(REUTERS) - German carmaker BMW said it would voluntarily recall more than 156,000 vehicles in the United States, including its popular 3 Series compact sedan, to check for potentially defective bolts that could lead to engine damage.
BMW said it would check whether bolts holding a certain component in vehicles with six-cylinder engines were prone to loosening or breaking.
The vehicles, which also include the Series 5 and the Z4 sports cars, are from model years 2010 to 2012, the company said in an email.
BMW had recalled 232,000 imported and locally produced cars in China earlier this month for the same reason.
The company said in an email on Thursday that vehicles would be checked to see if the bolts holding the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) unit were prone to loosening, or in extreme cases, breaking.
Drivers of potentially affected vehicles may continue to drive their vehicles, but if they see warnings like "check engine" or "service engine soon", they should immediately contact their nearest authorised BMW center, the company said.
BMW said it had informed the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall.
BMW's recall follows a string of recalls by leading automakers around the world. Toyota Motor Corp, the world's biggest carmaker by sales volume, on Wednesday said it would recall more than 6 million vehicles.
General Motors Co is being investigated by US lawmakers for its slow recall of 2.6 million cars related to problems with ignition switches.