BMW hybrids recalled for contaminated battery, fire risk

Pleasanton, CA – Sept 30, 2020 – BMW (OTCMKTS: BMWYY) has recalled 4,509 hybrids in the U.S. that may have debris in the hybrid battery cell, which could lead to a fire. The recall includes:

  • 2021 BMW 330E hybrid sedans
  • 2020-2021 BMW 530E hybrid sedans
  • 2021 BMW 745LE hybrid sedans
  • 2020 BMW i8 hybrid sports cars
  • 2020-2021 BMW X3 hybrid crossovers
  • 2021 BMW X5 hybrid SUVs
  • 2020-2021 Mini Countryman crossovers

These cars are equipped with the following high voltage battery models:

  • 8658344-11/345-11
  • 8678566-10/567-10
  • 9452661-04

Recall summary  

The recall concerns these hybrid vehicles’ high voltage batteries, some of which may be contaminated with debris due to a manufacturing issue at Samsung, the battery producer. The debris could cause the batteries to short-circuit, which could lead to a fire. BMW is aware of a total of four incidents related to this issue, which all took place between early August and mid-September. No related accidents or injuries have been reported to the automaker or the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Risks

Equipment failures accounted for at least 20% of vehicle fires between 2009 and 2017, according to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration. Researchers have said that hybrid-electric vehicles are as likely to catch fire as gas-powered vehicles. 

If a vehicle catches fire, the driver should:

  1. Pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so, to a safe location off the road such as the breakdown lane or rest stop.
  2. Once stopped, TURN OFF the engine (using the key or a smart button, if available).
  3. Get everyone out of the car. Never return to a burning car for anything. 
  4. Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic. Call 911.

Hybrid car fires require different firefighting techniques than gas-powered vehicle fires. Engaging with a burning hybrid without the right protection could lead to electric shock, exposure to toxic fumes, and lithium burns. If you experience a hybrid vehicle fire, make sure emergency services know that the vehicle is a hybrid so they can best protect you and themselves.

The repair

According to BMW, the remedy for this issue is still “under discussion.” Customers should look for a recall notification in the mail, which will be sent out sometime in October.

Until the remedy is available, BMW is telling drivers not to charge the battery of their plug-in vehicles, drive in manual mode, sport mode or use the shift paddles.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 4,500 vehicles are included in this BMW recall. Use MotorSafety’s vehicle identification number (VIN) look up tool to find out if your vehicle is affected by this or other recalls.

Rebecca RandBMW hybrids recalled for contaminated battery, fire risk

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 failure back 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

BMW Recalls MINI Coopers for Cushion Issues

Woodcliff Lake, NJ — December 22, 2015 — A problem with seat cushion replacement parts in some recently-produced MINI Coopers could interfere with safe airbag use. According to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last month, nearly 40 vehicles suffer from a Capacitive Interior Sensing (CIS) system that could place front seat passengers at greater risk during a crash.

This is because the sensors could improperly register the occupant in the front seat, either activating or deactivating the air bags incorrectly. While a Part 573 Safety Recall report on the issue states that 53 vehicles were originally thought to have received the possibly faulty mats, the number has since been adjusted to 38. There are currently no reports of accidents related to this concern, and vehicles owners will still be able to use the “passenger airbag off lamp.”

The remedy for this recall requires replacing the front passenger seat. Both the report and a “Q&A” document available through the NHTSA explain the reasons behind the defective CIS system.

“The CIS mat is designed to differentiate between an installed child restraint system and an adult occupant,” they state. “In affected vehicles, incorrectly calibrated CIS mats may have been installed in the front passenger seat cushion replacement parts. Occupant classification could be impaired, leading to inappropriate air bag activation/deactivation.”

The Q&A clarifies that owners may still drive their vehicles, as long as they follow instructions from letters prompting them to get service done. Passengers should also avoid sitting in the front seats of vehicles when the “airbag off lamp” turns on.

Affected models in these BMW recalls include MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S autos produced between 2014 and 2015.

MotorSafety.orgBMW Recalls MINI Coopers for Cushion Issues

Steering Failure Triggers Mini Cooper Recall

Detroit, MI — November 05, 2015 — Mini Cooper and Cooper S vehicles with model years between 2002 and 2005 could be at risk of a failure that cuts off power steering, shocking drivers suddenly and perhaps prompting an accident.

The case goes back five years and has generated nearly 340 complaints, as drivers reported both accidents and even fires breaking out within the cars themselves. Dealers will make repairs to the power steering to fix the issue once the remedy effort begins in December, and the entire action will concern 86,018 autos, according to Automotive News.

This recall comes after negotiations between the manufacturer and the government, with the latter insisting on a recall based on previous evidence of damage. While the defect doesn’t disable steering completely, it could cause drivers to lose their control as they are operating their vehicle. The systems in these cars are currently protected by a 13-year warranty, which means those of the older vehicles would end this year.

Another Mini Cooper recall was also issued in October, concerning problems with air bag deployment in the passenger side. Consumer Affairs’ James Limbach described this action.

“Due to a manufacturing error, the front passenger air bag may not deploy properly in a low speed crash,” Limbach noted. “Thus, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, ‘Occupant Crash Protection.’ ” The remedy for this problem won’t begin until November 20, and will see dealers replacing the defective module, which is potentially in both four and two-door vehicles. This recall includes 6,073 cars.

adminSteering Failure Triggers Mini Cooper Recall

BMW Recalls Mini Coopers For Impact Risk

Washington, D.C. — September 29, 2015 — More than 30,000 MINI Coopers will potentially be affected by a recent recall. Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered that some MINI Coopers do not meet government structural regulations established by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Specifically, the low side impact rating in these cars would put rear seat passengers in danger. The recall will officially start on September 12.

The affected vehicles have model years between 2014 and 2015. Fixing this problem will involve installing special material into the exterior of the vehicle to absorb the shock of collision. According to the NHTSA, some vehicles will also receive a small foam patch as part of the update.

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MotorSafety.orgBMW Recalls Mini Coopers For Impact Risk