BMW announces Do Not Drive order for older vehicles with Takata airbags

(May 5, 2023) WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J.  —  In the interest of customer safety, BMW of North America has pro-actively issued an immediate Do Not Drive warning for approximately 90,000 2000-2006 BMW 3 Series (E46) including M3, 2000-2003 5 Series (E39) including M5, and 2000-2004 X5s (E53) equipped with certain driver’s front airbag inflators manufactured by Takata.

These vehicles have already been included in several Takata-related recalls; however, despite intense customer outreach efforts by BMW since 2016, they remain unrepaired and, as the airbag inflators age further, the risk of serious injury or death increases. Therefore, to reemphasize the seriousness of the situation, the decision was made to escalate the recall to a Do Not Drive order. Owners of affected BMWs that have not had their vehicles inspected and repaired should not consider them safe to drive.
Notification emails will be sent to owners of these vehicles with letters to follow in June.
These vehicles were manufactured with airbag inflators that contain a propellant that breaks down after long-term exposure to temperature fluctuations and humidity. If the vehicle is involved in a crash and the driver’s airbag deploys, the metal airbag inflator can rupture, sending razor-sharp shrapnel towards the occupants.  As these unrepaired vehicles continue to age, the chemicals will continue to degrade, increasing the odds of a disastrous rupture.
“We cannot state strongly enough just how urgent it is for our customers to take this warning seriously. We know these airbags only become more dangerous over time, which is why we are taking yet another step to get these parts out of our vehicles. 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.”

Since the recall was first announced, BMW has aggressively and continuously engaged in a wide variety of customer outreach campaigns to compel owners of these vehicles to have this critical safety repair completed – at absolutely no charge – as soon as possible. These have included contacts by phone, text, email, letters and postcards, and social media. BMW has coordinated with its dealer network, collision centers, and independent retailers and repair facilities to identify affected vehicles and facilitate repairs. These efforts and many others have resulted in the repair of hundreds of thousands of vehicles – addressing about 87% of all of BMW’s recalled airbag inflators.
There are no restrictions whatsoever preventing customers from having the airbag in their vehicle replaced immediately. The parts are available, and the repair costs them nothing. In many cases, the replacement can be done remotely — technicians can be sent wherever the vehicle is located and complete the repair on site.

If remote repair cannot be done, the vehicle can be picked up at the customer’s home or office free of charge, repaired, and returned when the service is complete. Typically, the airbag replacement takes less than an hour.