BMW recall: What owners need to do

BMW logo reflectedImage copyrightEPA

BMW is recalling cars in the UK after the BBC’s Watchdog found that vehicles could cut out completely while they are being driven.

If you’re worried about the implications for you and your car, here’s everything you need to know.

Is my car affected?

This recall is an extension of another recall which took place in April 2017, when BMW recalled 36,410 petrol-fuelled models.

BMW recall: What owners need to do
BMW recall: What owners need to do

This time, the recall covers a wider range of models manufactured over a longer period of time. It will include cars in the UK and Ireland.

The recall will cover both petrol and diesel vehicles this time. The cars recalled are BMW 1 series, 3 series, Z4 and X1 models manufactured between March 2007 and August 2011.

How can I tell when my car was manufactured?

A VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a unique string of letters and numbers assigned to each vehicle manufactured. You’ll need to find a long serial number, usually 17 digits, marked on your car.

The most common locations are the dash at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side, a sticker on the driver’s door or in the front of the engine block.

On most newer vehicles, some body parts such as fenders and hoods also have the VIN on them for identification.

A VIN will also be on your BMW’s insurance or registration documents. You can find websites that can decode the VIN of most manufacturers automatically.

Why are cars being recalled?

The issue relates to a problem with the connection between the battery and fuse box. The connection between the cable and the fusebox can degrade with heat and wear, potentially causing the engine to cut out.

What happens now?

BMW will be sending letters in the post to all potentially affected customers in the next three weeks. In the letter will be advice on how the recall will be carried out.

The carmaker is advising that any customer with concerns can also contact their local retailer directly. The retailer will be able to advise if their car is affected and will complete the work as required.

BMW has also opened a customer complaints hotline: 0800 083 4397.

Will it cost me anything?

No. BMW is issuing replacement parts free of charge.

How long will it take to do the work?

The work – which involves replacing a plug – should only take a couple of hours.

In the meantime, should I keep driving my car?

An early indication of the situation is given by the car failing to electronically unlock or a flickering in the instrument panel. BMW says the problem generally occurs when the vehicle is stationary – the vehicle will not unlock or cannot be started.

Following these signals, if the car continues to be used, there is the possibility of power failure while driving.

If your car fails to unlock or start due to a loss of electric power, contact your nearest BMW retailer who can advise you on completing the recall repair.

How do I know where my local BMW centre is?

Click on the “Find a BMW Centre” link on the website,

What should I do if my car stops running?

BMW says call BMW Emergency Services on 0800 777 109 and the car will be taken to a BMW retailer where the recall fix will be carried out free of charge.

I’m not a BMW driver, but I am worried about safety recalls of vehicles. What should I do?

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has launched a “check a recall” service at So far the service has been used by more than 180,000 car owners.


2011: BMW first made aware of the electrical failures. There are 19 cases in the UK between 2011 and 2014 but the carmaker fails to tell DVSA

2013: BMW recalls more than 500,000 in the United States because of the problem, with other recalls in Canada, South Africa and Australia

October 2014: DVSA is first made aware of a problem via a report from a single consumer. DVSA examines the case and speaks to BMW. The agency is reassured the defect would give drivers warning of the need to have the vehicle fixed, before the system failed entirely

February 2016: A DVSA lead engineer Andrew Tudor tells Mark Hill, BMW’s supplier quality engineer, that “we do not want a fatality” (as stated in a 2018 fatality inquest)

December 2016: Narayan Gurung dies after steering his Ford Fiesta into a tree, potentially to avoid a fault-affected BMW. DVSA asks BMW to conduct a full safety recall of 370,000 cars

April 2017: BMW agrees to recall of 36,410 cars

April 2018: BMW tells an inquest into Gurung’s death that the electrical fault was not “critical” because drivers could steer and brake, despite their headlights, hazard lights, indicators and brake lights not working

May 2018: BMW confirms recall of an additional 312,000 vehicles made between March 2007 and August 2011, after BBC Watchdog investigation

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