Serious concerns have been raised over the UK’s car recall system after a BBC investigation found motorists are having to wait months for potentially dangerous problems to be fixed.
Research by Watchdog Live found drivers who were left waiting for extended periods to have known issues put right, including one who was trapped in her burning car the day before it was due to be fixed.
The report also highlighted vehicles which had been recalled in other countries but not in the UK.
Among the owners the programme spoke to was Jags Uppal, who received a recall letter in November 2018 about her BMW 5 series.
The car was being recalled because of an issue with the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler but the recall was not issued for months after the same models were recalled abroad.
She was told the dealership was waiting for parts but her car was fine to drive in the meantime.
However, the day before her car was due to be fixed, it burst into flames while she was driving at 70mph on the motorway.
Speaking to the show, she said: “All of a sudden my car began to jerk and was filling up with smoke and as I stopped I could see flames coming through the engine so I knew this was a ticking time bomb and I needed to get out.
“I was pressing all the buttons and doors wouldn’t open. The flames were getting higher and higher.”
Jags managed to escape, but believes drivers with affected vehicles should have been advised not to drive their vehicle.
BMW said that it had faced part supply and workshop capacity problems in the early stages of the recall but insisted that if, after inspection, the car was found to need repair, it was kept at the retailer’s premises and alternative transport was offered.
Earlier this year the DVSA revealed that 3.4 million cars on British roads have been recalled but not fixed.
These include some models of Toyota Yaris which, along with millions of cars worldwide, have been recalled after a fault with the Takata airbag used in them was discovered.
Watchdog has heard from Yaris drivers who said they’ve faced unacceptably long waits to have their potentially dangerous airbags replaced.
Responding to the programme’s findings, the DVSA said: “We continue to make improvements to the recalls process including launching a new recalls Code of Practice with the industry later this year.
“Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and the current recall process plays a part in that.
“The recalls system is an effective way of protecting people from vehicle manufacturing and design defects.”
BMW extended recall
BMW said it had worked to fix all affected vehicles and had extended the recall to another 27,000 cars.
In a statement it said: “In the case of the EGR cooler recall in the UK, we have completed over 75 per cent of the nearly 300,000 vehicles affected in less than a year, which is a very high completion rate for a recall of this scale in such a timeframe.
“The remaining owners have received up to three letters telling them to get their car checked.
“As with any recall, BMW constantly analyses new information and, where required, adjusts the recall in a timely manner.
“For this reason, BMW UK has extended the EGR recall to a further 27,000 vehicles.
“Affected owners will receive a letter from BMW UK by mid-October, inviting them to contact their local BMW retailer for the work to be carried out.”