BMW recalls vehicles with defective water pumps

Westwood, N.J. – May 18, 2018 – BMW of North America has recalled almost 48,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective electric auxiliary water pumps, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects numerous models across multiple brands, including:
  • 2011-2012 BMW 550i and 550i xDrive sedans produced between April 23, 2010, and Sept. 14, 2011.
  • 2010-2012 BMW 550i Gran Turismo and 550i Gran Turismo xDrive sedans produced between July 30, 2009, and Sept. 8, 2011.
  • 2012 BMW 650i and 650i xDrive coupes produced between Dec. 10, 2010, and Sept. 15, 2011.
  • 2012 BMW 650i and 650i xDrive two-door convertibles produced between Jan. 12, 2011, and Oct. 31, 2011.
  • 2009-2012 BMW 750i, 750i xDrive, 750Li, 750Li xDrive and 760Li sedans produced between Oct. 14, 2008, and Sept. 13, 2011.
  • 2011-2012 BMW ActiveHybrid7 sedans produced between Sept. 24, 2010, and Sept. 6, 2011.
  • 2010-2012 BMW X5 xDrive 50i and X5 M sport utility vehicles produced between July 30, 2009, and Nov. 19, 2011.
  • 2008-2012 BMW X6 xDrive 50i and X6 M sport utility vehicles produced between Nov. 15, 2007, and Nov. 18, 2011.
  • 2010-2011 BMW X6 Hybrid sport utility vehicles produced between Sept. 14, 2009, and Sept. 12, 2011.
  • 2007-2012 Mini Cooper S and JCW coupes produced between June 28, 2007, and Sept. 23, 2011.
  • 2008-2012 Mini Cooper S Clubman and JCW Clubman coupes produced between Jan. 28, 2008, and Sept. 23, 2011.
  • 2011-2012 Mini Cooper S Convertible and JCW Convertible coupes produced between Oct. 28, 2010, and Sept. 23, 2011.
  • 2011-2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4 four-door hatchbacks produced between Jan. 19, 2011, and Sept. 13, 2011.
  • 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe and JCW Coupe models produced between June 22, 2011, and Sept. 23, 2011.
  • 2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster and JCW Roadster coupes produced between Aug. 11, 2010, and Sept. 21, 2011.
  • 2010-2012 Rolls Royce Ghost sedans produced between Jan. 24, 2011, and Sept. 25, 2011.
BMW suspects just 1 percent of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.
The Defect
Affected vehicles contain engine control unit-driven electric auxiliary water pumps that may overheat within high-temperature environments. Specifically, the circuit boards installed in these components are prone to heat due to a critical design flaw. Consequently, electric auxiliary water pumps using these circuit boards might overheat to an extent that causes smoldering, which in turn increases the likelihood of engine fire. This threat poses a serious safety hazard to occupants. However, BMW has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
BMW engineers first noticed instances of electric auxiliary water pump failureback in June 2009, according to an earlier defect report submitted to the NHTSA. This discovery prompted additional internal testing, which revealed an issue with the circuit board assemblies installed in the pumps. Later in September 2009, Mini, a BMW brand, discovered a vehicle that suffered electric auxiliary water pump failure. BMW initiated a field monitoring program in response.
In May and June 2010, the automaker came across two other vehicles that showed signs of engine compartment burning. This finding prompted BMW to form a special task force to address the issue. The group, in November 2010, confirmed that the vehicles experienced engine compartment fires due to electric auxiliary water pump failure linked to circuit board degradation. The company continued to monitor the field for the next year, during which time 81 vehicles worldwide suffered electric auxiliary water pump failure. Four of these vehicles experienced engine compartment fires.
In December 2011, BMW completed internal tests involving both BMW and Mini vehicles. On Jan. 3, 2012, the automaker initiated a voluntary safety recall involving more than 88,000 vehicles across both brands.
More than four years later in October 2017, BMW received a field report detailing an instance of electric auxiliary water pump failure in a 2011 Mini Cooper S. The company evaluated the vehicle referenced in the report and confirmed the root cause. BMW then found that this particular model was not included in the 2012 recall, which forced it to reassess its engineering and field data. This review revealed multiple instances in which BMW had inspected damaged vehicles that showed signs of electric auxiliary water pump failure, including BMW 550i and 750i sedans. The automaker then launched a formal review of the amended electric auxiliary water pump assemblies installed in vehicles following the 2012 recall campaign and found that these fixtures were failure-prone despite the presence of enlarged circuit path spaces, hall sensor holder gaps and improved plating and soldering.
BMW reviewed its production records and determined that models across its brand, Mini and Rolls Royce were affected. On April 11, 2018, the car manufacturer initiated another voluntary safety recall.
The Solution
BMW has directed dealers to replace the electric auxiliary water pumps in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. However, the automaker is still developing replacement parts. That said, the company plans to reach out to owners June 11, and once more when replacement fixtures become available. Owners in need of assistance prior to the start of the recall can connect with BMW customer service personnel by calling (800) 525-7417. Mini owners should call (866) 825-1525, while individuals with recalled Rolls Royce vehicles should use (877) 877-3735. Owners can, of course, contact the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesBMW recalls vehicles with defective water pumps