Following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker announced the recall of 252,867 C-Class cars because of faulty taillights, the New York Times reports.
More than two years ago, Mercedes detected the issue and made a manufacturing change to replace the parts, but never initiated a recall, a report [PDF] by NHTSA found.
Affected vehicles include all model year 2008-2011 C300, C300 4Matic, C350 and C63 AMG cars.
The automaker reports that oxidation on a ground pin connector could cause the rear taillights to dim or fail completely.
Officials with Mercedes say there have been no reported accidents or injuries related to the issue. However, NHTSA reports it has received reports of five truck fires stemming from the defect.
According to the NHTSA recall notice, Mercedes will have dealers check vehicles for the issue and if necessary replace the tail lamp bulb carriers and connectors.
Vehicle owners will be notified about the recall in June. A second notice will be sent when replacement parts are available, which is expected to be August or September.
The issue was first reported to Mercedes in 2009, but the cause was not determined until late 2011, the company says. The manufacturing change to remedy the issue was made in January 2012.
Following complaints from 21 owners NHTSA began an investigation into the issue.
One of the car owners reported he pulled over when a warning light indicated his taillights weren’t functioning. Another reported Mercedes refused to foot the bill to fix the issue.
“Pulled over and opened trunk. Trunk was filled with smoke and burning plastic smell. Visual flame – small – on ground wire.”
“This is a safety problem and should be covered no matter what. I have found that this is a common problem with these cars and yet there are no recalls.”
In total NHTSA investigation found 402 complaints from vehicle owners, five reports of small trunk fires and nearly 24,000 warranty claims the automaker said could potentially relate to the problem.
Mercedes Recalls 253,000 C-Class Cars for Fire Hazard [New York Times]