It’s something luxury car owners didn’t think they’d have to worry about when buying their vehicle – it catching on fire while parked.
Some BMW owners are not parking their cars in the garage after the German automaker announced two recalls due to a risk of fires under the hood. The recalls affect more than one million cars and SUVs.
For Beverly Jonas of West Park Florida, the recall is two years too late.
“It was gut-wrenching, it really was,” said Jonas.
Her BMW caught fire back in October of 2015.
“I haven’t gotten over it,” said Jonas.
Jonas said a few hours after parking her 2009 BMW 5 series in the driveway and going to bed, it caught fire under the hood and melted her car.
“If my car was parked in my garage, this would be a different story, it was bad,” said Jonas.
The mother of two said her car had regular scheduled maintenance and gave no indication or warning lights that something was wrong.
To this day, she said BMW has not given her an answer as to what happened.
Jonas said the company did offer her a rental car for two months after the fire, before she bought a new car from a different automaker.
“This can cause death, what if you park your car in your garage and you’re sleeping and this happens,” she said.
The two voluntary recalls affect different models from 2006 to 20011.
A spokesperson told the NBC 6 Investigators in “extremely rare” cases the wiring near the motor may corrode, causing melting at the connection point and other “irregularities” could lead to a fire.
The NBC 6 Investigators dug through a decade’s worth of complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found more than 40 cases nationwide of drivers claiming their vehicles caught fire while parked.
There were at least two complaints made from drivers in the Miami area. Another complaint is from a driver in California who said their car caught fire in the garage causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Plus, a driver in New York said only the seats and trunk of the car were left on the ground after their fire.
According to a letter BMW sent to the NHTSA, they’re offering free repairs that are expected to begin on December 18th of this year.
Here are the vehicles impacted in both recalls:
2007 -2011 models
In an email to the NBC 6 Investigators, BMW spokesperson Hector Arellano-Belloc said:
BMW of North America has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of its intention to simultaneously conduct two unrelated recalls affecting a total of approximately 1 million vehicles. The first voluntary recall includes certain BMW 3 Series models ranging from 2006 to 2011, due to a potential issue with the wiring of the climate control blower fan. Over time, and due to a number of contributing factors, the wiring connection at the blower-motor regulator may corrode. In extremely rare cases the melting at the connection point could lead to a thermal event. The second voluntary recall involves the PCV Blow by Heater Valve of certain BMW models ranging from 2007 to 2011 equipped with the 6-cylinder engine (N52 and N51). The PCV Blow by Heater incorporates a heating element that is designed to prevent the PCV from freezing in cold ambient temperatures. Irregularities in the manufacturing process could lead to corrosion and in extremely rare cases may lead to a thermal event. Customers with questions may contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-525-7417, or email CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.