by Michael Pines, San Diego's Accident and Injury Prevention Expert
People who drive luxury vehicles have come to expect a certain level of increased safety and reduced car accident injury risk among the usual realm of creature comforts found in expensive cars today. But after BMW announced a 1.3 million vehicle recall last month, many are left wondering about the safety of their luxury vehicle. And what’s more, headlines this week have made BMW vehicle owners even more cautious as the manufacturer’s 7-series faces a possible recall after faulty transmission problems were reported.
Following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16 car accidents and five serious injuries have been found after an eight-month investigation of BMW 7-series luxury vehicles. All of the accidents and consequent injuries were a result of transmission control problems but the 7-series models have not yet been recalled by the vehicle manufacturer.
The investigation covered nearly 122,000 BMWs from 2002 to 2008 according to reports at the Washington Post.
U.S. safety regulators have suspected the transmission problem is sourced to the vehicle’s push-button start mechanism. In some cases, owners may unknowingly leave the car in neutral, thereby sparking a faulty transmission problem once the car is restarted or simply left unattended after a period of time. In one case, the driver of a 2002 745LI told NHTSA that the car was parked when it rolled away on its own and crashed into a parking embankment. BMW has received over 50 complaints regarding on the problem.
“The dealer stated they are unable to diagnose the failure,” said one consumer whose vehicle failed to park properly, causing it to roll away 100 feet and crash into a lamppost.
The NHTSA has upgraded the issue into an engineering analysis “to further assess the potential safety consequences of the alleged defect.”
This latest round of BMW problems follows closely on the heels of last month’s recall when the vehicle manufacturer recalled nearly 1.3 million vehicles due to a battery-cable cover that can lead to a spontaneous vehicle fire or charring.
Vehicles affected by last month’s recall include BMW 5 and 6 series car models manufactured between 2003 and 2010. The luxury car manufacturer has not reported any car accidents or injuries associated with the recall. Last month’s recall now stands as one of the largest BMW recalls in its history.
Vehicle owners who suspect they have a faulty battery cover or transmission problem are urged to call BMW automakers at 1-800-563-4269 or email CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.