If the electrical connector that supplies power to the tail lamps melts, it could prevent the cars’ brake lights from functioning.
NHTSA says it has received 402 complaints from owners, five of which included vehicle fires and one of which resulted in an injury. Mercedes-Benz also says that over 23,000 warranty claims have been filed as a result of the issue, but no recall has been required. Reports suggest that the problem becomes more prevalent as the vehicles get older. At this point, many of the affected vehicles are well out of their original warranty period.
The investigation means that NHTSA’s engineers will analyze the fault to determine whether a recall should be issued. NHTSA has not issued a timeline as to when it expects a resolution to the problem.
The C-Class, Mercedes’ smallest sedan sold during that period, was redesigned for the 2008 model year and refreshed for the 2012 model year. An all-new model is set to be unveiled at next month’s Detroit auto show before going on sale in mid-2014 as a 2015 model.