BMW Recalling 230K Vehicles That May Have Takata Air Bags

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FILE - This March 7, 2016 file photo shows the logo of German car manufacturer BMW in Munich, Germany. BMW is recalling more than 230,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators announced Friday, Feb. 3, ... 2017. The recall covers certain 3 series cars from 2000 to 2002, some 5 series cars from 2001 to 2002, and some X5 SUVs from 2001 to 2003. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) (The Associated Press)

BMW is recalling more than 230,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators.

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The automaker says the vehicles may have had a driver's air bag replaced with a Takata inflator after a crash or in a previous recall. The vehicles originally were built with inflators made by another company.

The recall covers certain 3 series cars from 2000 to 2002, some 5 series cars from 2001 to 2002, and some X5 SUVs from 2001 to 2003.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries have been blamed on the problem worldwide. In the U.S. 19 automakers are recalling 69 million inflators in what has become the largest automotive recall in the nation's history.

BMW wrote in government documents that it discovered the problem in late November after a customer inquired about the maker of the inflator in their 3 Series sedan.

The company found that between 2002 and 2015, about 14,600 Takata air bag modules were shipped to the U.S. to be used as replacement parts. The company hasn't been able to determine which vehicles received the Takata parts, so it decided Jan. 19 to do the recall "in an abundance of caution."

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Dealers will inspect the air bag systems and replace them if they were made by Takata. Owners will be notified starting March 15.