2020 BMW 3 Series Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

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

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When a driver gets behind the wheel of a 2020 BMW 3 Series they expect plenty of acceleration and excitement. BMW claims, “the 3 pushes forward.”, however customers often find many defects as illustrated by the countless recalls. Some of these problems include a defective engine, glitchy electrical system and shoddy structure.


Engine Problems

If BMW is known for anything, it’s creating a durable, exciting engine. However, the BMW 3 Series appears to have missed the memo that this is supposed to be a precision-focused motor because it only creates disappointment.

Just read this Edmunds review. “The standard engine is a 4-cylinder, 2 liter sometimes noisy or struggling powertrain.”

The BMW engine isn’t just boring, but also dangerous. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V732000 talks about how the needle roller bearings on the counterbalance were improperly installed. Without these bearings in place, the counterbalance shaft can loosen, which leads to engine damage and a potential accident. With a damaged motor, it would be very difficult for the BMW 3 Series to push anywhere, including forward.

2020 BMW 3 Series Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Air Bags
Electrical System:ignition
Exterior Lighting
Fuel/propulsion System
Visibility:sun/moon Roof Assembly

Problems with the Electrical System

As a luxury model, the BMW 3 Series should contain the latest bells and whistles, creating a seamless experience. However, the electrical system can’t even handle the basics, let alone the most sophisticated.

Here’s another Edmunds review to consider. “The rear end collision alert did not keep me from backing into a short 3 foot pole in the ground, I clearly did not see.”

Having a functional rearview camera image might have helped this situation, but that’s another problem. NHTSA Campaign Number 21V096000 states that the rearview image could either be obscured or it won’t illuminate, causing a higher chance of an accident. While discussing visibility, it’s also important to look at NHTSA Campaign Number 19V85000. This recall states that a defective headlight control unit is causing the headlights to go out unexpectedly. Without headlights, it is impossible to drive at night, proving that this model definitely doesn’t “push forward” after sunset.

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Structure Problems

What’s worse is the amount of defects with the structure and how poorly this BMW 3 Series is built.

One more Edmunds review states, “Sadly, BMW has decided to place 18″ rims/wheels with smaller road grip and just fair-to-good handling. It really needs more rubber and width at 55-70mph speeds. Also, BMW is using run-flat tires that provide an often harsh ride coupled with road noise.”

BMW did not put nearly enough care into building this car. According to NHTSA Campaign Number 20V355000, many affected vehicles have a steering gear tie rod that gets damaged and fractures. When this occurs, the handling of the vehicle becomes difficult and people lose control. What’s worse is NHTSA Campaign Number 20V164000 that talks about defective seat belt sensors. It appears that the sensors are inaccurately detecting occupants as unbelted, leading to trouble with the pretensioners and air bag during an accident. Considering how likely it is for the BMW 3 Series to get into an accident, it would be imperative that these systems work. At this point, the only thing that the BMW 3 Series is continuing to “push forward” toward is having the most number of recalls for one vehicle. What a lemon!

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

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