The BMW X3 originated the compact luxury SUV segment and is one of the few that actually feels sporty. Handling is agile, making the X3 enjoyable to drive. Helped by a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain is eager and willing. Fuel economy is also respectable, given the X3's size and power.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

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, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2012 BMW X3 has been recalled 2 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
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NA
NA
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NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
NA
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NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
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Engine Cooling
NA
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NA
NA
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NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
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NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
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 about 420,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2019 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.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 BMW X3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

"Expansion tank had slow leak"

Anonymous, MD (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Radiator

"The radiator got broken when the car had less than 2 years, with 20,000 miles, and the manufacturer did not want to fix it. I had to make a claim to my insurance because dealer claimed it was a small rock which cause the problem. For a car with so"

Felicia L., TX (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i Unsure)
Water pump

"Water pump failed. Needed replacement at 60,000 miles"

Clement F., WI (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"It is very difficult to find aftermarket parts for BMW"

R K., ON (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"The electric water pump failed, resulting in the vehicle going into limp mode to prevent engine damage. I was not told by BMW why it failed other than it was tested and shown to not be working. It was replaced under extended warranty"

Gregory F., TX (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Water pumps on the x3 routinely fail before 50000 miles. Apparently a known problem for years. Difficult to access and very exoensive electric pump"

William B., CO (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Went out at 60k. When it does out, the car over heats and cannot be driven any further"

Craig R., TX (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Hatchback does not close fully"

Anonymous, OH (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Moonroof sealing makes a lot of noise"

Anonymous, IL (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"Rattle in dashboard"

Anonymous, OH (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Trunk rattled until they replaced the entire unit"

Anonymous, IL (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Wind noise

"Driver side window was poorly installed. Had to have it replaced"

Christopher D., NY (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"The car can be noisy when driving in wind. Even with the windows rolled up securely, the noise can be loud"

Anonymous, CA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 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

Headlights

"Had to replace headlight control module - covered under warranty"

Anonymous, OH (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Headlights are xenon and are ridiculously expensive. The first one cost $600 to diagnose and repair. I asked about replacing both at that time but they said it wasn't necessary as they hardly ever fail. 3 months later the other one went for another $600"

R K., ON (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Headlight unit failed due to a leak in a seal. Incredibly it cost about $2500 to replace. If the car would have passed inspection I would have sold the car due to the cost of the headlight"

Paul S., NY (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"2 break lights burned out"

Anonymous, CA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Overall electronics system malfunctioned due to a bad tire pressure monitor. Affected radio, dash, etc"

Anonymous, PA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 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

Coil

"One coil failed. Two other coils had cracks"

Anonymous, MD (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Failed had to be replaced"

Rafael B., MA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"failed ignition coil"

Anonymous, CA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Spark plugs or wires failure

"engine would hesitate due to spark plug coils needing replacement"

Janis K., FL (2012 BMW X3 Unsure 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

Display screen goes blank

"I Drive display module had to be replaced. System blinked on and off after about 60k miles. Seems like a common issue. Cost of repair seems to vary betw $400-1200"

Christopher D., NY (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Had to buy new iPod to interface with car but it still is flakey. Cannot connect reliably. Using both wired and bluetooth--which ever is working at the time. Very annoying"

John E., MA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Not as reliable as my $110 Garmin or my wife's smart phone. Sometimes makes major mistakes in selecting routes. Once wanted to take me over a hundred miles or more before turning in right direction. All the more frustrating as it was the reversal"

Anonymous, NY (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"Would not pair or would lose pairing"

Anonymous, FL (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

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

Alignment

"The alignment was off because a bent knuckle the wheel is mounted on. I don't remember hitting anything that big in the road"

Grover M., IN (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Tire wear is uneven

"The tire wear is from the bent knuckle, I guess. But I have already replaced one full set of tires"

Grover M., IN (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"rear alignment off"

Anonymous, AZ (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"It is ELECTRIC steering, not pump driven. It sticks, making small necessary correctons very difficult difficult"

Craig R., TX (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine knock or ping

"running rough, RPM revved when stopped sometimes,"

Anonymous, FL (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Oil filter housing leaked oil into the eccentric shaft sensor, causing it to fail. This resulted in limited drivetrain output warnings, lack of power, rough start, and misfiring. Dealer replaced the eccentric shaft sensor, ignition coils, oil filter housing gasket and head gasket. Covered under CPO warranty, would have cost over $5k at the dealer out of warranty"

Christopher G., WA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Recently had an issue with a broken oil filter housing seal that caused an oil leak. Mechanic said it was not uncommon with this vehicle"

Eric M., KY (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Oil leak where oil filter housing is attached to the engine"

Anonymous, CA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Condenser

"Two years ago had to recharge system; last year replaced condenser"

Anonymous, KS (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"The a/c was not cooling. The condenser was leaking and has to be replaced"

John L., OH (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Evaporator

"Failed. Not cooling"

Anonymous, AZ (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Refrigerant leaks

"Took five visits, and finally an ultimatum, to get dealer to check issue (kept saying the loud whine was "normal"). Partial repair under warranty"

David T., TN (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

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

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"small oil spot on floor of garage near the front of BMW. When it was taken to the dealership for inspection - they found it had a crack in the engine block, This was where the oil pan bolted to the bottom of of the engine. It was still under warranty"

Anonymous, IL (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Cylinder head

"The plastic pipe that supplies air to the throttle body, what BMW calls the left charge pipe, broke due to fatigue/age and a piece of the pipe entered the engine and got stuck in a intake valve resulting in valve and camshaft damage. BMW ended up replacing the entire engine cylinder head/valve train. It was covered under extended warranty"

Gregory F., TX (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Replacing the entire Valve cover (expensive $$) instead of a cheap part, since everything is integral and not repairable"

Esteban T., VA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 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

Mirrors

"Interior mirror control sticks occasionally when adjusting the mirror. I need to manually push the button in the opposite direction to stop movement of the mirror"

SUSn J., OR (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)
Seat belts

""Not buckled" warning goes off regarding passenger seat, even when no one is in the passenger seat. Can be triggered by small, lightweight item such as cellphone. The dealer has tried to fix it twice, but it still happens once or twice a week"

Anonymous, CA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Tailgate manual release latch was replaced"

Jerome G., AZ (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 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

Electrical failure

"Accelerator position sensor failed - probably from road salt carried into the car on the bottom of my my shoes"

Anonymous, MA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Power train malfunction, repaired by BMV without cost"

Anonymous, CT (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint is discoloring in small pimple-sized areas and appears to be happening below the surface of the clearcoat"

SUSn J., OR (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

"Small amount of paint peeled from the front bumper when I was washing the car"

Frank S., WI (2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i Unsure)

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

Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Sensor had to be replaced. Dealer had the vehicle 6 days"

Anonymous, MI (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 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

Premature brake wear

"left rear brake only wore out after 20,000. Replaced by BMW no charge"

Anonymous, WA (2012 BMW X3 xDrive28i 3.0-L 6 Cyl)

Exhaust

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

Transmission Minor

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

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:DRIVER SIDE INFLATOR MODULE
Aug 08 2017
In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, the inflator housing could separate from the base plate and result in metal striking the vehicle occupants, potentially resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
BMW of North America, LLC. (BMW) is recalling certain 2012-2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i, X3 xDrive35i, and M6 Convertible vehicles and 2013 M6 Coupe vehicles. The affected vehicles have a driver's frontal air bag inflator that may have been improperly welded.
What should you do:
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver's front air bag module, free of charge. The recall began October 6, 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: 17V495000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 6785
CHILD SEAT:VEHICLE LATCH ANCHOR
May 23 2016
Damaged lower anchor bars may increase the child's risk of injury in the event of a crash.
Summary:
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain model year 2011-2017, X3 sDrive28i, X3 xDrive28i and X3 xDrive35i, vehicles manufactured July 2, 2010 to April 14, 2016, 2015-2017 X3 xDrive28d vehicles manufactured March 10, 2014 to March 31, 2016, and 2015-2017 x4 xDrive28i, X4 xDrive35i and X4 xDriveM40i vehicles manufactured March3, 2014 to April 15, 2016. The affected vehicles have lower anchor bars for securing child restraint seats that may become damaged when using the European-ISOFIX-type, rigid-style connector, child restraint system.
What should you do:
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will weld a reinforcing bracket to the lower anchor bars and the vehicle body, free of charge. The recall began on July 13, 2016. 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: 16V333000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 188668
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