1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

Top 5 Problems BMW X3 SUV 1st Generation 2003-10

Created on: 2020-02-22

These are the top problems you may be facing with a 2003-2010 BMW X3!

In this video, we're going to go over the top problems on this first-generation BMW X3.

I just want to emphasize every vehicle has their problems. We're just going over the top ones that we found on this vehicle.

Number one, the cooling system. A lot of times in these vehicles they have this coolant reservoir which is plastic. And over time, they will deteriorate and actually crack, and you're going to get a coolant leak. And that's located right underneath this cap here in this area. So, if you see coolant dripping on the ground somewhere on that side of the vehicle, that's probably what it is. Also part of the cooling system problems, the thermostat, and housing. Now, this is located right here on this vehicle, underneath. Now, this is the post-facelift version of this vehicle. If you had a 2005, and older generation, of this model, it's going to be up top, but the post-facelift one is down here right next to the electronic water pump. So, that's where this is.

The thermostat could stay closed, which could cause the engine to overheat. A lot of times they stick open and the engine is not going to get up to a running temperature. You're going to get a check engine light, and also this housing leaks sometimes. So, replace this housing. And last in a cooling system is the radiator. Radiators leak in a lot of vehicles. They will corrode, and where the tanks are, they're going to cause leaks. You'll have leaks near the plastic parts. And that's not that uncommon for most vehicles, but definitely on this X3. And all these parts, we actually sell at 1aauto.com.

Number two, transfer case issues are all-wheel drive issues. A lot of times these transfer cases have problems. You want to make sure you've service this regularly, check your owner's manual, and almost service them early would be a good idea. There's not a lot of fluid in here and it can burn out easily and cause damage. Another problem with the all-wheel-drive system, the actuator that commands the transfer case to engage the motor right there. There's actually a plastic gear inside this actuator, which a lot of times...it will strip out, which you can pull this off and actually replace just the gear itself. So, if you're getting traction control lights, or you're sensing that your all-wheel-drive system's not working properly, check out some of those systems.

Number three, you may have a problem with the VANOS system, or the variable valve timing system. You might end up with a check engine light. It may be this solenoid valve that is the fault. There is one for the exhaust, and one for the intake. If the oil level is low, or it's dirty, and you don't change it often, it can clog these valves up and cause problems and that's going to mess up your variable valve timing. And these valve solenoids are located right here, and they're both the same part number. If you wanted to, if you've got a code for the exhaust, or the intake, you could swap them, clear the code and see which code comes back. That means you can confirm that it's the actual valve, and not either the actuators or the cams inside.

Number four, you may have a check engine light with a code 29E0 or 29E1. What that means is you have an air leak somewhere. There's unmetered air getting into the system. You could have an air leak in the intake system, or in the valve cover system. A lot of times this seal right here leaks. This is the football-looking seal. That's for the Valvetronic system that changes the lift in the valves. So, you may have a problem there, or something else in the intake system, or the valve cover system. One way to test this system, if that is leaking, is if you have a smoke machine, you can put smoke into the valve cover and see if it actually leaks out there, or even in the intake system and see if any of the intakes are leaking or anything.

And number five, oil leaks. These valve covers leak all the time. They're made of plastic. A lot of times, it's a good idea to replace the whole cover because sometimes they'll warp, and that'll cause them to leak. You'll see oil dripping down in this area or along the backside. You may even see some dripping on the exhaust, and you should be able to smell that. So, that's a pretty common problem. Also, the oil filter housing, not so much the seal up here, but the seal that attaches to the block itself. There's a lot of parts you have to take off to get to that. You have to take the power steering reservoir out of the way, the alternator, and stuff, just to get down in there. So, that's a pretty big job. But it's a pretty common problem. There are other oil leaks, but these are the two most common.

I hope this video helped you out. If you want to see more videos on this vehicle, click the link in the description. Make sure you subscribe to our channel. Turn on all notifications by ringing that bell so you don't miss any of our videos.

How to Replace Coolant Overflow Bottle 2002-06 Suzuki XL-7

How to replace a cracked, damaged or broken engine coolant overflow bottle on Suzuki XL-7, years 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, and 06.

Share on:
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.