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Mini Cooper Timing Chain Recall: What You Need to Know – Morgan & Morgan

The Mini Cooper timing chain recall affects consumers who purchased specific vehicle models made between 2007 and 2010. You could be entitled to reimbursement of costs associated with repairing the timing chain, tensioner, and engine damage caused by the defective parts.

Failure of the timing chain is serious and can potentially cause severe damage to the engine and sudden engine failure. When an engine cuts out without warning, a car can become uncontrollable, presenting a significant safety issue for vehicle occupants. If you got hurt in an accident due to a defective Mini Cooper timing chain, you could have a case and potentially receive compensation. Contact us now to find out more. 

What Is a Recall?

A recall is generally issued when a vehicle or vehicle part does not meet specific safety standards or creates an unreasonable safety risk for consumers. According to the United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety Title 49, Chapter 301, the public should be protected from an unreasonable risk of accidents due to the “design, 
construction, or performance of a motor vehicle.” 

When a recall has been issued, carmakers are required to fix the problem by either:

  • Offering a refund
  • Repairing the issue
  • Replacing the part in question
  • Repurchasing the vehicle (in rare cases)

Mini Cooper Timing Chain Recall Models

The following BMW Mini Cooper models are affected by the timing chain recall: 

  • Mini Cooper Hardtop 2007-2010 
  • Mini Cooper Clubman 2008-2010
  • Mini Cooper Convertible 2009-2010

BMW is responsible for reimbursing the affected owners for costs associated with the timing chain defect. The carmaker also extended warranties for the affected models by up to seven years or 100,000 miles. 

What Is Timing Chain Failure?

A timing chain failure is potentially a very serious problem that can ruin a car’s engine. A broken timing chain can present itself in two ways. Either a driver will not be able to start their car’s engine in the first place, or the engine will shut off and lose power while driving. 

Symptoms of a Failing Timing Chain

Unfortunately, severe damage to the engine may already have occurred before a car owner notices any problems with the timing chain. However, there can be some signs that the timing chain is about to fail, such as the so-called “death rattle”. The tell-tale rattling noise typically originates from the passenger side and is usually noticeable at low speeds, when idling, or when the car is warming up in cold weather. Significant oil loss has also been reported when timing chain failure occurs. Other symptoms can include:

  • A misfiring engine
  • Metal in the oil changing pan 
  • The “check engine” light coming on

If you own a Mini Cooper and notice symptoms such as an unusual rattling noise or major oil loss, you should make your way directly to a repair shop or dealership. Preferably, stop the car immediately and get it towed to a repair shop to prevent potential engine damage or accidents.  

Safety Concerns With Timing Chain Failure

Without a functioning timing chain, your car will not function either. If the timing chain breaks while driving, not only will your vehicle’s engine suffer damage, you also risk getting into an accident. When a vehicle suddenly loses power and maneuverability while driving on the highway or in other fast-flowing traffic, the consequences can be deadly.

What Is the Mini Cooper Class-Action Lawsuit?

A recent class-action lawsuit alleged that BMW published information about premature timing chain wear and failure in their vehicles as early as 2008 yet failed to issue a recall or compensate the affected vehicle owners. The lawsuit further alleged that the carmaker installed defective timing chain tensioners in certain models manufactured between 2006 and 2010. 

According to the lead plaintiffs, the individuals that initiated the class action, the defective timing chain cost them thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs. BMW agreed to a final $30 million settlement of the class-action lawsuit in July 2016. Class members entitled to compensation included current and former owners and lessees of the affected models.

The Manufacturer Is Required to Reimburse Mini Owners

As a result of the class-action lawsuit against BMW, the manufacturer is required to reimburse Mini Cooper owners of the affected models for timing chain failure and associated repair costs. 

The manufacturer should cover all costs for repairs of the timing chain and involved parts if you take your car to an authorized Mini Cooper dealership for repair. However, if you choose to have your car repaired at a third-party repair shop, funds are generally capped at $850 for timing chain replacement and $120 for the tensioner. 

In addition to the repair costs, BMW also agreed to pay up to $4,500 for engine repairs and up to $2,500 for owners who sold their Mini Coopers at a loss. The exact figure vehicle owners could recover will depend on the age and mileage of the vehicle.

Accidents Due to Defective Mini Coopers

A timing chain failure while driving could be serious and cause your engine to turn off immediately. When this happens, drivers must act quickly as the steering could lock, making your car unmanageable. Brakes could also become sluggish when engine power is lost. Therefore, timing chain failure could potentially cause catastrophic accidents.

Vehicle Defects Can Cause Accidents and Injuries

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most accidents are caused by driver error. However, around two percent of motor vehicle crashes in the US, potentially tens of thousands of crashes each year, occur due to vehicle defects. 

It is important to note that you could be entitled to compensation if your car accident occurred due to a vehicle defect, such as a prematurely failing timing chain.

Injuries That Could Qualify for Compensation

If your accident occurred due to another driver’s fault or as the result of a defective car, you could receive compensation for your injuries and financial losses. Common car accident injuries include:

  • Head and brain injuries
  • Fractures
  • Back injuries such as herniated discs
  • Whiplash
  • Internal injuries
  • Emotional distress

One of the best ways to protect your legal rights is by seeking prompt legal advice when you get hurt in an accident. 

Who Is Responsible for Your Damages?

If you suffered injuries and property damage due to a vehicle defect, you could potentially hold the following parties to account:

  • The car manufacturer
  • Car equipment or component manufacturers
  • Other parties involved in the production of your vehicle
  • A car repair shop

Holding a manufacturer or third-party account for your damages can be a challenge. However, our car accident attorneys can assess your case, determine who is responsible, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

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