10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
137,644 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

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problem #16

Apr 042017

328

  • 118,000 miles
While driving on the on the freeway I felt and heard a popping or clunck noise while shifting like something was going to fall off and it became hard to control and steer so I took my 2000 328I BMW into a professional mechanic and he said the problem is the subframe is separating from the body of the car, I was also told this is a manufacturer defect. I looked up online and this exact same thing is happening to other models of the BMW, I dont drive my car hard and it is well maintained and I believe BMW should recall this factory error and pay for

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 242017

328

  • 167,000 miles
"takata recall" I was hit by a driver going approx 100mph on highway 50E from behind and after being severally hit my tekata airbag damaged my chest, hurt my face, burned my clothes, arms, and made it impossible to breathe. This wouldn't have happened if BMW had more availability to inform, replace and fix such a horrific event.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 132016

328

  • 160,000 miles
Audible popping heard during any torque through rear of vehicle, cracks found on rear subframe while being inspected by local mechanic.

- Colton, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 252015

328

  • 172,000 miles
Rear driver's side subframe mount point failure. The car has gone through class action suit in 2009, and was inspected by BMW in 2010--was told everything is ok and it will not fail since only ones with visible defect will fail. But mine failed anyway 5 years later. This shows even if the damage/defect is not visible it can manifest itself at any time. I was driving about 20mph on city streets going straight, accelerating from a stop, shifting gears from 2nd to 3rd when a loud explosive bang was heard from the rear with an alarming jolt that triggered an interial lock on seatbelts, made all occupants scream in shock and children crying. Inspection of undercarriage revealed that the floor pan where the rear driver side subframe attaches to has completely shattered, leaving driver side of the subframe, differential, and rear axle floating with chunks of sheetmetal from mount point missing. I have been advised by two independent mechanics that this is a dangerous failure and I should not be driving the car, and the only reason of failure is defect in the car. Mechanics believe this failure poses serious safety hazard saying it can easily separate the rear axle and if this happens while driving, the separated rear axle will pull on the emergency brake cable and lock it up, immediately stopping the car. If this happens on a freeway it can cause catastrophic collision incident, endangering lives. They were shocked the car was never formally recalled for safety. Hundreds of cars are affected and this is just one glimpse of the extent of the failures: forum.E46fanatics.com/showpost.php?P=16850066&postcount=1473 it is appalling that such dangerous defect that is so well-known and prevalent in 1999-2000 BMW 3 series has never been recalled to make BMW accountable. Repair estimate min. $5000

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 252015

328

  • 172,000 miles
Rear driver's side subframe mount point failure. The car has gone through class action suit in 2009, and was inspected by dealer in 2010. But it failed anyway. I was driving about 20mph on city streets going straight accelerating from a stop, but shifting gears from 2nd to 3rd (it's a manual transmission) when a loud explosive bang was heard from the rear with an alarming jolt. Inspection of undercarriage revealed that the floor pan where the rear driver side subframe mount attaches to has completely shattered, leaving that side of the rear axle floating. I have been advised by two independent mechanics that this is a dangerous failure and I should not be driving the car. I do not race this car, it has no rust in the undercarriage, and has never experienced snow. Mechanics believe this is a very dangerous failure and was shocked the car was never formally recalled for safety. Hundreds of cars are affected and this is just one glimpse of the extent of the failures: forum.E46fanatics.com/showpost.php?P=16850066&postcount=1473

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #11

Sep 112015

328

  • 123,000 miles
Please see attached pdf. Document for a full explanation. The sub-frame on my BMW 3 series (E46) has fractured and become separated from the car. The detached sub-frame is not caused by anything I did, but is the result of an inherent defect involving the vehicle's sub-frame, a major component of the car's structural system that supports the powertrain and is welded to the chassis. I was not aware of the detached sub-frame until I heard a metal on metal squeak in the rear of the car; as time went on, the detached sub-frame ripped through the rear tin underlayment/shield and the two are now rubbing together. The defective sub-frame in the BMW 3 series E46 models poses a risk to motor vehicle safety, as it is a ¿critical vehicle component¿ of the car. Further, a quick internet search will prove that this defect is highly persistent in the E46 BMW 3 series. And in accordance with U. S. codes for motor vehicle safety, ¿critical vehicle components that break, fall apart, or separate from the vehicle, causing potential loss of vehicle control or injury to persons inside or outside the vehicle, ¿ a recall is in order. Please note that I don't know "when did this happen?". I just put the date I had my sub-frame inspected by a certified BMW dealer (see attachment from collision center of orlando). I had my sub-frame inspected when I heard a loud squeaking noise. As I understand it, owners were un-aware their sub-frames were defective; discovery was made by a thorough mechanic or by chance. My sub-frame tore through the tin underlayment/sheild, so the metal rubbing metal is what was causing the squeaking noise. And as I understand it, the sub-frame tears through the tin underlayment only after being undetected for a long period of time. This is so dangerous not only to me but other drivers. BMW needs to be held responsible. A recall is in order.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 012010

328

  • 135,000 miles
I own a 2000 BMW 328 ci. It also has had a rear end sub frame failure that they have been found at fault for by the state of ca in a lawsuit dated in 2006. I brought my car to their attention and they admitted thier failed design, and because someone had to tried to repair it before they sold it to me, of course without informing me about, they refused to do warranty work on it, because a feeble attempt at reinforcing a failed sub frame mount. Fast forward to now, they offered me 2000 dollars on a 6100 dollar repair because they have admitted fault. Now they re-nagged their offer, because rather than doing it their way, I had the mounts upgraded with better steel and mounts rather than use their failed design. They continue to tell me they are doing me a favor, when it is their failed design in the first place, which they admit to. When is it a favor for buying a car that has a failed frame design, and having the company not take responsibility for it when the failure could be the rear end falling out, as has occurred to many people, and something they admit to. This is very dangerous, and also goes against every type of design ethics thought to exist. When companies fail on this caliber, it has the same potential to kill someone for something they know nothing about.

- Redding, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 032013

328 6-cyl

  • 150,205 miles
This is a follow-up complaint to my NHTSA-ODI 10503685 incident description, which describes a serious subframe failure that occurred to my car. The fortunate survivors of the many subframe failure incidents who filed a BMW 3-series automobile subframe failure complaint have alleged that the failure was caused by a defective subframe assembly design in these cars. According to the NHTSA, all "complaint information will be entered into NHTSA-ODI's vehicle owner's complaint database and used with other complaints to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists." "if a safety-related defect exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer must provide a remedy at no cost to the owner." "we do not have to receive a specific number of complaints before we look into a problem." "we gather all available information on a problem." "your complaint is important to us." This complaint specifically alleges that the many BMW 3-series subframe failure safety complaints have (1) not been used by the NHTSA "to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists." (2) BMW is not providing a remedy at no cost to owners because the NHTSA has either not investigated the complaints at all, or has not investigated them sufficiently to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists (!) (3) these complaints are of the utmost importance to all of us who have filed the complaints. The mission of the NHTSA should be to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists in order to prevent crashes, fires, injuries, and fatalities; not vice versa. NHTSA, I am asking you to promptly investigate these BMW 3-series subframe failure safety complaints in order to determine once and for all if a safety-related defect trend exists.

- Manhattan Beach, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 032013

328

  • 150,205 miles
The rear subframe assembly tore off at the left rear differential/axle mount points, rendering the car unsafe to drive. BMW of North scottsdale (scottsdale, AZ) inspected the damage and verified that the car was unsafe to drive. The failure occurred on a smooth highway. Inspections by BMW of North scottsdale, penske automotive collision, and Mercury auto insurance agents found no evidence of impact. The consensus of expert opinion is that the failure was due to metal fatigue, and that this is a major safety issue with BMW E46 3 series automobiles. The inevitable subframe failure in these cars, in many instances having occurred at low odometer mileage, has the potential to cause a major accident and consequent loss of life. I was totally unaware of this safety issue in my car before the failure occurred, because BMW has never issued a recall campaign for inspection and repair.

- Manhattan Beach, CA, USA

problem #7

Dec 262012

328 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
Around christmas of 2012 I started to notice a clunking noise in the rear of my car when torque is applied to the body of the car by the differential. This is an indication of the body's subframe failing. BMW needs to issue a full recall for early model E46 cars. I do not have a job and now my car is a hazard to drive due to this issue; this makes it nearly impossible for me to fix effectively.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #6

Mar 012012

328 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Subframe failure on BMW E46. On my rear 2 differential mounts of the subframe were cracks that were spreading. Driver side rear mount had completely torn out and the subframe was a gaping hole around the mount. No hard driving done to car.

- Ft Worth, TX, USA

problem #5

Nov 012011

328 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
I heard a squeaking noise coming from the rear end, took it to my mechanic, and was told the subframe has torn off of the rear suspension. He checked to see if there is a recall, but none has been found. He did notice online that this has been an ongoing problem, with many complaints, and that a class action lawsuit had been filed.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #4

Nov 122011

328 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
I had heard that subframe failure was extremely common on BMW E46 models (1999-2006) but had no problems, until today. I was driving my 2000 BMW 328I when suddenly there was a loud pop, the steering became lose and there was a constant knocking noise. Once I got it home I looked under the car and sure enough the sub-frame had ripped completed away from the body, the entire drivers side was ripped out leaving two big hole in the under body of the car. I did some research and found there was a successful class action lawsuit against BMW na but that claims had to be filed by 2010. They are not refusing to fix it. This is a clearly dangerous situation and there are 10's of thousands of others in online boards who are experiencing the exact same thing.

- Lehi, UT, USA

problem #3

Oct 142011

328 6-cyl

  • 179,886 miles
I took my year 2000, BMW 328ci in to replace a rear differential bushing. The mechanic discovered frame damage where the driver-side rear differential bushing attaches to the car body/frame. The mechanic suggested I call my insurance agent to see if this was covered. The insurance company sent an investigator who informed me over the phone & email (including photo attachments) that the damage could not be caused by any collision and was not covered by my insurance policy. The agent stated that this was a BMW issue. He also sent a link of a video of another BMW 3 series with similar problem showing metal fatigue video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8362789948066992482#. I sent photos of the damage to another mechanic who specializes in BMW repair. He said it was not something seen everyday but something BMW knows about based on what he has read. He also stated this was a safety issue and suggested I call the BMW dealership and ask about any recalls. I called the BMW dealer who asked for my VIN # and then said there were "no open campaigns at this time". I called the dealership on 10/25/2011. The estimated cost of repair is around $5000, which is almost the same as the kelley blue book value of the car. I was informed that the car is not safe to drive in this condition.

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 142010

328

  • 76,000 miles
I have a 2000 323ci BMW my problem is the weld from the straps that hold the gas tank detached from the metal there seem to be E defect on the weld and the gas tank dropped to the floor!! please don't wait for someone to get hurt before something is done about it!! I drilled some holes and attached a metal plate through the inside of the body(metal to weak) then I used bolts and pressure washers to reattach it!

- Bellflower, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 102004

328 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 82,000 miles
A horrible creaking noise starting developing in the rear of my 2000 BMW 323ci (with 82000 miles) while driving. The noise has gotten worse with time, and after a thorough search online on the www.E46fanatics.com forum website, I found many other owners of vehicles with the same chassis experencing the same problem. Further searching lead to a common problem that has been linked to the failure of the driver side rear subframe. This section of the chassis fails under prolonged stress and a crack in the chassis of the vehicle develops, exposing a bare component of the rear suspension and ultimately damaging the suspension system, causing the vehicle to be unsafe to drive. The problem is not recognized by BMW of North America, however the problem is recently beginning to surface among many late model BMW cars owners as this part seems to fail after an extended period of time. Nonetheless, this is a dangerous problem that is not isolated to a select few vehicles, but enough to raise alarm and suspicion. I was very surprised and dissappointed to find that my vehicle has experienced this exact failure just out of warranty.

- San Diego, CA, USA