The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had found enough reason to upgrade its investigation of a power-steering problem on nearly 60,000 Mini Coopers.
In a document filed on its Web site this last weekend, the agency named the 2004-5 Mini Cooper, but said it might expand the investigation because it received complaints relating to vehicles from other model years.
A preliminary evaluation of the problem began last fall. As a result of that inquiry, the agency received 339 consumer complaints, and BMW, which owns Mini, reported another 180. The document also indicated that the automaker reported about 4,500 warranty claims.
Among consumer complaints were allegations of five minor crashes and three fires. There were no reports of injuries.
That number of complains and additional information from BMW concerned the agency enough to open an engineering analysis. This step brought the problem closer to a recall.
“Drivers may experience either a temporary or permanent loss of power steering assist,” BMW told N.H.T.S.A. investigators. “A permanent loss of power steering may be due to an error in the internal electronics.”
Source: New York Times