BMW Issues Do-Not-Drive Warning For 90,000 Cars

BMW has issued an urgent "do not drive" warning to the owners of approximately 90,000 vehicles in the United States. This is an official recall affecting Takata airbags in several BMW models manufactured between 2000 and 2006, including BMW 3 Series, BMW 5 Series, and BMW X5s.

The airbags use an inflation component called PSAN, and faulty installations can result in an explosive deployment. Accident victims risk serious injury or death, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns. The latest notice confirms that these airbags have claimed 25 lives, plus injuries for at least 400 people to date.

This is part of a widespread recall, with the earliest investigations beginning in 2014. To be clear, BMW isn't the only company affected by this particular recall. The Takata recall affects 67 million airbags in "tens of millions of vehicles," notes the NHTSA. Takata provides airbags for dozens of prominent automotive brands, and most of the big names appear on the list.

"If you have a model year 2000-2006 BMW with a recalled Takata airbag, get it repaired immediately – for free. These inflators are two decades old now and, with every day that passes, they become even more dangerous as they can rupture even in a minor crash," NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said. The explosion could send fragments of its metal components flying toward your face.

BMW has helped facilitate airbag replacements since 2016, and most affected vehicles have successfully been repaired. Still, some keep rolling despite the danger.

How to check if your vehicle needs repairs

Historically, airbags are among the most common culprits of unintended vehicular injuries. Many might discount the danger compared to exploding fuel systems, blown tires, and failing brakes, but the Takata airbag debacle will be remembered as one of the deadliest car recalls in history. You shouldn't play around with your life, even if you've made it this far with a perfect driving record. Plus, it's completely free to repair your vehicle, and the entire process takes about as long as a full tire rotation. 

BMW makes it extremely easy to check whether your vehicle has an open recall. Just head to the BMW recalls website and enter your VIN number. You can also enter your zip code to find local repair centers. If you prefer to speak to someone, BMW's recall hotline is open for help (1-866-835-8615). The company will offer to fix your vehicle at your home or wherever it's parked.

You can also use the NHTSA's VIN lookup to check for recalls impacting your vehicle. It's always good to check periodically in case you've missed something.