BMW is recalling of almost 312,000 cars following an investigation by the BBC’s consumer series Watchdog Live.
The company had already issued a safety recall in 2017 affecting 36,410 petrol cars, but after Watchdog found that the same issue could affect a wider number of cars, the recall is being extended.
The programme tonight features the case of Mwape Kambafwile, whose BMW 3 Series car cut out completely, while he was driving in December 2016.
“I took it to BMW,” he said. “The next day they called me to say they had found a fault, it looks like the cable had burnt out and no current was passing through the fuse box.”
BMW allowed Mwape to take his vehicle home without, he says, any warning not to use it.
Mwape was furious to discover that petrol versions of the same car had been recalled for the same fault – while he was left shouldering the costs of repair himself.
In the programme, independent engineer Mike O’Sullivan is seen examining Mwape’s car to see if its parts are any different than those of the petrol model. He says: “We can see that they’re using the same connector on both vehicles. It doesn’t look like there is any difference in the main connector to that fuse board.”
Watchdog has been contacted by others whose BMW 3 series cars have lost power – some while travelling at high speed.
BMW’s previous recall related to petrol vehicles built between December 2009 and August 2011, a period of production where a particular design of wiring configuration meant that vehicle vibrations could potentially cause frictional corrosion on the plug of the power distributor.
BMW has told Watchdog, “We now recognise that there may have been some cases of similar power supply issues in vehicles not covered by the original recall.
“In order to reassure customers with concerns about the safety of their vehicles, we are voluntarily extending the recall. We are therefore announcing today that we will take the proactive step of expanding the existing UK recall to cover all vehicles potentially affected by the power supply issue.”
BMW told WheelsWithinWales, “BMW is expanding the existing B+ battery connector UK recall. This relates to predecessor generations of the 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 built between March 2007 and September 2011.
“BMW will be contacting all affected customers by post advising them of how they can book their car in to have the work carried out. We will commence contacting affected customers in the next three weeks. The work should take no more than two hours and there will be no cost to the customer.”
It is understood BMW will contact affected owners directly, although a hotline for worried customers will be open during and after transmission of tonight’s Watchdog Live.
Last week, BMW was criticised at the inquest of former Gurkha Narayan Gurung, who died after his car hit a tree when he swerved to avoid a stalled BMW that had a fault with the same part.