Why Mercedes-Benz Is Recalling 354,000 US Cars

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German automaker Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division is recalling more than 354,000 model year 2015 to 2017 cars and light vehicles sold in the United States. The recall is related to a faulty current limiter that could fail and, in the worst case, lead to a fire.

In its filing with the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company said it launched its initial investigation in June of last year based on individual field reports from customers who had “allegedly experienced cases of thermally damaged starting current limiters.” Daimler determined in August that in the cases it looked at, “the starting current delimiter was damaged due to electrical overload.”

Here’s how Daimler described the safety risk:

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. In a worst case, surrounding components might melt, and potentially ignite and lead to a fire.

The following models are affected by the recall:

  • 2015–2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic
  • 2015–2017 Mercedes-Benz C300
  • 2015–2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA250
  • 2015–2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic
  • 2015–2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Cabrio
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Coupe
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabrio
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Wagon
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E43 AMG 4Matic
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic Coupe
  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz C350e
  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300
  • 2016–2017 Mercedes-Benz C450 4Matic AMG Sport
  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic

The company will notify owners of these models of the recall during the month of March and will send them a second notice as soon as repair parts are available, now expected in July. Dealers will fix the problem by adding additional current delimiters in the electrical lines to the starter motor. The NHTSA campaign number is 17V114000.