7 Common Problems of the BMW 330e to Look Out For [Symptoms & Solutions]

7 Common Problems of the BMW 330e to Look Out For [Symptoms & Solutions]

If you ever wanted a 3-series bimmer that’s decorated with refined German tech while also sipping way less fuel than an uber-fast V8-powered M3, then the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid seems like a mighty fine choice.

You’d be right to think so, given that you accept it’s imperfect just like every other BMW in existence. It turns out that current owners have already had plenty of displeasure in dealing with some common headaches it’s known for.

Luckily, it’s neither surprising nor anything new for us well-versed in the world of bimmers, so how about we show you just how to deal with such problems on the 330e before you pull the trigger on one?

What are the common problems of a BMW 330e?

Common problems of the BMW 330e include battery problems, difficulty starting the engine, drivetrain/transmission problems, and decreased driving range.

It’s also known to have problems such as a faulty charging socket sensor, door trim rubbing issues, and difficulty integrating with the BMW app.

1. Battery Problems

1. Battery Problems

Given that the BMW 330e, much like its bigger brother the 530e, is a plug-in hybrid, it’s no surprise that one of its most commonly reported problems has to do with its battery.

The hybrid battery of the 330e is known to run into issues with charging, and if that were to happen to you, you’ll bet that you would also have trouble utilizing its hybrid power efficiently.

Owners complain that the battery refuses to charge even when plugged in. In some instances, even if it were to start charging, it would not be able to reach a fully charged state.

Because of this, you can also potentially experience decreased range provided by the battery, especially if you’re driving in eDrive mode.

Now, this isn’t just limited to the hybrid battery, but also the smaller 12-volt battery that powers the different accessory components of the 330e.

In the case of the 12-volt battery, you should check if it has any corrosion forming on its battery terminals that may be preventing it from charging correctly. This is more likely to happen if your BMW 330e is already several years old.

Since the lifespan of these smaller batteries is typically between 3 and 5 years old, you should have it replaced if it’s already showing signs of weakness, such as the engine not starting right away or dimmer lights.

The hybrid/EV battery, on the other hand, is expected to last for about 8 years or 100,000 miles on average, which is almost identical to the warranty period for the battery at 8 years or 80,000 miles.

2. Difficulty Starting (Engine Problems)

2. Difficulty Starting (Engine Problems)

Like many other BMWs we’ve covered before, the BMW 330e also has its bouts of difficulty starting or cranking up properly, though it can be a bit tricky to pinpoint the culprit as there are a lot of potential ones on the list.

The most common causes of difficulty starting the BMW 330e’s engine are known to be either a weak or old battery pack or a bad starter motor.

However, several other known reasons can make it difficult to start the car that relates to other components of the ignition system, fuel system, or electrical system.

Weak/Old Battery Pack

One of the most commonly observed causes of starting difficulties on the BMW 330e is a weak battery pack. As typical and classic of an issue as it may be, it can get you stranded just about anywhere if you don’t catch it earlier on.

Hence, it’s recommended to change your car’s 12-volt battery every 3 to 5 years, especially if it’s already making it difficult to start the car, or worse, not start at all.

Bad Starter Motor

Apart from the battery, if you’re having trouble starting your BMW 330e, then you should also consider inspecting the starter motor since these things are also known to break on the BMW hybrid.

Though a starter motor can last for about 100,000 to 150,000 miles, it can go out way sooner than that if there are any other underlying issues with your starter system, like, coincidentally, a weak battery.

If your starter motor is failing, then the most common symptom it exhibits is that it makes a clicking sound every time you attempt to turn the key and start the engine.

Other Causes

There are a couple of “honorable” mentions when it comes to reasons why your BMW 330e can’t start right, and for the most part, it’s an even mix of issues relating to different systems in the vehicle.

Causes of Engine Starting Difficulties in a BMW 330e:

Weak/Old Battery Pack
Bad Starter Motor
Bad Alternator
Faulty Electrical System
Bad Relays/Fuses
Faulty Engine Temperature Sensor
Faulty PCM Coolant Sensor
Bad Spark Plugs
Faulty Ignition Coil
Clogged/Blocked Fuel Filter
Lack of Fuel in Gas Tank (Fuel Starvation)

3. Drivetrain/Transmission Problems

3. DrivetrainTransmission Problems

Now that we’ve gone over both the engine and battery, it’s time to talk about yet another major component (or series of components) of the BMW 330e known to become problematic, the drivetrain.

The 330e’s drivetrain, which of course includes the transmission system, is commonly associated with making all the “wrong” noises whenever it tries to engage a gear or even just move the car.

Owners of the luxury hybrid sedan complain of noises that can be described as “growling” or “clunking” from the rear of the car, which is one of the more obvious signs that something is wrong with your drivetrain.

Another quite noticeable symptom of a bad drivetrain is that the car tends to vibrate heavily from underneath during acceleration. You may even find that there’s a bit more resistance when trying to turn the steering wheel.

Now since there are many different parts of the drivetrain, you’ll have to inspect each of its components carefully, which can include the differential, driveshaft, cv axles, and cv joints.

Furthermore, you also need to inspect for any transmission fluid leaking from any point on the drivetrain or transmission, as this will cause the system to overheat and damage even more parts.

Due to the complexity and sheer number of rotating parts within the drivetrain, it’s highly recommended that you have a professional mechanic inspect it as soon as you can before the issues get worse (and more expensive).

4. Decreased Driving Range in Electric Mode (eDrive)

4. Decreased Driving Range in Electric Mode (eDrive)

PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) like the BMW 330e can flaunt the fact that they can extend their driving range by combining two sources of power, which is why it can be pretty disappointing when one of them isn’t working right.

To be specific, BMW 330e models are sometimes prone to losing some of their driving range whenever you switch to “eDrive” mode, which makes the car operate on full electric mode, or in other words, just the electric motor.

It has been observed that the fully electric range gradually goes down after every charge that you do, initially going from about 24 miles down to only 20 miles or less.

Luckily, the known culprit isn’t any mechanically complicated piece of hardware, but rather the software of the BMW 330e simply being outdated.

Since the software controls many different innovative functions in the vehicle, including the hybrid system, regularly updating it ensures that all of them can optimally perform as expected.

However, if the software update still doesn’t fix the issue, then it’s time to have your hybrid battery inspected, especially if it’s already approaching its expected 8-year or 100,000-mile lifespan. 

5. Faulty Charging Socket Sensor

5. Faulty Charging Socket Sensor

Among the dozens of innovative tech that could become faulty on a plug-in hybrid vehicle like the 330e, one of them happens to be the charging socket for its type 2 charger. 

More specifically, the sensor of the charging socket can start to malfunction over time, alerting you with a notification that the socket cover is open even though it’s already closed.

While this is more of an annoying issue rather than a major flaw, it can still be very distracting to the driver as it randomly makes a sound while they’re in the middle of driving.

Owners have reported that this happens at around the 80,000-mile mark, suggesting that this is thankfully not an issue that develops very early on in the BMW 330e’s lifespan.

Furthermore, both the sensor alarm and the dashboard indicator have been observed to intermittently go on and off rather than continuously.

Despite BMW not having any official fix for the charging socket sensor, it can still be remedied by simply closing the cover more firmly each time, a piece of advice that has also worked for charging socket covers of other hybrids and EVs (electric vehicles).

Sometimes, if the socket cover is closed just a bit too gently, the sensor can fail to detect it in its fully closed position, which is why it’s recommended to just give it a little more force when closing it.  

6. Door Trim Rubbing Issue

6. Door Trim Rubbing Issue

Moving on to the inside of the BMW 330e, quite a notorious interior issue that it’s prone to develop is the door trims rubbing against the door itself.

BMW 330e owners are sometimes greeted with unpleasant sounds of creaking and rattling whenever they open the doors of the sedan, only to find out that it’s the doors’ rubber seals that are to blame.

These rubber seals are known to wear out more for the front doors, causing them to rub against the inner door trims and make an annoying squeaking sound that can eventually develop into severe rattling over time.

It’s a known issue not just for the 330e, but for other BMW F30 3-series models as well, and it mostly involves the rubber seals and their felt lining on the top of the door.

You’ll have to get the rubber seals and door trims inspected, as you may need to replace the seals or at least have some treatment applied to them to prevent the noises. 

Alternatively, putting tape around the inner door trims can also be a temporary fix to the rubbing issue and minimize the annoying sound that it makes.

You’re more likely to experience the door trim rubbing issue in earlier BMW 330e model years on the secondhand market, especially if you’re going over any sort of bump on the road.

Hence, if you plan on buying a used BMW 330e unit, be sure to thoroughly inspect any rubbing noises from the doors as you’re test-driving it. 

7. Difficulty Integrating BMW App

7. Difficulty Integrating BMW App

Despite it being a luxury car seemingly fit for tech-savvy customers, the BMW 330e isn’t exactly flawless or bug-free when it comes to pairing it up with the BMW app on your device.

Unfortunately for Android phone users, it can be tricky and frustrating to integrate the BMW 330e with the BMW application since it’s not the most well-developed app out there.

To be more specific, owners have had a tough time trying to get the app to recognize their BMW model as being a “330e”.

Before anything else, it’s important to double-check if you typed in the 7-digit VIN of your particular 330e unit on the app. Simple things like this can instantly deny you access to the app’s features properly. 

But then again, there is still a chance that the app can even refuse to let you go to the next step in the setup even if the VIN you inputted is correct. If this is the case, then the app has bugged out.

Two common ways to remedy this are by either reinstalling the BMW app on your Android phone or by using an Apple/iOS device with the app installed instead. 

Are there any known recalls for the BMW 330e?

The BMW 330e has several known recalls concerning its hybrid battery cells, seat belt equipment, crankshaft sensor, rearview camera, and TurboCord portable charger.

BMW 330e Model YearRecall NumberRecall Reason/Description
201818V465000The vehicle can stall due to the crankshaft sensor being possibly equipped with the wrong firmware, which causes the sensor to incorrectly process input from the crankshaft reluctor ring.
18V652000The capacitors in the TurboCord portable charger can potentially fail, which can result in either a fire or shock hazard.
202021V096000The rearview camera image may be obscured or not shown on the screen when shifting into reverse, reducing rear visibility and increasing the risk of an accident.
202120V490000A short circuit can occur due to loose welding beads forming a conductive path between the hybrid battery cells, increasing the risk of a fire. 
20V601000There may be some debris present in one or more of the hybrid battery cells during the production process, which can result in a short circuit and fire hazard.
21V554000The automatic locking retractor (ALR) for the passenger seat belt can malfunction and be disabled before its webbing can fully retract, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.
21V096000The rearview camera image may be obscured or not shown on the screen when shifting into reverse, reducing rear visibility and increasing the risk of an accident.
21V298000The bolt for the seat belt assembly has not been tightened to the frame with the right specifications, which may leave an occupant not properly restrained and at risk of injury. 
202322V747000The rearview camera software may partially obstruct the rearview image after shifting into reverse, which can reduce rear visibility and increase the risk of an accident.
23V118000The automatic door locking function (ADL) may not lock the doors properly due to incorrect programming installed for the electronic control unit (ECU). This may cause the doors to open while moving or in the event of a crash.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the BMW 330e a good daily driver?

The BMW 330e is known to perform very well when it comes to everyday driving, especially if done within the city. It provides a smooth and refined driving experience while also being agile enough around corners.

You can expect ample power from its combined engine/electric motor hybrid setup, which translates to decently quick acceleration performance while getting respectable gas mileage during short trips.

However, keep in mind that the 330e’s fully electric mode (eDrive) doesn’t have that much range compared to other similar hybrids, so unless you’re only using it for short commutes at low speeds, you’re better off leaving it in “Auto eDrive” or “hybrid mode”.   

How many miles can a BMW 330e last?

The BMW 330e is a model part of the F30 3-series generation, which means you can expect it to last an average of 200,000 to 250,000 miles like other F30 models.

But in order to achieve this, you need to make sure that it’s well-maintained, which means following the recommended service intervals for it as well as fixing any issues that pop up as soon as you can. 

Is the BMW 330e expensive to maintain?

According to YourMechanic, the annual costs to maintain a BMW 330e average to about $304. As cheap as it may sound, this is expected to rise considerably as the hybrid sedan ages throughout the years.

Furthermore, a BMW 330e or any similar 3-series model can generally be expensive to maintain if its CPO warranty already expires, which can translate to annual maintenance costs upwards of $1,000.

Take note that the hybrid battery’s warranty also expires at the 8-year (or 80,000-mile) mark, which is quite costly to replace if it fails past that point.

Which is better 330e or 530e?

Whether you choose to go for the BMW 330e or the BMW 530e, both of these German hybrid sedans come fitted with the same 2-liter B48 I4 engine and hybrid system combo.

However, the 330e’s smaller dimensions allow it to just slightly beat the larger and bulkier 530e model in the handling and acceleration department.

On the other hand, if you prefer to have a more spacious interior with plenty of luxurious features, then the 530e may be more for you.

Fuel economy-wise, the shorter length and lighter curb weight of the BMW 330e means that it also consumes less fuel compared to the 530e. The combined mileage of the 330e sits at 75 mpge versus the 530e’s 62 mpge.

How long does a BMW 330e battery last? 

The BMW 330e’s hybrid battery has an expected lifespan of about 8 years or 100,000 miles, while its smaller 12-volt battery can last for about 3 to 5 years.

According to BMW, the 12 kWh hybrid battery in the 2023 BMW 330e can achieve up to 41 miles in full electric mode, though real-world tests show that it averages between 20 and 25 miles depending on the driving conditions.