The latest missive in the long-running Takata airbag recall crisis comes courtesy of BMW, which has issued a fresh recall for some 4,500 variants of its model-year 1999-2001 3 Series sedan and wagon that had previously been recalled in November 2019. The problem this time is that the affected vehicles had been inspected, but the inflators in question weren’t replaced.
The original defect involved a Takata manufacturing issue resulting in leaky seals in non-azide driver-side airbag inflators. Consequently, the inflator propellant might have been degraded by moisture and could inflate with too much force, spewing shrapnel into the cabin — or, alternately, inflate with too little force and not protect the driver in a crash. The first risk is similar to that of the original Takata recall of its inflators using ammonium nitrate propellant, but the non-azide inflators use a different explosive chemical that also allows for the possibility of underinflation.
Of the 116,000-plus vehicles recalled in late 2019, this smaller group features 3 Series variants including the model-year 2000-01 323Ci, 325Ci, 328Ci and 330Ci; model-year 1999-2001 323i, 328i, 330i and 330xi; and model-year 2000 323i and 328i wagon.
Dealers will replace the inflator with a newly designed inflator for free. Owner-notification letters are expected to be mailed starting July 19, but those with further questions can call BMW at 800-525-7417 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236. They also can visit NHTSA’s website to check their vehicle identification number and learn more.
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