BMW owners hit by blaze risk recall - hundreds of vehicles in Northern Ireland
HUNDREDS of cars in Northern Ireland are believed to be affected by the worldwide recall of BMWs due to a fire risk.
The German car maker estimates the fault may encompass up to 268,000 diesel-engined models in the UK, including Northern Ireland.
It said the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler can, in some cases, leak glycol liquid and "in combination with typical soot particles and the high temperatures normally present in the EGR module this might result in smouldering particles".
BMW explained in certain "very rare" cases this could melt the engine's intake manifold and potentially cause a fire risk.
The recall was announced by BMW last August with an initial estimate that it affected 480,000 cars but it has since grown to 1.6 million vehicles worldwide.
Models affected include various types of the 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, X3, X4, X5 and X6 built between 2010 and 2017. The majority of the popular models affected were made between late 2014 and mid-2016.
In a statement, the manufacturer, which also owns Mini and Rolls Royce, explained the fault was discovered during in-depth technical testing of the engines.
"During further examination of engines with a similar technical setup, the BMW Group analysed individual cases that were not included in the original technical campaigns," it said.
"These individual cases posed no significant risk to our customers.
"Nonetheless the BMW Group decided to further reduce even this minor risk by expanding the country-specific technical campaigns."
One Belfast owner, whose recalled car is currently with a local dealership, said: "My car has already been with the dealer for nearly two months and I've been told it could be a long time yet.
"To be fair, they have provided me with a courtesy car but obviously it is disappointing not to have my own car."
What's the problem?
The fault means droplets of hot blue glycol coolant can, in some instances, leak inside the cooler where exhaust gases flow. This forms tiny, hot particles within the exhaust gas which can then come into contact with the manifold wall - around the air inlet to the engine.
These particles can smoulder and, in extreme cases, cause fire.
BMW says it is recalling 1.6 million cars worldwide and 268,000 in the UK. Twelve models are affected, including the 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series X3, X4, X5 and X6 models fitted with four-cylinder engines between December 2014 and August 2016.
The same models fitted with six-cylinder diesel engines made between July 2012 and June 2015 are also affected, along with some models of the 1 Series, 2 Series, 7 Series and X1 built as early as 2010.
What should I do if I own one of these cars?
Many car owners will have received a safety recall letter, urging them to contact their local BMW garage.
On some models, the garage will automatically replace the EGR cooler. In others, it will inspect the component for damage and only replace it if there is a leak.
Those who have yet to receive a letter should visit the DVSA website and tap in their registration number to see if the car has been recalled.
How long will it take?
It could take months. Some Northern Ireland drivers have already been waiting more than two months for the issue to be resolved.
BMW said those most at risk are being dealt with first.