2003 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 4 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 2003 BMW 5 Series has been recalled 4 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
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Overall Reliability Verdict
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POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
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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
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Electric System
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Climate System
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Suspension
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Brakes
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Exhaust
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Paint/Trim
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Body Integrity
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Body Hardware
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Power Equipment
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In-car Electronics
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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
May 28, 2015
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 model year 2002-2005 325i, 325xi, 330i, and 330xi Sedans, and 325xi and 325i Sportswagons, 2002-2006 330Ci, 325Ci, and M3 Convertibles and 325i, 330i, and M3 Coupes, 2002-2003 M5, 540i, 525i Sedan, and 530i Sedans, and 540i and 525i Sportswagons, and 2003 X5 3.0i and 4.4i Sports Activity Vehicles. Please note that the 5-series and X5 vehicles are only included if they are equipped with the optional sports steering wheel. The affected vehicles are equipped with a dual-stage driver frontal air bag that may be susceptible to moisture intrusion which, over time, could cause the inflator to rupture.
What should you do:
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front driver air bag module, free of charge. The recall began Aug 2016. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Note: This recall supersedes recall 14V-348 in its entirety. Additionally, vehicles that have had their driver side frontal air bag replaced previously as part of a recall remedy need to have their air bag replaced under this recall as well. Note: On December 17, 2015 BMW removed the model year 2004 X5 3.0i and 4.4i Sports Activity vehicle from this recall. Those vehicles were mistakenly identified as including the air bags that are subject to this recall.
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: 15V318000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 419235
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
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