Mercedes-Benz Recalls 2012 CLS550s for Hood-Opening Problem
Mercedes-Benz is voluntarily recalling a small number of 2012 model year CLS550 and CLS550 4MATIC sedans because the cars’ hoods can open accidentally while a person is driving. Suzanne Kane writes for The Car Connection that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the number of cars potentially affected is 23, which were built during a 13-day period between December 1, 2011, through December 13, 2011.
The problem stems from bolts holding the hood’s secondary latch striker that may not have been tightened to specification.
Over time, the bolts fastened with reduced torque may loosen, thus increasing the possibility of accidental hood opening if the primary locking mechanism fails, or if the hood is not sufficiently closed.
Kurt Ernst writes for Motor Authority that the production error was caused by “inaccurate technical documentation on the assembly line, where an improper torque value was defined in the assembly instructions.”
Edmunds.com reports: “If this problem combines with a failure of the primary hood lock or if the hood is not properly closed, the hood could open while driving, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.” Mercedes-Benz told federal safety regulators the drivers of these affected cars will be made aware of the hood-opening problem by a warning message in the instrument cluster saying that the hood is not properly shut, Edmunds.com notes.
The recall is expected to begin in December, when Mercedes-Benz dealers will retighten the bolts. For more information, owners can call Mercedes-Benz at 1-800-367-6372. Owners can also contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov. They should then reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V533000.
In other Mercedes news, Matt Campbell reports for Stuff.com/nz that in 2012, Mercedes-Benz will begin selling $200,000+ self-driving flagship limousine. He writes that the limo, which is “12 months away” from going on sale, will still require a driver to pay attention and take control when needed.
The car will be able to drive itself through a network of 26 cameras, radars, and sensors, reducing driver fatigue and potentially avoiding accidents, Campbell writes.
Although the car will not join a platoon of cars in a queue, it will be able to maintain a set distance to the car in front of it by using a radar-based cruise control system called Distronic Plus, Campbell writes. And it has steering assistance, which means it can take control of the steering with the goal of following the car in front.
If the driver does not keep his or her hands on the wheel at all times, however, a torque sensor in the steering column, which monitors pressure on the wheel, will trigger the dash that will flash and beep warnings, and then cancel the steering functionality if the driver doesn’t react, Campbell writes.
He quotes Mercedes-Benz functional safety expert Dr. Heike Schonerstedt:
‘We are also on the way to accident-free driving,’ she said.
‘We are working very hard on functions that help to prevent accidents and of course to mitigate them if it’s not able at the moment to prevent them.’