If You Own These BMWs, Your Engine Might Melt


Over 180,000 models could be affected.

We take certain things for granted, even in our cars. The doors will open, the wheels will roll, and the fires going on inside the engine will stay there. When those things stop working like they're supposed to, that spells trouble. And that's just what BMW has encountered with some of its older models.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall notice for 184,505 Bimmers – sedans, wagons, coupes, and convertibles – all from the 2006 model year. (Old enough by now to be celebrating their Bar Mitzvahs, if you can believe it.)

The recall includes certain (325i, 325xi, 330i, and 330xi) sedans and wagons, (525i, 525xi, 530i, and 530xi) sedans and wagons, and (3.0i and 3.0si) coupes and roadsters.

The problem's in the engine bay, where the heater for the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve may short circuit. That could cause the PCV valve to melt, potentially starting a fire – whether the engine's running or not. And a fire in the engine bay, suffice it to say, is not a good thing, especially in the presence of combustible gasoline.

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Consider for perspective that BMW sold 274,432 vehicles in the United States in 2006. So while model years and calendar years don't align precisely, the recall for 184,505 units clearly constitutes the proverbial lion's share of the company's sales here that year. And the recall doesn't even include other models like the 1 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, X3, and X5 that the Bavarian automaker was selling here at that point.

The recall will require dealers to replace the PCV valve heaters – a component with which, we have to admit, we're not intimately familiar, but doesn't strike us as a complicated part to replace.