By: Brett Shainfeld
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of shopping for a new car. Equal parts frustrating and deeply exhilarating, few things in life match the sensation of finally rolling off the dealer lot in your brand new vehicle, rolling the windows down and feeling the wind in your hair as you haven’t a care in the world.
In fact, many of us seek out new cars just for that feeling alone. The “new car smell” has been iconicized, eliciting certain psychological intrigue and proving to be a deeply satisfying sensory effect. Trying out all of the latest features, knowing that they’re now yours, all while enjoying the comfort of fresh seats and brand new interior can have you feeling like royalty.
On top of the psychological impact of new car purchasing, the care-free attitude we mention when cruising off the lot also comes from an internal understanding that a brand new car should be free from defects, getting you safely from Point A to Point B without a worry. If you’re shopping for a new car, there’s a good chance that your old car was on its final miles, and with that comes all of the concerns that a weathered automobile brings to its driver. Sudden engine failure, check engine lights coming on for who knows what reason, strange noises and/or rattling that makes you think the wheels could come flying off at any moment, each of these concerns are now in the past as you sign the final paperwork and are handed the keys to your brand new car.
Those days of carefree driving can come to a screeching halt when you discover that your new vehicle isn’t as safe as you once believed it to be. Suddenly all of the worries you were hoping to quell rear their head again, and you’re faced with the reality that your new car needs a fix. Fortunately for vehicle recalls, those problems can typically be fixed with relative before you ever experience any of the unfortunate results that can stem from an unsafe vehicle.
For recent BMW owners, this fact holds especially true. The classic German automaker, with a reputation built on quality and class, is faced with a recall alert issued for multiple variants of their 2, 3 and 4 Series models. So far the issue has affected thousands of vehicles in the United States, and suppliers are urging customers to reach out and have the issue taken care of immediately to maintain safety on the road.
If you’re a BMW owner, you may be wondering, “What’s this recall all about? Is my car affected? If so, is it an easy fix or will it require some time? Am I in danger?” We have the answer to these questions and more information about recalls in general, so let’s look at the finer details of the latest BMW 2, 3 and 4 Series recall.
The Details of the Latest BMW 2, 3 and 4 Series Airbag Recall
The chief concern related to the BMW 2, 3 and 4 Series recall stems from the airbag component in the automobile. The recall complaint is spread across three different models of BMW vehicles, and a number of variants within each class. The vehicles included in the recall are:
- 2019-2020 2 Series: 230i and 230i xDrive coupe and convertibles, M240i and M240i coupe and convertibles, and the M2 Competition
- 2019 3 Series: 330i xDrive Sportswagon
- 2019-2020 4 Series: 430i and 430i xDrive coupe and convertibles, 440i and 440i xDrive coupe and convertibles, M4 coupe and convertibles
- 2020 4 Series Grand Coupe: 430i and 430i xDrive, 440i and 440i xDrive
The number of vehicles in question hovers just over five thousand at the time of publication. Reports of the recall concern are spread across each of the aforementioned models.
The problem that the recall is based around derives from the knee airbag modules on both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. The modules, which were originally supplied by Joyson Safety Systems, may have airbags within them that were improperly folded and assembled into the housing. The result is that, when inflated during an accident, the airbag may become damaged and unable to provide the full scope of safety to those inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, greatly increasing the risk of serious injury.
The airbag problem first came to BMW’s attention in April, 2019, when Joyson Safety Systems conducted tests and discovered that there were airbags damaged when deployed in their facilities. As BMW investigated in conjunction, the specific batch of damaged parts were narrowed down and BMW was able to issue their voluntary recall. The positives of this recall is that the concern was not brought to BMW’s attention due to an accident or injury, but rather by their supplier, and to date the company is not currently aware of any accidents or injuries that have resulted from the airbag issue.
At this point, you may be wondering if your vehicle falls under the recall and if you’re driving a BMW 2, 3 or 4 Series with a pending recall notice and safety hazard. BMW began their recall process by notifying owners this summer (starting on July 2); if you have not received notification but purchased your car on the secondhand market or are still concerned, you can contact your local dealership, the automaker at 800-525-7417, or even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236. Have your vehicle identification number, typically found inside the door of the vehicle or on your insurance card, ready when you contact.
If you discover that your vehicle is affected by the recall notice, there’s no need to fear a lengthy process. Fortunately for vehicle owners, the fix is pretty simple. Dealership auto technicians will replace each of the knee airbag modules upon inspection, using the improved versions of the airbag that use the proper fold method. Furthermore, vehicle owners will incur no cost to correct the issue.
Handling recalls can be pretty straightforward, and typically the dealership will take care of its customers to have the recall corrected at no cost and get drivers back on the road. Their reputation as a BMW manufacturer depends on their safety rating, so administering recalls is of vital importance. While no accidents have been reportedly linked to the recall concern, if you have questions about the airbag recall or feel that, as a driver of a 2019-2020 BMW 2, 3 or 4 Series that you may have been injured in a crash as a result of the airbag issue, please seek legal counsel to understand your rights as a consumer in such a case. Feel free to reach out to your friends at Shainfeld Law with any questions about your incident. With years of motor vehicle and consumer protection litigation experience under our collective belt, we’re fully prepared to assist our clients and prospective clients with getting the counsel and recourse they deserve.