Mercedes recalls vehicles with defective rear axles


Jacksonville, Fla. – Nov. 15, 2017 – Mercedes Benz USA has recalled more than 2,000 vehicles possibly equipped with defective rear axles, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models, including:

  • 2015-2016 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG sedans produced between Nov. 7, 2014 and May 30, 2016.
  • 2015-2017 Mercedes Benz C63S sedans produced between Nov. 4, 2014 and May 30, 2016.
  • 2017 Mercedes Benz C63S AMG coupes produced between Nov. 4, 2014 and May 30, 2016.
  • 2017 Mercedes Benz C63S AMG cabriolet convertibles produced between Nov. 4, 2014 and May 30, 2016.

Mercedes estimates that all of the vehicles named in this recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

The affected models are likely to contain rear-axle mounting flanges prone to fracture. Should this occur, the rear-axle differential may fall out of alignment, leading to driveshaft failure, loss of vehicle propulsion and, finally, stalling. Consequently, the defect poses a serious safety problem to occupants, as it increases the likelihood of an accident. Mounting-flange fracture is especially likely in extreme starting situations – race starts, for instance – that necessitate multiple, short wheel spins and involve relatively high torque peaks, for the feature comes under great stress during these maneuvers.

Mercedes has yet to field reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

In February 2016, Daimler AG, the conglomerate the operates Mercedes and oversees the production of the vehicles under the brand, received a report detailing an instance in which a driver experienced driveshaft failure. Over the next four months, DAG became aware of more field reports outlining similar events. In May, the German automaker initiated an investigation and requested parts for internal analysis.

Over the course of July, DAG engineers attempted to reproduce the problems mentioned in the field reports, testing vehicles equipped with returned parts on slick road surfaces while performing extreme driving maneuvers involving short wheel spins. The car manufacturers analyzed the results of these road tests in September and found that the parts installed on the test vehicles featured mounting-flange fractures. In October, DAG traced the fracturing back to the high torque peaks achieved during road testing and proposed reprogramming the on-board electronic stability control software in the affected vehicles to prevent such occurrences. The company finished the proposed software solution in April 2017 and began testing.

While engineers worked on the updated ESC software, analysts reviewed production records and found that the problem could affect models produced until May 2016, when DAG introduced a new rear-axle assembly. During May and August 2017, engineers finished and validated the improved ESC program. In September, analysts finished compiling a complete list of affected vehicles.

On Oct. 16, DAG launched a voluntary safety recall to address the issue. Dealers were notified in early November.

The Solution

The car manufacturing company has directed dealers to install the new ESC software in affected vehicles free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgement document from the NHTSA. Owners should expect to receive notification via first-class mail in December. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Mercedes customer service personnel at (817) 496-3691. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using its toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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