BMW says owners of older BMW 3-series vehicles should not drive their vehicles due to defective airbags that can explode on deployment.
BMW has recalled their older 3-series cars after continued issues with dangerous Takata airbag inflators. Two recent incidents in Australia were cited by government documents. One man was killed due to an airbag malfunction while another Cyprus driver was injured.
The newly discovered malfunctions differ from the previous issue which had resulted in at least 24 injuries and numerous deaths across the world. While a different issue, the result of exploding airbags which can also hurl shrapnel towards victim remains the enduring issue.
About 1.4 million front driver-side inflators have been added to the recall lists in the US as of this past Wednesday. This includes over 116,000 BMW 3-series cars spanning from 1999 to 2001 model years. Of those, about 8,000 have definite faulty inflators, and should no longer be driven. Others, BMW says, can still be driven.
Additionally, some Honda, Toyota, Audi and Mitsubishi vehicles made from a similar span of 1995-2000 have been recalled as well, though as of Wednesday the specific models have not been released. While Mitsubishi knows the only vehicle affected is the 1998-2000 Montero, Honda and Toyota are still trying to figure out which models they will have to recall.
While the current Takata non-azide inflators do not use dangerous ammonium nitrate to fill air bags in the event of a crash, the airbag propellent is still subject to degrade over time when exposed to moisture and can result in an explosion occurring too quickly, completely blowing apart the inflator body. Other issues cited are the airbags not fully inflating in crashes. While Takata states that about 4.5 million of the inflators were made worldwide, only a portion are still in use due to the affected vehicles being so old.
You can check your vehicle for recalls by entering your vehicle identification number here.
Oleg Satanovsky, a spokesman for BMW’s recalls stated that the inflators made at the Takata factory were known to be faulty because they were manufactured before product improvements occurred. The company is recalling another 323i and 328i sends from 1999 & 2000, and 323Ci and 328Ci coupes from 2000. These cars, manufactured in March 1998-2000 contain the faulty inflators.
BMW is still brainstorming a solution to this issue, but as of now the main takeaway is to discontinue driving of the cars affected by the recall.
The Takata recalls deal with some 125 million vehicles worldwide that are equipped with faulty airbags that can explode on deployment, unleashing metal shrapnel into vehicle cabins. At least 42 million of the affected vehicles were sold in the United States.
So far, 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries have been linked to the faulty airbag inflators, most of which have occurred in the U.S.
The defect led Takata to file for bankruptcy protection in June, allowing it to sell its non-airbag inflator business to Key Safety Systems, a unit of China’s Ningo Joyson Electric Corp.
Earlier this month, U.S. Senators called for a congressional hearing dealing with the defective airbags and resulting recalls.
According to Senator Jerry Moran, the hearing would review the “current manufacturer recall completion rates, the Takata bankruptcy and transition to new ownership under Key Safety Systems, and what all stakeholders including NHTSA are doing to ensure this process continues to move forward.”
To date, less than half of affected vehicles have been repaired.
In February, Ford issued a “stop driving” warning to 35,000 Ford ranger and Mazda B-Series owners.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective and dangerous Takata airbag, call Thomas J. Henry today. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free legal consultation. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.