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Smart recalls 2,200 Fortwos for cross-eyed headlights

Failing to prevent headlight adjustment is apparently against the rules.


A misaligned headlight can be incredibly annoying -- but also a serious safety hazard. That's the reason behind the latest Smart recall.

Smart, a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, has issued a recall for 2,213 examples of the 2016 Smart Fortwo city car. The vehicles in question carry production dates between June 16 and September 24, 2015. Smart estimates that 100 percent of the vehicles recalled carry the defect in question.

If you've ever been hit by a misaligned headlight, you'd know why it's a problem.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The issue stems from the headlights. During manufacturing, the automaker will adjust the headlights' horizontal alignment with a screw. After adjusting the headlight, it's supposed to add a sealing cap to prevent future adjustment. These vehicles may have an incorrect sealing cap, which means a customer could readjust the headlights' horizontal aim.

That may not seem like a problem, but headlights have to be very specifically aimed. If they are out of adjustment, they can dazzle oncoming traffic or provide insufficient illumination for the driver. That's a big ol' safety hazard, and it also happens to violate US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, hence the recall.

Dealers have been notified of the problem this month. Once owners are notified, they can head to a dealer, which will apply the correct sealing cap to the headlight, preventing horizontal aim adjustment. Owners will be notified by first-class mail in August 2017.