Air Bag Deployment Glitch Triggers Recall of 5,000 BMWs

Laguna Hills, CA – June 14, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling thousands of 2019-2020 model years passenger vehicles due to a potential air bag flaw that may alter the manner in which it deploys. Specifically, the defect affects the knee air bag assemblies, which may have been errantly folded at some point in the manufacturing process. It’s possible that the air bag may not uncoil completely after a collision, raising the risk of injury.

The recall is expected to begin on July 2 and owners of the affected models are advised to take their automobiles off the roads so they can be serviced – for free – by a licensed BMW dealership.

The Defect

BMW says its pulling 5,079 automobiles from the marketplace – of which include coupes, convertibles and sports wagons – due to improper installation of the knee air bags that are meant to protect the driver as well as the front-seated passenger, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The models include 230I, 330I, 430I, 440I, M2, M240I and M4. Their model years are 2019 and 2020 (the 330I is for 2019 only). It seems that the knee air bag modules, which were manufactured by Joyson Safety Systems, may have been loaded into the vehicles’ housing systems incorrectly. This could prevent the air bag from inflating properly upon impact in a crash that triggers them. Injury may result in such a scenario to the driver, passenger or both.

Timeline of Events

The problem first came to the attention of BMW in mid April. At the time, components manufacturer Joyson Safety Systems alerted the automaker that some of the air bags in several 2019-2020 may have been damaged during compliance testing. JSS came to this conclusion after performing additional examinations to see if the flaw was isolated or potentially widespread. Ultimately, the air bag manufacturer determined that at least several of the knee air bags were not adequately packed in the housing unit.

BMW concluded that it was best to err on the side of caution and initiated a voluntary recall on May 2, which entailed alerting NHTSA to the issue. There are no known injuries that trace back to this flaw.

The Solution

BMW says that it plans on notifying owners by July 2 about the potential problem and will encourage them to have the issue looked at the same place they bought their automobile. If not there, at a licensed BMW dealership. As per usual, the fix will come at no cost to drivers. It may be that a repair is unnecessary, as only about 13% of the recalled models are believed to have the defect. In paperwork filed with NHTSA, BMW suspects that the 4 series coupe models are most likely to be the ones affected, as 2,357 of these vehicles were equipped with knee airbag modules, compared to just 154 for the BMW 3 series sports wagon.

The NHTSA campaign number relating to this recall is 19V-352. Find out more at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesAir Bag Deployment Glitch Triggers Recall of 5,000 BMWs

BMW Recalls 2016-2019 Vehicles Because of Impact Protection Issue

Laguna Hills, CA – May 18, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling certain 2016-2019 X1 sDrive28i and X1 xDrive28i vehicles because of an issue involving crash impact protection. If an accident were to occur in which the occupant’s head comes into contact with the B-pillar, the pillar may not sufficiently absorb the impact, increasing the likelihood of serious injury or death. As many as 106,182 vehicles may be affected.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, inadequate impact protection surrounding the affected vehicles’ B-pillar could lead to a greater risk of injury if an occupant’s head were to contact the pillar during a crash. Because of this issue, the vehicles do not comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 201, “Occupant Protection in Interior Impact.”

Timeline of Events

BMW conducted development tests in January 2019 on its next-generation X1 model. The results showed that one of the B-pillar target points exceeded the recommended value, indicating a safety issue. Since the new generation of X1 models are identical to the current X1 version now on the road, the automaker decided to revisit its prior certification results, finding that those earlier tests came out within the legal requirements for the B-pillar values. BMW then conducted further review of the discrepancies between the two versions.

Further tests were conducted April 3, showing that one of the B-pillar values still exceeded the recommendation. In response, additional reviews of test setup equipment and simulations took place in April, followed by evaluation from an independent testing laboratory. The lab repeated BMW’s earlier tests, coming up with similar results. 

Engineering analysis by the automaker then revealed that the engineering services company that had conducted the initial tests and simulations for the new generation X1 vehicles’ B-pillar contact point had failed to take into account a worst-case scenario for head-form positioning. As a result, BMW decided May 2 to launch a voluntary recall.

The Solution

The recall is expected to begin July 2, 2019. A repair solution is still under development. When the remedy becomes available, BMW will notify owners.

Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V349000.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls 2016-2019 Vehicles Because of Impact Protection Issue

BMW Recalls 2018 Hybrid Electric Vehicles That Could Lose Power While Driving

Laguna Hills, CA – May 17, 2019 – BMW North America is recalling certain 2018 i3 BEV and i3 REx hybrid electric vehicles. A defective electronic module could shut down the high-voltage electrical power supply. If this happens while driving solely on electricity, without gasoline in the tank as a fallback, the car would lose power and stop unexpectedly, potentially causing a crash. As many as 159 vehicles could be affected by this issue.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this particular recall, a circuit board problem within the affected vehicles’ electronic module could shut down the supply of electrical power. This would result in a loss of propulsion, increasing the risk of an accident.

Timeline of Events

BMW first learned in September 2018 of a number of incidents involving high-voltage electrical power loss on Model Year 2018 BMW i3 vehicles, with additional reports of the error continuing to surface over the next few months. Despite an initial review after the first cases, the origin of the power problem was not determined.

Additional field incidents occurred in early 2019, leading to further reviews that included the automaker’s supplier and subcontractor. On April 2, BMW learned from its supplier that the electronic modules in question had not been produced to specifications. The printed circuit boards had not been adequately cleaned according to the process laid out by the automaker.

BMW reviewed the supplier’s records to ascertain the time period during which the problem had occurred, as well as the number of affected vehicles. The automaker then decided April 10 to conduct a voluntary safety recall. As of that date, BMW had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue.

The Solution

The recall will begin June 7. BMW will notify owners of the affected vehicles, and dealers will replace the defective electronic module at no cost.

Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V-310.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls 2018 Hybrid Electric Vehicles That Could Lose Power While Driving

BMW Recalls 2018 Vehicles With Instrument Cluster And Air Bag Issues

Laguna Hills, CA – May 16, 2019 – BMW is recalling certain 2019 X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, X3 M40i and X4 M40i vehicles because of air bags that may not function, as the result of an instrument panel defect. As many as 50 vehicles may be affected.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, the affected vehicles are equipped with an instrument panel assembly that may have been improperly manufactured. The errors of this particular flaw pertain to the front passenger air bag and could adversely affect its deployment. If the air bag does not operate properly during a crash, there is a significantly increased risk of injury for the passenger in the front seat.

Timeline of Events

BMW learned from its supplier on March 20, 2019 that instrument panels in the affected vehicles may have been fastened with an adhesive not originally specified by the automaker during the course of the lamination process. BMW immediately launched an investigation to determine whether that improper adhesive had, in fact, been used, and learn which vehicles contained the problematic instrument panel cluster modules. Production was halted at the assembly plant as soon as the investigation began.

Further review by both BMW and the component supplier revealed the specific production dates during which the incorrect adhesive was potentially used in manufacturing the vehicles’ instrument panels. Based on this information, BMW decided April 3 to launch a voluntary recall. As of that date, the automaker had not received any reports of injuries or accidents related to this issue.

The Solution

The recall will formally begin June 3, 2019. BMW will notify owners of the affected vehicles, explaining to them that authorized dealers will replace the flawed instrument panel assembly at no cost.

Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V-291.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls 2018 Vehicles With Instrument Cluster And Air Bag Issues

BMW Recalls 2019 X5 xDrive40i and xDrive50i Vehicles For Seat Belt Issue

 

Laguna Hills, CA – March 22, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling certain 2019 X5 xDrive40i and xDrive50i vehicles. The driver’s seat and/or seat belt bolts may not have been properly tightened, increasing the risk of injury to the driver if an accident were to occur. As many as 68 vehicles may be affected by this issue.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the attachment bolts for the driver’s seat and/or seat belt may not have been properly tightened. A possible sign of this problem is a rattling noise noticeable near the bottom of the seat. The improperly tightened bolts can increase the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Timeline of Events

The first report of this issue occurred Jan. 16, 2019 during vehicle assembly, when a rattling noise was noticed from the area near the attachment point of the driver’s safety belt. Preliminary analysis by BMW suggested that the bolt used to secure the seat belt to the vehicle was inserted, but had not been tightened to specifications. Production was then halted at the assembly plant for all vehicles potentially affected by this problem.

Bolt tightening data from production and quality systems was reviewed for all vehicles from start of production to the point at which assembly was halted. During this review, quality control analysts also found that attachment bolts for the driver’s seat may not have been tightened to specifications.

Following review of production records to determine the number and production range of potentially affected vehicles, BMW decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall Feb. 6, 2019. The records showed that potentially affected vehicles were produced from Oct. 20 to Dec. 15, 2018.

The automaker has not received any reports, nor is BMW otherwise aware of, any accidents or injuries relating to this issue.

The Solution

The recall will begin April 5. BMW will notify owners, telling them to take their vehicle to an authorized BMW center for an inspection of the attachment bolts for the driver’s seat and seat belt. In the event of loose bolts, these will then be tightened to specification, free of charge. If this condition were to occur in a potentially affected vehicle prior to the recall, the repair would be covered by the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty program.

Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V096000.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls 2019 X5 xDrive40i and xDrive50i Vehicles For Seat Belt Issue

BMW Recalls More Than 80,000 2007-2013 Vehicles Due to Takata Airbags

 

Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey – February 25, 2019 – BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2007-2013 X5 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive48i, X5 xDrive50i and X5 M vehicles, 2008-2014 X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6 M vehicles, 2009-2013 X5 xDrive35d vehicles and 2010-2011 X6 ActiveHybrid vehicles as part of the larger Takata airbag recall, which spans decades of vehicles across multiple manufacturers.  The potential number of units affected is 83,016.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these vehicles are equipped with specific Takata-manufactured air bag inflators as part of their passenger frontal air bag modules. These non-desiccated propellant filled inflator types may have been original equipment or used as replacements.

Due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling, these inflators can become unstable and may explode in the event of a crash that triggers the deployment of the passenger frontal air bag. In the case of an inflator explosion, sharp metal fragments can fly out of the inflator, striking the driver or other occupants and potentially resulting in serious injury or death.

Timeline of Events

Based upon Takata DIRs that were filed with the NHTSA Jan. 2, 2019, BMW vehicle assembly records were subsequently reviewed to determine what an appropriate potentially affected vehicle population would be, and made the following determination based on recall component differentiation to non-recall component: The recalled component contains a specific non-desiccated ammonium nitrate as the gas generator but the newer remedy part does not.

Propellant wafers in some of the subject inflators degrade over time, which could potentially lead to a violent explosion with flying metal shards in the event of air bag deployment. The potential for such an event occurs in some of the subject inflators after several years of exposure to persistent conditions of high absolute humidity or temperature.

Other factors, such as specific vehicle environment, the inflator and propellant configuration, and manufacturing variability, can also influence the likelihood of an event. Vehicles from southern and coastal areas of the U.S. appear to be more likely to have experienced this degradation. In the face of the latest information from Takata, BMW voluntarily choose to conduct a safety recall to replace the frontal air bags on the affected vehicles. This decision came to pass solely on the basis of information provided by Takata. BMW is unaware of any injuries arising from this issue at the time of the report.

The Solution

Recall notification to owners is planned to begin and end March 4, 2019. The passenger’s front air bag module will be replaced. Owners will be notified by first class mail and instructed to take their vehicle to an authorized BMW center to have the remedy performed for free. Owners who have replaced the air bag module at their own expense prior to the recall notification may be eligible for reimbursement according to the automaker’s reimbursement plan.  Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V017000.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls More Than 80,000 2007-2013 Vehicles Due to Takata Airbags

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