really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
78,450 miles
Total Complaints:
13 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace timing chain module (8 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
  3. replace engine (2 reports)
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problem #13

Feb 112021


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,900 miles

Received the "drive train malfunction" error and took the car to BMW of Denver Downtown. They diagnosed the timing chain guides as failing and quoted a $5000.00 repair. Since the car had way less than the average mileage - we figured that once this repair was done, we would be able to keep the car for the next 10 years at least.

- dlrmgdg, Thornton, US

problem #12

Oct 072019

X3 I S 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Never buy BMW because they are stand for break my wallet. On the highway my timing chain broke, and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere! I never had good experience with this car - it is garbage and isn't worth anything.

- imichael, Hobart, US

problem #11

Dec 012019

X3 X3 XDRIVE 28I 2.0L, F25

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,500 miles

BMW gave me a quote of 5K to fix the timing chain problem. The timing chain was replaced within warranty at 67k miles & it has failed again. The timing chain is supposed to give a life of 150K miles but failing multiple times in just 30k miles is annoying. This is not acceptable from a company like BMW.

- Vinod R., North Plainfield, US

problem #10

Oct 152020

X3 28i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,205 miles

It's a 2013 BMW X3 with 100,110km on it. I've owned it since October 2017. On October 15 2020, I was driving normally, and I got a message on my dash saying there was a “drivetrain malfunction“. After a few minutes, the message went away and the check engine light came on. The vehicle slowed down and came to a stop and at the end locked to parking position by itself.

BMW CANADA manager - name sounds like Cory - called me back for this issue. He told me the first owner had a gap on oil change between 2014 to 2016, therefore this problem is not under warranty any more. He told me timing chain failure is all because of that. Is Cory a f* fool or I am a fool?

Why should anybody not to do oil change when it is totally free? I doubt that he is f lying.

I asked him if this is the reason, why when I first called BMW CANADA on October 16, the nice service lady told me to tow the vehicle to BMW dealer for diagnose (I already have a mechanic that did the diagnose for the same result)? Also the service lady clearly told me to call back the same number (18005672691) when the diagnose done by the dealer and see what BMW CANADA can do.

You know what, Cory told me that first call never exist, he insisted my first call was yesterday (October 19). F! How could he deny my first call on October 16)? Therefore I checked my phone and told him the exact information (Oct 16, 10:37, 15 minutes). He told me he will check the phone record. I asked him to check the phone record because the first thing when I answer Cory’s phone, he told me this phone been recorded for quality issue. So all phones should be recorded.

People are lying, however, when Cory is a manager, he's still f* lying like this, I guess he grow up by eating s**!!!

- Charles W., St. Catharines, ON, Canada

problem #9

Oct 152020

X3 28i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,205 miles

I have a 2013 BMW X3 with 100,110km on it. On October 15 2020, I was driving normally, and I got a message on my dash saying there was a “drivetrain malfunction“. After a few minutes, the message went away, low engine oil pressure warning and the check engine light came on. The vehicle slow down and came to a stop and at the end locked to parking position by itself.

I had to get my vehicle towed to a mechanic who diagnosed and confirmed it is timing chain failing and said that this issue is a known problem with this model of BMW vehicle.

I called BMW Canada the following morning and was told to get it checked out by Performance BMW which is nearby dealership. The dealership told me the diagnose result of oil pump chain guides broke and timing chain failure and also told me that my vehicle’s warranty expired a few months ago.

Because of the pandemic, I almost never drove this car so if I drove normally, this issue would have come up much sooner, probably before the warranty expired. I would like to request an extension of my warranty to cover this issue as I read online that it is a very common issue with this vehicle model (because of the plastic frame for the timing chain and oil pump chain).

When it is an engine design issue, manufacturer should be fully responsible, so many report of timing chain failing at around 70k-100k miles, BMW should recall all this type of vehicle to save life!!!!! If it happen on highway or busy traffic, engine fail is going to kill people!!!!

- Charles W., St. Catharines, ON, Canada

problem #8

Jan 042021

X3 XDRIVE28I 2.0L I4 F Dohc 16v

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,003 miles

I purchased this 2013 BMW X3 on 12/19/2020 for my daughters 16th birthday. Clean Carfax and service records. We drove the car home and have been waiting until today to get her drivers licenses. Today (1/4/2021), the wife and daughter drove to the DMV for her licenses. Before getting to the courthouse the car began to rattle, then it lost power. A "DriveTrain mulfunction" message and the check engine light came on.

The car will be towed to Huntsville tomorrow to the BMW dealership there. At this point we have no idea what the issue is or what they will have to do the fix the car. The odometer is 79,003. That is less than 300 miles since leaving the car lot on 12/19.

On 1/6/2021, received call from the BMW dealership and the Timing Chain needs replacing! $6000.00 PLEASE do your homework!!!! This model BMW is a train wreck. Do the research!!! I wish I had done mine!!!

- Mitch D., Hanceville, AL, US

problem #7

Dec 162020

X3 228i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

While driving on the highway with my two babies in the car, the dashboard started saying low oil pressure. A couple of seconds after, it said drivetrain malfunction, and the car started slowing down. I was able to drive through the lanes and pull over super fast and the engine started making a noise. I was so scared that we were in that situation exactly when it was during a snow storm also.

Very next thing is I had the car towed to a BMW dealership. They diagnosed that the timing belt oil pump are bad, quickly reached to BMW of North America and they didn't offer me any options - the manager was super rude and pretty much said, well, it's your car - pay for it to get fixed. Now my car is just broke down at a dealership while I'm still making my monthly payments for it.

- mmj2020, Mount Joy, US

problem #6

Dec 052020

X3 SUV X Drive28i

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,124 miles

My X-3 has 60,124 miles total and was purchased 12/2012......... within the 70,000 mile extended warranty but 1 year beyond the 7 year warranty timer. Damn!!.

Car had characteristic whirring sound that occurred sporadically. I described this to the BMW advisor 11/25/2020 and he said take notes of when it occurs. He did not offer a tip on what might be the issue, when now, I know he had to be aware of this telltale sign leading to timing chain failure. 200 miles later the "engine malfunction" warning came on and limp mode started. Drove it home in limp mode ...about 1 mile. Had it delivered by transport truck to local BMW dealer.

Dealer said new battery needed and new software update for timing chain system should fix this engine notification issue. He called me a day later and said engine timing chain and oil pump was destroyed. I asked him to get cost for repair itemized and call me. he commented that chain and oil pump parts are $3,500.00 plus $$ for other parts required and plus labor costs. I will be lucky if cost does not exceed $7,000.00. I will update when I learn more and get a final cost estimate.

Have totally lost respect for the BMW Company.

- Gerald H., Greensboro, NC, US

problem #5

Mar 122020

X3 28I 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,999 miles

My 2013 BMW X3 had been starting off sluggish, then started stopping quickly. Things just weren’t right. Finally took the car to BMW Riverside, paid $200.00 for a diagnostic report. Seems the timing chain assembly and the oil pump assembly were faulty. Repair cost in excess of $7,000. This car has just over 73,000 miles on it. Out of warrant by 3,000 miles.

Spoke with the service department at BMW Riverside seeking some relief. After a few days they offered a 10% discount. Not that much considering the overall cost. We said we’ll think about it but were going to speak with BMW North America.

Spoke with BMW North America representative. He was very nice but not able to assist us. Passed us up the line. We were called back a few days to tell us they can’t help. Said we hadn’t spent enough money on repairs over the life of the car for them to assist with the cost. REALLY! We said we were living on a fixed income! Told them we were considering buying our sixth BMW! Told them we would spread the bad news amongst out friends and neighbors! Called back to give them one more chance. Returned the call three days later. Listened to our concerns. Could not help! So sorry, decision is made by a group and they decided we can’t be helped.

Made arrangements to have the car repaired at our local BMW repair shop at a greatly reduced price but still a goodly sum. This small, local shop told us he had done this same repair on five other BMW’s. He felt this should be a recall issue.

Some will say we should buy American made. Well we did. We liked the Cadillac SUV. It was constructed in Mexico. Our BMW was constructed in South Carolina.

As I start my research, I am finding other reports of the same issue. SHAME ON BMW RIVERSIDE, BMW NORTH AMERICA, BMW USA AND INTERNATIONAL BMW.

- Bette R., Beaumont, US

problem #4

Apr 082020

X3 28I

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Seems ridiculousTo me that after the lawsuit the courts let BMW put it in the extended warranty for seven years or 70,000 miles and it seems like this problem occurs right after the seventh year to the eight year in around 80,000 miles although mine happened and the 62,000 mile mark I just don’t drive it that much but past seven years anyway. I will try contacting BMW corporate to find if they’ll allow mine to be covered under the warranty from my reading on this website it doesn’t sound like they will but I’m still gonna try.

- Scott L., Bothell, WA, US

problem #3

Jun 082019

X3 28I N20

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

X3 went into limp mode with Drivetrain malfunction message on iDrive. Towed it over 300 miles back to hometown and dropped it off at a trusted mechanic. Said it's a timing chain failure so towed it to BMW in town. Working with them and BMW to get this fixed and for BMW to do the right thing and replace it on their dime.

Had family with me and stressed out my wife. No one was harmed and luckily the engine didn't ruin yet as others have unfortunately reported. BMW is not as willing to cover the repair once the car goes past 70k miles, we're at 90k miles.

- ugrm5, Austin, US

problem #2

May 072019

X3 28L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Start off by saying I Definitely like 2013 BMW X3 28. About two weeks ago I was driving down the highway on my way back home from work check engine light came on in the car, and it stalled out on me. I pulled over to the Side of the highway, try starting it back up nothing happened, I just kept saying powertrain malfunction. I called my insurance company and got towed to The dealership. They called me the next morning stating that they believe it was the timing belt he said. But before they knew if it was a timing belt or not, they will have to take off something on the front of the engine that will cost me $900 of work to remove it. I’m just not understanding, a car is supposed to run like a machine and just barely touching 90,000 miles the timing chain will go like that. It's an estimated cost of $5600 out the door to get my car fixed, it just doesn’t make any sense. This is a problem on the Resolve Immediately, this is my only vehicle.

- Jerrod M., Pittsburgh, US

problem #1

Sep 162018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,777 miles

I have a 2013 BMW X3 with 85k miles and was driving on a 4-lane highway at 55 mph when a warning light came on indicating a drivetrain malfunction and that I should “drive moderately”. Within seconds, a second warning light came on indicating low oil pressure and that I should “add a quart of oil”. I IMMEDIATELY pulled over to the side of the road where the car shifted into neutral without me touching the gear shift. I turned the car off to check the owner’s manual about the drivetrain warning light, and the car would not restart. The entire scenario lasted about 10-15 seconds, and prior to this, I had no problems with the car and was diligent about performing routine service according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The car was towed to the closest BMW dealership. I received a call the following day notifying me that catastrophic damage had occurred to the engine and that I needed a new engine! Apparently, the timing chain guide broke, the pieces fell into the oil pan and lodged against the screen that keeps debris out of the engine, and starved the engine of oil.

While I am concerned about the $12,000 repair bill, I am equally concerned about the danger that is posed by the sudden and complete disablement of the vehicle that could result in injury or death to the car owner or to another driver who encounters the disabled car on a busy highway.

THIS IS A RECURRING PROBLEM. I spoke with 3 service advisors at 3 different dealerships, and the service advisors said “It is a recurring problem”. I also reviewed NHTSA and carcomplaints.com websites and found numerous complaints about the same problem. I anticipate more incidences of timing chain guide failure more drivers reach 75K plus miles.

- Sandra B., Isle Of Palms, SC, US