BMW recalls cars repaired with Takata airbags

Recalled 3 Series, 5 Series, X5s outside current Takata airbag recall

Published: February 4, 2017, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:19 PM

fully deployed airbag

Bloomberg is reporting that BMW is recalling another 230,117 vehicles in the US as part of the Takata massive airbag recall, when it discovered that some of the defective airbag inflators may have been used in repairs.

The airbags in question were manufactured by Petri, a German parts maker that was bought by Takata in 2000. If those airbags were used as replacement parts (such as after a front-end crash that resulted in airbag deployment), then they would have included the faulty Takata PSDI-4 inflators that were the centrepiece in the worldwide airbag recall affecting an estimated 100 million vehicles.

“NHTSA should request information from all manufacturers that have Petri air bags, at a minimum,” Michael Brooks, acting executive director at Washington-based advocacy group The Center for Auto Safety, told Bloomberg. “If the Takata air bags have been replacing Petri air bags, they have to figure out the entire population of affected vehicles and have them inspected and replaced if necessary.”

Manufacturers have been recalling cars on a rolling schedule to replace Takata airbag modules that were fitted with inflators that due to moisture could rupture on deployment and spray shrapnel into the cabin. If those faulty airbags are replaced with Petri airbags, they could still have the same problem because the company is a Takata subsidiary.

Some of the 230,000 vehicles were already under the original recall, but many were manufactured prior to the years identified in the original Takata rounds of recalls. The vehicles added to the recall are the 3 Series (from model years 2000 through 2002) and 5 Series (2001-2003) cars, and 2001-2002 X5 sport-utes.

The issue came to light when an owner of 2000 3 Series asked the company to verify the type of inflator in his car. BMW discovered the faulty Takata inflator, which it says must have been installed as a repair part at some point in its life.

BMW says 14,600 Takata airbag inflators were shipped to the US as replacement parts between 2002 and 2015, and although some would have found their way into cars already under the existing recall, there is a good chance some of them may have been installed in cars outside the Takata recall parameters.

Recalled vehicles will be repaired with non-Takata inflators, says the company.