A staggering number of vehicles are being recalled worldwide for defective airbags, including about 34 million in the U.S. These airbags, produced by Takata, do not perform as expected and defects have caused several deaths and over 300 injuries. BMW and other manufacturers who make or sell vehicles in the U.S. are required to have front airbags installed on vehicles as standard equipment, as of September 1, 1998. Current recalls are for front, side and knee airbags, on cars, trucks and motorcycles.

BMW Airbag Recall

BMW has recalls out for many models, even though in 2014, the company said that it had not received any problem reports about their vehicles outfitted with Takata airbags. Due to their concern for airbag safety, in July of 2014, BMW Group sent recall notices for 1.6 million 3 Series models. Affected models at that time were manufactured between mid-1999 and mid-2006. One concern at that time was due to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into several reports of accidents that involved airbag ruptures in Florida and Puerto Rico. The rupture incidences were attributed to high levels of humidity that affect the chemical propellants inside airbag inflator devices.

BMW recalls now are in effect for many of their vehicle models from years 2001 through 2015. BMW will replace driver-side front airbags in approximately 140,000 BMW 3 Series vehicles in the United States, from model years 2004 to 2006. Although they have not had reports of accidents due to the airbags, they are complying with industry recalls that state the airbags may have defective parts that could cause deployment failures. Takata also notified BMW that some previously delivered replacement parts also have been defective, so any vehicles with those replacements also need to be refitted with newer parts.

Airbag Deployment Failures

So far, BMW has not received reports about any models that have defective Takata airbags that have experienced deployment failures. They are exercising due caution to get those airbags replaced before any mishaps occur. Dealers will perform this service to replace faulty airbags at no charge.

There are several types of airbag deployment failures that can happen. The most prevalent in accidents on record include cases were the inflator is faulty and leaves the airbag at a high rate of speed. The part can cause injury, but if it is fractured, pieces of the inflator or a metal wiring harness around it can be propelled into the vehicle. These metal shards are sharp, acting like metal shrapnel, and they can penetrate the human body easily, causing cuts, abrasions or even death.

Side door airbags can malfunction, opening without cause to harm passengers. All types of airbags can cause injuries upon impact, especially if they do not allow some of the gas contents to leave the bag. An airbag that is too firm can be just as harmful as other hard materials like a steering wheel, dashboard or window. Anytime an airbag does not inflate properly or at the proper time due to impact, injury or death may result. This is why the NHTSA and dealers, along with Takata, urge owners of affected vehicles to promptly act to get those airbags replaced.

Airbag Failure Injuries

The most serious airbag failure injuries occur when there is any type of fractured material shot out into the vehicle cabin at high speeds. Metal shards can cause death quickly if they are lodged in the neck area jugular vein or carotid arteries. Cuts in other areas of the body from broken parts can also cause serious bleeding, which also may lead to serious injury or death.

If the airbag fails to deploy upon impact, the occupants will not benefit from airbag protection. In some airbag accidents, the sensor either did not activate the airbag, activated it prematurely or without cause, or a short caused airbag deployment. All of these situations can lead to occupant injury.

Children are subject to harm if they are too close to a front seat airbag when it is expanded, or from impact of a side door airbag that releases accidentally. Problems in airbags have been linked to the sensor, other metal objects like loose bolts creating an electrical short, and issues related to the chemicals and their stability. Humidity can also be a factor that causes problems with propellant dispersal. Areas of the body that may be injured by airbags include the chest and cardiac region, face, eyes, ears and extremities.

BMW Vehicle Recalls

The following is a list of existing BMW vehicle recalls that has been issued:

  • 2008-2013 BMW 128i
  • 2008-2013 BMW 135i
  • 2008-2013 BMW 1 Series M
  • 2000 BMW 323i
  • 2002-2006 BMW 325Ci
  • 2002-2003 BMW 325iT
  • 2001-2011 BMW 325i
  • 2001-2011 BMW 325xi
  • 2002-2003 BMW 325xiT
  • 2006-2012 BMW 325xiT
  • 2000 BMW 328i
  • 2006-2013 BMW 328i
  • 2006-2013 BMW 328xi
  • 2006-2013 BMW 328i xDrive
  • 2001-2011 BMW 330i
  • 2001-2011 BMW 330xi
  • 2002-2006 BMW 330Ci
  • 2006-2013 BMW 335i
  • 2006-2013 BMW 335xi
  • 2006-2013 BMW 335i xDrive
  • 2009-2011 BMW 335d
  • 2007-2013 BMW 335is
  • 2002-2003 BMW 525i
  • 2002-2003 BMW 530i
  • 2002-2003 BMW 540i
  • 2001-2013 BMW M3
  • 2002-2003 BMW M5
  • 2013-2015 BMW X1 sDrive28i
  • 2013-2015 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2013-2015 BMW X1 xDrive35i
  • 2007-2010 BMW X3 xDrive30i
  • 2007-2011 BMW X5
  • 2003 BMW X5 3.0i
  • 2003 BMW X5 4.4i
  • 2007-2013 BMW X5 xDrive30i
  • 2007-2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i
  • 2007-2013 BMW X5 xDrive48i
  • 2007-2013 BMW X5 xDrive50
  • 2007-2013 BMW X5 M
  • 2009-2013 BMW X5 xDrive35d
  • 2008-2011 BMW X6
  • 2010-2011 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid SAC
  • 2008-2014 BMW X6 M
  • 2008-2014 BMW X6 xDrive35i
  • 2008-2014 BMW X6 xDrive50i

Other recent models recalled are 2014-’15 BMW i3 hatchbacks and 2014-’16 Mini Cooper S and Mini Cooper two-door cars

Identify by VIN Number

If you have received a mailed recall notice, there are instructions for contacting your dealer for replacements. You also can check online websites to determine if your vehicle has a recall notice in effect. There is a government website with the latest information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration where you can check status by entering your VIN Number.

Check BMW and other vehicles online at:

Airbag Recall BMW Vehicles

BMW has issued a recall for many models produced from 2000 to 2013, including the 128i, 135i, 325Ci, 323i, Series M, 328i, 328xi, 330Ci, 540i, M3, M5 and 525i.

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