Luxury car brand BMW has issued two recalls for more than 1.4 million vehicles in the United States, including cars and SUVs, due to a risk that they may Spontaneously catch fire under the hood. According to the German automaker, the risk is minimal, but they still are asking that owners of the recalled cars park them outdoors and away from homes until repairs can be made. Repairs on both defects are expected to begin on Dec. 18.
What’s Being Recalled?
Included in the largest of the two recalls are more than 740,000 328i, 328xi, 328i xDrive, 525i, 525xi, 528i, 528xi, 530i, 530xi, X3 3.0si, X3 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive30i, Z4 3.0i, Z4 3.0si and Z4 sDrive30i vehicles from model years between 2007 and 2011, as well as 128i vehicles from model years 2008 through 2011.
These recalled vehicles come equipped with a heater designed to prevent a certain valve in the positive crankcase from freezing in cold temperatures. However, according to recall documents posted last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), manufacturing irregularities can lead to excessive corrosion, which makes it possible for this ventilation valve to overheat. That, in turn, can cause the valve to melt, increasing the risk of a fire, even when the vehicle is not in use. Hence the concern over parking in a garage.
Though BMW has been monitoring this safety valve issue since 2009, there have been no reported injuries to date. However, the plan is to have dealers replace the heater beginning about Dec. 18.
The second recall is only slightly smaller, affecting more than 672,000 cars including the 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335xi and M3 from model years 2006 through 2011, 328i xDrive, 335i xDrive and 335is from modela years 2007 through 2011, and the 335d from model years 2009 through 2011.
According to documents filed with the NHTSA for this recall, certain wiring for both the heating and air conditioning systems are subject to excessive corrosion, which can cause the wiring to overheat, leading connectors to melt and increasing the potential the fire risk, even when vehicles are left unattended.
What Does This Recall Mean for You?
According to the recall report, four injuries have been reported due to this defect, including three in 2015 and on in 2016. The plan, which came after a meeting with regulators last month, is to have dealers replace the wiring and connectors beginning about Dec. 18.
This is one vehicle recall that no one in Texas or elsewhere can afford to ignore. The potential exists for a garage or perhaps a house to burn down, and who knows what else.
Skip Recall Repairs at Your Peril
At any given moment millions of vehicles are subject to recall in the United States, and most of those are for potential safety issues. In other words, they are often tragedies waiting to happen. Despite the dangers, however, statistics show that a great many people put off addressing the recall defect. At any given time, only 70 percent of recalled vehicles are ever repaired, which means 30 percent are being driven despite the defect. Often, the owner of the vehicle will claim it is too inconvenient or claim they have no time, but really, is it more convenient to ignore a defect and potentially have to deal with a tragedy?
In some cases, the original owner has sold the car and they just discard the recall notice. Whenever a car is sold the owner should notify the manufacturer of the sale. However, they often don’t do so which means subsequent owners of recalled vehicles have to rely on pure luck to find out their car is defective. That can often lead to accidents or other types of tragedies that may have been prevented if the new owner had known about the recall.
For example, in this case, what if the owner of one of these 1.4 million BMWs sells his car to someone new and doesn’t bother to let BMW know about the transaction, and then they throw the recall notice in the trash? This is a serious problem that could cost lives and the loss of property. For that matter, what if someone is in a fender bender, but their car has been equipped with Takata airbags, and their airbag inflator shoots metal fragments into the car’s cabin, injuring someone severely?
What Can Be Done to Make Sure More Defects Are Repaired?
It’s time everyone took recalls more seriously and stop trying to avoid responsibility for them. Owners who buy a used vehicle should register their vehicle with the manufacturer, so that they will be contacted in the case of a safety recall. Vehicle owners should also occasionally check the NHTSA website and make use of their recall search function, to find out if their vehicle has been recalled. And then, if they find out their vehicle has been recalled to fix a safety defect, they should avoid putting it off.
The government is trying to do everything they can. In fact, in their ongoing effort to increase the number of consumers taking advantage of open recalls on their vehicles to get them fixed, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA have awarded $222,300 to the state of Maryland to enter into a pilot program. The grant will be used to initiate a two-year program to test the feasibility of providing all recall information to vehicle owners at the time of registration. That pilot will begin in April 2018.
Of course, nothing can take the place of the responsibility of manufacturers to make safe vehicles and to timely notify consumers and regulators of serious defects and recalls they have issued and to provide a repair or other remedy free of charge. However, vehicle owners do have some responsibility in this. The experienced Automotive Defect Lawyer at the Hill Law Firm wants everyone to be as safe as possible, so be aware of potential defects and recalls and do not put them off for any reason. The health and life of your family might be at stake.