Top 5 BMW X5 Years To Avoid (Key Problems)

BMW has earned a reputation for selling most of the long-lasting and reliable vehicles in the auto market. And the BMW X5 is one of its prominent models.

Because of its powerful engine and excellent features, you would want to get your hands on a BMW X5. However, it’s crucial to remember there are many potential car problems if you need to be made aware.

Yeah! A lot of underlining problems.

And having prior knowledge of these issues and the years to avoid them should be your top priority before purchase.

So we will take a closer look at some of the BMW X5 years to avoid, the most common issues that X5 owners have reported, and what you can do to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Complete List Of BMW X5 Years to Avoid

It’s important to be aware of certain model years that may have issues or problems when purchasing a used BMW X5.

Unfortunately, these problems might necessitate unnecessary and costly repairs. Avoid some of the models from the years listed below:

1. 2001 BMW X5

Sludge accumulation was a problem for the engine. The engine struggled to start and run as a result.

Furthermore, the expansion tank was prone to cracking, which could lead to coolant leaks and, eventually, engine overheating.

The brake lights would stop functioning, which could be risky if the car behind the SUV cannot see them.

2. 2008 BMW X5

Photo by RL GNZLZ via Flickr

Years after the previous model, the 2008 BMW X5 arrived; regrettably, it was worse than that. Despite being short, its list of problems is more serious.

The engine stalling while driving is the first issue. If this occurs, you might not be able to stop in time, which could cause you to collide with something or someone.

A serious accident may happen if this occurs while traveling at high speed or on a congested highway.

The second issue is that water will seep into your SUV through the sunroof when it rains outside.

You want to avoid that happening while you’re driving around town!

3. 2011 BMW X5

Photo by RL GNZLZ via Flickr

You need to hear this if you’ve been looking for a new SUV and are considering the 2011 BMW X5. Among all its rivals, one of the lowest-rated models is the 2011 BMW X5.

This is primarily due to excessive oil, which causes stalling while driving and engine overheating. Without oil, the engine cannot run properly. Additionally, there have been reports of cabin fuel odor pointing to a leak.

This can be extremely risky, so it’s best to look elsewhere if you’re looking for a luxury SUV to use every day.

4. 2012 BMW X5

Photo by Thesupermat via Wikimedia

There are numerous issues with the 2012 BMW X5. Metal shavings in the oil would cause the engine to fail first in the oil would cause the engine to fail first. The SUV’s engine seized as a result, rendering it useless.

Oil leaks were another issue. The vehicle would suffer severe damage as a result of the engine overheating. A failing cooling system was also reported to cause overheating.

This problem can also significantly shorten the lifespan. There are still more problems with the 2012 BMW X5.

Finally, some users expressed frustration with the transmission. Driving was unpleasant because of the grinding and jerking.

5. 2013 BMW X5

Last but not least, there’s the 2013 BMW X5. The model has several problems, which could be better news for those considering buying it.

First, a defect would develop in the engine harness. With the SUV’s electrical system, this might result in issues.

Another possibility is an engine that struggles to start up due to a malfunctioning ignition coil. It should be noted that the engines of some customers reportedly overheated as well.

It has been reported that the transmission will occasionally malfunction while moving and switch to neutral.

What Are The Most Common Problems With BMW X5?

The BMW X5 is a great option if you want a reasonably large yet fast SUV that offers sporty handling and maximum comfort. However, there is hidden stress behind owning a BMW X5.

So, for your safety, you might want to ask yourself, ‘what are the common problems with the BMW X5.’

Sounds like a whole lot, right? 

Well, these problems are only predominant in certain models. And we will discuss all of this in detail below. 

1. Water Leakage Problem

The sunroof on the BMW X5 is one of the most popular features, but it also has advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, there are some water leak problems with the sunroof on the 2008 BMW X5.

On the plus side, it can be opened to allow for proper ventilation inside the car and let in sunlight.

The sunroof’s drawback is that it allows outside water inside, which damages the car’s interior. Water usually doesn’t collect on sunroofs thanks to drain tubes. 

On the other hand, water can leak into the cabin of many 2008 BMW X5 models through the tubes.

A drenched car carpet might need to be replaced if it is damaged, unlike a wet floor mat.

Additionally, many X5 owners have reported that water normally spills into the front passenger seat and destroys the electrical system.

2. Transmission Issues

The BMW X5 gearbox supplies the engine with the required power to enable the SUV to operate well. Driving an SUV becomes noticeably more difficult if one of its components breaks.

The BMW X5’s safe mode can be activated in a serious transmission failure, allowing it to run at a reduced performance level to avoid damage.

The CVT transmissions found in the X5 models have been shown to cause issues occasionally.

Some BMW X5 models from the 2011 model year may experience a mechatronic sensor collapse without warning. Without acknowledging the inputs from this sensor, the transmission may change.

There have been other transmission problems with the BMW X5. Some 2012 BMW X5 models develop vibration issues when the transfer case wears out.

3. Engine Misfires Issue

When the combustion process fails, and the engine cylinder does not fire, this is known as a “misfire.” Both when the engine is starting and when it is idling, misfires can form.

The engine may stumble and occasionally lose power when it misfires.

This is a common problem with the BMW X5. But locating this problem is straightforward. The engine will idle down or make a rumbling sound if it’s misfiring.

Typically, an intake actuator component is to blame for this. To keep the BMW X5’s operations efficient, the problem can be fixed by simply replacing the problematic component.

4. Powertrain Issues

Many BMW X5 owners claim that as soon as the driver’s door is opened, the X5e hybrid vehicle shuts down. According to reports, software bugs are the cause of these issues.

When some of the BMW X5s collided with trees, the airbags did not deploy.

The lack of acceleration power in hybrid mode is one of the complaints. Another complaint is a powertrain issue resulting in a loss of power and shakiness on the highway.

5. Engine Overheating Issue

Because of its electric water pump, the strong engine in the 2013 BMW X5 keeps cool even when operating at full load.

However, if a water pump malfunctions, it can trigger the auxiliary fan to start running even after its purpose has been fulfilled.

This problem affects all versions of the BMW X5 released in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

It is best to fix a defective pump as soon as possible, so the engine doesn’t overheat while operating for too long. It can cause damage to your car’s engine and even its transmission if not addressed immediately.

6. Air Bag Issue

Airbag issues are among the most common problems for BMW X5 owners. Airbags are designed to protect you in a crash, but they can malfunction, causing you to be injured or killed.

If your airbag doesn’t work properly, it may not deploy when it should. This can happen if something is wrong with the airbag system or the wiring is damaged or disconnected from the vehicle’s electrical system.

AndIn 2008, BMW started to recall the X5, which affected about 0.2 million vehicles because the front seat person detection mat was faulty, and the airbag would not activate even in a serious crash.

Models from 2001 to 2003 were also subject to these problems, as the front airbag would rupture and burst in certain cases, endangering the car’s occupants.

7. Oil Leakage

The BMW X5 had an oil leakage issue with the 2009 and 2013 models.

Oil leaks in vehicles are now a frequent complaint on various automotive forums. According to reports, the owners have dealt with significant oil spills.

Other users complained that their SUV was either leaking everywhere or burning too much oil. After changing the faulty timing covers and alternator bracket, the issue was resolved.

How Reliable Is A BMW X5?

According to its reliability score, the X5 midsize SUV from BMW is reliable. The BMW X5 stands out with a 77 out of 100, which isn’t the best I’ve seen but is unquestionably acceptable.

Owners of the X5 have given it a lot of favorable reviews after using it for many years without any significant issues.

You will have a dependable and unmatched experience thanks to its high level of comfort, excellent drive quality, and various features.

How Long Does BMW X5 Last?

The BMW X5’s reliability has already been proven, so you might wonder how long it lasts. Between 200,000 and 250,000 miles is the answer.

This compares favorably to some SUVs in the same price range, if not better.

That is quite good! But after 200,000 miles of SUV use, you can anticipate seeing more frequent repairs and maintenance.

If you take care of the SUV, you can be sure it will last for all the advertised miles while still providing a pleasurable driving and riding experience.

Are Repairs Expensive on the X5?

What you should pay for a BMW repair is a question that needs to be satisfactorily answered. 

Repairs for vacuum leaks, oil leaks, and coolant leaks can cost anywhere from $100 for a vacuum leak to $2,500 for an oil leak in the front timing cover.

The cost of repairing your BMW will vary depending on the necessary fixes, but some of the most frequent fixes are those for the check engine light.

Spark plug replacement, minor oil leaks related to valve cover gaskets or oil filter housing gaskets, and vacuum leaks are minor repairs that can frequently be fixed in a few hours for a few hundred dollars.

Do BMW X5 Hold Their Value?

If you’re wondering if the BMW X5 retains its value, the answer is unambiguous YES.

According to research, some of the best luxury SUVs and vehicles have maintained their value over time. After five years, every vehicle maintained at least 50% of its original value, and the BMW X5 was one of them with a retention rate of 50.5%.

Should you decide to sell your BMW X5 at some point in the future, it will have an amazing resale value because of its generous cargo space, strong engine, and agile feel.

Which BMW X5 Engine Is Most Reliable?

The most reliable BMW X5 engine is the 3.0L TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine.

This engine has a long history of reliability and performance, and it’s been used in various models.

It is one of BMW’s most popular engines because it offers great fuel economy while providing plenty of power and torque to get you where you need to go quickly. It also comes with a turbocharger, which helps boost performance when needed.

And this engine is available in 7 Series, X5, and X6 models.


The BMW X5 series has some common problems, just like every other vehicle on the road.

The list above of years to avoid for the BMW X5 was compiled after careful research.

However, if you are cautious and observant, you can avoid purchasing a car with numerous problems that may be challenging to fix.

It is now simpler to choose and make a decision for the purchasing process now that you are aware of the BMW X5 years to avoid and the reasons for doing so.

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