Common Problems with BMW X3

BMW is known for creating cars that offer the ultimate driving experience. The BMW X3 is not an exception, but it also has several problems that users should know about. What are the common problems with the BMW X3?

The BMW X3 has a handful of issues that interested buyers or users should know about. Note that most of these problems vary from one model year to another, while others are uniform across the models. Some of these issues are oil leak, engine overheating, engine stalling, sunroof rattle, and much more.

What are the common problems of the BMW X3?

Oil leak

Oil leakage is a common problem in almost all BMW models. This is usually caused by a worn-out valve cover gasket or cracks in the valve cover. After driving your X3 for some time, the valve cover gasket may wear out and start to leak oil. Visit a mechanic to change your valve cover gasket.

Overheating engine

Another common problem that BMW X3 users experience is engine overheating. The engine overheats because there is a coolant leak. If the coolant system is damaged or compromised, it won’t cool the engine as needed, resulting in the engine overheating. Check if there is a coolant or a bad thermostat.

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Sunroof rattle and leak

The issue of sunroof rattle and leak is common only in the first-generation BMW E83 X3. What happens is that when the driver opens or cracks the sunroof, different trim pieces will rattle and knock around; thus, creating some noise. Nonetheless, this issue can be fixed easily. 

Window rattle and broken regulators

A window rattle and broken regulators are also common on BMW X3. This usually occurs when there is a failed window regulator. Note that the window may fail to close or open, which can be a nuisance. The repair is easy but it can be costly because of the cost of parts and repair service.

Timing chain guide failure

Even though BMW is a luxury car, it is made up of many plastic parts and the timing chain guide is one of them. Since this part is made of cheap plastic, it does not last very long. Therefore, if the plastic timing chain guide breaks on the BMW X3, it affects the engine’s timing. All you’re required to do is to replace the guide and correct the timing.

Heavy steering

This issue is common on BMW X3 models with variable sports steering. People with this feature may notice that the steering has become heavy and troublesome to control. This is a sign that the variable sports steering has failed. The only solution is to replace it with a new one.

Loss of brake power

The brake vacuum pump on the BMW X3 requires a lot of lubrication. So, if you fail to lubricate it regularly or as recommended, then it will begin to lose power seize. This will cost you more money as you will have to replace the damaged vacuum pump.

Car pulling to the side

Some BMW X3 users have reported their car pulling to one side. This is usually caused by misaligned tracking. To rectify this problem, you will have to take your car to the BMW service center and have the tracking adjusted.

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Engine stalling

BMW X3 made between August 2016 and January 2018 have engine stalling issues. The engine stalls because the fuel tank has a problem that causes a limited supply of fuel to the car’s engine, making it stall. Take your car to a BMW service center and have the fuel system inspected. 

Turbo issues

If you notice that your car is producing a graunching noise or there’s smoke coming from the exhaust when oil drips onto it, then this is an indication of a bad turbo. It happens when the turbo seal has blown. This is also a common issue on the BMW X3s. Amend the issue by replacing the blown turbo seal.


What is high mileage for BMW X3?

The best way to assess a quality used car before paying for it is knowing how many miles it has put on. BMW X3 may be a reliable car, but if the owner was reckless or had some bad driving habits, the car will tend to have a lot of issues. Regardless, 100,000 miles is considered high mileage for BMW X3 as most issues start from here.

What model year BMW X3 is the most reliable?

Many reliability rating agencies say that the 2017 BMW X3 is the most reliable. For instance, Consumer Reports have given the BMW X3 a 4-star rating out of 5 stars. This is a sign that this is a reliable car with fewer issues. Nonetheless, there are a few issues that the owner should be keen on.

Is the BMW X3 expensive to maintain?

Yes, it is expensive to maintain the BMW X3. On average, you may have to part with over $900 to maintain your car annually. Besides, the BMW X3 has a lot of issues that increase the cost of repair and maintenance. And since BMW parts are very costly, the overall cost of maintenance will also go up.

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Which car has more problems – BMW X3 or X5?

The BMW X5 may be a bigger, luxurious, comfortable, and more advanced car than the BMW X3, but the X3 is still more reliable than its bigger sibling. While the BMW X3 is the most reliable BMW SUV, the BMW X5 is the least reliable BMW SUV in the lineup. It also registers more problems than the X3.

What model year BMW X3 should I avoid?

BMW X3 may be an exceptional compact SUV, but if there is one model year that you should avoid is the 2013 BMW X3. According to the NHTSA, this car has had over 300 complaints, which is exponentially high. Also, most of the problems that this model faces are very costly to maintain.

One of the rampant issues that the 2013 BMW X3 comes with is the timing chain guide failure. Nonetheless, it also has several problems that you should find out.


Now that you know some of the common problems that BMW X3 users face, it is easier to know what to expect or how to take care of this compact SUV. Some of the problems that BMW X3 users faces are oil leak, engine stalling, engine overheating, turbo problems, loss of brake power, and much more.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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