2019 BMW 3 Series Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine, structure and steering issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

As a sports sedan, the 2019 BMW 3 Series offers the chance to experience some excitement for a lower price than other models. Yet, the manufacturer claims it is still “born to be driven.” However, many customers are disappointed in the defective engine, poorly-built structure and malfunctioning steering system, all of which leave people at risk for an accident.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2022

Problems with the Engine

As a performance-focused sedan, the 3 Series needs to be equipped with a powerful, reliable engine, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

One NHTSA complaint states, “When I was driving the car on highway yesterday afternoon about 6 pm in left-most lane, the car’s all LED dashboard completely shutdown (black) and engine stopped. I had to slowly move the car to the road side and tried to restart the engine. The engine started with lots of warning signs.”

It turns out there is a major recall related to the engine in this BMW. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V732000 states that affected models might have needle roller bearings on the counterbalance shaft that weren’t installed correctly. This defect causes the counterbalance shaft to loosen and create severe engine damage. Plus, it will increase the chances of an accident.

So, if a driver gets into an accident, the airbags are meant to protect everyone in the vehicle. However, there are further problems with this safety feature. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V352000 discusses yet another recall for the knee air bags. It seems that affected vehicles have assemblies that weren’t put together or folded correctly at the factory. Because of this defect, the bag might not deploy during an incident, leaving people in more danger. It seems from every angle, this car wasn’t born to drive but rather fail.

2019 BMW 3 Series Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Exterior Lighting
Air Bags
Electronic Stability Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Power Train
Service Brakes

Problems with the Structure

As a luxury vehicle, consumers expect a lot from the BMW 3 Series. Yet, the quality of this build has left a lot to be desired.

Just look at this NHTSA complaint. “The chrome trim under the display screen reflects the sun causing a glare that reflects back into the driver’s eyes and also makes the screen above it virtually unreadable on sunny days when driving east, NE or SE. Of course, the position of the sun depends on location, time of day and season. In my case, the glare reflecting off the chrome trim is most prominent when driving east on a sunny day between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm in the Detroit area during summer months.”

At this point, it has become clear that BMW didn’t put a lot of thought into manufacturing the 3 Series. Another example of this is NHTSA Campaign Number 19V912000. Some models have outboard rear seat belt pretensioners that won’t lock as they should during an accident. Among the other problems that could lead to injury, this is just another one to add to the list. Maybe it would be safer if this model wasn’t “born to be driven.” It might be safer just parked in the driveway.

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Problems with the Steering

A closer look at the steering system of the BMW 3 Series shows even more trouble. It seems nearly impossible to keep this defective vehicle on the road.

Read this Edmunds review as an example. “On my first drive after taking delivery on this 330i sedan, it veered into opposing traffic and the steering wheel froze. Two stays at the local BMW service center didn’t solve the problem. This vehicle is too dangerous to drive so I returned it to the dealer!”

It should come as no surprise that there is also a steering-related recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V355000 states that the steering gear tie rod could become damaged, leading to altered control and handling. Of course, this is most possible when driving across rough road surfaces and at high temperatures, so a majority of American drivers are at risk.

Additionally, steering while going backward could cause trouble, especially with NHTSA Campaign Number 21V096000. This recall talks about the loss of a rearview image after shifting into Reverse. Either the screen becomes obscured or it won’t illuminate correctly. This further leads to a higher chance of an accident. Is there anywhere that the 3 Series was actually “born to be driven” at? From an overhead view of the entire situation, it would appear that it was born to be junked instead, before it causes a major accident.

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.

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
  • No

    I know 2019 BMW X3 has manufacture
    Issues I bought last year 58.000 mile
    After 2 visit oil filter change yesterday they found:
    -tension strut bushing ruptured
    – rear axle differential mounts ruptured
    – engine mouths collapsed replace all
    $ 7000

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