Mercedes Benz has issued an official U.S. recall for certain 2014-2015 model year Smart ForTwo minicars to remedy an issue which could result in a broken steering gear, increasing the risk of a crash.
Detailed in official recall notification paperwork — which Mercedes-Benz first sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about at the start of April — the fault lies with the steering gear bolts on the front crossmember of affected model year Smart ForTwo cars built on the previous-generation Smart 451 platform.
According to Mercedes-Benz, a certain batch of bolts used between January 28, 2014 and July 21, 2014 at the Smart ForTwo production facility “might not meet the endurance requirements” specified in its original design for the vehicles. Following careful analysis the German automaker has determined that the affected bolts were part of a certain production batch provided to it by an outside manufacturer and were not manufactured in-house.
“Should a vehicle have been manufactured containing the affected bolts, these bolts might break during the lifetime of the vehicle if exposed to high loads in combination with vibrations,” the official Part 573 Safety Recall Report notes.
In the case of either one or both bolts failing, the handling of the vehicle could be affected, increasing the risk of an accident or collision, the company notes.
A total of 5,058 Smart ForTwo vehicles are believed to be affected: 4,165 gasoline-powered Smart ForTwo Coupes, 720 Smart ForTwo Electric Coupes, 52 gasoline-powered Smart ForTwo Convertibles, and 121 Smart ForTwo Electric Convertibles. Although 5,058 cars are involved in the recall, Mercedes-Benz estimates around 1 percent of the recalled vehicles will present with the defect at point of inspection.
As a precaution the recall, which came into effect on May 1, will involve replacing all of the steering gear bolts on affected vehicles with new bolts that are within Mercedes-Benz’s original product specifications. As with any other recall, remedial work will be carried out free of charge under warranty at no cost to the owner.
Affected owners will be contacted by Mercedes-Benz USA in the near future to arrange inspection and replacement of the faulty part, but has not yet provided a notification schedule for the recall. In the meantime, concerned owners can contact Smart USA customer service toll-free on 1-800-762-7887. Alternatively, owners can contact NHTSA’s Safety Hotline on 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or visit the SaferCar.Gov website for more information.
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