The recall involves 3-Series sedans, wagons, convertibles and coupes from the 2007 through 2011 model years sold in the US and Canada.
One-Series coupes and convertibles from 2008 through 2012 are also covered by the recall, as are the Z4 sports car model years 2009 through 2011.
The luxury automaker will replace the battery cable connector and secure it for free.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a document on its web site that the connector and a fuse box terminal can degrade over time, eventually breaking the connection to the battery and causing the cars to lose electrical power and unexpectedly stall.
BMW said the problem is caused by movement between the battery cable and the fuse box.
The company said it knows of one minor collision in Canada caused by the problem, but nobody was injured.
The recall starts in March.
BMW's 3-series cars are its most popular models in the US, with 100,000 going off the lot in 2012.