The US division of Mercedes-Benz (MBUSA) has announced a “Do Not Drive” recall for nearly 300,000 of its vehicles. Owners of 2006 through 2012 ML and GL sports utility vehicles (SUV) and R-Class minivan or multi-purpose (MPV) vehicles are urged to stop driving the cars immediately as the company tackles potentially fatal brake issues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall as voluntary by the luxury German auto manufacturer; however, the recall is part of a much larger global recall for the German luxury automaker. The braking performance issue has been identified as a potential hazard in multiple countries, with approximately 1 million vehicles affected.
Brake Boosters and Corrosion
A combination of prolonged use and exposure to water affects the brake booster by creating an opportunity for vacuum leakage. In a thorough analysis by Mercedes-Benz, it was determined that moisture would be able to wick under the aesthetic rubber sleeve surrounding the brake booster housing unit. In turn, a damaged leaking brake booster increases the potential for brake power reduction, which requires additional force to be applied to the brake pedal to stop the vehicle and, in some instances, lengthens necessary braking distances. The most severe cases of corrosion can result in a complete brake system and pedal failure. Although the brake booster component’s risk potential is evident, the issue has not resulted in any crashes, injuries, or fatalities, according to the Mercedes-Benz. Still, it is best to heed the company’s warning and recall and stop driving your vehicle.
Issue Identification and Next Steps
According to a statement published by the NHTSA, drivers may notice a variation in brake pedal feel or hissing and airflow noises when applying pressure to the pedal before the issue occurs. An authorized Mercedes-Benz dealership must inspect vehicles affected by the recall. The company has offered free towing services for customers with recall-impacted vehicles. It is possible to drive your car if it is not exhibiting advanced corrosion without requiring any further action on your behalf.
An additional test will be conducted on brake boosters on vehicles that exhibit or have the potential for advanced corrosion to determine the brake booster’s effectiveness. Any car which does not pass testing will receive a free replacement brake booster. Vehicles passing the test may be driven for up to two years but returned for repair at the end of that period. If you suspect your vehicle may have experienced brake booster corrosion or is included in the recall and are concerned, it is wise to contact an MBUSA-authorized dealership.
To confirm your vehicle is part of a recall, you may visit the vehicle manufacturer’s website, in this case, Mercedez Benz, and input your vehicle’s 17-digit VIN number. Alternatively, you may choose to verify a recall by entering your vehicle information into the NHTSA website. Contact an experienced bay area consumer attorney if you or a loved one have been impacted by a defective vehicle or recall-related issue.