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Mercedes-Benz USA will recall more than 42,000 vehicles containing insulation mats that can inadvertently catch fire.
The manufacturer’s Jacksonville, Florida-based branch notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) they will recall 42,781 2008-2009 Mercedes-Benz Smart Fortwo Cabrio and 2008-2009 Mercedes-Benz Smart Fortwo Coupe built between Sept. 20, 2007 and Nov. 2, 2009.
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The affected vehicles contain insulation mats in the engine compartment that can deform, deteriorate and eventually loosen. These loosened mats can potentially touch hot exhaust components and catch fire.
The manufacturer stated the U.S.-specification exhaust system has an external catalytic converter packaged closed to the insulation mat, where temperatures near the mat can reach very high temperatures. Those temperatures can deform the mat, warping it. The deformed mat can touch a hot surface, increasing fire risk.
Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler AG, obtained an undamaged, U.S. model 2008 Mercedes-Benz Smart Fortwo vehicle in September 2017 for research purposes. The company shipped the vehicle to Germany for a teardown inspection including engine removal.
Multiple technical groups inspected the vehicle in October 2017, finding sagging in the rear insulation mat. Further tests conducted in November 2017 found the sagging mat didn’t affect engine compartment airflow, but did confirm high temperatures can warp the mat.
Mercedes-Benz will notify owners and dealers will replace the rear insulation mat with an improved one, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2018. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372. Mercedes-Benz owners can also visit the NHTSA’s website and enter their VIN to see if their vehicle is included in any recalls.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer is legally required to fix any recalled problems for free. If the dealership refuses to fix the part or tries to charge you for the repair, contact the manufacturer immediately. The Highway Safety Act of 1970, which created the NHTSA, requires car manufacturers to pay for the recall and replacement of a defective part.
If the manufacturer fails to repair, replace, repurchase, or provide your recalled vehicle’s loss value, they are violating the warranty and a lawyer may be able to help you. Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.