Potential fire risk leads to Mini Cooper recall

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Potential fire risk leads to Mini Cooper recall

17th January 2012

A recall has been issued by BMW after safety checks found that a problem in some Mini Cooper cars could potentially cause them to catch fire.

The German car giant said more than 235,000 of the popular cars were included in the recall, with almost 30,000 of those in the UK.

Sam Harmel, a defective products specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said BMW was clearly taking the issue seriously. “This problem appears to have come to light following routine safety checks, with reports claiming that vehicle fires might be linked to the car’s water pump,” said Sam, a partner with the firm. “It is thought there is an electrical problem which is causing the pump to fail and the car to potentially overheat, which could then result in overheating and in some cases lead to a fire.”

The recall issued yesterday relates to only two models - the Mini Cooper S and the Mini John Cooper Works. “Although reports allude to only one incident in the UK, there are a number of similar cases being reported worldwide, which clearly has given sufficient cause for BMW to take this step,” said Sam. “Following the negative publicity generated by the Toyota recall - and the massive fine they later faced - it makes sense for any car manufacturer suspecting a fault like this to issue the recall as soon as possible.”

Although BMW is expected to contact owners with a recall notice in the next few weeks, a spokesman said that the vehicles remain safe to drive and there is a ‘very low incidence’ of the fault. Some 29,868 of the cars are in the UK.

“If anyone owns one of the vehicles involved, which it is reported are those built between March 2006 and January 2011, they should contact their local dealer or garage as soon as they receive the letter from BMW,” said Sam.

“Both of these vehicles have top speeds in excess of 140mph, and if an engine fire were to break out whilst a motorist was travelling at speed, the results could be catastrophic. BMW is offering to replace the relevant components free of charge, and the whole process should take no more than an hour,” he said.

“The manufacturer has explained that only these models are affected due to the turbocharged nature of their engines, which are equipped with additional pumps which draw residual heat from the turbocharger when the engine has been switched off,” said Sam. “The potential for a fault in this process is what has led to the recall.”

So far, there have been no reports of anyone injured as a result of the potential problem. “Hopefully the recall will ensure that any worst case scenario is avoided,” said Sam.

Read more at The Guardian, Sky News, BBC News