Deadly Takata Airbags Spark 2nd Recall of 4,500 BMWs That Weren’t Fixed the 1st Time

A white BMW marquee tower with BMW's logo shown on the two sides of the marquee visible with a clear sky in the background.
BMW | Getty Images

The automotive industry is buzzing about the longstanding massive Takata airbag recall crisis. About 19 automakers have been affected, BMW being one of them. In response, the BMW Group has since issued a recall of 4,500 vehicles of its 1999-2001 3 Series wagon and sedan models.

Keep in mind, these models were previously recalled back in 2019 for the same issues. However, the main concern is that the inflators were only inspected but not replaced. 

Another airbag recall update leaves us rolling our eyes

In a document filed through the NTSA, BMW recommended parking the 1999 328i and 323i models. These airbags produced by Takata may have manufacturing defects. The NHTSA found it may not contain a stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) propellant. Without this crucial element, the airbags would underinflate in the event of an accident. Worse yet, moisture could cause them to explode. 

In case of an explosion, they could spray you and your passenger with shrapnel, which would lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. In fact, a driver in Australia was injured by faulty Takata airbags in a 2000 BMW Series, although investigations indicated that the inflator was from a 1998 model. 

Consumer Reports stated that other similar incidents have occurred here in the US, resulting in 19 deaths and 27 deaths globally. Additionally, they have estimated that about 400 US residents have sustained severe body injuries from these airbags. This number would have been more were it not for the massive recalls that now accounts for more than 42 million vehicles in the US alone. 

Why do these airbags keep getting recalled?

In 2019 the faulty airbags’ issues affected the 328is and 323i models from 1999 the most, which amounted to 7,910 vehicles according to Roadshow. Other models included the 1999-2001 3 Series. A total of 74,000 cars were affected and 34,000 were cars from 1999-2000 3 Series coupes. Also, about 74,000 vehicles that received airbag replacements during the last recall may still contain these faulty ones. 

In the first stages of the recall, Takata believed that the solution was to replace the old deadly inflators. However, they replaced the faulty ones on some car models with new ones that used the same exact chemistry and design. Of course, this didn’t work, and they have eventually reformulated the explosive propellers to preserve airbags for a longer time. 

Due to these manufacturers’ defects, some automakers have experienced losses and have opted to source airbag inflators from other suppliers. As a consequence, Takata’s reputation got damaged, it went out of business, and was purchased by Joysen Safety Systems back in 2018.

What do you do when your car has been recalled?


The 2022 BMW X3 Is Killing the Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain in the U.S.

All affected BMW cars with Takata airbags will have to a BMW dealership for thorough inspections by a technician. If they are faulty, you will get new ones free of charge. BMW issued recall notification letters to car owners to take their vehicles for inspections and replacement on July 19, 2021. 

A recall of this magnitude is very complex, and many drivers often miss the manufacturer’s deadline. The reason is mainly the inconvenience faced by drivers whenever they lose access to their car. This failure to take the cars for repairs leads to fewer people getting the parts than expected.

NHTSA says more than 38 million vehicles have received repair since the first recall notice. They also estimate a figure of about 13 million cars could still have defective airbags. If you are one of those people with a 1999-2001 BMW model and have received a repair notification, kindly make time and get your car fixed. It’s absolutely free and could save your life and that of your loved ones in case anything happens.

If you have a question about the safety of your airbags, you can reach out to BMW on 800-525-7417 or NHTSA hotline 888-327-4236. You can also check your vehicle identification number on the NHTSA website.