Safety Recall 21V-156 Second Row Headrest – 2021 BMW X5 & X7

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March 10, 2021 NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 21V156000

Head Restraints Incorrect


In the event of a crash, the head restraints could detach, and increase the risk of injury.


NHTSA Campaign Number: 21V156

Manufacturer BMW of North America, LLC

Components SEATS

Potential Number of Units Affected 258



BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2021 X5 sDrive40i, X5 xDrive50i, X5 M50i, X5 xDrive45e, 2021 X7 xDrive40i, X7 M50i, and XB7 vehicles. The head restraints on the second-row outer seats may be the incorrect type for the vehicle.



BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the head restraints, and replace them as necessary, free of charge. The recall began May 3, 2021. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.



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


Check if your BMW has a Recall


SIB 52 04 21


This Service Information Bulletin (Revision 3) replaces SI B52 04 21 dated March 9, 2021.


What’s New (Specific text highlighted):

  • Recall # added to SIB title
  • Inspection Procedure clarification


Please perform the procedure outlined in this Service Information on all affected vehicles before customer delivery. In the event the customer has already taken delivery of the vehicle, please perform the procedure the next time the vehicle is in the shop.



E-Series Model Description Production Date
G05 X5 Sports Activity Vehicle February 8, 2021 – February 15, 2021
G07 X7 Sports Activity Vehicle February 8, 2021 – February 15, 2021



Vehicles which require this Campaign to be completed will show it as “Open” when checked either in AIR, the “Service Menu” of DCSnet (Dealer Communication System), ISPA Next or Warranty Vehicle Inquiry.



BMW AG issued a Delivery Stop (effective February 26, 2021) on certain Model Year 2021 BMW X5 SAV and X7 SAV vehicles that were produced between February 8, 2021 and February 15, 2021. This has been changed to a Safety Recall as of March 9, 2021


The Recall Notice and Q&A have been attached for further information.



Left and right outer headrests may have been installed which do not have a positive stop movement limiter at their highest position.


During a frontal impact, unsecured items (e.g., luggage) in the rear could move forward and contact the rear seat, which could cause the headrest to detach from the seat.



Check each headrest for the presence of the positive stop. If missing, replace the headrest.


The checking procedure can be performed while kneeling on the rear seat cushion facing rearward.


  1. On either outer headrest, squeeze the headrest height release button (yellow arrow) at the seatback top retaining collar.


With your other hand, raise the headrest as far as possible with a light effort. Do not use excessive force to attempt raising the headrest. You may only see a maximum of 3 visible notches on the headrest rod.


If the headrest cannot be lifted out of the seat, the positive stop is present.

This headrest is thereby OK.


Note: The presence of 4 or 5 notches from B52 04 21 Revision 2 on the headrest post does not matter on a headrest which cannot be pulled out of the backrest.


An “OK” headrest cannot be pulled up high enough to view those lower notches. The 4th or 5th notch only pertains to a headrest which can be pulled out, which is Not OK.


Usually only 2 or 3 notches are visible on the post when the headrest is up against its positive stop.


After a headrest has been fully pulled out from the backrest, a supplemental check as to the Not OK status is the presence of only 4 notches on either post.


The photo shows a 5th notch (circled) but this does not matter because the headrest was easily pulled out. That is the main criteria for a Not OK headrest.


Repeat Step 1 on the other headrest.


If the headrest can be easily lifted out, continue to Step 2.


  1. Headrests which

Can be easily pulled completely out of the backrest, AND

Have either 5 or 4 notches in the posts which are only visible once the headrest is off the vehicle


Mark the headrest “NOK” (not OK) with a permanent marker or paint pen so that it cannot be confused for a good headrest


  1. Replace the headrest with a new unit. Confirm that there are 5 notches on the headrest post. A new replacement headrest with only 4 notches is not correct, because it is for a different model.
  2. Push the new headrest fully down into the backrest so that both posts lock into the seatback internal retainer.
  3. Repeat Step 1 to ensure that the new headrest cannot be easily pulled fully out of the backrest.
  4. Retain the original NOK headrest(s) that were removed until claim payment. Handle these parts accordingly.



Only use and invoice the part numbers below that apply.


Performing a part number look-up in ETK (EPC) by VIN or model in place of using/invoicing the following part numbers may result with the wrong part numbers being invoiced and installed, this could delay the payment of the claim.

Part Number Description and color code Quantity
52 20 7 939 509 Rear headrest, Black Merino leather VASW Max. 2
52 20 7 939 503 Rear headrest, Black Vernasca leather MCSW Max. 2
52 20 7 939 501 Rear headrest, Coffee Vernasca leather MCHF Max. 2
52 20 7 939 506 Rear headrest, Coffee Merino leather VAHF Max. 2
52 20 7 939 508 Rear headrest, Tartufo Merino leather VATQ Max. 2




To:  All Center Operators, Sales Managers, Service Manager, Parts Manager and Warranty Processor

RE: Recall 21V-156: Outer Headrest Second Row – B52 04 21

BMW AG issued a Delivery Stop (effective February 26, 2021) on certain Model Year 2021 BMW X5 SAV and X7 SAV vehicles that were produced between February 8, 2021 and February 15, 2021. This has been changed to a Safety Recall as of March 9, 2021.

Please be reminded that it is a violation of federal law (The Safety Act) for you to sell, lease or deliver any new motor vehicle covered by this notification until the recall repair has been performed.  This means that centers may not legally deliver new motor vehicles to consumers until they are fixed or use/sell replacement equipment/parts subject to this recall.  Note also that substantial civil penalties apply to violations of the Safety Act. 

Also, you should not sell, lease or deliver any Certified Pre-Owned or used vehicles subject to a safety recall until the repair is completed. 

Please follow any special instructions that we provide to you for the return or disposition of recall parts.

We appreciate all your assistance with this Recall.


Safety Recall 21V-156
Second Row Headrest
Model Year 2021
Initial Release: 03/9/2021


Q1. Which BMW Group models in the US are potentially affected by this Safety Recall?

A small number of Model Year 2021 BMW X5 SAV and X7 SAV models in the US, produced in Feb 2021, are potentially affected.


Q2. What is the specific issue?

The headrests in the outboard seats of the second row may have been designed for a different vehicle model.


Q3. Why are other models / vehicles not included in this Safety Recall?

Other models have been equipped with the appropriate headrests in the second row.


Q4. Can I continue to drive my vehicle?

Yes.  However, when you receive a letter requesting you to make an appointment to have this Safety Recall performed by an authorized BMW center, please do so as soon as possible.  If you are not the only driver of this vehicle, please advise all other drivers of this important information.


Q5. Can I determine if this issue exists in my vehicle?



Q6. How did BMW Group become aware of the issue?

BMW Group became aware of the issue through its quality control procedures.


Q7. How will I be informed of this Safety Recall?

Letters will be mailed to owners in May via First Class mail advising them of this Safety Recall and requesting them to schedule an appointment with an authorized BMW center to have the remedy performed.  Owners can locate their nearest authorized BMW center at  To ensure BMW has the most recent contact and vehicle information, owners should register their vehicle at  Registration is free and will give them access to factory-initiated campaigns and other information specific to their BMW.


Q8. How will my vehicle be repaired?

The outboard headrests in the second row will be inspected and, if necessary, replaced for free and may take about an hour.


Q9. Do I have to wait for my letter to have my vehicle serviced?

Yes.  BMW is in the process of ensuring that the necessary tools, parts, and procedures are available prior to contacting owners to schedule an appointment with an authorized BMW center to have this important Safety Recall performed.  For the latest updates to this Safety Recall, owners should visit



4 Affected Products


BMW X5 2021
BMW X7 2021
BMW XB7 2021


9 Associated Documents

Recall Quarterly Report #1, 2021-2

RCLQRT-21V156-7789.PDF 211.12KB

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ISSUED Owner Notification Letter(Part 577)

RCONL-21V156-7749.pdf 629.347KB

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Defect Notice 573 Report

RCLRPT-21V156-6615.PDF 215.801KB

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Remedy Instructions and TSB – Remedy Instructions re SIB 52 04 21 RECALL 21V-156: OUTER HEADREST SECOND ROW

RCRIT-21V156-9282.pdf 382.271KB

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Remedy Instructions and TSB

RCRIT-21V156-8930.pdf 1183.185KB

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Manufacturer Notices(to Dealers,etc) – Memo re BMW Recall 21V-xxx: Outer Headrest Second Row – Update

RCMN-21V156-8682.pdf 1183.185KB

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Recall Acknowledgement

RCAK-21V156-4270.pdf 645.191KB

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Recall Quarterly Report #3, 2021-4

RCLQRT-21V156-6598.PDF 211.301KB

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Recall Quarterly Report #2, 2021-3

RCLQRT-21V156-0039.PDF 211.219KB

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