really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,679 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 BMW X5 Owner Comments

problem #7

Feb 262016


  • 40,000 miles


Engine, acceleration shutdown (on interstate highway - 2/26/16); monitor display false message of "warning: Engine hot; overheating." Engine not hot or overheated; cool to touch. Coolant level full. Car disabled. Car gave 45 seconds at full acceleration before sounding high pitched fan noise, then displaying "warning message" on center monitor, then losing pedal acceleration power on extremely busy interstate 87 South highway at night, with intermittent emergency shoulder access. Dangerous to maintain maneuverability to safety with high velocity trucks and cars barreling alongside vehicle. Suspected part defect is "electronic temperature gauge" sensor, causing car to instantly disable when it isn't hot. Car is seldom driven and under 40,000 miles. Problem is suspect and reported on a variety of BMW series, including every model year X5 at: repairpal.com/cooling-system-component-failure-after-60000-miles-139 and www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?T=561024.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #6

Oct 112015


  • 45,602 miles
In October of 2015 while making a right turn very slowly into a one lane drive thru, my BMW X5 accelerated climbed up a 2 foot wall that was on the drivers side rode the front drivers side wheel upon the wall. I tried to break and pull the hand brake the car would not stop. I turned the steering wheel to the right the car hopped off the wall on to the ground and I turned off the car. The car just accelerated so fast and hard my sister and I could not believe how it climbed the tile wall with one wheel and came down to the ground. Now I had just got the car back from the dealership 5 days earlier when they replaced the water pump and replaced the 2 front tires and did a wheel alignment a $2500 job. It was very scary luckily there was no people or another car close by. I immediately called the dealership and took it in the next morning. I explained what happened I felt that the car had a malfunction with the accelerator it made the car go so fast and hard. It wasn't just a crash into the wall it climbed the wall. Of course BMW said the engineer said there is nothing wrong with the brakes or drive shaft? what gets to me is that I just got the car back from the local dealership. I feel like the power of the vehicle was so strong and powerful there was no way that it could hop on the wall like that and not just crash straight into the wall. Oh side note the very next morning 10-12-2015 my sister heard on abc morning news that a BMW SUV just ran into a glass window at a store the car accelerated on it's own!

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #5

Aug 152014

X5 8-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
On a recent ride home from vacation (summer 2014), my family and I had to endure our 2008 BMW X5 stalled out and slowed to about 30 mph on interstate 95. There were no warnings of a potential problem or any upcoming maintenance needed. The information screen stated cruise control/engine malfunction. We were extremely surprised, overly alarmed and frightened as this was a dangerous and unsafe event. We were not using and have never used the cruise control. My family was scared of this unsafe ordeal but thank god, no one was injured. After researching these conditions, we found this similar incident occur to many other X5 BMW owners and date back as far as 2001. This throttle body defect is a safety issue and can cause bodily harm or death. If this car decreases in power, especially on an interstate, serious and deadly accidents can occur. Quite interesting is that this same diagnosis was identified with previous owners who've only owned their vehicles less than a year. Research shows this condition has been an issue for the past 10 years and BMW has not acknowledged, recalled and corrected the problem. My 2008 BMW X5 has about 52,000 and receive regular maintenance on time and as required. More important, the day before the incident we checked the vehicle system check and all systems were "ok." And two days later, the car shut down with no warning. My car was taken to northwest BMW in owings mills who diagnosed the problem as a throttle body defect.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #4

Jun 012014

X5 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles


When I was driving around 30 mph and about to merge onto the highway, an orange warning sign came up that the engine was overheating and then immediately afterward a red sign came up stating that the engine was overheated and I could hear the loud noise from the fan. Immediately after that the vehicle stalled and I had to pull over to the shoulder. I waited for about 15 min. And when I restarted the vehicle, the fan was still loud and the red engine overheated sign came up again. I then had the vehicle towed to a repair facility. They diagnosed the issue as a defective electric water pump and said that the water pump and thermostat need to be replaced. The estimate for repair including parts and labor is around $1700. The vehicle is beyond the 4 year, 50000 miles warranty and apparently there are no recalls for this issue. Searching the internet, I am seeing numerous complaints from 2008 BMW X5 owners who experienced this exact same issue and had the same diagnosis. This is a very serious safety issue - when driving on a busy highway and suddenly losing all power in the vehicle, very few drivers would be lucky enough to pull over safely and avoid a serious accident. I request that the NHTSA consider this serious safety issue from a recall perspective due to the potential harm it can do to the lives of motorists who may not be lucky enough to avoid a serious crash. I believe the manufacturer should be held accountable for the basic safety of the vehicle. They should the needful to help owners fix the issue proactively, before it causes harm to more motorists.

- Boxboro, MA, USA

problem #3

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 #2

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 #1

Jun 172009


  • 33,350 miles
Driving on highway 60mph and suddenly lost engine power. My SUV started slowing and felt like car was locking up ie. Steering wheel was harder to move. Pushing accelerator pedal did not bring any speed back to slowing SUV. I was able to get to right side shoulder from middle lane and called BMW assist for help. They were not able to help at my location in Wisconsin at 8pm but did call police to keep traffic away from us (myself and 5 young children) until a friend came to pick us up. The car had to remain overnight on the highway until a flatbed truck was available to take it away the following morning. Once the engine was turned off it would not restart and needed 2 men to move it which is why it couldn't be taken away that evening. Once taken to the BMW dealer, international autos in milwaukee, wi, they told me the fuel pump had failed and they replaced it. The 2008 BMW X5 3.0si had a little over 33,000 miles on it at the time. This has not happened again after replacement of fuel pump.

- Bellaire, TX, USA

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