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BMW Fire Risk Results in Recall for 185K Vehicles from 2016 Model Year

Nearly 200,000 BMW vehicles from the 2016 model year are being recalled, due to a risk of electrical shorts that may cause the vehicles to overheat and catch on fire.

The BMW recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on April 17, impacting nearly 185,000 vehicles that have a defective Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) vale heater, which may not have been designed to specification.

The impacted heaters are composed of a copper tubing that has a continuous supply of electrical current. Irregularities in the manufacturing process may result in cavities in the area of electrical contacts near the PTC element and copper tubing. Moisture could then enter and cause a short circuit, melting the plastic coating and material surrounding the PCV valve heater. This increases the risk of a fire, even when the vehicles are turned off.

In this situation, the electrical system could short circuit and the plastic coating could begin to smolder and continue generating excessive heat causing the vehicles to catch on fire and pose a burn and injury hazard to occupants.

The recall announcement is an expansion of a previous recall issued due to a BMW fire risk issued in 2017, which addressed the PCV valve heater problems, and led the manufacturer to issue a warning to nearly 1 million BMW owners to keep the vehicles outside of garages and away from the home, due to the potential for vehicle fires.

Following the 2017 recall campaign, the manufacturer received additional reports of vehicles overheating that were outside of the original recall. Upon further investigation, BMW determined an additional 184,505 vehicles not included in the original recall may experience the same PCV heater valve issues.

The recall expansion includes model year 2006 BMW 325i, 325Xi, 330i, 330Xi, 525i, 525Xi, 530i, 530Xi, and Z4 that were manufactured from February 1, 2005 through September 29, 2006.

BMW stated that the occurrence of the overheating is rare, but is again warning owners to keep the vehicles outside of garages or parking garages, or anywhere that a vehicle fire could cause harm to people or property. Owners should be cautious of an illuminating Malfunction Indication Lamp (MIL) on the dashboard as this could be an indicator of an overheating event.

The NHTSA is warning customers to pull over to the side of the road and exit the vehicle as safely and quickly as possible if smoke is seen emanating from the engine.

Owners will be notified via first class mail with instructions on how to schedule an appointment at their local authorized BMW dealer, where dealers will be instructed to replace the PCV valve heater. Customers with additional questions on concerns regarding the recall are encouraged to contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417 and reference the recall campaign number 17V-683.

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Image via Semmick Photo / Shutterstock.com

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