really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,702 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.

2012 BMW X5 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 BMW X5 Owner Comments

problem #15

Dec 152016


  • 42,500 miles


Vehicle shudders and makes loud noises while turning. Took it to a mechanic and found out that this was a transfer case failure and a result of bad engineering in general. There are several other similar complaints on this website and also on other model years of the same model. The transfer case replacement is estimated to cost $6500. Others online have reported transfer cases falling off while driving! this entails a significant safety risk and one that the manufacturer appears to be aware of. BMW needs to repair this as soon as possible to avoid further endangering customers' lives.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #14

Aug 302016

X5 8-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Driveshaft failure. I was driving down the interstate on a straight and level section of the road. I heard a loud humming from the engine area so I slowed down and then I heard a loud pop and metal grinding and hitting under the car. My vehicle is out of warranty, so I had it towed to my independent mechanic that specializes in european vehicles. They said the driveshaft "fell apart" and as I was slowing down it was still spinning and banged around causing damage to my exhaust system and oil pan. I researched and found that 2011 vehicles had been recalled for a defect that could cause the driveshaft to fail, so I called BMW and they told me that since my vehicle was not listed on the recall that there was nothing they could do. I tried calling them again in regards to the prior year's recall and asked if it may include 2012 model vehicles at a later date and they could not give me an answer. It seems strange that a vehicle manufactured 4 months after a recall has the same issue but somehow it is not covered. I called my local BMW service center and they told me that they added a 10 year warranty onto the driveshaft parts, but I must not have been notified. So if I would have taken it to them, they would have fixed it for free, but since I didn't, they couldn't do anything for me. The NHTSA campaign # for the 2011 X5 is: 16V311000.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #13

Oct 062016


  • 60,000 miles
Problems relating to transfer case. Car vibrated on turns in steering column and the turning both on the right side and the left side is vibrating a lot.

- Morris Plains, NJ, USA

problem #12

Aug 282016


  • 53,000 miles


Have experienced vibration on the steering column, while making sharp turns at very low speeds. The BMW dealership diagnosed the problem and confirmed that the vehicle had a bad transfer case and needed to be replaced. The cost to replace the transfer case was $7500.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #11

Aug 152016


  • 59,000 miles
Transfer case failure at only 59,000 miles, manifested by extreme steering wheel vibration when turning wheel left or right at least 180

- Clarksburg, MD, USA

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problem #10

Nov 082015


  • miles
Engine malfunction, reduced power, error mesage this morning. Just had to have egr replaced 5 days ago (@52,000 miles) at the tune of $1005....now my car will only go 35 mph. Car started making a "whistling sound" on 11/07 during acceleration....then today, it started "rattling" them engine malfunction message came on and power went away!

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #9

Aug 192015


  • 69,000 miles


My car made grinding / whirling noise while turning steering wheel more than half way. The noise was on and off for some time during parting lot speed turning. After doing some research, I took the car to a BMW repair shop. The mechanic said the transfer case and shaft were damaged and they would have to be replaced. It cost an astronomical $4,716.34 to repair the issues. The mechanic said this problem is very common among BMW X5 and X3 and I was very unlucky to have it at 69K miles. I agree with the unlucky part. BMW should own up the issue and pay for the repair.

- Albany, CA, USA

problem #8

Sep 102015


  • 53,500 miles
The universal joint on the front drive shaft sheered in half while driving my kids to school this morning. There was no warning signs or noticeable vibrations before. Towed vehicle to shop & discovered the problem. A quick google search revealed the following: BMW issued a service bulletin to "inspect" the drive shaft back in March of 2015 NHTSA id number: 10056722 / BMW sib-26-01-14 and in August of 2015 they issued a voluntary warranty extension, BMW sib-01-15-15. I will send vehicle to the local BMW dealership and ask for the repair to happen under this warranty extension......updated 06/23/16 *

- Madison, MS, USA

problem #7

Jul 302014

X5 6-cyl

  • 74,900 miles
Purchased new 2012 X 5 in August 2011. In July 2014 car vibrated on turns in steering column and thought is was the new tires, they said it was the circumference on one of the tires, installed new set. Still the vibration occurred....turns out is transfer case and $6200. They covered all but $1300 of mine at the dealer level. Friend bought same vehicle in October 2011 same dealer and I explained problem to her and she had the same symptoms and almost identical mileage. Her transfer case also bad the same month mine was. She had to fight with BMW because she had over 75,000. At first her assistance on the replacement was denied, then after calls she actually had all but 500.00ish paid. Dealer said they rarely had to replace a transfer case and it was a fluke- we didn't think so. Fast forward, both cars now 10,000 miles later each ( November 2014)"smoke" upon starting if they sit for a few days (the "steam" cloud is huge). We both had to add oil which they say is normal after an oil change less than 7000 miles ago. Dealer says it is normal on the oil addition and normal smoke- condensation- this time we took them in the same day and had them sit over the weekend. People jump back from mine because they are scared! now a week later, both smell of antifreeze when left running a few minutes parked with the heat on. Too many coincidences. This is my third BMW- but first time with problems. Just read online about other transfer case issues with that model year. We believe as these models age, and people have more miles ( we are both realtors so we have very high mileage) this transfer case will fail. I believe it is a faulty part and needs to be recalled. At the rate we drive we will need another transfer case in 2 yrs.

- Stella, NC, USA

problem #6

Jul 232014

X5 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
After replacement of brakes on my 2012 BMW X5, upon return, I started to feel a vibration while turning in the parking lot. After two visits to the dealership, I was informed that the transfer case box (associated with the transmission) has failed. This occurs 5000miles after the warranty on the transmission and engine expire. I have done a google search on this part on X5 models, and others have reported similar experiences. This includes reports of faulty parts installed at the manufacture. BMW has agreed to cover 60% of the repair bill. This sends a red flag that perhaps the manufacture is aware of the problem and should be repairing at the problem at no cost to the client.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #5

Jul 042013


  • 38,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 BMW X5. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle decelerated when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact heard an abnormal clank sound near the engine, but there were no warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle stalled, but was able to be restarted. The failure later recurred. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #4

Oct 052013


  • miles
The vehicle reverse unexpectedly resulting in crashing the owner when unloading grocery. The owner of the vehicle in hospitalize and underwent surgery. The owner broke both of his femur bones and right knee cap.

- Lewis Center, OH, USA

problem #3

Oct 152012


  • 9,598 miles
While driving at about 45 mph the engine sputtered with a message displaying "engine malfunction" and the vehicle lost power and stalled all happening within about 5 seconds. The vehicle was then towed to the BMW dealership. We were advised by their master technician that the fuel pressure rail sensor was defective and needed to be replaced (diag code: D1350_00000000_04_02 and fault 48A9 & 3F31). We asked him if this could somehow be prevented and he replied "no" and went on to say that he has never heard of this happening before. His comment was troubling to us, since we just got done driving about six hours on the freeway when this incident happened near our home. What if this happened on the freeway? I probably would not be here filing this complaint! please investigate so that this can be prevented from others experiencing this trauma.

- Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012012


  • 100 miles
Car suffers from terrible hesitation upon acceleration from a rolling stop. Described as tip-in on discussion websites. I note many have complained of this in various BMW models and BMW does not admit that there is a problem. It is a significant safety issue.

- Merrick, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 142012

X5 6-cyl

  • 2,931 miles
Engine stalled. I was at a stop sign. The engine was running, when green signal came on, started to move the car, but instead of gaining speed with acceleration, the engine stalled with warning sign stating "engine malfunction, functioning with reduced power". the vehicle was not accelerating, instead was stalling and moving very slowly at less than 10 miles per hour speed and did not gain any momentum even after full throttle applied. Being a low traffic road, I was able to pull over to the right most lane; but it was a terrifying experience as the vehicle was stalling at the intersection and was moving inch by inch. I took it to the dealer, who checked everything and said everything was alright. I also questioned him, whether the event was recorded in the vehicle computer info; but he said nothing was recorded. I checked online forums and found so many people have had this problem multiple times and even after multiple services, most of the people continued to have this same problem. This is a major issue, as couple of customers have even said, their vehicles stalled on the freeway. I request your organization to look into this. Thank you.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

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