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BMW: Don’t drive older models with Takata airbag inflators


DETROIT (AP) — BMW is warning owners of about 90,000 older vehicles in the US not to drive them over a growing threat that the airbags could explode in a crash.

The alert applies to 2000 through 2006 model years vehicles that were previously recalled to replace faulty and dangerous Takata airbag inflators.

The company used volatile ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time and blow apart a metal bus, hurling shrapnel that can injure or kill drivers and passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers should park their vehicles and contact BMW for more information. Repairs are available to owners free of charge, along with mobile repair and free towing.

“These vehicles are between 17 and 22 years old and the risk to the occupants of the vehicles is high,” the agency said in a statement Thursday. “These are some of the oldest Takata airbags to be recalled and have an extremely high probability of failure in a crash.”

NHTSA says if the inflators blow apart, metal fragments could be hurled at the driver’s face and kill them or cause “devastating, life-altering injuries.”

Since 2009, Takata’s exploding airbags have killed at least 33 people worldwide, including 24 in the United States. Most of the deaths and about 400 injuries occurred in the US, but also in Australia and Malaysia.

Models affected by the BMW recall include the 3 Series from 2000 through 2006, the 5 Series from 2000 through 2003, and the X5 from 2000 through 2004. All have front airbag inflators. driver, made by Takata.

Owners can go to BMW’s website to check if their vehicle has been affected or call BMW Customer Relations at (866) 835-8615. NHTSA also has a reminder lookup tool on its website.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.