2001 BMW 5 Series Reliability - Consumer Reports
The 530i manages to do almost everything well. It's a fun-to-drive sports sedan with punchy performance and crisp handling, yet it's as quiet, comfortable and refined as we expect a luxury car to be. This version of the 5 Series was the highest scoring vehicle we'd ever tested at that time, and many of our testers remembered it fondly for years after we sold it.
Alerts
There are 8 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

We expect the 2022 5 Series will have about average reliability when compared to the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2019, 2020 and 2021 models. Select the used car model year to see reported issues with those similar past models.

Overall Reliability
The 2001 BMW 5 Series has been recalled 8 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
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Overall Reliability Verdict
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POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
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Engine Minor
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Engine Cooling
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Transmission Major
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Transmission Minor
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Drive System
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Fuel System
NA
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Electric System
NA
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Climate System
NA
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Suspension
NA
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Brakes
NA
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Exhaust
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Paint/Trim
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Body Integrity
NA
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Body Hardware
NA
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Power Equipment
NA
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NA
NA
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In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
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NA
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NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for over 300,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2021 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Recalls
PROVIDED BY
STEERING
Aug 28, 2019
If the steering rod detaches from the steerable wheel knuckle, it can cause sudden loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
ZF Group North America Operations (ZF) is recalling certain Lemf¿rder Steering Center Rods sold as aftermarket parts for 1996-2004 BMW 5-Series (E39) vehicles. The steering center rods may have an insufficient ball pin pull force that may allow the rods to detach from the steering knuckle.
What should you do:
ZF has notified the parts distributors, instructing them to inform the end customer. ZF will reimburse them for the affected parts. The recall began August 28, 2019.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19E058000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 614
AIR BAGS
Jan 14, 2019
An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain model year 2000-2003 525i Sedan, 530i Sedan, 540i Sedan, 2001-2003 525i Sports Wagon and 540i Sports Wagon vehicles, and 2000-2004 X5 SAV 3.0i, X5 SAV 4.4i, and X5 SAV 4.6is vehicles. This recall affects certain vehicles where the original steering wheel has been replaced with the optional sports steering wheel. The sports steering wheel has a frontal air bag inflator that may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicle for an optional sports steering wheel with an affected inflator. Dealers will replace the air bag module as necessary, free of charge. The recall began March 14, 2019. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V015000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 157549
AIR BAGS
Jan 20, 2017
In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2000-2002 BMW 320i, 323i, 325i, 325xi, 330i, 330xi, 323Ci, 325Ci, 330Ci, M3, 323iT, 325iT and 325xiT vehicles, 2001-2002 525i, 530i, 540i, M5, 525iT and 540iT vehicles, and 2001-2003 X5 3.0i, X5 4.4i, and X5 4.6is vehicles. These vehicles may have had a driver-side air bag module installed as replacement equipment such as after a vehicle crash necessitating replacement of the original air bag, or as a remedy part for a prior recall. These replacement modules contain an air bag inflator that may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to lower absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the driver side air bag module, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall began March 15, 2017. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 17V047000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 230117
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Aug 10, 2012
This condition could cause the fan motor to become inoperative, or cause the motor circuit board in the assembly to overheat, potentially leading to a fire in the engine compartment.
Summary:
This recall involves aftermarket parts sold by Valeo. Valeo is recalling certain engine cooling fans, part numbers 696121, 696273, and 696275, used as service replacement parts for model year 2008-2011 BMW 1-Series, 2006-2011 BMW 3-Series, 2000-2009 BMW 5-Series, 2004-2005 BMW 6-Series, and 2006-2007 BMW 7-Series vehicles. A metal-oxide semiconductor may overheat due to insufficient screwing of the semiconductor on the aluminum heat sink. This primary failure could cause adjacent components on the fan assembly motor circuit board to overheat and short.
What should you do:
Valeo will notify owners and replace the fans free of charge. The safety recall began on August 22, 2012. This recall is being conducted by Valeo, not by BMW. For further information, owners may contact Valeo at 1-888-718-2536.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 12E029000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 585
AIR BAGS
Oct 24, 2003
UNEXPECTED DEPLOYMENT OF THE AIR BAG(S) COULD CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY IF AN OCCUPANT IS TOO CLOSE TO THE DEPLOYING AIR BAG(S). IN ADDITION, THE BATTERY SAFETY TERMINAL MAY ALSO BE ACTIVATED. IF THAT HAPPENS, THE STARTER CABLE WOULD BECOME DISCONNECTED FROM THE BATTERY, AND THE ENGINE COULD NOT BE RESTARTED.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, A MICROPROCESSOR IN THE AIR BAG CONTROL MODULE, WHICH ACTIVATES THE FRONT AIR BAGS, THE SIDE AIR BAGS, THE FRONT SEAT SAFETY BELT PRETENSIONERS, AND THE BATTERY SAFETY TERMINAL, MAY HAVE A MALFUNCTION THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UNINTENDED ACTIVATION OF ONE OR MORE OF THESE COMPONENTS.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE AIR BAG CONTROL MODULE. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN NOVEMBER10, 2003. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 03V421000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 23000
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
May 16, 2002
IF THIS WERE TO OCCUR, ENGINE OVERHEATING AND SUBSEQUENT ENGINE DAMAGE COULD RESULT. IN ADDITION, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE FAILURE OF THE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITRY TO CAUSE A FIRE IN THE FAN CONTROL UNIT LOCATED IN THE FRONT OF THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, THE ENGINE AUXILIARY/COOLING FAN OPERATION, INCLUDING VARIABLE SPEED, IS ELECTRONICALLY CONTROLLED. FAILURE OF THE FAN MOTOR CAN CAUSE THE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITRY OF THE FAN CONTROL UNIT TO OVERLOAD AND FAIL, CAUSING THE FAN TO STOP OPERATING.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE FAN. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN SEPTEMBER 28, 2001. THIS IS A SUPPLEMENT TO A RECALL THAT BEGAN DURING SEPTEMBER 2001 (SEE RECALL CAMPAIGN 01V206). OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 02V138000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1550
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Jun 21, 2001
IF THIS WERE TO OCCUR, ENGINE OVERHEATING AND SUBSEQUENT ENGINE DAMAGE COULD RESULT. IN ADDITION, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE FAILURE OF THE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITRY TO CAUSE A FIRE IN THE FAN CONTROL UNIT LOCATED IN THE FRONT OF THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT.
Summary:
VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES. THE ENGINE AUXILIARY/COOLING FAN OPERATION, INCLUDING VARIABLE SPEED, IS ELECTRONICALLY CONTROLLED. FAILURE OF THE FAN MOTOR CAN CAUSE THE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITRY OF THE FAN CONTROL UNIT TO OVERLOAD AND FAIL, CAUSING THE FAN TO STOP OPERATING.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE FAN. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN SEPTEMBER 28, 2001. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 01V206000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 76469
TIRES
Jan 04, 2001
HANDLING AND CONTROL WOULD BE DRASTICALLY AFFECTED INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 18-INCH TIRES. (18-INCH TIRES ARE STANDARD EQUIPMENT ON THE M5 AND OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT ON THE 7-SERIES MODELS). THE MACHINE USED TO MOUNT AND INFLATE THE TIRES ON THE WHEELS AT THE ASSEMBLY PLANT MAY HAVE DAMAGED THE SIDEWALL OF ONE OR MORE TIRES. THE DAMAGED AREA COULD WEAKEN TO THE POINT WHERE A SUDDEN LOSS OF AIR FROM THE TIRE COULD OCCUR.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSPECT THE TIRES AND IF DAMAGE FROM THE MOUNTING MACHINE IS FOUND, THE TIRE WILL BE REPLACED. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN MARCH 10, 2001. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 01V001000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 3167
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