BMW of North America issued a warning to owners of some older models to refrain from driving them because their air bags could explode in case of an accident.
The Takata air bag inflators in previously recalled 2000 to 2006 models are faulty and include a propellant that can deteriorate as time passes, rupturing a metal canister and releasing sharp shrapnel into the vehicle interior, BMW announced.
The warning is for owners of about 90,000 vehicles. They are the 2000 to 2006 3 Series that includes the M3; 2000 to 2003 5 Series, including M5; and 2000 to 2004 X5s.
BMW said the vehicles have been recalled several times but haven’t been repaired and therefore pose increasing risk, so it escalated the recalls to a do-not-drive order. It urged owners not to drive them due to the danger or serious injury or death.
It said it will email owners of the vehicles this month, followed by mailed letters in June.
“Customers must park these vehicles immediately and take a few moments to check if their vehicle is safe for them and their family members to drive”, said Claus Eberhart, vice president of Aftersales BMW NA, “Repairing these vehicles is quick, easy to arrange, and is completely free of charge.”
Owners can have the airbags in effected vehicles replaced, in many cases having technicians come to their locations for the job, BMW said. Otherwise, BMW will pick up the vehicle for repair and return it. The airbag replacement typically takes less than an hour, the company said.