Mercedes AMG-GT models recalled over... loose hubcaps?

What used to make for a fun car hobby now triggers a federal safety recall.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT63S - front three-quarter view
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2019 Mercedes-AMG GT63S - front three-quarter view

As all Mercedes-AMG GT models wear alloys, this recall stems from the detachable wheel-center caps.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

When I was a kid, hubcap collecting was one of the few ways that I could tangibly nurture my young love of cars. These days, with nearly every new car sold with alloy wheels, hubcap collecting is a dying hobby. It would almost never occur to most motorists that hubcaps falling off of a car might trigger a federal recall, but this is still 2020, so here we are.

According to a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall notice, select 2019-2020 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 and GT 63 four-doors are being recalled because their wheel hubcaps might fall off while driving. According to the NHTSA, "If the wheel-hub caps detach, they can become a road hazard, and increase the risk of a crash or injury for other road users." 

As these models feature alloy wheels, the recall applies not to a traditional plastic or steel full wheel cover, but instead to the detachable center caps that carry Daimler's legendary Three-Pointed Star logo.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupe: A practical beauty

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The recall affects 1,142 vehicles, and MBUSA will notify owners of affected models and offer to replace their hubcaps at the company's own expense. The recall is expected to begin Feb. 16, 2021, and concerned AMG-GT 53 and AMG-GT 63 owners are urged to call Mercedes customer service at 1-800-367-6372 for more details.

Given that Benz says the AMG-GT 63 can hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and run to a top speed of 195 mph, the idea of anything coming off of one of these slipstream liftbacks and becoming a high-speed projectile is admittedly a sobering thought. That said, can you imagine if the federal government regularly recalled cars back in the '70s and '80s for hubcaps that fell off? Dealership service bays would've been full around the country 24/7, and this hubcap-collecting boy might never have become an automotive journalist.

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