BMW Launches Massive Recall Due to Backup Camera Glitch

Laguna Hills, CA – October 23, 2019 – BMW of North America is poised to recall an extraordinarily large number of models due to a backup camera system snafu that may prevent motorists from seeing what’s behind them while shifting into reverse.

Affecting potentially 257,500 vehicles, a handful of the models that may contain this camera glitch include:

  • 2018 – 2020 540d
  • 2018 – 2020 640i xDrive Gran Turismo
  • 2018 – 2020 Rolls Royce Phantom
  • 2018 – 2020 530 ixDrive
  • 2018 – 2020 540i xDrive
  • 2018 -2020 X3 sDrive
  • 2018 -2020 X3
  • 2018 – 2020 M40i,
  • 2018 – 2020 X3 M and Z4 sDrive models

Motorists affected by this BMW recall are urged to bring their vehicle to a local BMW dealer so the system can be updated with the appropriate software. There will be no charge for the repair if one is required.

The defect

As documented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, BMW intends to recall an estimated 257,481 2018 – 2020 model year vehicles because the backup camera can be manipulated in such a way that prevents the display from appearing on the driver’s screen.

In addition to the 2020 Toyota Supra and 2018 – 2019 Rolls Royce Cullinan and Phantom, over 20 BMW models may have faulty backup cameras in place. These included but aren’t limited to the following:

  • 330i
  • 530e
  • 530i
  • 540d
  • 540i
  • 640i
  • 740 Le
  • 740Li
  • 745 i3
  • 750Li
  • 840i
  • M340i
  • M5
  • M550i
  • M850i

Multiple X models, as well as the Z4, are also a part of the recalled BMW model population. 

Timeline of events

In mid May, NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance reached out to BMW in order to obtain details on the performance of the automaker’s X4, specifically in terms of how the rear view camera system was functioning from an overall performance standpoint.

Roughly three weeks later, BMW provided the OVSC with an exhaustive report of the backup camera unit, which led to a meeting regarding compliance rule FMVSS 111.

The minutes from this confab revealed that the units may be out of compliance, specifically Section 5.5.6 of FMVSS 111, which pertains to rear visibility.

In 2014, NHTSA mandated that all 2018 models have backup cameras as standard inclusions to guard against the potential for serious injury, particularly to young children who may be out of motorists’ view when putting their cars in reverse.

Concerned that other backup cameras may be out of compliance aside from certain X models, BMW decided to launch a voluntary recall on additional models for which there was sufficient evidence to suggest they may be compromised.

It’s possible that all of the 257,481 automobiles involved may contain this flaw.

Some of the models affected by this BMW backup camera recall also have other separate safety recalls in effect. For example, a small portion of M340i models may have rear headrests that could fold down improperly during operation.

Additionally, M40i vehicles are subject to a voluntary recall over a seat defect that appears to emanate from a welding issue.

The solution

The fix appears to be as simple as updating the software that’s used to make the backup camera functional. Motorists thusly advised by first-class mail are encouraged to bring their car to a dealer so these units can be fully inspected.

The software refresh will come at no cost. Operators can expect to receive a notification in late November or December, as the automaker intends to distribute the notices starting November 19.

For more information on the BMW backup camera recall or others announced by different manufacturers, visit Be sure to have your VIN information available, which you can use to see if your car is subject to an existing recall.

Sean ReyesBMW Launches Massive Recall Due to Backup Camera Glitch

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