really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
164,099 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

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problem #6

Oct 292018


  • 536 miles
In 2001 I had a recall for the electric cooling fan, it was supposed to have been fixed then in 2007 electric cooling fan goes out again, then in 2011 the electric cooling fan goes out again, then in 2018 the electric cooling fan goes out again overheat and blows the head gasket while driving back from las vegas in gilroy California "?"

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 182017


  • 270,000 miles
2001 BMW X5 4.4I caught fire in the engine compartment while parked in a shopping center parking lot.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #4

Jan 132010


  • 196,000 miles
Parked X5 at a ace hardware store, a person came running in saying a car was on fire! it was my X5 in glen ellen il total loss allstate insurance claim #0158238170kr.

- Wheaton, IL, USA

problem #3

Mar 192016


  • 200,000 miles
Auxiliary cooling fan began began smoking and smoldering after about 15 minutes after being parked at home. Very nearly a fire. Part was on recall previously and exchanged but then recalled again as the same defective part was used as replacement during inital recall. My vehicle wasn't part of initial recall due to production date, as mine was produced 8/2000, but was stated in the second recall to be included if it had the defective part. Went to BMW and they stated there wasn't an open recall and couldn't do anything about it. I showed them the actual recall campaigns downloaded from the web and they refused to investigate further stating that the computer system was the only factor to determine if a recall was warranted and there wasn't an 'open' recall. I stated that this may be due to recalls remaining open for 15 years and this happened in 2001 and they stated it was irrelevant since no open campaigns existed. The part on my vehicle is 64 54 6908 124 (E53) which is clearly the defective part stated as part of the recall, in BMW's aftersales and parts bulletin as well. BMW service continues to refuse to acknowledge or repair.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Jul 152014


  • 181,060 miles
The contact owns a 2001 BMW X5. Without warning, the motor assembly fan failed and caused extensive radiator and engine damage. The radiator was extremely hot due to the failure. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the motor assembly fan needed to be replaced. The contact also mentioned that there was intermittent brake failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who made several unknown repairs, but the failure recurred. The brake pedal was not completely stopping the vehicle when it was depressed. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 03V001000 (service brakes, hydraulic), 02V194000 (service brakes, hydraulic), 01V197000 (service brakes, hydraulic), 02V138000 (engine and engine cooling), and 01V206000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failures and provided no remedy. The approximate failure mileage was 181,060.

- Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 152014

X5 8-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
This vehicle has the 4.4 liter V8 engine. Driving on a cold morning (about 15 F) the ccv (crank case ventilation) system appears to have frozen in a manner that lead to the intake sucking engine oil directly into the intake and trying to combust it. The engine immediately lost power and began to billow smoke. I was able to leave traffic and shut the engine down before the engine was destroyed. Total repairs (parts and labor) cost about $1000. This failure seems to happen frequently to X5 engines and the local mechanics already seem to know that an X5 billowing smoke is probably the ccv freeze-up problem. The mechanic I called from the side of the road accurately diagnosed this over the phone. The owner groups are full of reports and complaints about ccv freeze-up. BMW seems to be aware of the problem as there are reports of owners with newer models being given discounted repairs. For some 6-cylinder model engines an insulated "cold weather" version of the affected parts is available and is suggested for those that complain about the failure and for some V8 engines an even harder to find "hose heater" kit is available, but not well known even to the dealers (I found the part numbers online after being turned away by two dealers who said such parts don't exist). The sudden loss of power and billowing smoke seems to be a significant safety issue. Drawing substantial quantities of engine oil into the intake and combustion path seems to defeat the purpose of the emission control system overall.

- Rockville, MD, USA