BMW Recalls Nearly 1 Million Vehicles Due To Electrical Short and Fire Hazards

This is the third BMW recall for identical electrical shorts since 2017.

BMW is recalling more than 1 million vehicles globally, due to a risk of electrical shorts that can lead to vehicle fires while the cars are in motion or when parked.

The BMW recall (PDF) was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on March 8, after the auto manufacturer notified regulators about problems involving a heater for the positive crankcase ventilation valve, and the potential for short circuit and fire risk. This is the third recall BMW has issued since 2017 due to a risk of vehicle fires that appears to be related to this issue.

According to the recall notice, problems during the manufacturing process may lead to cavities in the electrical contacts in the heater for the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve. This can allow moisture to accumulate and thus lead to a short circuit, leading to electrical engine fires while driving or while the vehicle is in park.

Warning signs for the issue include an illuminated “check engine light” on the dash and the appearance or smell of smoke. The “check engine light” is not necessarily cause for immediate alarm. However, drivers should find a safe place to pull over and shut off the engine and exit their vehicles if they see or smell smoke.

BMW first issued a recall in 2017 involving nearly 1 million vehicles susceptible to electrical short and engine fire, even when parked and not in use. BMW later expanded that recall in 2019 to include an additional 200,000 vehicles from the model year 2016, also due to the risk of electrical shorts and fire.

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The new recall issued by BMW, affects 128i model years 2008-2013, 3 series model years 2006-2012, 5 series model years 2006-2010, X3 model years 2007-2010, X5 model years 2007-2010, and Z4 model years 2006-2011.

More than 917,000 vehicles in the US have been recalled, with an additional 98,000 in Canada and 18,000 in South Korea. No injuries or accidents have been reported in connection with the recall.

This recall supersedes and expands previous NHTSA recalls for this issue. Vehicles previously repaired under the prior recalls will need to return for new recall repairs.

BMW says it is working to develop a remedy and owner notification letters are expected to be mailed April 25, 2022. Owners can contact BMW customer service about the recall at (800)525-7417 or contact the NHTSA safety hotline at (888) 327-4236. The recall campaign number is 22V-119.

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