BMW SUV Reliability & Possible Issues


In most cases, owning a BMW is a pleasant experience. These eye-catching vehicles offer a comfortable ride, superior handling, and the performance you would expect from a luxury brand. However, just like any other vehicle, they aren’t without their fair share of problems.

Modern SUVs in general tend to have some reliability issues, thanks to the large and complex powertrains and variety of technology and features, all of which can break, causing headaches for their owners. BMW in particular has experienced some known reliability issues with each of its SUV models. Here’s a closer look at some of the problems you should be aware of.


BMW’s entry-level SUV, the X1, is a compact luxury SUV. It ranks the highest of all the BMW SUV’s for reliability, earning a reliability rating of 98.4% by What Car and a score of 86/100 for quality and reliability by JD Power.

Some of the most commonly reported BMW X1 issues include:

  • Shifter defect – a broken spring inside the shifter assembly causes error messages on the iDrive system, indicating a transmission error.
  • Lower arm control defect – causes a clunking sound and suspension noise when driving over bumpy surfaces.
  • Cooling system problems – 2014 and 2016 models in particular experience leaking coolant caused by poor design and/or seal failures.
  • Cracked passenger engine mount – this problem is common in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 models. It’s a serious issue that requires immediate repair.
  • Steering problem – the steering gear may fail, causing loss of steering control, which could lead to an accident. This is common in 2016 and 2019 models.


Another entry-level vehicle, BMW’s X2 Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) received a 97.7% reliability rating from What Car and a score of 80/100 for quality and reliability from JD Power. When issues do occur, the following are the most common:

  • Timing chain snapping – the BA47 2.0 turbo-diesel engine is prone to stretching the timing chain, eventually causing damage to the valves, cam carriers, and rocker arms.
  • Hesitation when accelerating – specifically when in standard or comfort mode, this problem may be caused by a vacuum leak or other issues.
  • Faulty coolant system – this causes performance issues, and coolant leaks may lead to engine damage.
  • Electronic problems – can lead to anything from unresponsive wipers to faulty windows and other issues. BMW has recalled about 300,000 vehicles due to electronic issues.
  • Leaky oil gasket –this is often caused by problems with the valve cover gasket and typically occurs after the X2 has hit 60,000 miles.


A mid-range SUV, BMW’s X3 is the brand’s most popular SUV model. What Car gave it a reliability rating of 97.7% and JD Power gave it a quality and reliability score of 85/100. Some of the most common reliability issues X3 owners encounter include:

  • Oil leaks – BMWs have plastic components in their engines, which can crack and cause leaks. You’ll often find this problem in X3s with 80k miles or more.
  • Broken timing chain guide – this piece is also made of plastic, making it prone to premature wear and failure. When this breaks, it can compromise the engine’s timing and may lead to engine failure.
  • Engine overheating – the X3s cooling expansion tank and radiator tend to have problems, leading to coolant leaks that cause the engine to overheat.
  • Failed window regulator– this results in the window failing to open or close. X3 owners also complain of door windows rattling.


The full-sized BMW X5 is also fairly reliable but has its share of issues. JD Power gave it a quality and reliability score of 82/100 and it received a “below average” score of 2/5 for reliability from RepairPal. Unlike each of the previously-mentioned models, it also did not make What Car’s 2022 list of the 25 most reliable SUVs.

Some of the most common issues X5 owners report include:

  • Engine stalling – this may occur while the vehicle is in motion, creating safety issues. 
  • Transmission problems – X5s have CVT transmissions that are known to sometimes cause slipping at low speeds and performance reductions. 
  • Engine overheating – water pump malfunctions may lead to engine overheating. This is common in 2011-2012 and 2013 X5 model years.
  • Oil leaks – X5 owners often complain their SUV is either leaking oil or burning too much oil. Oil leaks are common in the 2009 and 2013 X5 model years.
  • Powertrain issues – the 2021 BMW X5 Hybrid has received many complaints of powertrain issues, including lack of acceleration power when the vehicle is in hybrid mode and loss of power and shakiness when driving on the highway.

Having BMW Reliability Issues? The Haus Can Help!

If you have a BMW and are experiencing any of these common reliability issues, you’ll want to address them right away. The BMW Certified Mechanics at The Haus can easily tackle all of the problems listed above and more. We offer dealership-quality work at a fraction of the price. Contact us today to schedule your VIP appointment!

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