German carmaker Daimler AG, who makes Mercedes-Benz vehicles, has issued a recall for more than 744,000 cars in the United States because their optional panoramic sunroofs seem to have a tendency to detach. According to the recall filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the problem specifically affects all trims of these vehicles:
- 2001–2007 C-class,
- 2003–2009 CLK-class,
- 2007–2011 CLS-class, and
- 2003–2009 E-class.
All four vehicles are older models that came with an optional sunroof. In these older models of Mercedes cars, the glue that secures the glass panel to the sliding frame has a tendency to degrade. The problem seems to be that the supplier of these sunroofs, Webasto, failed to apply enough primer coating to the frame during installation.
Mercedes Investigated the Problem Long Ago
Officials with Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) opened an investigation into the problem back in December 2017, after they had received numerous reports of detached sunroofs in locations outside the U.S. and couldn’t immediately come up with an obvious root cause of the defect. Then, finally, sometime after November 2018, they discovered the cause. The carmaker did not specify how many sunroofs have broken or flown off their vehicles, nor have they report any accidents or injuries related to the problem so far.
In late 2019. Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) was found to have mishandled dozens of recalls, in that it failed to notify owners in a timely manner, according to a year-long investigation by the NHTSA. As a result of the investigation and the resultant settlement, Mercedes Benz USA was fined $20 million.
Under the terms of the settlement, the automaker will pay $13 million now and could very well face another $7 million fine if they fail to comply with the terms of the agreement. They are currently under a two-year audit by the NHTSA.
A Troubled History With Recalls
If that’s not enough, Daimler has faced rising costs in recent years, so the company has outlined a restructuring strategy designed to maintain financial health invested more than $500 million on electric cars in 2019. One of the main reasons for that may have by the number of expensive recalls the carmaker has dealt with in recent years, especially those for violating diesel-emission regulations. The company has agreed to pay fines of $971 million for those violations. Some experts are suggesting that the expensive shift toward EVs amid legacy diesel issues and trade disputes may be having an effect on the overall quality of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
For their part in this latest recall, affected vehicle owners will be contacted by Mercedes Benz, and beginning on or after February 14, owners of these vehicles will be instructed to go to their local dealer, who will conduct a free inspection of the sunroof of affected vehicles. However, they will only replace those sunroofs determined by the factory to be faulty. The repair procedure has not yet been published to NHTSA.
If you’d like to know if your car is affected, the owners of 2001 through 2011 Mercedes-Benz sedans can enter their VIN at the Mercedes Benz website to find out if it is involved in the recall. Also, owners can search the NHTSA website and search for possible recalls by entering their 17-character VIN. At the same site, you can also sign up for NHTSA safety alerts. That way, you will know immediately when a recall is issued on your vehicle.
If owners have already paid for repairs to address the issue, they will have an opportunity to seek reimbursement for those repairs from Daimler. Mercedes-Benz USA has said they do not have an accurate count of how many vehicles are involved in the recall worldwide.
Vehicle owners owe it to themselves to follow up on all recall notices as a way to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible. Keep your eye out for vehicle recalls and don’t wait to have them repaired. Your life and the life of a loved one – or even another Texas driver – may hang in the balance.