BMW, or Bayerische Motoren Werke, is a German luxury vehicle manufacturer that produces a wide variety of vehicles from sports cars, to SUVs. One vehicle that is quite popular is the BMW X3, a mid-size SAV, or Sports Activity Vehicle.

The BMW X3 is not a reliable car. Customer reviews of this vehicle are not very positive, as it frequently needs to be taken into the dealership for maintenance or repairs. The BMW X3 is known for engine problems and the reliability ratings are lower than many other vehicles.

In past years, the BMW X3 has not been a very reliable vehicle, and even the recent models continue to have problems. Keep reading to learn more about why this SAV is not a reliable car.

BMW X3: The Basics

Before we talk about the common problems that the BMW X3 has, we should talk about the basics of this vehicle. While BMW manufactures a wide variety of vehicles, the X3 falls into their SAV category, or Sport Activity Vehicle. It is very similar in size to a mid-size SUV, but the vehicle is designed specifically with power and capability in mind.

The BMW X3 is one of twelve SAV models that they offer. It balances function and luxury; meanwhile, most other SAV models favor one aspect over the other. The X3 is roomier than the X2, and it falls within the pricing middle ground for BMW SAVs, at around $48,740.

Common Issues of the X3

You know that the BMW X3 is not a reliable vehicle, but it is important to understand why it is not reliable. This SAV has a lot of common issues that previous and current owners have struggled with. The main issues facing BMW X3 owners include various engine problems and malfunctioning technology, both of which can be expensive to repair.

Engine Problems

The most dangerous and most expensive issues that the BMW X3 frequently has are engine problems. Engine problems common in the BMW X3 include a broken timing chain guide and oil leaks. The broken timing chain is most common in the 2013 X3 model.

This is incredibly dangerous, as the timing chain coordinates the opening and closing of valves, ensuring that the engine functions properly. Without the timing chain, the engine stops running. If this happens while you’re driving down the freeway or somewhere without cell reception, this could prove to be very dangerous.

Another engine issue is that it often has oil leaks. When the timing of the engine gets out of sorts, then there are additional problems like oil leaks. The oil gets backed up which can cause the cabin to smell of oil. Because BMW is a luxury, specialized brand, having problems fixed can be a big, expensive hassle. Custom BMW parts have to be shipped from the factory in Germany.

They can’t be purchased from a parts manufacturer in the United States. Fixing a broken timing chain will cost around $6,300, and fixing an oil leak will cost about $1,400 (depending on the severity of the problem).

Technology Issues

One problem common through most of the BMW X3 model years is technology issues. This includes the lights, the front screen, the theft alarm, connection to a phone, the locks, the car turning off, and even the windows. The technology system of the BMW X3 is just not reliable, and again, it is very difficult and expensive to fix.

The interior lights have shut off and on on their own, and the headlights and taillights of the X3 don’t always work properly. The front screen display has been known to just shut off or freeze, especially when maps are being used. Drivers have reported the theft alarm going off in the middle of driving the vehicle. Many customers struggle to connect their smart phones to the car, even though it was manufactured with connectivity in mind.

A bigger technology, and safety issue that the X3 has is that the locks and the windows will malfunction. One X3 owner got locked out of their car because locks malfunctioned, even though they had their key. Several consumers have had issues with the windows and sunroof opening or closing while driving, and even when they are away from the vehicle.

Another safety issue is the tendency for the car to just shut off. While sitting at a red light, many BMW X3 owners reported that the vehicle just shut off. This is a huge safety issue, and customers find it difficult to get BMW’s help resolving these problems.

BMW X3 Ratings and Reviews

While there are obviously a lot of common issues that don’t make the BMW X3 a vary reliable car, there are also ratings and reviews to support that statement. When the 2020 BMW X3 reviews came out, they reflected a car that is not very reliable.

The BMW X3 received a reliability rating of 81 out of 100 from J.D. Power. While this is still considered a good score, customers expect more from a luxury brand like BMW.

When it comes to comfort, and style, the BMW X3 is a good car, but owners of the vehicle, even if they only owned it for a little while, have run into a lot of the problems mentioned. Many customer reviews on Edmunds refer to the BMW X3 as a lemon vehicle.

This means that the car has a significant defect that has not been fixed after several repair attempts. Several owners have considered filing lawsuits to get the money they spend on the vehicle back.

Overall, the sheer amount of complaints, the amount of issues, and the frequency of dealership visits make this vehicle unreliable. The BMW X3 has one of the highest rates of dealership visits per year, and so many customers are dissatisfied with the quality of the vehicle and the services available to fix it.

Because there are so many issues early on in owners’ experiences, we can only imagine what problems will arise with long term ownership of the X3.

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