BMW News


Last week, BMW AG announced that it was recalling about 232,000 BMW vehicles manufactured in China. The recall was due to a possible engine-bolt defect. That recall has now been extended worldwide—even including 156,137 cars in North America.

The recall affects some BMW six-cylinder vehicles manufactured between September 2009 and November 2011. According to The New York Times, the affected models include the 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 5 Series Gran Turismo, X3, X5, X6, and Z4 from the 2010–12 model years, and the 2012 6 Series.

BMW reported that “in very rare cases the bolts holding the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) unit housing may become loose or, in extreme cases, break.” This would cause a check-engine light to appear in the instrument cluster. The car could still be driven with reduced engine power to a repair station, but if the problem is ignored, it “can become progressively worse, eventually leading to no-start conditions, stalling, and engine damage.” For the U.S. recall, BMW will replace the four potentially defective bolts on each unit.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

Recent and massive recalls by Toyota and General Motors reflect a pattern of increasing numbers of recalls.  Industry analysts attribute this trend to more stringent scrutiny by regulators, and a desire by automakers to preserve their reputations and minimize bad publicity.

BMW AG CEO Dr. Norbert Reithofer has said that recall increases may become a trend, due to the standardization of technology and components used across a wider range of models.

The web site has a recall inquiry page on which owners can enter their Vehicle Identification Number to determine if there is an outstanding recall on their car, although it is not known at this time if the current engine-bolt recall can be accessed using that web page. 

—Scott Blazey