BMW issued a “Do Not Drive” order to owners of older BMW 3-Series and 5-Series sedans, as well as X5 crossover SUVs, due to the presence of unfixed Takata airbag inflators. The faulty inflators could explode and spew metal shrapnel into the chests and faces of drivers and passengers.
In an announcement on Thursday, BMW estimated that 90,000 vehicles remain unrepaired despite several existing recalls and “intense customer outreach efforts since 2016.”
BMW vehicles covered in the order include:
2000-2006 BMW 3-Series (E46) and M3
2000-2003 BMW 5-Series (E39) and M5
2000-2004 BMW X5 (E53)
BMW joins Honda and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis) in the past six months in issuing such a warning for older cars that haven’t been fixed. The NHTSA says vehicles that fall under such warnings are “at a far higher risk for an airbag explosion that could injure or kill vehicle occupants.”
Last November, the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger was killed in a minor crash due to the explosion of a faulty airbag inflator in a vehicle under a Do Not Drive warning. In the U.S., there have been 25 reported deaths and more than 400 injuries attributed to the issue.
The largest recall in automotive history has affected roughly 67 million vehicles from nearly two dozen automakers in the U.S. for airbag inflators supplied by Takata, who since went bankrupt. The original problem was limited to inflators that erupted from breaking down over time due to high temperature fluctuations in high humidity regions. Over time, the NHTSA broadened the recall not just to regions with high humidity but to any Takata airbag inflator without a drying agent.
The NHTSA estimates that 12% of recalled vehicles with Takata airbag inflators have not been repaired.
The dire tone of the NHTSA and automakers stresses urgency because the airbags can activate even in minor fender benders, where no one should be injured at all.
“We need everyone to check right now for open Takata recalls – and if you have one, to schedule an appointment at your dealership immediately for a repair,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in November. “Every day that passes when you don’t get a recalled airbag replaced puts you and your family at greater risk of injury or death. Don’t let an open recall cost you or your passengers your lives.”
Check the status of your older vehicle here, regardless of it’s whether a BMW.