really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,000 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.

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1997 BMW Z3 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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1997 BMW Z3 Owner Comments

problem #1

Nov 122010


  • 110,000 miles


I turned the key to start the vehicle. It started normally. I put the car in neutral (5 speed trans.) to allow it to warm-up for about 2 minutes while I checked my voice mail on my phone. As I put the car in gear and looked out the windshield to pull out of my parking space, I saw dense white smoke rolling out from under the hood on the driver's side. I looked at the dash for any warning or indicator lights; there were none. I immediately turned the car off, popped the hood, and got out of the car. I wanted to wait until the smoke was no longer rolling out before actually opening the hood, as I was afraid of introducing a rush of air if something was on fire. As the smoke rapidly increased and progressed to black smoke, I called my facility security from an emergency call box while also calling 911 from my cell phone. During the 911 call, flames became visible from under the hood. Four fire engines arrived to put out the fire. All four levels of my facilities parking deck were filled with toxic smoke which was evacuated by the fire department. The car was a total loss. The fire dept. Told me that night that the car was too badly burned to determine the cause. They supposed it was electrical. After inspecting the car, the insurance investigator did not believe the fire to be from electrical origin, but instead fuel / engine related. The car had been maintained on a regular basis. No service had been recently performed. I had not been experiencing any issues with the car's performance.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

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