Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall for nearly 150,000 vehicles from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 model years. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a number of vehicles from the luxury automaker's E-Class and CLS-Class lines suffer from a design flaw that could create a fire hazard in the engine compartment.
In documents posted to NHTSA's website, the problem stems from a rubber seal manufactured by Veritas AG in Germany. That seal is meant "to isolate noises, odors, humidity and heat".
Unfortunately, Veritas made some design changes to the seal, which has created problems:
"Due to a cosmetic design change of the rubber seal used on the affected vehicles, the confirmation of the correct mounting and proper securing of the seal during assembly became more difficult. In the event the rubber seal is not properly secured to the secondary bulkhead, it is possible for the seal to temporarily adhere to the engine hood when the hood is opened. Should this occur, the rubber seal might be partially lifted from the secondary bulkhead."
If that happens, it's possible that the seal might drop from the underside of the hood and land onthe catalytic converter. If the converter is hot, it's possible that the rubber seal could ignite, creating a fire in the engine compartment.
The recall affects the following Mercedes-Benz models:
- 2013-2015 E350 Sedan, E350 4Matic Sedan, E350 4Matic Station Wagon, E400 Hybrid Sedan, CLS 550 CGI, and CLS550 4Matic
- 2013-2014 E550 4Matic Sedan
- 2013 E63 Sedan, E63 Station Wagon and CLS63
- 2014-2015 CLS63 4Matic, E63 4Matic Sedan, E63 4Matic Sedan "S", and E63 4Matic Station Wagon
- 2015 CLS400
- 2015 E400 Sedan, E400 4Matic Sedan and CLS400 4Matic
- 2014 CLS63 "S"
All told, Mercedes-Benz says that the recall affects 147,224 vehicles registered in the U.S.
Mercedes says that it will begin mailing recall notices to owners in mid-March. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their cars to a Mercedes-Benz dealership, where four additional retaining clips will be attached to the rubber seal at no charge.
If you believe that you own one of the vehicles listed above and have further questions, you're encouraged to contact Mercedes-Benz customer service at 201-573-5339 and ask about recall #2015020001. If you prefer, you can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and inquire about safety campaign #15V088000.