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BMW Recalls 235K Mini Coopers Worldwide for Fire Hazard

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Cooper Works Mini

John Cooper Works Mini Cooper, photo shot in 2010.

BMW is recalling 235,000 Mini Coopers worldwide — 89,000 in the U.S. — to fix a potential but rare fire hazard. Dealers will replace auxiliary water pumps on the recalled cars.

As Bloomberg News reports on, the problem is in the cars’ turbocharger: “In the turbocharger there is an additional waterpump, and when the parts in the engine get very hot, then the circuit board in the waterpump can stop working properly, stopping the waterpump from functioning and in very rare cases setting it alight,” BMW spokesman Sven Gruetzmacher told Bloomberg News on Monday. The recall is of Mini Cooper S and John Cooper Works models produced between March 2006 and January 2011 that have four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

Peter Valdez-Dapena writes for the CNN Money blog Peter Drives that the recalled cars include some model year 2007 through 2011 Mini Cooper S hatchbacks and convertibles, and Mini Cooper Clubman S (the longer three-door Mini) and John Cooper Works high performance versions. Non-turbocharged Minis are not involved in the recall. This is the same type of problem that led to previous recalls of 32,000 BMWs and 600 Rolls-Royces.

CNN Money writes:

The turbo cooling system in the Mini Coopers operates differently from that in the BMW and Rolls-Royce cars, according to a letter BMW sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nevertheless, some turbocharged Mini cars have caught fire in the same way the larger cars did.

BMW is still investigating whether the cause of the problem is related or just coincidental, Mini spokeswoman Nathalie Bauters said. Germany’s BMW AG (BAMXF) owns and operates all three car brands.

Bauters told CNN Money that there have been 81 instances of water pumps failing in Mini Coopers globally so far, including four engine compartment fires, but no accidents or injuries have been reported as a result.

Image by j.clark (Jay Clark), used under its Creative Commons license.


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