Mercedes-Benz recalls 354,000 late-model cars for fire risk

More than two dozen fires were reported in the US alone.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
Daimler AG

If your new Mercedes-Benz 's engine doesn't start despite repeated attempts, stop trying to start it. You're risking setting the whole thing ablaze.

Mercedes-Benz issued a recall covering 354,434 examples of several late model vehicles between the 2015 and 2017 model years. The vehicles in question carry build dates between February 2014 and February 2017, most of which are in the US.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon
Enlarge Image
2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon

No, not the wagon!

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

The full list is below, arranged by size and position in the lineup:

  • 2015-2017 CLA250 (including 4Matic)
  • 2015-2017 CLA45 AMG
  • 2017 GLA 250 (incl. 4Matic)
  • 2015-2017 C300 (incl. 4Matic)
  • 2017 C300 Cabrio (incl. 4Matic)
  • 2017 C300 Coupe (incl. 4Matic)
  • 2016 C350e
  • 2016-2017 C450 AMG Sport
  • 2016 GLC300 (incl. 4Matic)
  • 2017 GLC300 Coupe
  • 2017 E300 (incl. 4Matic)
  • 2017 E400 Wagon
  • 2017 E43 AMG

The issue comes from the engine starter. If the starter is blocked due to engine or transmission damage, any subsequent starting attempts might send a very high current through the starter's current limiter. Repeated attempts to crank the engine might overheat the limiter and melt surrounding components, which can lead to a fire.

In fact, it already has, several times over. Reuters reports that 51 fires were reported, 30 of which came from the US market. It was these reports that launched Daimler's investigation, which found the defect within the starter assembly.

Mercedes-Benz will fix the issue by installing an additional fuse in the electrical line leading to the starter. The automaker will issue notices to owners this month, and the needed replacement parts are expected to arrive this summer.