Detroit - Mercedes-Benz is recalling about 1-million cars and SUVs worldwide because, says the automaker, a starter part can overheat and cause fires.
The recall covers certain C-Class, E-Class and CLA cars and GLA and GLC SUVs, all from 2015 through 2017, including nearly 308 000 in the US.
In February 2015, Mercedes-Benz SA recalled 2200 units to fix a problem "with an engine compartment seal that could ignite".
51 fires worldwide
In March 2017, the German automaker reported 51 fires worldwide, with about 30 in the United States. The company has no reports of any injuries.
Mercedes said in US government documents released Friday (March 3) that if for some reason the engine and transmission won't turn over, a current limiter in the starter motor can overheat from repeated attempts to start the vehicles. That can cause the current limiter to overheat and melt nearby parts.
'Fuse installation to prevent problem'
Mercedes began investigating the problem last June after getting field reports of "thermally damaged" current limiters.
Owners will be notified this month and again when replacement parts are available in July. It will take about an hour for dealers to install another fuse to prevent the problem. The repair will be done free of charge.
Are South African owners affected?
Mercedes-Benz South Africa told Wheels24: "Our technical team is investigating with our international colleagues regarding the number of vehicles in SA that are affected. As soon as we have the breakdown of any vehicles affected in SA we will inform you immediately."
If affected, which models will be recalled locally?
Mercedes-Benz SA says: "Regarding the launch of the campaign for the SA market, Daimler AG has discovered that on certain A-/B-/C-/E-Class as well as CLA, GLA and GLC vehicles the starting current limiter could overload under unique conditions during the starting procedure.
"In situations where the vehicle’s engine is damaged and cannot crank (e.g. when the engine has hydrolocked), and the customer repeatedly attempts to start the vehicle, a very high electric current can flow through the starting current limiter causing it to overheat."
The statement goes on to say: "As our top priority is the safety of our customers, we will install an additional fuse in the electrical line to the starter, as a precautionary measure. This is expected to take approximately one hour to complete and will be performed free of charge."
This story will be updated when more information is received from Mercedes-Benz SA.
Additional reporting by Sean Parker