MINI Cooper vehicles equipped with N16 and N18 engines allegedly have defective timing chains.

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MINI Cooper Timing Chain Problems Lead to Lawsuit
MINI Cooper vehicles equipped with N16 and N18 engines allegedly have defective timing chains.

— A MINI Cooper timing chain class action lawsuit alleges 2011-2015 MINI Cooper vehicles are equipped with defective N16 or N18 engines.

The MINI lawsuit alleges the engines are prone to premature timing chain failures.

The owner who filed the class action alleges the timing chain problems cause a sudden loss of engine power and a loss of power-assisted steering.

The lawsuit also alleges the MINI vehicles suffer from acceleration and speed problems as well as reduced braking.

In addition, the plaintiff contends the N16 or N18 engines can experience "sudden and catastrophic engine self-destruction."

The MINI Cooper timing chain lawsuit was filed by Florida plaintiff Susan Ballou who purchased a new 2012 MINI Clubman S in March 2012. The MINI Clubman came with a 48-month/50,000-mile limited warranty.

This means the warranty expired in 2016, but the plaintiff claims the timing chain failed in February 2018.

But as with many class action lawsuits, the statute of limitations can mean nothing, and the plaintiff alleges that's the case with her MINI Cooper.

Even though the timing chain allegedly failed after her warranty expired, the plaintiff claims her MINI, “exhibited unmistakable symptoms (known only by the [D]efendants) of degradation and impending premature failure within the express warranty period.”

The class action lawsuit alleges BMW should have paid for the repairs and replacements because the automaker allegedly knew the timing chain was defective but MINI allegedly concealed what it knew.

The plaintiff asserts she paid about $3,000 to replace the MINI timing chain, and BMW refused to reimburse the expense because the vehicle's warranty had expired.

The timing chain lawsuit alleges the timing chains should not fail because BMW failed to include information in the owner's manuals about engine timing chain assembly inspection, maintenance or service intervals.

Repairing or replacing the N16 or N18 engine can allegedly cost between $3,000 and $15,000, something that allegedly causes a diminution of vehicle resale values.

Motion to Dismiss the MINI Timing Chain Lawsuit

BMW filed a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit but didn't have much success with Judge Claire C. Cecchi.

BMW began by arguing there was no breach of express warranty because the MINI Cooper warranty had expired two years before the timing chain failed.

But the judge ruled the express warranty claim would not be dismissed because the plaintiff says BMW knew in 2011 the timing chains and engines were allegedly defective. This allegedly made the warranty "unconscionable."

The judge also found the plaintiff didn't have any input in creating the warranty which took away her “meaningful choice” in setting the warranty.

So much for a legal statute of limitations.

The judge also refused to dismiss a breach of implied warranty of merchantability because the plaintiff says the timing chain was defective when she purchased the MINI Cooper.

BMW argues the implied warranty claim fails because the plaintiff didn't discover a timing chain problem until after the warranty expired.

But the judge ruled BMW's argument was "to no avail" because the plaintiff "sufficiently pleaded unconscionability as to the warranty for purposes of the motion to dismiss."

The judge also allowed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim and the unjust enrichment claim to move forward. However, the judge did dismiss two claims against BMW over the timing chains.

According to the judge, claims of violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and negligent misrepresentation are both dismissed at this stage of the timing chain lawsuit.

The MINI Cooper timing chain class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey: Susan Ballou v. Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft and BMW of North America, LLC.


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