really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,664 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.

2011 BMW X5 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 BMW X5 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Nov 022016


  • miles


Very disappointing. My pampered BMW X5 2011 mileage only 38200. I went to the dealer for driveshaft recall fix. Dealer told me that in my BMW transfer case has gone bad and needs replacement soon. Cost is $6000+. they also told me that I should sell it if I don't want to get this fixed. But after that recall fix, I hear some weird sound coming whenever I I am driving. Don't know what to do" spent so much money to buy this car and now this" not ready to spend this big amount because of poor part quality by BMW. Car is in the garage now and I am scared to drive :-(

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #27

Oct 152015


  • miles
Takata recall. The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V071000 (air bags), 16V3110090 (power train), 16V364000 (air bags) and 16V746000 (air bags, fuel/propulsion). However, the parts to do the repairs were not available. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- New Braunfels, TX, USA

problem #26

Nov 302016


  • 66,500 miles
Driving in the city, 20mph. I felt a slight but noticeable vibration. I stopped at a stop sign, turned right, accelerated to 10mph. At that time the front U-joint broke causing an yet to be determined amount of damage to the vehicle. Had I been traveling at highway speeds, lives would have been in danger. This appears to be a well known and well reported issue which the BMW X5. I urge the NHTSA to take the appropriate steps to investigate the many similar complaints file with you.

- Sheboygan, WI, USA

problem #25

Nov 212016


  • 80,886 miles


My vehicle has 80,886 miles and just had oil changed at BMW dealership, fields BMW winter park fl. I requested a check on the vehicle as there has been a grinding/vibration noise on turning left and right at intersections or moving from a parked position. The dealership said the transfer case is failing and to replace it would be $6,666.40. I am shocked to hear this diagnosis for a vehicle that has less than 81,000 miles on the odometer. I am really concerned about the gearbox failing while driving and this could be a high safety hazard for myself and the family. I certainly think that BMW gearbox should last longer, however the vehicle is out of warranty and the dealer said I really cannot afford to pay another ~$7000 and wondered if this is a recall issue?

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #24

Nov 142016


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. While driving 60 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to accelerate and lost power. The engine temperature warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for routine service and the technician stated that there was a failure with the engine fan. The vehicle was diagnosed and produced diagnostic code 3792. The contact was unsure about what parts needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 11V521000 (engine and engine cooling), but the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 62,000. Updated 01/04/17

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

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problem #23

Oct 212016

X5 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
On 21 Oct 16 at approximately 3:10 pm, while driving on route 30 in hampstead, md and approaching a roundabout at 30 miles per hour, the vehicle stalled without any warning lights on the dashboard. Lights were operable, but the vehicle would not restart or disengage out of park to move the vehicle from oncoming traffic. The vehicle was towed to the BMW dealership. If this had happened just 30 minutes before, we would have been on an interstate 795 traveling at 60 mph. There was not collision. At the BMW dealership, the service department stated it was the starter. The starter was replaced but the vehicle still would not start. The service manager stated that the ┐engine has seized up┐ and the cost would be $17,000 to take out the engine and replace the engine. The vehicle was less than two months out of an extended warranty. We are contacting BMW as the vehicle was traded because of the prohibited cost of repairs. The symptoms displayed match the part 573 safety recall report 16V-746.

- Hanover, PA, USA

problem #22

Aug 192016


  • 55,000 miles


After driving for an extened period of time, I pulled over to place a new destination in my gps. I noticed as I was positioning my vehicle perpendicular to the road, I felt a shuttering in my traction. It felt like a locked differential 4X4. I placed my new address and proceeded to turn right onto the roadway with heavy traffic. I felt a huge hesitation in my acceleration nearly causing my vehicle to be broad sided (T-boned). At that point, I had to floor the vehicle, which caused me to shoot across the road into on-coming traffic. Luckily, the vehicles were far enough to avoid a major accident. My whole family could have been severely injured. I brought my vehicle to BMW to have it diagnosed. They found a faulty transfer case as they were replacing my front drive shaft under a recall.

- Madawaska, ME, USA

problem #21

Jul 262016


  • 84,500 miles
At 84,500 miles, during front driveshaft recall service, the vehicle was diagnosed with a failed transfer case. Symptoms include vibration during acceleration, and turning.

- Woodbridge, CT, USA

problem #20

May 192016

X5 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
We were driving our 2011 BMW X5 on interstate 405 in bellevue Washington, going North bound with normal Thursday afternoon traffic when we felt a vibration coming from under the car. We were fortunate to pull to the shoulder quickly, and we heard a loud thud. This was found to be the front drive shaft breaking off at the forward universal joint. This is a huge safety concern for me and our family. We were lucky to drive along the shoulder having the rear drive shaft propel the car forward slowly to the exit, and into a service station. The destination we had was over 100 miles away, so we were fortunate this did not happen at high speeds on the two lane steven's pass highway 2. please see that BMW makes this a recall on the BMW X5 models manufactured during the period of 2011-2012. The manufacturer currently has this item as a "warranty" only- si B26 01 14. All damage cost was covered, which included replacement of the transfer case and the transmission due to contact or resulting effects. BMW has stated the part has a warranty for 10 years or 120,000mi. The drive shaft was inspected only 18,000 miles prior and was not replaced by BMW service. I do not feel BMW has taken enough consideration to the safety of drivers placed in dangerous situations when the front drive shaft is at risk of failure, despite a reasonable inspection interval of the part. There is no requirement interval for inspecting the front drive shaft. Please require that BMW change the X5 front drive shaft warranty to a recall for the safety of all drivers and passengers. Thank you [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lacey, WA, USA

problem #19

Mar 132016


  • 68,300 miles
While traveling 70mph eb on interstate 10, biloxi, ms area, a sudden rumbling sound was heard coming from beneath the vehicle followed by a loud pop and severe banging and vibration. The vehicle immediately loss power and I was forced to maneuver through moderate high speed traffic in dangerous conditions to the side of the interstate. Once coming to a stop, further movement was not possible. The vehicle was towed approximately 50 miles to nearest BMW dealership in mobile, Alabama where the issue was diagnosed as a snapped driveshaft. BMW was aware of the potentially deadly driveshaft issue as I had received a letter extending the driveshaft warranty 5 months prior. They chose not to issue a recall but instead only issued a limited extended warranty on the driveshaft. Experiencing this failure at highway speeds has shown me that this failure had fatal potential. My vehicle had been checked and pronounced fit by a local BMW dealership 6 days prior to this incident......updated 06/23/16 *

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #18

Feb 132016


  • 61,400 miles


The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact stated that while parked, the engine was running however, a large amount of coolant leaked onto the ground and the engine compartment. The oil reservoir melted onto the engine. There was no flame visible. In addition, the vehicle failed to shift out of the park position. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the water pump would need to be replaced. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V521000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 61,400.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #17

Feb 152016


  • 63,000 miles
Front drive shaft snapped on the highway almost causing me to crash and when it snapped destroyed the the transfer case and the transmission causing 8K worth of damage.

- Clayton, NJ, USA

problem #16

Sep 132015


  • 74,000 miles
I was driving on a parkway in NY when I heard a terrible crunching metal noise and I immediately had to pull over. There was no shoulder except for a small grass area which was very dangerous on this particular parkway (saw mill pkwy southbound). I stayed inside the vehicle and called for help. Police arrived in about 30 minutes and had to come block off two lanes in order for the tow truck to safely pull us out of the area. After the car was towed, I posted on forums asking for help and received a document stating that BMW had issued an extended warranty, not a recall on this particular part. The part that failed was the front drive-shaft. Apparently many other people have had this part fail on the road causing an similarly dangerous situation yet the part has not been recalled. BMW paid for the repair and my expenses, but I felt as if I was in danger when the part failed and all others with this defective part should have it replaced prior to failure via a recall not an extended warranty. I have attached pictures of my failure as well as the document from BMW.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #15

Jun 022015


  • 55,000 miles
Severe acceleration delay from a stop pulling out into traffic nearly caused me to be broadsided. During the first 1/2 to 1 second after depressing the accelerator there is little to no reaction from the vehicle. After this pause, which is well beyond what could cause an accident, the vehicle surges uncontrollably. I found myself sideways on a wet paved road. My natural inclination after the pause was to press for more gas, any other reaction would have left me sitting in the middle of oncoming traffic. This complaint is well documented when researching BMW acceleration lag or throttle tip in on the internet. It is incredible that BMW would be able to allow such unsafe programing of their vehicles. This is sure to have caused accidents. I was lucky, others may not be.

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #14

Jun 142015


  • 63,000 miles
Traveling South on inside lane of 121 near grapevine, my X5 suddenly made a really loud noises from the front left side, started losing power, liquid was spewing behind me and smoke coming out from underneath. I pulled over and saw oil gushing from the bottom of my 2011 X5. I had my 8 month old infant and my wife in the car, had to rush them out of the infant seat to ensure car does not catch on fire. Spend 2 hours waiting for tow and in the end it ended up being an front driveshaft breaking puncturing an oil pan and cutting few hoses and lines. There is an active recall on that BMW for that exact issue...updated 07/30/15

- Lewisvlle, TX, USA

problem #13

May 092015


  • 79,000 miles
My vehicles purchased last year from BMW local dealer {jackie cooper imports] is equipped with 8- or 12-cylinder, turbocharged engines.the circuit board for the electric auxiliary water pump overheated. This lead to a smoldering of the pump and an engine compartment. BMW was supposed to notify owners, replace the auxiliary water pump, thermostat, and coolant reservoir free of charge. The two safety recalls related to this problem apparently did not include my vehicle. Ref NHTSA compaign recall #11V521000 and NHTSA compaign recall # 12V161000. I have logged a complaint about this with the dealership, and their recall resolution department in vain. I am being charged for parts and labor which I belief should be free a snoted by the two recalls.

- Oklahoma, OK, USA

problem #12

Mar 192015


  • 63,000 miles
U joint failure, driveshaft failure, hit oil pan and caused damage, then hit transmission and blew it out.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #11

Feb 242015


  • 74,450 miles
It feel like the car was vibrating while I was driving on the highway I took the exit so I can pull over and it started making clanking sound under the driver seat...when checked under the car drive shaft is missing screw as it came off and hitting the ground and car is not driveable...not sure what causes it. It could've killed us if I didn't exit as the highway was very busy and I am glad I pulled over. Reading on internet hong kong and europe have recall on this but I didn't see any recalls for this us...updated 06/01/16

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #10

Feb 052015

X5 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Driveshaft ujoint failure. This appears to be a know issue. Dangerous situation while driving down the highway and driveshaft comes unattached.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #9

Sep 212013

X5 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
One year ago, made a left hand turn from complete stop, accelerating to 40 mph" maybe" when I heard an awful crunching noise, I stopped and saw my X5's drive shift dropped down some oil came out. The problem because the front drive shifts U-joint failures.

- Dover, NH, USA

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