BMW recalls vehicles for 3rd time due to engine fire risk

DETROIT — BMW is recalling more than 917,000 older cars and SUVs in the U.S. — most for a third time — to fix a problem that can cause engine compartment fires.

The recall covers many 3 Series, 5 Series, 1 Series, X5, X3, and Z4 vehicles from the 2006 through 2013 model years.

Documents posted today by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say there could be an electrical short in the positive crankcase ventilation valve heater. They can overheat and cause a fire.

The fire risk occurs while the vehicles are being driven or soon after they are parked. BMW says the vehicles can still be driven because fires have been rare.

But the company says in documents that if a driver smells smoke or burning plastic or sees smoke from the engine compartment, they should pull to a safe location, shut off the engine and leave the vehicle.

The German automaker is still developing a fix. Owners will be notified by letter starting April 25.

Most of the cars were recalled in 2017 and 2019 for the same problem. BMW documents say owners who had the previous repairs done will need to get their vehicles fixed again.

BMW says in documents that it has eight reports of fires, but no reports of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem.

Owners can go to and key in their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if their autos are affected.