BMW recalls 2016 M3 and M4 over drive shaft issue


Munich – Jan. 31, 2019 – BMW has issued a recall for its M3 and M4 models, to counter a potentially dangerous fault within the vehicles’ drive shafts. According to a company statement reported by Car Advice, the vehicles requiring inspection and repair were sold in Australia and noted by that country’s product safety monitor. The organization with recall authority in the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has been inactive for much of January due to the government’s funding shutdown, thus making it unclear if a similar recall will affect U.S. BMW owners.

The vehicles involved are all sedans from the 2016 model year. The M3, M4 and M4 convertible are all affected by the recall and according to the announcement, these vehicles exist in very small quantities in Australia. With 97 vehicles affected, the M3 is the most popular of the three types. There are 71 of the hardtop M4, with only 10 of the convertible M4 recorded.

The process of recalling the vehicles shows that automakers follow procedure even when the number of cars in question is relatively small in a particular territory. Recent actions by specialist carmakers such as Maserati show attention being paid to models that were not made or exported in mass quantities.

The Defect

According to the company’s announcement, the potentially dangerous problem leading to the recent action is located within the affected vehicles’ drive shafts. The shafts on these cars are made of carbon fiber and contain two internal components – the three-hole flange and the pushing piece. The company questioned whether the pieces within the drive shaft will hold up over time and usage over the lifespan of the cars. If these parts were not made with “sufficient long-term durability”, the pushing piece could end up pulled out of the drive shaft, limiting the vehicle’s torque to the rear wheels. Such a lack of torque may may increase the risk of a collision, leading to the necessity of a recall.

Timeline of Events

The announcement from BMW did not clarify several pieces of information about the recall underway, such as how it was discovered or when. The vehicles involved all originate from the 2016 model years, but the notice was not issued until late January 2019. The press materials did not mention whether the fault was discovered as part of an inspection, due to an actual incident on the road or in a laboratory test. Furthermore, no connection to cars from outside of the Australian market was discussed.

The Solution

The statement announcing the recall was similarly quiet about what exactly the fix to the problem will entail. Drivers were urged by Car Advice to get in touch with their respective BMW dealers and receive repairs for the drive shaft free of charge. Due to the nature of the problem, with parts potentially not tough enough to stand up to long-term use, it appears likely those component will be replaced with stronger replacement parts, thus making the drive shaft safe for continued use, no matter how long the sedans are on the road.

Sean ReyesBMW recalls 2016 M3 and M4 over drive shaft issue