BMW recalls 134,000 luxury sedans over tail light problem

BMW's 5-Series is the subject of a recall involving rear light issues.
BMW's 5-Series is the subject of a recall involving rear light issues.BMW

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By Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau

BMW is recalling about 134,000 of its mid-range 5-Series models because their rear lights can fail – a problem federal safety regulators warn could lead to a collision.

It’s the latest in a series of high-volume recalls by the low-volume maker, following a service action earlier this year affecting more than 500,000 vehicles.

The new recall involves a range of 5-Series model sold during the 2008 through 2010 model-years, including the 528i, 535i, 550i and M5.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, corrosion on electrical connections can lead the taillights, backup lights and rear turn signal lamps on these vehicles to short out, potentially leading to a crash. The company said in a letter to the Safety Administration that an estimated 15 percent of the vehicles contain the condition.

The maker says it has no reports of any accidents caused by the problem and was originally reluctant to order a recall, with company documents filed with NHTSA indicating that there are visual and audible alerts that would advise a motorist of the problem.

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BMW has had previous problems with lighting, including an August 2011 service action involving 241,000 of the popular BMW 3-Series models due to rear light connections.

The following year, the German manufacturer was hit with a $3 million fine for improperly handling recalls on a number of occasions, apparently spurring it to be more aggressive since then when dealing with potential safety issues.

In February of this year, BMW expanded a recall related to vehicle stalling to cover more than 500,000 1- and 3-Series models and the Z4 roadster, later expanding the recall by putting another 16,000 vehicles on the list.

The cars involved in the latest recall were produced between March 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2009.

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BMW will notify owners, and dealers will begin making repairs for free starting next month.

Owners can contact BMW at 1-800-525-7417 or email for more information.

Owners can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to