A recent report is claiming more than 40 BMWs have mysteriously caught fire with their engines off.
ABC reported on a 2008 BMW X5 that allegedly caught on fire while it was parked in a garage. The owner, 55-year-old Bill Macko, is a passionate BMW fan and has owned seven cars from the German automaker over the years. On the night of Dec. 1, 2015, Macko says his wife had just returned from a short drive, parked the car and turned it off. Shortly after, she told Macko she noticed a strange smell in the car and when he went to check, he heard a “snap, crackle, pop” and the car burst into flames.
Macko says he had just taken the car in for service at the dealerships a few days before, and originally suspected the fire was caused by a new battery installed by the mechanics. But an ABC News investigation is putting that in question after discovering “more than 40 fires occurring in parked cars across the country in the last five years involving vehicles that did not have open recalls for fire-related issues.”
They say BMW is giving them the cold shoulder after reporting the fires and in a statement, but the automaker said “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.” The German automaker isn’t wrong, as a lack of maintenance, improper maintenance by unauthorized mechanics, aftermarket modifications, rodent nesting and even arson are all possible reasons a parked car can catch on fire.
While ABC News has reported its findings to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency has not found any evidence of a safety defect. But there have also been reported fires in South Korea, where BMW is currently under investigation by its government to see if there’s an underlying issue.
Now, Jalopnik reports there’s reason to be skeptical and brings up a few good points. ABC doesn’t go into details as to what make and models or even model years the other BMWs were that mysteriously caught on fire, nor are there any comparison figures to other automakers that may have had vehicles catch on fire while parked. It’s not a common occurrence to be sure, but it is possible without an underlying defect.
As for now, BMW owners shouldn’t have to worry that their cars will mysterious catch on fire – at least not until a proper investigation has been conducted and an underlying defect is discovered.
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