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BMW extends recall worldwide to half-million cars

A worker inspects the body of a vehicle on the production line at the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Ariana Lindquist | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A worker inspects the body of a vehicle on the production line at the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

German automaker BMW is issuing a worldwide recall of many models of cars with certain six-cylinder gas motors after identifying a problem with a bolt used in the engine.

The company said Friday that a recall started in China last week has now been extended worldwide, affecting 489,000 vehicles, including 156,000 in the U.S.

Read More BMW to recall 156,137 vehicles in US

BMW says in rare cases one of four bolts holding the cover on the engine's variable camshaft timing system breaks, which can then cause other bolts to fail. That means oil begins leaking from the unit, causing the timing system to become sluggish. It can eventually lead to complete engine failure.

The company says customers will be notified if their models are affected and that the repair takes a few hours at most.

By The Associated Press