Like they say, where there's smoke there's fire. After opening an investigation this past July on the 2008-2009MY Mercedes-Benz C-Class over 21 complaints alleging tail lights failures that could lead to fire due to shorts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is upgrading and expanding its probe to include 252,867 C-Class cars from the 2008-2011MY.
The government agency said that in its expanded probe, it looked into 114 complaints, among which, there were five reports alleging fire including one injury allegation because of this issue.
"ODI has received a total of 114 complaints reflecting an ongoing and increasing trend," said NHTSA. "In each report, one or both rear light assemblies fail completely (i.e., all lights housed within the assembly extinguish, including the stop, tail, and turn signal functions) when the electrical ground connection is compromised as a result of high resistance and subsequent thermal over-heating."
Mercedes-Benz told the agency that the over-heating of the ground wire is "caused by corrosion between the connectors in the ground circuit to the tail light".
We'll keep an eye on the issue and bring you any updates as soon as they come in.