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BMW recalls 241,000 3-Series models over taillight failure

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall of select BMW 3-Series models from the 2002-2005 model years over a concern of the taillights failing to function as the vehicles age.


This new BMW 3-Series recall affects 325i, 325xi, 330i and 330xi models built between September 1st 2001 and March 1st 2005. Over time, the electrical contacts can exhibit high levels of resistance and that can cause the taillights not to work as expected or as ordered by the driver. The taillight problem reportedly causes intermittent problems that can affect the brake lights, parking lights and turn signals so drivers behind you may not know that you are breaking or preparing to turn and when driving at night, other motorists approaching from the rear may not be able to see you – obviously increasing the chances of an accident.

The key concern here is that the 3-Series is BMW’s bestselling model, especially the 325i and 330i models, so even through a handful of models years are included in this taillight recall, it still includes over 241,000 vehicles in the US market. The good news is that BMW reports that this taillight issue has not caused any accidents or injuries even though there is inherent risk – especially when driving at night. Generally, when the taillights on a premium vehicle like a BMW have a burnt or non-functioning bulb there will be a warning light on the driver’s information center but since this stems from a wiring issue, the car may not notify the driver that there is any problem with the vehicle.

BMW has not gone into much detail as to how they will fix this problem, as electric gremlins can be a nightmare to catch but beginning in early October, the German automaker will instruct owners of the 241,000+ affects coupes and sedans to return to their local dealership where the electric connector issues will be repaired. BMW does point out that over the past few years, around 20,000 2002-2005 BMW 3-Series models have had this issue repaired during normal repairs. According to Bloomberg, only models sold in the US market are affected by this taillight recall so owners of the 2002-2005 BMW 3-Series models in other markets are not involved in this recall.

BMW owners can contact customer service for more information by calling customer relation services at 1-800-525-7417.

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Al Floer (not verified)    October 19, 2011 - 10:21AM

There is not a recall yet, but it is needed. The light has a problem that the metal post from the rear part of the lens and the wire connector to the lens get extremely hot and melts. Thus causing a growing intermittent. This is seen on the display as bulbs not working. Local BMW dealer does not know of any offical recall for this issue. One way to get notice is to call /write/ or email the BMWUSANA or the BMWCCA of this issue.

dan culp (not verified)    November 16, 2011 - 11:11PM

I have a 2003 bmw 330i
my left tail light wires are melted blinker or brake light has not worked from 9/2/2011 and i have called bmw usa seven times thay have told me to drive a diffrent car well that would be all good if i had another car. know it is 11/16/2011 and they still havent tried to help so i am looking for help in resovling this probblem.

Richard Rogers (not verified)    November 28, 2011 - 1:18PM

Spoke w/BMW customer service this morning. Recall letters will be going out in mid to late December. They will be going out in batches to match inventory levels. If you take your car in now for repair and pay for it, you can go back to the BMW dealership when you receive the notification and they will submit for reimbursement for you.

Kendrix (not verified)    November 8, 2015 - 3:26AM

I have a 2005 bmw 325xi and my rear passenger side light is completely fried. It began with turning signal and I changed the bulb and noticed the wires were melted. Needless to say the new bulb did nothing to help and now there are zero rear lights on the passenger side. I've been pulled over and fined twice and almost rear ended 3 times....I received recall notices for both driver side and passenger side airbags stagings they can burst and send hot shards of metal into the driver....what the hell BMW? Luxury car...i don't think $3,000 cavalier didn't have any if these issues and I still have two yrs of payments!!