As the result of a class action lawsuit settlement against BMW, the luxury German automaker will begin an inspection-and-repair process for potentially faulty subframes in fourth-generation 3-series models. The particular model in question is the E46, and covers the complete model run from 1999 through to 2006.

The suit originated in 2006 and claimed that defects in E46 3-series models cause fractures in the rear-axle supports in the subframe. Some customers have reported clunking noises from the rear and some have even experienced complete subframe failure.

This settlement only pertains to U.S. residents for now and is not classified as a recall of any kind. Details will be forthcoming, pending the court's final approval of the proposed class settlement. In advance of the final settlement, BMW customers with questions should visit the website

In the meantime, all E46 3-series owners and leases in the U.S. who have not noticed the problem or have already fixed it themselves should check the website as well as they may be eligible for reimbursement.