Delivery of N20 and N26 powered vehicles stopped as a result of power brake assist problem
On September 26th, BMW of North America announced to NHTSA its intention to conduct a voluntary Recall on certain 2012-2014 model year BMW 3 Series, 5 Series, X1, X3 and Z4 models equipped with the N20 or N26 engine, produced from May 2012 to August 2013.
Affected vehicles in dealer inventories will not be sold or delivered to customers until the recall repair has been performed. Vehicles at BMW vehicle delivery centers will be corrected before shipment to dealerships. Existing owners will be notified of the recall by letter with a solution coming in December.
The oil supply from the intake camshaft to the brake vacuum pump can become restricted. If this happens the brake vacuum pump could fail due to lack of lubrication, resulting in a loss of power brake assist.
The hydraulic brakes will still function to stop the vehicle but without power assist. Without assist the driver will need to apply much greater pedal pressure to stop the vehicle. The distance required to stop the vehicle will increase as most drivers will not be able to apply enough brake pedal pressure.
In the event of a loss of brake power assist pull the emergency brake and apply as much brake pedal pressure as possible. If your BMW has an electronic parking brake pull up and hold the switch to engage the brake.
Move away from traffic and park in a safe location as soon as possible. Contact BMW Roadside Assistance and have your vehicle taken to the nearest BMW dealer.
Solution and Repair
A repair solution for vehicles already on the road is under development and not available at this time. Existing owners will be notified of the recall in November by letter and again in December by letter when parts are available. Wait to receive your notification letter before contacting your dealership for service. The repair letter will be sent when the dealership has the necessary parts, tools and procedures to preform the repair.
The solution involves inserting a locking ring onto the camshaft so the oil supply to the brake assist vacuum pump is not impaired. The repair will take approximately two hours but can vary depending on your BMW dealers schedule. The repair will be preformed free of charge.
- 2012-14 320i/328i, 320i/328i xDrive Sedan manufactured between May 2012 – August 2013
- 2014 328i xDrive Sports Wagon manufactured between March 2013 – May 2013
- 2012-13 528i, 528i xDrive Sedan manufactured between June 2012 – June 2013
- 2013-14 X1 sDrive28i, X1 xDrive28i manufactured between June 2012 – June 2013
- 2013-14 X3 xDrive28i manufactured between June 2012 – August 2013
- 2012-14 Z4 sDrive28i manufactured between June 2012 – June 2013
Number of vehicles affected in the US
Up to 76,190 BMWs are affected by this safety issue. The model break down is as follows -
- 2012-14 320i/328i, 320i/328i xDrive Sedan - 37,473 potentially affected
- 2014 328i xDrive Sports Wagon - 176 potentially affected
- 2012-13 528i, 528i xDrive Sedan - 12,708 potentially affected
- 2013-14 X1 sDrive28i, X1 xDrive28i - 10,547 potentially affected
- 2013-14 X3 xDrive28i - 14,517 potentially affected
- 2012-14 Z4 sDrive28i - 770 potentially affected
BMW is aware of three minor accidents with no confirmed injuries as a result of this problem. The NTSB has 7 reported incidents but that does not mean they have 7 accident reports. Vehicles affected have experienced the failure at low millage. It is not clear if having a higher mileage car means you will not have the failure.
Should you continue to drive your N20/N26 powered BMW
BMW says it is safe to continue to drive your vehicle for now. As soon as you get the service letter that will be coming in December you should have the recall work performed. If you feel a loss of braking power pull to the side of the road and have your BMW towed to the nearest dealer by BMW Roadside Assistance.
Are 4 series deliveries going to be affected
BMW has not commented at this time on the 4 series. Models produced as recently as August are affected so it is possible early production 4 series (production started in July) will be held at the vehicle delivery center until the repair is available. We will continue to follow the 4 series delivery story and provided updated information as it happens.
What to do now
We have no choice but to wait for the letters and more information from BMW. In the mean time everyone be careful out there. There are 7 reported incidences of issues to the NTSB so far. The NTSB estimates that for ever report there are 40+ incidents that are not reported. Has anyone had trouble loss of brake assist in their N20/N26 powered BMW? Does this make anyone nervous to drive their BMW?