— Mercedes-Benz is recalling more than 354,400 vehicles in the U.S. at risk of catching on fire due to starter components overheating and melting. More than 51 fires have been reported, 30 of those in the U.S., and more than 1 million cars and SUVs need repairs worldwide.
Mercedes says the following cars and SUVs will need additional fuses installed in the electrical lines to the starters:
- 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
If the starter is blocked due to engine or transmission damage (hydro locked engine), a very high electric current would flow through the starting current limiter during repeated attempts to start the vehicle.
If a driver keeps trying to start the engine repeatedly despite the engine not cranking, the high electric current draw might lead to overheating of the starting current limiter. This causes the possibility that the surrounding components might melt and potentially lead to a fire.
In June 2016, the automaker launched investigations after receiving reports where customers discovered starting current limiters that were damaged by fires. Mercedes collected the damaged parts and engineers went to work to find the cause of the fires.
Those engineers determined the only way the components overheated was when a driver kept trying to start a car even though the starter had been blocked by previous damage to the engine or transmission.
Mercedes says the starting current limiter is designed for typical current draw and unable to handle very high currents when the engine/transmission is damaged to the point where it is unable to crank.
Affected owners will first be contacted in March 2017 and once parts are available, owners will receive second notices, most likely in July. Mercedes says dealers can fix the problem by installing additional fuses in the electrical lines to the starters.
Owners with questions may contact Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372.