In December, we told you that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was ramping up its investigation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The agency had received some 114 complaints from C-Class owners about taillight failures. In several instances, owners found burn marks in the vehicles' trunks, and one reported seeing flames emanating from the taillight fixture.
Now, according to the New York Times, the automaker has finally issued a recall for C-Class vehicles from the 2008 - 2011 model years. The recall includes the C300, C300 4MATIC, C350, and C63 AMG.
All told, the voluntary recall affects 252,867 vehicles registered in the U.S. that were manufactured between January 26, 2007 and July 13, 2011.
In a letter posted to NHTSA (PDF), Mercedes-Benz acknowledges that "Oxidation on the ground pin connector for the rear tail lamps of subject vehicles can result in a dimming of the tail lights or complete loss of tail lamp function". Among other things, that means that vehicles traveling behind the recalled cars may not see that the C-Class' turn signal, which increases the risk of an accident. The problem has been traced to a coating that's placed on the tail lamp bulb carrier and the tail lamp connector.
Mercedes-Benz says that it will notify dealers of the recall this month, but that it will take time to acquire the parts needed for repair. The company will email notices to owners in June letting them know of the recall, then it will send another letter in August or September, when the necessary parts arrive. At that time, owners will be able to take their vehicles to Mercedes-Benz dealers, who will inspect and, if necessary, replace the tail lamp bulb carriers and connectors.
If you own one of the affected vehicles and have questions in the meantime, you're encouraged to contact Mercedes-Benz customer service at 800-FOR-MERCEDES (800-367-6372).