Mercedes C-Class Tail Light Problem Investigated by NHTSA

Image: Mercedes C-Class Tail Light Problem Investigated by NHTSA

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 03:08 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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A U.S. government has heightened its probe into more than 250,000 Mercedes-Benz C-Class vehicles for problems with the rear tail lights.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking at C-Class cars from 2008 to 2011 for its rear lighting that could fail due to an overheated electrical connector, Reuters said according to the agency's documents online.

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While not a recall, the result of the engineering analysis ordered for the vehicles could lead to one.

The Associated Press wrote that the NHTSA and Mercedes have received 402 complaints, including five fires and one injury. Mercedes reported another 23,000 warranty claims that could be tied to the faulty lights, AP noted.

Mercedes told investigators that the overheating of the ground wire was caused by corrosion between the connectors in the ground circuit to the tail light, Reuters reported from NHTSA documents.

"ODI has received a total of 114 complaints reflecting an ongoing and increasing trend," NHTSA stated, according to "In each report, one or both rear light assemblies fail completely (i.e., all lights housed within the assembly extinguish, including the stop, tail, and turn signal functions) when the electrical ground connection is compromised as a result of high resistance and subsequent thermal over-heating."

The document analysis concluded that as the vehicle got older, the likelihood of the rear lights failing increased. A Mercedes-Benz spokesman said the company is cooperating with the NHTSA in connection with the engineering analysis.

U.S. News and World Report stated that the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was superior in handling and interior refinement, but did not top models like the comparable 2011 BMW 3-Series. The review said that the C-Class "should be less troublesome than many competing used midsize cars."

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