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Mini recalls 86,000 cars to fix power steering problems

Published:Thursday | October 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMAP
In this Aug. 25, 2004 file photo, The 500,000th Mini is driven off the production line at BMW Group Plant in Oxford, England. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)

Under pressure from United States safety regulators, BMW's Mini brand is recalling more than 86,000 cars because the power steering could fail.

The recall covers the Mini Cooper and Cooper S models from 2002 to 2005. BMW says in documents filed with regulators that the power steering can fail because of manufacturing or other issues. If that happens, manual steering remains but it would take greater effort to steer.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the cars in 2010 after getting 339 complaints including five minor crashes and three fires involving melted wires.

BMW at first extended steering warranties, but last month the agency sought a recall. BMW agreed but said the problem wasn't an unreasonable safety risk. Dealers will replace power steering parts if needed starting in December.

MINI said in a statement Wednesday that owners will be notified by letter when they can take cars to dealerships. Repairs will be made at no cost to owners. The cars currently are covered by a 13-year, 150,000-mile power steering warranty.