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Every now and then, you might hear about a vehicle problem that is so prevalent in one particular year that you just decide that year should be avoided at all costs. The BMW X5 isn’t exempt from having a bad year. We wanted to explore the various complaint resources available, to uncover why 2005 is considered such a problematic year, and to see if there were other concerns you might need to know before you buy.

What the analysts say

According to the vehicle owner information gathered from those who have experienced problems with their BMW X5 models, one issue is clearly more common than others. Valve cover gasket leaks are reported shortly after the 60,000-mile mark by more than 200 people.

Additional symptoms included oil dripping under the vehicle, and the burning oil smell resonating from the engine compartment. While the 2005 model year for the BMW X5 shows the most reports, there were, in fact, nine model years with similar problems, including 2000 through 2008.

Replacing that leaky gasket cost those SUV owners between $623-$787. Every X5 engine configuration experienced this issue, as well.

What says consumers report most

When we ventured over to the data from, which collects vehicle repair and complaint issues from owners, we found a few other points worth mentioning. According to the BMW X5 owners within these reports, the 2011 model has the most number of consumer complaints and is ultimately, rated the worst model year.

Based on the costs of repairs, along with the average mileage when the reported problems begin arising, 2011 might be another year to avoid. The problem centers around a couple of consumer reports of engines stalling while driving. There are only a select number of isolated cases, but more than one can indicate a potential trending concern.

How the BMW X5 is ranked in the latest reviews

Maybe buying an older model, BMW X5, isn’t in the cards. If you’ve been watching your local dealership for the latest model X5s, you might decide it’s love at first sight. The reviews so far are positive, with Car and Driver bragging about the inspiring engines and driver-friendly infotainment.

They suggest the 2020 X5 is capable, fast, and offers all the premium level extras you’d expect. The Edmunds gurus agree, with affirmative reviews about the SUVs strong performance and add a plus for the spacious cargo and cabin. New for 2020, the V8-powered M50i model joins the BMW lineup.

What to ask if your heart is set on a 2005 BMW X5

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Why 0-60 Times Don’t Matter in the Real World

Maybe you’ve found the perfect BMW X5, but it just happens to be a 2004, 2005, or 2011 model. Don’t fret. Be mindful of the past oil gasket leaks and reported engine concerns. Before you agree to buy, ask if the vehicle has experienced any leaks.

Look for oil stains on any pavement where it’s been parked. If you are planning to buy from a private party seller, consider asking for an opportunity to have a mechanic take a look before you decide. Get a full vehicle history report and do your homework to avoid having to deal with those costly repairs yourself.

Chances are, the exact BMW X5 you’re looking at now isn’t going to have every one of these other problems. But, it certainly makes you a smarter consumer to play it safe, rather than sorry.

The BMW X5 is an excellent SUV for those looking to marry sharp performance and handsome luxury. Just be wary of buying some of these used model years. Ask the right questions and be informed as best as you can. Or, maybe you opt to buy a new X5 this year instead.