Lenovo has issued a recall for about 80,00 laptops it sold in 2016 and 2017. You might be in the habit of ignoring recalls, but this is definitely not one to ignore. Lenovo says the ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops included in the recall contain batteries that could overheat and damage the machine. It might even catch fire.
The problem is not technically the battery, but a manufacturing error. After receiving multiple reports of laptops with faulty batteries, the company investigated the issue over the last few weeks. It found the cause to be an unfastened screw that was left in many of these laptops. The screw can become wedged between the battery and the casing to cause physical damage. Puncturing a battery can cause it to rupture and release all its stored energy as heat.
Lenovo reports it hasn’t gotten any reports of injuries or fires. The batteries simply overheat and fry the internals. However, fire is a possibility if you don’t have your laptop serviced. This is something you don’t want to risk.
The last major battery issue in the news was Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, which had two different causes. The first bad battery in that phone is somewhat similar to the Lenovo issue. Samsung used a battery that was slightly too large for the casing, resulting in damage to the edges as the cell swelled during usage. This mismatch eventually resulted in a short that ruptured the internal cells. The second Note 7 defect was the result of poor welding and insulation inside the batteries, which isn’t similar to the Lenovo problem.
Lenovo says the recall affects fifth-generation ThinkPad X1 laptops sold between December 2016 and November 2017. The company moved 78,000 of those computers in the US and another 5,500 in Canada. It doesn’t know that all those units have a screw loose, but it’s not something you want to risk. The company has since changed its manufacturing processes to ensure future computers don’t end up with a battery-killing screw in them.
Owners of the potentially flammable laptops can reach out to Lenovo for free inspection and repair. It also has a website that will help you find the nearest authorized service provider. There’s an online tool that can determine if your machine is affected by the recall. You just need the machine type code and the serial number (see above). Lenovo doesn’t give an exact timeline for repairs, but says a service date will be assigned “with minimal delay.”
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