous recalls and technical service bulletins in other BMW X5S).

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #7

Dec 172013

X5 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles


My car is stock inside my garage with a parking brake malfunction error. The parking brakes will not release even when I tried manually. I had to tow the car to the dealer to fix the problem. I called BMW us but they told me that there are no recalls to fix this common problem which many owner are complaining about.

- Los Osos, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 052013


  • 52,543 miles
The X5 displayed a digital message on the dash front panel stating: "left brake light malfunction". I removed the panel where the back tail lights are located and found that the driver's brake light plastic carrier, where the bulb sits, was burnt brown, melted and cracked open. I then proceeded to check the passenger side and to my surprise, I found that the same exact circumstance had happened. I believe the bulb is too hot and too close to the plastic carrier, causing the melting. In my opinion, on top of maybe causing an accident due the malfunction of the brake lights, it is an electrical issue, that in the worst case scenario can cause a fire. I believe this matter should be investigated by the Agency. I called BMW ag, manufacturers and they replied that they don't have a recall for this vehicle with this specific problem. I owe a 528I, 2010 as well, and I received a recall letter last week to take it back for, as they stated > this recall involves the bulb carrier ("bulb holder") within the rear lamp. Within the bulb carrier, the electrical contacts may be susceptible to corrosion due to aging and environmental influences. I took the 528I to the dealership today and both tail lights bulb carriers were replaced, due to the recall notice I received, so it was fixed to standards. I took 8 very clear pictures of the melted plastic bulb carrier of the X5, 2008, I can send you if needed, to back up my complaint. Thanks for the kind attention you give to this matter and hoping to hear from you in a very near future, I remain, V/R, BMW X5, 2008, owner.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #5

Sep 132013

X5 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I was driving on the highway at 65mph suddenly the vehicle display the message that the engine temperature was too hot and advise me to pull over. Within 2 seconds, the car slow itself down in the middle of traffic despite my foot was pressing on the gas pedal. I had to immediately pull over to the shoulder to get out of traffic. I had the car towed to the BMW and it turn out the water pump had stop pumping water to the engine, causing it to overheat. BMW charged me $1200 to fix it bit I feel like there should be a recall for this issue since a quick internet search reveal numerous people who have the exact same problem as mine. I also found out that BMW did issue a recall for the same year and model as mine but only on the less popular, bigger engine version.

- Grafton, WI, USA

problem #4

Aug 292013


  • 80,000 miles
After the check engine light came on we took our vehicle to a local shop conway motors in everett, wa. Conway motors diagnosed the problem as a fuel pump and the wiring was burnt connecting the fuel pump. Mark at conway motors called BMW to see if there was a recall and was surprised when BMW parts in seattle stated there was not a recall but they were familiar with the problem and there had been other similar complaints with burnt wiring connected to the fuel pump. Mark advised we could not drive the vehicle and we were lucky the vehicle had not exploded. My wife drives this vehicle daily to work and BMW is aware of the issue but has not done a recall is totally unacceptable and put my wife's life in danger.

- Granite Falls, WA, USA

problem #3

Apr 062012

X5 6-cyl

  • 65 miles
I was left stranded on the 695 baltimore beltway after my vehicle displayed an over-heating signal in my dash. A few seconds later, the engine shut down and a red "engine overheated" signal appeared on my dash and I was only able to drive less than 5 miles an hour to move to safety (in the midst of many cars flying by me doing well over 65 mph). Very scary situation. The other scary situation is that I am 3,000 miles out of warranty for this issue and I feel that because my vehicle is not the only reported incident of this type, BMW should repair the problem at no cost to me. A part such as this should not fail at 53000 miles.

- Lutherville, MD, USA

problem #2

May 182009


  • 14,900 miles
I purchased a 2008 X5 new in Oct 07. In Sept 08 I started to have major problems with the brake system. Squealing-low pedal,3 major brake system repairs,1 minor repair and it needs to be towed in again because the problem remains. The service manager of the selling dealer advised bmwusa to replace the vehicle due to the dangerous and numerous problems with this car. Bmwusa marketing refused-what mechanical expertise do they possess-none and they continue to put my safety in danger and ignore the problem. Just an example in Oct 2008 the brake pads were 10mm-in April 09 they were 2mm and BMW told me I was safe to drive 1700 miles from fl to NY. A Florida dealer had to replace every rotor-pad and sensor, and less than 2 weeks later the rear brakes and sensors needed replacement again but so much for bmwusa knowing anything or caring. These people are useless and dangerous--do not buy an X5 from this company, because even after their own svc manager states to replace the vehicle they say there is nothing wrong and don't give a damn about your safety. Stay away from BMW. Damage resulting = this car cost almost 60K, the kids finished college so it was time to buy a car I always wanted--im out all this money, cant drive the car with this problem and BMW cares less--since when should a marketing guy make decisions about mechanical problems, and then over the advice of a trained service manager.

- Forest Hills, NY, USA

problem #1

Jan 172009


  • 5,000 miles
My 2008 BMW X5 is reporting high battery drain and it's only 13 months old with 5,000 miles. The dealer states the issue is because the vehicle is not driven at least 25 miles a day. If this is a requirement to owning the vehicle it was never mentioned when I purchased the vehicle. My own research on the internet indicates this is a well known problem by BMW. Yet the only solution offered is to replace the battery prematurely as it fails or hook the battery up to a trickle charger every night. As stated above, I was never informed this is a requirement of owning the vehicle. I realize this is not an immediate or impending safety threat. However, BMW should be held accountable to finding a solution for the consumer or recalling the vehicle so we have some recourse.

- Tampa, FL, USA

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