BMW Recalls 1 Million Cars for Electrical Fires ""

By | November 7, 2017

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BMW is recalling 1 million cars in the U.S. for electrical fires, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The automaker filed two separate recalls that cover cars from the 2006 through 2011 model years. At issue on 740,561 cars is a positive crankcase ventilation valve heater that can short, melt, and ignite. Also known as a blow-by heater, it prevents ice from forming when treating the hot, combusted gas venting from the crankcase. BMW said it first discovered the issue on a single 2007 X5 in 2009 and began collecting damaged blow-by heaters in 2011 and 2012 but did not issue a recall. BMW did not specify how many fires have occurred but said that the “heat-related damage” was primarily “localized and self-extinguishing.” No injuries or accidents were reported, the company said.

The affected cars include gasoline nonturbocharged six-cylinder 2007–2011 328i, 525i, 528i, 530i, X3, X5, and Z4 models, plus the 2008–2011 128i. The recall includes all variants: rear- and all-wheel-drive powertrains in coupe, convertible, and station-wagon models. The problem is most prevalent in vehicles between two and eight years old, the company said. Manufacturing “irregularities” could allow moisture to collect near the blow-by heater’s electrical contacts and cause a short circuit, according to filings. Drivers may first notice smoke within the engine compartment or a burning plastic smell. Dealers will replace the blow-by heater starting in December.

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Another 672,775 cars have potentially faulty wiring harnesses that control the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning fan speed. The pins connecting various wires could corrode, which could cause a short and melt the wiring, especially if the driver switches the fan speed to its highest setting. BMW said it first discovered the issue in 2007 and changed the pin coating from tin to silver on the production line starting in May 2011. However, it has not issued a formal recall until now, despite multiple reports of “heat-related damage” and owner complaints to NHTSA.

The affected cars include E90 3-series models sold from 2006 to 2011, including the diesel 335d and M3. Many of these cars are also included in the blow-by-heater recall, which is why the total number of recalled vehicles is less than the sum of the two individual recalls. Dealers will replace the wiring and connectors starting in December.

BMW did not respond to a request for confirmation whether the fires are related to an ABC News investigation in May that claimed dozens of older-model BMWs had caught fire while parked.

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