Laguna Hills, CA – November 8, 2019 – BMW of North America recently determined that it will need to recall 20 of its 2020 light SUV models due to concerns over a defect in the production process for a steering pinion gear, which could lead to increased crash risk.
Of the vehicles in the recall, all but one are 2020 BMW X3 M40i crossover SUVs, and the other is a 2020 BMW X3 M40i. All those light SUVs are expected to have this issue.
The affected X3 and X4 SUVs likely contain a steering pinion gear that is suspected to have been produced outside specification, and were made within a two-day span – September 27 and 28, 2019.
During the manufacturing process for these components, a supplier likely did not produce the gears with a proper mixing ratio in the quenching bath.
Consequently, the teeth of the pinion gears would not be hard enough to withstand certain driving conditions, and have the potential to break under pressure. That would likely lead to a loss of steering and, consequently, control of the vehicle.
These conditions, in turn, greatly increase the risk of a crash. The recall population was determined based on supplier production data that was then checked against vehicle assembly information on BMW’s end.
Timeline of events
On October 1, just a few days after these vehicles were produced, BMW of North America received word from the components’ supplier – based in Greenville, South Carolina – that a specific production lot may have contained the steering pinion gears that were not hard enough to meet specification.
The auto maker then issued a hold on vehicles that may have been affected, and conducted a review to see if these gears may have been delivered and used in the assembly of any vehicles.
Within a few days, the company found that some vehicles had likely been affected, and identified which ones fell into this population.
A little more than a week after receiving the report from the supplier, BMW issued the voluntary recall on October 9, but had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem in question.
The company notified dealers of the recall on October 16, and notified one likely affected owner on October 9.
To date, only one of the vehicles in the recall had an owner. That person was reached by phone and told not to drive the vehicle until it could be repaired by having the steering pinion gear replaced. The vehicle was transported to a nearby dealership for the remedy shortly thereafter.
Because this was essentially a single-vehicle recall at that point, BMW did not anticipate having to notify any other drivers via first class mail as it normally would in a recall situation.
However, if any more of these issues come to light, the repairs would fall under the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty, as the affected light SUVs are all from the 2020 model year. Reimbursement would, therefore, not be necessary.
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