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Mercedes-Benz issues ‘Do Not Drive’ recall for 292,000 cars

The automaker warns that a moisture problem could cause the vehicles' brakes to fail

Mercedes-Benz vehicle front
Photo (c) tomeng - Getty Images
Consumers who are driving older Mercedes-Benz GL, ML, and R-Class vehicles are being told to park them until an important safety issue can be resolved.

The Do Not Drive order was voluntarily issued for more than 292,000 model-year 2006 to 2012 cars because of a problem that could cause the brakes to fail, according to a consumer alert posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

The issue is so dangerous that the automaker will accommodate owners who don’t feel confident driving their cars to the dealership for repairs. The company said it will send a tow truck to transport the affected vehicles to the nearest dealer.

Corroded brake boosters

The problem lies in potentially corroded brake boosters. The company says corrosion could severely affect braking capability, increasing the risk of a crash.

“After extended time in the field and in conjunction with water exposure, the corrosion might lead to a leakage of the brake booster,” the company said in its alert. “Leakage in the brake booster could lead to reduced braking power and an increase in the brake pedal forces required to slow the vehicle and/or to potentially increased stopping distances.”

The company said drivers may notice a change in the feel of the brake pedal and/or hissing/airflow noises when applying the brake pedal. That could be a sign that there is corrosion in the brake booster.

Mercedes-Benz engineers are also concerned that a particularly strong or hard braking maneuver could cause mechanical damage to the brake booster in rare cases of very severe corrosion. Should that happen, they say the connection between the brake pedal and brake system would fail. 

“In such a rare case, it would not be possible to slow or stop the vehicle via the service brake,” the company warns.

What to do

Owners of model year 2006 to 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL, ML, and R-Class models should immediately determine if their vehicle is part of the recall. The easiest way to do that is to enter the car’s vehicle information number (VIN) into the NHTSA recall database located here.

Owners who have additional questions can contact Mercedes-Benz USA by calling 888-327-4236.

Once at the dealership, recalled vehicles will be inspected. Those that do not show advanced corrosion may continue to be driven with no further action. 

When technicians find advanced corrosion, they will run additional tests to ensure that the brake booster will function. Vehicles that pass the additional test may be driven for up to two years but must return for an additional repair. 

Vehicles that do not pass the additional test will require a brake booster replacement, which will be done at no charge.  

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