Despite the long (and we do mean long) list of recalls announced by automakers since 2015, hundreds of thousands of vehicles around the world are still equipped with Takata airbag inflators that can explode and send shrapnel towards the occupants.
To this day, over 30 people have died as a direct result, most of them in the U.S.
- Also: Stellantis Issues Urgent Warning After Another Airbag-Related Death
- Also: Problematic Airbags in Volkswagens and Audis
Just like Stellantis did last fall for older Dodge and Chrysler cars, BMW is now ordering thousands of owners to stop driving their vehicles because they are no longer deemed safe.
More than 90,000 units in the U.S. and 38,000 units in Canada are affected by this warning, more specifically 2000-2006 3 Series (E46) including M3, 2001-2003 5 Series (E39) including M5, and 2001-2004 X5 (E53) models.
Since the recall was first announced in 2016, BMW says it has continuously engaged in a variety of customer outreach campaigns to compel owners of these vehicles to have the critical safety repair completed as soon as possible. These have included contacts by phone, email, letters and online campaigns. BMW has also coordinated with its dealer network and certified collision repair centres to identify affected vehicles and facilitate repairs.
Unfortunately, many still haven’t had their Takata airbags replaced. As with any recall, the job comes at absolutely no charge for owners. It typically takes less than an hour to complete.
BMW plans to send owners of the unrepaired vehicles notification letters about the new “Do Not Drive” order starting in June. Making things complicated, of course, is the fact that these vehicles may have switched owners several times over the years.
The longer owners wait, the more the propellant inside the airbag inflator breaks down due to exposure to temperature fluctuations and humidity, increasing the odds of a rupture if the vehicle is involved in a crash and the airbag deploys.
BMW says the recall work may be done remotely in some areas. Technicians can be sent where the vehicle is located to complete the repair on site. If the remote repair cannot be done, the vehicle can be picked up at the customer’s home or office free of charge and repaired.