2018 BMW X3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, poor vehicle structure, brake and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Luxury SUVs are the talk of the town and the 2018 BMW X3 seems to exceed expectations at first glance. The company claims that “adventure awaits” behind the wheel and research agrees, but not for the same reasons. Adventure comes in the form of a faulty powertrain, a defective structure, a glitchy electrical system, finicky steering and flawed brakes.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 BMW X3

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Air Bags
Back Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Transmission

The powertrain is one of the main systems that keeps a vehicle running its best. With defects, owners get frustrated and are also put into danger.

One Edmunds review states, “New.At 3,600 miles Drivetrain Malfunction – Total Lockdown- NO GEARS, no go.Stranded. 4 hour wait for BMW ‘Roadside Assistance’ before tow to dealer. Dealer states ‘software’ but remains vague re. cause. States they have ‘done all that BMW will allow’, but there might be a bulletin coming soon! Chassis G01, Engine code B46B20M0. Other BMW models with the same engine have experienced Crankshaft Sensor failure resulting in a bulletin requiring Sensor replacement. 2018 X3 is not included in the Bulletin, but SEVEN other models with the same engine are.  After 3 previous trouble free BMWs, this reflects an apparent departure from a commitment to customer safety and security in favor of cost saving for the company.”

BMW acknowledges numerous powertrain concerns, including Service Bulletin #B611719. Some owners experience a Service Action: Replace the Gear Selector Switch warning. It turns out that the GWS was not produced to specs and will need to be replaced. The first adventure for some owners is a trip back to the dealer for repair.

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

For the price of the X3, it is to be expected that the SUV will contain premium materials, but that’s not the case.

One more Edmunds customer states, “BMW has added plastic inside the doors instead of metal and changed the windows making the cabin noise LOUD. Like you have a window open!!”

Unfortunately, there’s a recall related to the structure as well. It turns out that the rear spoiler might loosen and eventually detach. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V154000 states that the spoiler wasn’t attached properly during assembly or it could be missing screws. Who is putting these BMW vehicles together and why did they forget to put in vital screws? Was it like putting together a piece of furniture when extra screws are noticed and they just get thrown away?

Problems with the Electrical System

With a luxury car, like the X3, it’s common to expect the highest-end technologies and innovations. While there seem to be plenty of amenities included, many of them are defective or not working as they should.

Take this NHTSA complaint as an example. “The contact owns a 2018 BMW X3. The contact stated that the speedometer displayed the incorrect speed. The dealer informed the contact that there was no remedy for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 5,900.”

If this driver wants to continue owning an X3, it’s necessary to operate it with the incorrect speed displayed, because there’s no way to fix it? Does this even sound logical? It’s almost as interesting as the recall stating that the display might not illuminate at all or flash various warning symbols for no reason. NHTSA Campaign Number 17V719000 is just one more example of the adventures this luxury SUV takes owners on.

Problems with the Steering

What could be more adventurous than having to forcefully steer the BMW SUV? That’s what’s happening to some owners.

An NHTSA review states, “At between 52 mph and 60 mph, steering wheel buzzes and shakes. Seems to be something with lane depart system even when shut off. Excessive front passenger tire wear also. No fix from dealer yet?”

While there’s no recall yet, it’s probably only a matter of time. For now, other steering issues are addressed with Service Bulletin #B320518. This document says that the Power Steering Assistance might not always become available after starting the engine. Plus, Electronic Power Steering might not always activate, leaving owners trying to figure out how to steer correctly. What a disaster this must be for families trying to take the kids to school. Not only could this lead to a crash, but another recall admits that the seat can fold unexpectedly during a crash, causing further injury. How many adventures is one family supposed to be subjected to?

Problems with the Brakes

What is one system that can make any vehicle safer? The brake system, of course. But again, there are massive failures with the brakes on the BMW X3.

One more look at NHTSA reveals this comment. “The vehicle was moving and when I tried to stop because the car in front of me stopped. My car had a brake failure and caused an accident. ABS and/or the collision deterrent system engaged to avoid this accident.”

As with most other systems on the X3, there is also a recall for the brakes. The rear brake caliper pistons don’t have the correct coating applied, which can cause a reduction in performance while applying the brakes. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V453000 just further proves how insufficient this luxury SUV truly is. With countless recalls and problems with almost every system, this is an adventure no one should take.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes BMW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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