The Mini Cooper S is a hot little car. Unfortunately for its owners, it's actually a little too hot and might catch fire.
Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation following 12 separate reports of engine fires. Of those, 5 fires were so extreme they turned the little car into a big pile of charred junk. The worst part? Most of the fires actually happened after the engine was turned off and the owner had walked away.
That’s why we’d like to congratulate the 2007-2011 Mini Cooper S for making our list of “Vehicles to Avoid Parking in an Attached Garage.”
What’s Causing the Fires
The investigation discovered a couple things. First, this only seems to happen in turbocharged engines. Second, the problem is due to a malfunction on the circuit board of the auxiliary water pump. The water pump is designed to stay on even after the engine is turned off in order to cool down the turbo. However, instead of doing its job of protecting the engine from fires, the pump is actually overheating and setting the car ablaze itself. What a rebel.
What Vehicles Are Affected
In total, there are 88,911 vehicles affected. They include the following vehicles with turbocharged engines:
- 2007-2011 Cooper S
- 2008-2011 Clubman S
- 2009-2011 Cooper S Convertible
- 2011 Countryman S
- 2009-2011 John Cooper Works models
BMW, the parent company of Mini, says it will begin notifying affected owners next month because it needs time to get its supply and repair process in place for the number of recalls they’ll need to do. In the meantime, may we recommend parking your Mini away from any structures and preferably near a fire hydrant?