In the wake of Ford Kugas reportedly catching fire in South Africa, 1 million Mercedes-Benz models will now be siphoned off of customer driveways and into dealerships due to a massive recall taking place thanks to a fire risk.
While J.D. Power didn’t find too many issues with newer Mercedes models, Consumer Reports ended up ranking the Tri-Star 20th out of 31 automakers. Now there’s another quality control issue that threatens to undermine the brand’s reputation and send it to the incinerator.
The issue has caused 51 fires, 30 in the US alone – none of which has caused any injuries or deaths.
Affected models include 2015-2017 C-Class and CLA models, 2016-2017 GLC models, and 2017 E-Class models. Of the million models, 307 629 were sold in the US, with the majority of the others being sold in China and Germany.
Reuters reports that Mercedes has issued a stop-sale order on the vehicles and has implemented a fix for production models in the factory and on dealership lots before they are sold.
US customers may need to wait until March to get recall notices, but until then, it may pay to keep an eye out for engine and transmission damage.
That’s because the issue manifests itself after owners repeatedly try to start models that have suffered engine and transmission damage.
As the NHTSA report states, “In the event the starter is blocked due to engine/transmission damage (e.g. hydro locked engine), a very high electric current would flow through the starting current limiter during the subsequent start attempt. Should the driver attempt to start the engine repeatedly despite the engine not cranking, the very high electric current draw might lead to overheating of the starting current limiter.”
It follows: “In a worst case, surrounding components might melt, and potentially ignite and lead to a fire.”
For owners with affected models, just be sure to think twice before starting a Mercedes with an engine that won’t start because it appears the components surrounding the starter and its wiring aren’t as robust as they should be.