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Recall: 570,000 BMW models for power failures

Late-model 1-Series, 3-Series and Z4 models are affected.

By Exhaust Notes Feb 18, 2013 12:08AM
BMW is recalling 570,000 cars in North America for power failures and engine stalling, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The battery cable supplying power to the fuse box has a terminal that can wear out over time, particularly due to road vibrations, BMW said. About 504,545 models of the 2008-2012 1-Series, 2007-2011 3-Series and 2009-2011 Z4 are affected in the U.S.

An additional 33,000 BMW models are being recalled in South Africa, where a significant percentage of 3-Series models are built and exported to the U.S. The 1M and M3 models are not included.

If the battery-cable terminal wears out, "variations in electrical resistance" could occur, which could cause the instrument panel to flicker or the engine to cut power. At worst, the engine could stall completely while driving, or if parked, may not start. Other systems, such as the power steering, would also be affected by the electrical failure.

BMW said it received two U.S. reports of "no-start" problems during July 2010 and additional problems through 2011, when the company switched its terminal coatings from tin to silver to better handle electrical heat. BMW said it continued to fix "occasional warranty claims" for the same issue even after the fix. In Canada in May 2012, BMW said it received multiple owner complaints of the same problem, including a collision allegedly due to an engine stalling.

Dealers will replace the battery-cable connector and secure it to the fuse box with a "vibration-safe method" beginning in March. Owners can contact BMW at 1-800-525-7417 or at

In March 2012, BMW recalled 1.3 million cars worldwide to fix improperly mounted battery-cable covers that could cause dead engines, fires or other electrical problems. About 368,000 5- and 6-Series models were recalled in the U.S.

On Friday, BMW recalled 30,265 X5 models to fix brake vacuum lines that could cause the power assist to fail.

[Source: NHTSA]
Feb 18, 2013 9:26AM
My plumber came over the other day and told me he had 3 BMW's. Wow I said 3 BMW's! Yes he replied 3 Big Mouth Women.
Feb 18, 2013 7:21AM
Feb 18, 2013 9:43AM
and while we're slamming BMW's

What's the difference between a BMW and a porcupine?

On a porcupine the pricks are on the outside .....

Feb 18, 2013 9:41AM
All vehicles whether they are domestic or foreign will have some mechanical problem at some point in time. You could purchase a car known for reliability and get the model that is a lemon. More parts installed in car the greater the risk of some problem. so whether you buy a toyota, a ford, dodge, bmw... all of them will have some problem the longer you keep it Any person who believes they have a vehicle that won't have any problem is not dealing in reality. You just hope you get a good a car or truck that gives you many good years of driving at the least expense.
Feb 18, 2013 10:03AM

Is there going to be a refund? I had to replace these parts twice...

Feb 18, 2013 9:09AM
Mechaniccaly my 2007 328i has ran superb, BUT cosmetically it STINKS!!!! I have a crack in my drivers side seat, the passenger side door handle - the leather is coming off, the vent knobs have ALL broken off, plus more....I traded a 2001 Hyundai Elantra and it was in better condition than my BMW is only being 6-years old, in on this car because it was my 'Dream' car well I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER ONE!!! 
Feb 18, 2013 9:19AM
I recently had a battery failure in my 2009 335, ~65K miles, then 3 other system failures in next 3 mo's.  Gearshift assy,  waterpump, 2x Vanos solenoids ?? 

Statistically it seems 4x problems over 4x months seems improbable, does anyone see a connection ?  .....  dealer(Classic BMW Plano TX) charged ~ $5K

I have seen this several times as a BMW owner over the last 12 years, where I typically go in  for a repair and then go in the 1-2 more times for follow on failures .

Avoid BMW .....  poor Quality

Feb 18, 2013 9:41AM
My '06 BMW still looks, feels, and drives like brand new.  It's fun, nimble, and fast!
Feb 18, 2013 7:54AM

OH!!, I thought BMW was going to install a speedometer and turn signals.  The cars either don't have them or worse off the drivers DON'T use them.  They just purchased the car, not the road.

Feb 18, 2013 9:43AM
overrated car with a cult following have owned 4 different German brands (Porsche, VW, Merc and BMW) and BMW was the worst.
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