Mercedes-Benz has announced a recall of 253,000 C-Class cars after discovering the tail lights could dim or fail.
Mercedes discovered through tests in 2010 and 2011 that the failures were due to the oxidation of the ground pin connectors. The company changed the manufacturing to fix the problem, but did not issue a recall at the time.
Models affected by the recall include the C300, C300 4Matic, C350, and C63 AMG manufactured between the 2008 and 2011 model years.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the problem in June of last year after receiving 21 separate complaints, some of which included reports of fires and scorching in the trunk.
"Pulled over and opened trunk. Trunk was filled with smoke and burning plastic smell. Visual flame – small – on ground wire," read one report, according to The New York Times
. That owner said he pulled over to check things out when his dashboard light indicated his taillights weren't working.
Despite the malfunction, Mercedes said it does not know of any injuries or accidents caused by the issue.
"We are working together with our NHTSA colleagues on this topic," Mercedes said in a statement. "Daimler AG has become aware through its worldwide product observation that on some model year 2008-2011 C-Class vehicles (204 platform*), the contact between tail lamp bulb carrier and tail lamp connector has deteriorated. The contact deterioration may lead from dimmed tail lamps to, in the worst case, a loss of tail lamp functions. In this case, the driver will immediately be informed by dedicated warning messages in the instrument cluster."
Mercedes' review found that the taillight failure could not cause fires due to the use of inflammable materials.
With the recall now in effect, The Associated Press reports that car dealerships will replace bulb holders and rusted connectors
at no cost to the owners. Replacement parts are expected in August at the earliest.
The recall is described as voluntary by Mercedes.
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