Fire Risks Prompt BMW Mini Recall Covering 100,000 Vehicles
BMW is calling back nearly 100,000 Mini vehicles over fire concerns, the automaker recently told federal regulators.
The cars’ electric systems could short-circuit and burst into flames if exposed to moisture that can cause corrosion, according to BMW. The problem is particularly acute in certain states in which roads are treated with salt during winter months, the company said in a defect notice filed with the National Highway Safety Administration.
“This safety recall involves the Footwell Control Module (FRM), an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which controls various lighting and power window functions, and is installed near the bottom of the driver’s side A-pillar behind an interior trim panel,” BMW said. “Due to several contributing factors (environmental, certain US States’ wintertime road treatment, vehicle design configuration and age), over time, the FRM could become susceptible to corrosion.”
The recall covers the 2008-2014 Mini Clubman (including Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works models) and the 2007-2013 Mini Hardtop 2 Door (Cooper, Cooper S, John Cooper Works).
“In certain US states, large amounts of road salt may be utilized during their wintertime road treatment activities,” BMW continued. “If water were to enter the interior, then in combination with road salt that may be present in the footwell, this could create an electrolyte solution. If this solution were to contact the FRM then, over time, this could lead to corrosion, possibly resulting in a short circuit.”
That could cause a fire (or what BMW called “a thermal event”).
BMW said it plans to notify owners whose cars have been called back by early July. The company will ask owners to take their vehicles to an authorized Mini dealer for inspection and repair. Owners who have already had the FRM replaced in their vehicles can seek reimbursement from the company, it added.
Legal Rights for California BMW Owners
These kinds of recalls are all too common for BMW and other major auto manufacturers.
Last year, for example, BMW called back some 62,000 vehicles that it said could lose power on the road without warning. The defect increased the risk of accidents, BMW acknowledged in a report to NHTSA.
The good news for BMW owners and lessors in California is that you have some important rights and protections under the state’s lemon law.
Also known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the lemon law forces carmakers to buy back vehicles that they are unable or simply refuse to fix. That means compensating the owner for the car’s purchase price, as well as financing charges, rental car costs and other related expenses.
A manufacturer can instead offer to replace the vehicle. It is up to the owner, however, to decide whether to accept or reject this alternative arrangement.
Our California Lemon Lawyers Can Help
At Bickel Sannipoli, our California lemon law attorneys have assisted hundreds of clients across the state stuck with defective or malfunctioning vehicles.
We are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney today.