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  • Headrests in the 3 Series don't meet federal guidelines restricting movement
  • The issue could cause injury, prompting the recall
  • BMW says it is recalling 7,600 units that have already been sold

BMW recently announced that it is recalling the all-new 2012 3 Series because of an issue with the sedan's front headrests. The federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued the recall, which affects around 7,600 vehicles already in owners' hands.

According to BMW and the NHTSA, the sedan's front headrests don't meet federal guidelines that restrict downward movement to 25 mm from the highest position. NHTSA says failure to meet such regulations could cause injury to occupants, since the head restraint could unexpectedly move down too far during an impact.

In addition to affecting 7,600 units of the 2012 3 Series that were already delivered to buyers, the recall has prompted a "stop sale" order, which prohibits dealers from selling new models until the problem is fixed. The automaker says the recall affects all 2012 3 Series sedans manufactured between October 19, 2011, and March 18, 2012.

According to BMW, recall notices will be mailed to owners of affected vehicles beginning this month. Owners will be urged to bring their vehicles into dealership service departments, where a clamp will be attached free of charge to front seat head restraint posts to prevent excess movement.  

Despite the potential severity of the problem, BMW says it has not yet received any reports of injuries related to the issue. Owners with questions are advised to contact the automaker at 800-525-7417 or NHTSA's recall hotline at 888-327-4236.

Although the "stop sale" order is likely to slow down sales, the latest BMW 3 Series has been extremely popular in its first few months on the market. Last month, sales of the sedan reached nearly 6,600 units, a 35 percent increase compared with the same period in 2011. Redesigned versions of the remainder of BMW's 3 Series range, including popular coupe and convertible models, are expected early next year.

What it means to you: This minor issue will likely be solved by a short trip to a dealership's service department.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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