There have been a number of vehicle recalls in the last three years that warranted serious investigation: Takat’s exploding airbags, Jeep’s defective gear shifters, Volkswagen’s faulty emissions testers. Not since the Ford Pinto, however, have we seen something as dangerous or as serious as this. BMW cars are spontaneously combusting even while they are turned off and parked – and no one seems to know why.
ABC News has been investigating the car fires. This video shows multiple cars catching on fire:
There is nothing that links the car fires except for the fact that they are BMWs. They are all different models from all different years, and the cars have been parked for varying lengths of times: from 5 minutes to 3-4 days. Dozens of cars have been affected across the country, from New York to California. Bill Macko, an Olney, Maryland residents and a self-proclaimed BMW aficionado, lost their home after his 2008 BMW caught fire in the garage.
“Nothing to see here”
In the face of such overwhelming evidence, you might assume that BMW would be looking into a potential recall, or at least trying to find a defective auto part common to all of their cars. But you would be wrong. From the ABC News report:
“BMW says it has nothing to apologize for. In a written statement, BMW said that with almost five million BMW vehicles on U.S. roads, such fire incidents are rare, and based on its investigation, ‘we have not seen any pattern related to quality or component failure. Vehicle fires can result from a wide variety of external reasons unrelated to product defect.’
A spokesperson suggested several other potential causes of car fires other than a manufacturing defect, including a lack of maintenance, improper maintenance by unauthorized mechanics, aftermarket modifications, rodent nesting and even arson.”
If you think these explanations seem a bit “convenient,” you’re not alone – yet when ABC handed over their research to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they were told the same thing: the NHTSA found no evidence of a defect, though it did release a statement urging drivers to “report potential safety issues to the agency, including strange and unexplainable incidents involving their vehicles” on the agency’s website.
What can you do if your BMV catches fire for no reason?
First, call the fire department – ASAP. Car fires can be terrifying, and it’s easy to panic, so make sure your local fire department is on its way. You should also call the local police. You want a report of the fire for your own files. After those calls, contact your insurance company and inform them of what happened.
You can and should lodge a vehicle safety complaint with the NHTSA if your BMW catches fire, if for no other reason than it may be used as evidence later if you wish to file a claim. BMW owners report a variety of responses from the company itself; some have been given settlements as long as they agreed to sigh non-disclosure agreements, while others were told that BMW had no record of such incidents occurring elsewhere.
Finally, you should consider contacting an attorney who has experience in defective products litigation, and has been successful in cases against auto manufacturers and national insurance companies. BMW has proven they might not be trustworthy when it comes to doing what is right by their clients. You might need someone in your corner if the worst comes to pass.