Mercedes Benz's BlueTec Diesel Blues


Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of yet another voluntary safety recall for 6,872 of its darling BlueTec diesel models due to potential fire hazards.

Leaky Diesel Luxury Car No Bueno

The automaker already recalled 2,297 2011 diesel models in November 2010 thanks to improperly lubricated O-rings leading potentially to leakage of their fuel filters. The current recall also centers around faulty O-rings:

“Due to variations in the composition of the raw materials used by the sub-supplier, the O-ring used to seal the fuel heating component in the diesel fuel filter may have a lower material compression property. In combination with a higher tolerance range in the injection molded mating surface, these O-rings may lead to leakage from the fuel filter around the heating component. As a result, diesel fuel may be deposited onto the highway and create the potential for an accident.”

Vehicles being recalled include E-Class models produced from July 2010 to February 2011; GL-Class models produced from March 2010 to March 2011; M-Class units built from January 2010 to March of 2011, R-Class models produced from April of 2010 to April of 2011, and the much-anticipated 2012 S-Class Sedan.

The recall officially begins in November, when owners will return their vehicles to their local dealers for inspection. Should there be a problem, MB will replace and repair the cars free of charge (the owners will, no doubt, be given a cushy loaner while waiting).

Mercedes Benz Not Alone

Is this a pattern emerging for clean-diesel engines cause for a scare? These recalls come on the heels of the Volkswagen Group’s major recall to the tune of over 160,00 models fitted with its 2.0-liter clean-diesel TDI engines earlier this year.  Mercedes’ recall calls for a fraction of this; and although “accident” is an ugly word, Mercedes-Benz estimates less than 1% of the recalled vehicles will have an issue. And it should be noted that every major auto manufacturer has recalls on an annual basis for issues ranging from faulty door handles to steering wheels popping off.

Still, in America diesel fuel is often relegated to trucks and industrial use. This series of setbacks, however minor, is a sensitive hiccup for any company pushing diesel engines. With General Motors, Mitsubishi, and Chrysler planning to bring diesel models to America, any perceived fault with these high-efficiency engines could have ramifications across the industry. We can only hope that the adage “there is no such thing as bad publicity…” holds true, and that Mercedes successfully modifies its production process before the E300 BlueTec Hybrid sedan comes Stateside.

Source: The Detroit News


Frankie Berti

I'm a Floridian transplant enjoying the farm to table culture that's flourishing in northeast Ohio. I am dedicated to supporting local food networks- which means I like getting my hands deep in compost, and I love shopping at local farmer's markets in small towns or taking my business to the many wonderful, independent restaurants in Cleveland. My goal is to connect communities with local, sustainable products and all the fun, important, green events going on in their areas.