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 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A 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.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A 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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard in front, available in rear from 2000. Head protection air bags and ESC standard from 2000.
Road Test

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.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 6 (184 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 (225 hp)
  • 4.4-liter V8 (290 hp)
  • 5-liter V8 (394 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 BMW 5 Series owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Seals in both rear doors failed causing significant water leak from rain. As per my mechanic, this is not unusual for a car this age as the seals dry out"

Nancy H., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 4.4-L V8)

"rear door moisture barrier leaks into back seat floor. Had to have it fixed twice"

Anonymous, WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Seal and/or weatherstripping around right passenger window and door failed, allowing water to leak into the back of the car"

Anonymous, MD (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Water gets in the back when it rains"

Bill R., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"The Sun Roof cassette rattles badly"

Steve T., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"The car is 12 years old, so there is bound to be some noise from wear and tear"

Reginald F., TX (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Water was leaking into right passenger door and on into the car instead of draining properly"

Anonymous, MD (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Was wet inside after heavy rain, could not find problem"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)

"Problem with radiator leaks"

Richard K., FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Issue with water leaks from two sources: 1) sunroof clogged drains, 2) door inner seal"

Anonymous, WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Pin-hole leak in radiator. Replaced radiator, thermostat, and water pump"

Ron O., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Replacement of windshield fluid reservoir and associated pump for windshield washer mechanism"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"I needed to replace the radiator and hoses. As a precaution I also replaced the thermostat"

Mario R., WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The car is 12 years old, so minor leaks are to be expected"

Reginald F., TX (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Rear foot wells flooded in heavy rain even though windows and doors were closed"

Anonymous, NH (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Windshield washer pump and hose leaked"

Anonymous, KY (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)

"Water leaks in through rear doors as there is no seal between interior door panel and door frame. Water enters through window track and drips down on inside of door panel and then migrates into interior forming puddle under rear seat and filling car"

Alana B., BC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Water leak past faulty door panel vapor barrior, and windshield drain plugged leaking past firewall"

Anonymous, OH (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

"Coolant expansion tank notorious for leaking from bottom. Apparent additional leaks from valley pan"

Anonymous, WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Electric fan motor failed"

Gordon H., ON (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"cooling system rebuilt several times"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 5.0-L V8)
Radiator

"Radiator expansion tank (plastic) failed. Car towed into shop. Cost of tow - $95, cost of repair $195"

Anonymous, GA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Design weakness of radiator at connection for hot coolant return. The radiator FRP casting at the hose connection is subject to fatigue and failure causing sudden loss of coolant"

Anonymous, FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Cooling system had to be replaced -- radiator, water pump, etc"

Carol S., VA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"car ran very rough"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Radiator leaked and was replaced"

David D., NY (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Radiator developed a crack in tank causing leak and required replacement"

D D., IL (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Radiator overflow chamber cracked and leaking"

Anonymous, BC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"thermostat failed, engine running cold"

Anonymous, PA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Low temp thermostat sensor needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, NC (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Water pump

"Water pump failed at 118,000 miles. Car towed in. Repair included replacing the water pump, thermostat and main drive belt. Cost - $1,200"

Anonymous, GA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Probable end of life for the water pump. But over all the cooling system does not seem to be designed for long life"

Carol S., VA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Had to replace the water pump"

Anonymous, TX (2003 BMW 5 Series M5 5.0-L V8)

"Leaking coolant"

Gordon H., ON (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

"warning lights come on frequently, requiring costly replacement repair"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"I have what I believe is a slow internal oil leak. It requires adding a quart every few months"

David B., AL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Oil leaks from the covers over the ignition coils - more commonly referred to as "Valve Covers". Include oil leaks from power steering heat exchanger oil lines, and Transmission cooler lines to radiator. Lastly, leaks from engine oil pan/sump gasket area"

Anonymous, FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Leaks from oil pan gasket and oil filter assembly"

Anonymous, VA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"engine is using 1 qt. of engine oil every 1,200 miles. burning not leaking"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Failure of the O Ring Gasket between the Oil Filter Housing and the engine block"

Anonymous, FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Engine front seals seem to be an ongoing replacement issue"

Anonymous, WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"leaking oil around valves"

Richard K., FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"Valve cover gasket leaking"

Peter L., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"I was losing about a quart of oil every 2 weeks. The mechanic repaired the leak"

Anonymous, PA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"An oil leak form the failure of a gasket between the oil filter and the engine caused the leak. It appears that this is a common problem with this particular engine"

Mario R., WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"difficult to find without removing shield under engine"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)

"I have a failed valve cover gasket. It has gotten worse while the car has been sitting for the last few months because of a broken front strut"

Robert P., SC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

"Engine started missing and now runs extremely rough with severe decrease in fuel efficiency. Possibly linked to age / rigidity of gaskets resulting in severe leaks in the intake and upper manifold systems. Has not yet been diagnosed and repaired"

Anonymous, WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

"no real issue; almost 130,000 miles and one started to leak so they needed replacement. Dealer wanted $2700 for work, local very reliable mechanics using oem parts charged $600 for same work less an alignment which the dealer insisted was necessary"

Jeffrey S., NY (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"At 40,000 the front inserts clunked. Replaced under vendor (Bilstien) warranty"

Tom R., NJ (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"My front right strut broke. I had both replaced and the left one squeaked from the beginning. It has already failed, but looking back, I believe it was probably defective when I got it"

Robert P., SC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Steering wheel is hard to turn and is sometimes squeaky"

Anonymous, VA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"still have play in steering ?tie rods next"

Kevin S., CT (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Ball joints

"Needed to replace both upper and lower control arms due to rubber bushing failure and/or ball joint failure"

Kevin S., CT (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"replaced both front lower control arms"

Anonymous, NC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Electronic or air suspension

"Had to have spontaneous repair of left air suspension after it wouldn't activate"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"replaced hoses from PS reservoir"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"All hoses have had to be replaced due to leaks. Steering fluid pump has also needed replacing"

Michael B., ON (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"Hoses leaked due to age and were replaced"

David D., NY (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Lifetime Bearings appear to wear out at 174,000. Normal wear and tear"

Tom R., NJ (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

"LED gauges in dash started to go bad and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The LED car status displays on both the front dash, and the related system on the "radio" have become completely unreadable over time. This includes car function status warnings, plus remaining fuel range estimates, so it has become a safety issue"

Arthur B., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Pixels on Odometer are messed up. Barely passed MD state inspection, though rest of car is in great shape"

Jeff T., MD (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Interior lights

"The interior light stayed on when car not in use, and drained battery. The alternator failed also, which exacerbated the problem. I pulled out the fuse for that circuit to fix the problem, and replaced the alternator"

Anonymous, ON (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Brake light warning thinks break lights are not working, but they are"

Anonymous, PA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Alarm would go off erratically. Problem solved by unplugging the hood sensor"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Self-adjusting headlights. Lately, they don't aim properly; seem to be aiming down at the road. This was fixed about a year ago, but is back"

Anonymous, IN (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Idiot light indicator on bit everything works. Has not been resolved"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)

"The right rear tail light doesn't work. Some kind of poor connection in housing"

Doug G., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seats

"Heater failed and began burning leather seat. It cost well over $1000 to replace"

Anonymous, WI (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

"The washer system developed a leak and was unable to retain washer fluid. Shortly after adding fluid, none would be available for dispensing"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

"Seat controls...I have paid hundreds to have both the driver and passenger cable for seat repaired so they go up and down and not leave the driver hanging...also had to have the forward and backward seat controls worked one"

Laura A., FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"Seat back adjustment failed completely"

Louis A., SC (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Electric seat adjustment stopped working"

Anonymous, GA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Moisture failure of electric window motors"

Anonymous, GA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Two of the windows, rear passenger side and driver's window, have failed in the past two years, requiring expensive repairs"

John H., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Power windows stopped working and became stuck had to replace rotors on drivers and pas sanders side"

Bill R., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Doors or sliding doors

"A plastic sheet to keep out the water breaks down over the years, usually needing replacement on all 4 doors. Must take off interior panels on each repair"

Allan M., TX (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Heated seat burned hole in leather and injured driver"

Robert G., MA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Sunroof

"Sunroof has a small final ramp it closes on and lays flush with roof. The sunroof was not making that final contact but you could not see it from inside or out and no warning light. Rain came and flooded the car and MAJOR MOLD as we were out of tow"

Laura A., FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"Sunroof mechanism cracked and it will not pop up now as well the drains are plugged and leaking into interior through door pillars"

Alana B., BC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

"ABS warning light went on constantly, dealership had problems trying to fix it. Still have problems"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Anti Lock brake system needed replacement"

Anonymous, FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"ABS, DSC, BRAKE warning light illuminated. Replaced ABS module. Required coding of new module unit to car"

Anonymous, GA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"ECU controlling ABS, stability control and traction control failed"

Anonymous, BC (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"My wife rides the brakes. So, not much here"

Allan M., TX (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Calipers

"Front right caliper piston seized causing over heating and front end vibration"

Anonymous, MA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"time to change"

Jerald D., IL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Rear brakes had never been changed, and had worn thin"

Anonymous, FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)

"was time to change"

Jerald D., IL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"Air flow sensor has been replaced 3 times over life of vehicle"

Charles B., IL (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

"Evaporator fan failed, causing non-expert independent shop (well, the owner owned a similar car) a series of tries to solve the problem. On about the 4th try they did. The problem occured during extended visit to Midwest relatives, so no-AC was sreious. Our home mechanic (we call hie "Billy the Wrench"...) probably would have solved the problem immediately"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"The alternator went out"

Doug G., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Heater system

"New radiator installed"

Anonymous, VA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"I have a slow coolant leak that requires topping off a couple of times a year"

David B., AL (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The coolant expansion tank had a small pin-hole size leak. The cost of replacing the gallon size plastic container approached $500. I thought this was excessive"

James H., IA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Compressor mount broke causing loose belt and therefore other issues"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)

"It developed a non-repairable leak requiring replacement"

Don R., FL (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

"Pixels in the display were not turning on"

Anonymous, VA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Pixels going out makes screen difficult to read"

J R., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"The dashboard display is has lost random lights (40%)"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)

"Electrical short in rear light fixture on trunk lid"

Anonymous, KY (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 5.0-L V8)
Radio

"Pixels on radio failed and radio had to be replaced"

Charles B., IL (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Stopped working a couple of times"

John P., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i Unsure)
Backup or other camera/sensors

"Backup sensor sometimes sounds when there is nothing close to the car. I turn the system off using the dashboard button when this happens"

Ron O., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Exterior molding is beginning to crack from age: windshield, driver side door at glass, & rear windshield. Not cheap to replace - even from non-BMW parts dealers"

Patrick B., AR (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Clear coat is bubbling - Not a manufacturers problem - but a repair issue"

Steve T., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i Unsure)

"clear coat on hood, roof and trunk deck is failing, leaving a hazed appearance. Car has been garaged and not exposed to regular sun exposure"

John H., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Trim on liftgate window is coming loose"

Louis A., SC (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
Rust

"Two 5 series BMW's I have owned have both had unacceptable rust problems"

Robert G., MA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"The side gate separating gears 3/4 from 5th gear disappears until the gearbox warms up. I. E. shifting from 2nd gear to 3rd is challenging as there is no resistance preventing movement into 5th gear. The problem first showed up on zero degree days but now occurs on 50 degree days. I understand it is a common problem with this model ZF transmission and the detent parts to fix it are relatively cheap. Unfortunately you have to drop the transmission to get to them!!"

Anonymous, CT (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Coolers and lines

"Constant problems with various water, cooler or oil lines"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"repairs are frequent and costly"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Dealer only replaced transmission control module, cost $3800 on Dec 2013; car ran for 3 days and stopped running so I parked car in my driveway & did not drive until Feb 2015; have spent $2200 to get car running again; must have a lemon"

Anonymous, AR (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

"Dealer approach is not to identify specific part which has failed, but to replace entire system. Cost was substantial"

Anonymous, UT (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"multiple hoses cracked that caused air leak/vacuum and made engine run rough. $800 later, it was fixed"

Jeff T., MD (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"loose and cause light to come on"

Anonymous, NV (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"Dealer approach is not to identify individual component failure but to replace all components of defective system. Significant additional cost incurred"

Anonymous, UT (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"Have a vibration on acceleration from dead stop. Thought it was the transmission but was told vibration is from loose or old parts in driveshaft - probably in the Universal Joint. Sad thing is - there are no U-joint parts that are made. Have to buy entire driveshaft. Bummer"

Patrick B., AR (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Electrical failure

"The blower motor resistor pack failed which caused the climate control to not respond to any of the buttons and to randomly change the blower motor speed"

Zack R., MI (2003 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4-L V8)
Transfer case

"At 78500 miles, the check engine light came on, the car slowed and a message stating the transmission was in fail-safe mode appeared. The BMW diagnostic stated the transmission must be replaced. I did at a cost of $5800, just this week"

Anonymous, MD (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

"Third transmission"

John B., IL (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)

"The transmission began slipping, upon inspection it nneded to be replaced"

Anonymous, MO (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"The system indicates occasionally indicates that the emissions are below standard, but the vehicle passes the CA emissions test. The dealer is at a loss to explain the cause or solution to the problem"

Fred H., CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

"I lost my serpentine belt, unable to immediately pull over safely, caused overheating and blown headgasket"

Thomas H., WA (2003 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

"car ran very rough"

Anonymous, CA (2003 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5-L 6 Cyl)
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