2020 BMW X3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Build quality, electrical system and steering issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Differential Problems? Read about our X3 Rear Differential Failure Investigation.

Sports Activity Vehicles make up a relatively new segment of SUVs, but that’s what this 2020 BMW X3 is marketed as. The name alone suggests that it is useful for exciting events and the automaker backs that up by claiming “adventure awaits.” While many customers are experiencing adventures, they aren’t the wanted kinds. Instead, the owners are spending time sitting at the dealership because of the steering, structure and electrical system.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022

Problems with the Steering

Imagine the destruction that could be caused if the X3 was hard to steer and control. That’s what customers are currently dealing with.

Take a look at this Edmunds review. “First time BMW owner and I am very disappointed. Any high wind and this car is blowing all over the highway, plus the wind noise is very loud in the cabin. The ride is also very jerky, the gear shifts are not smooth at all. It’s pretty rough over bumps as well. I sold my 7 year old rusty Nissan, which actually drove better than this BMW.”

Of course, customer complaints don’t need to be the only proof that something is wrong. In fact, there are three recalls related to the steering and suspension alone. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V738000 states that some vehicles have steering rack pinion teeth that could break, especially while under a load. If this happens, the operator might lose control and crash. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V678000 says that vehicles might also have a front axle swivel bearing that wasn’t heat treated correctly during manufacturing, which reduces the strength and might cause breakage. If this occurs, the operator might also lose control and crash. Finally, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V355000 describes how the steering gear tie rod could become easily damaged and break. If this happens, it’s possible for the operator to lose control and crash. There appears to be a common theme occurring with the X3 – it is impossible to control, leaving owners to await that adventure.

2020 BMW X3 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Air Bags
Exterior Lighting
Power Train:driveline:differential Unit
Air Bags: Air Bag/restraint Control Module

Issues with the Build Quality

Paying a premium price for this luxury model causes expectations to run high. However, the masses are disappointed at the quality and integrity of the X3’s build.

One Edmunds user says, “This is my third BMW X3. The last model was a 2017. The 2020 X3 has been a huge disappointment. Anytime you hit a bump the entire cabin rattles and it sounds as though something is going to fall apart-it takes bumps, potholes, and any variance and roadway extremely rough-speed bumps in my neighborhood at lowest speed are reminiscent of sitting in the back seat of a school bus as a kid. The car is noisy, with a lot of rattling and miscellaneous road noise of which we cannot identify the origin. My steering wheel does not heat up near as efficiently or as comfortably as my last. I’ve owned the car for two months and it has visited the shop twice. Big regret.”

Obviously, by looking at the steering recalls alone, it’s clear that someone was sleeping on the job while the X3 was put together. However, there’s even more proof that the basics of this vehicle were completely overlooked. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V164000 illustrates another recall that talks about the front seat belt buckles inaccurately detecting if someone is in the seat. When this system fails, the air bag and seat belt pretensioners might not work during an accident. Hopefully, no one in an X3 is ever in an accident, but the odds seem stacked against them so far. Additionally, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V152000 further states that the instrument panel casing might not have been properly attached to the passenger air bag. If an accident does occur, the air bag might damage the casing, causing small bits to strike the occupants in the X3. Basically, if the air bag does work, it could cause further damage. There’s no good scenario coming from this situation. Instead of taking this X3 on an adventure, owners might do better to baby it and drive really slowly.

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Electrical System Problems

One last look at the electrical system shows just as many problems as the other systems.

Here’s one more Edmunds review to examine. “Today my rear camera stop working, last month my ambient lights stop working, 6 month ago engine failure light started blinking (some sonda failure). Beside that there is some squeaking noise from dash board, like on my old Ford.”

Again, BMW can’t seem to manufacture anything on this vehicle the way it was intended. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V684000 talks about a major defect occurring on more than 250,000 vehicles. In this recall, BMW admits that the back-up camera display doesn’t work as it should. This lack of image could lead to an accident and further proves the inadequacy of the automaker. Owners can’t seem to get a break no matter what basic function they want to employ. It’s impossible to keep the vehicle on the road, see what’s behind it or rely on the safety features that should protect occupants. Possibly the best “adventure” this vehicle might see is a trip to the junkyard to be with its defective friends.

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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