Over 235,000 Minis worldwide have been recalled because of a potential fire risk caused by faulty electric water pumps. The recall – which affects 29,868 cars in the UK – includes Cooper S and range-topping John Cooper Works models across all bodystyles built between March 2006 and January 2011.
The move comes after company investigations revealed that heat build-up in the wiring could spark ‘smouldering’. There have been four fires globally, one in the UK, linked with the faulty electric unit.
A Mini spokesman commented: "We are not aware of any accidents or injuries connected with this. The important thing is that when people receive the [recall] letter, they simply go to their dealer and get a new water pump fitted if there is a problem."
An official statement said: "The turbocharged engine of the Cooper S and John Cooper Works engines is equipped with an additional water pump which draws residual heat out of the turbocharger after the engine has been switched off, to prevent carbon build-up of the oil in the bearing. Under high operating temperatures an electro-migration can occur at the circuit board installed in the additional water pump.
"The electro-migration is caused by plastic additives in conjunction with high temperatures and can lead to a failure of the additional water pump. This can lead to a failure of the additional water pump or smouldering and in extremely rare cases the possibility of a fire cannot be excluded."
This isn’t the first time that the firm has been linked to fires. Power steering pumps fitted to petrol-powered Minis produced between 2001 and August 2003 were also rumoured to catch fire, although BMW insisted that the issue would only cause overheating and smouldering - not a fire.