BMW Recall: Faulty Child Seat Problems in Several Bimmer Brands

Another BMW recall has hit. Over 21,000 BMW and BMW-adjacent vehicle models have been affected. Thankfully, there are some silver linings to this recall. However, this isn’t just some issue that can be solved with a Tesla-esque over-the-air update. Owners will have to bring in their Bimmer branded models for physical repairs this time. Semiconductor production shortage issues aside, it’s not something the Bavarian brand can have right now, and things need to get sorted as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, other BMW brands are suffering too

The Mini logo backlit and displayed on a wall
Mini and other Bimmer subsidiaries have been affected | Anusak Laowilas via Getty Images

Unfortunately, the issue centers around a critical function of the rear seat: child seat locks. Effectively, BMW has a system called ALR, or Automatic Locking Retractors. Basically, these retractors are designed to lock in a seatbelt for tight and effective child seat installation. A failure in these ALR units can result in an improperly secured child seat. Of course, that’s something we’d all like to avoid.

Moreover, it isn’t just BMW models that have been hit by the recall. Rather painfully, we’ve all been reminded that the Supra is more BMW than Toyota. It is also subject to recall. That’s not all, as Mini and even the legendary Rolls-Royce brands are mixed up in this too. Of course, the odds of your Rolls being subject to this recall are slim given how few vehicles the British marque produces year over year.

There’s a silver lining in the BMW recall

A child seat like the one seen is the reason for the latest BMW recall
Strapped in for a heck of a ride | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand via Getty Images

Now that’s quite a lot of bad news for Bavaria. Thankfully, Consumer Reports says there’s a silver lining. Rather, there’s several, and this recall is actually somewhat minor. That said, please do your due diligence and be sure rather than risking it. The ALR system is a sort of preemptive child crash safety system. There’s also ELR, or Emergency Locking Retractors. Those hold a child seat in place during an accident, so even if there is a crash, your child should be safe.

Moreover, most of the malfunctions have been found to be in the front seat ALR system. Not good news to be sure, but you shouldn’t be putting your child in the front seat near that landmine-sized airbag meant for adults anyway. However, it has to be noted several models can have these faulty ALR mechanisms in the rear. These include the BMW 2 Series convertibles, as well as the M2 Competition, 3 Series and M3 vehicles, as well as 5 Series vehicles.

Recalls are changing forever

The BMW logo
A rainy day for BMW | Artur Widak via Getty Images

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The good news is, we’re getting better and better at preventing these things. The onset of quick over-the-air fixes and better production quality are to thank for that. In summary, don’t give your BMW brand vehicle the benefit of the doubt. Call your dealer to see if your vehicle has been affected and get that taken care of.