Early March 2023, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van owners have a reason to fume. 52,993 van owners received an email notification that their favorite outdoor vehicle can catch fire and should be immediately recalled.
How Severe Is The Recall This Time?
Vehicle recalls are not new. Automotive manufacturing history is rampant with bank-breaking recalls for example the infamous 2016 VW “Dieselgate” Scandal and the 2017 Takata Airbag Recall leading to Takata’s bankruptcy.
However, none seems deadlier than the 1978 Ford Pinto recall where a rare collision could cause a fuel-tank puncture. This, in turn, would cause fuel to enter the passenger compartment and ignite. The faulty manufacturing led to 27 reported deaths, all because the manufacturer estimated the fixing cost would shoot up the car price by $11!
Leaked internal memos revealed that the automaker had even estimated annual deaths and the per lawsuit costs, but still went ahead with releasing the car to the market.
Compared to such a lack of consideration for people’s safety and lives, the current Mercedes Recall has come to light long before any damage has been done.
Are You At Risk?
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a popular commercial van for its versatility, durability, and spaciousness. But if you own the 2019 and 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van or the Freightliner Sprinter VS30 you should pay very close attention to your email box. Even if no notification has reached you, don’t wait for even a second and give Mercedes-Benz USA a call. You may even take the van to your local Mercedes Dealer for a quick inspection.
However, if your vehicle has been produced post-February 2020 there is a little chance that you are at risk. Mercedes implemented an improved fuse layout since then to rectify the overheating issue.
Still, if you are concerned, you must not hesitate in getting the inspection.
What’s The Issue?
So, you do own the 2019 and 2020 Mercedes-Benz-Freightiner Sprinter Van. Then keep an eye on whether the blower motor or the wiring harness is getting too heated up.
Basically, the van’s engine doesn’t directly have a problem; it is the HVAC system that’s causing the overheating issue – precisely the blower motor.
The vehicle manufacturer suspects that some vehicles might have a blower motor with an inadequate circuit. This could be causing the wiring harness to overheat. Therefore, the manufacturer has recalled close to 53K vans for replacing the faulty harness free of charge.
Should You Be Worried?
The overheating wire harness could be a potential cause of vehicle fire. Therefore, you mustn’t take the issue lightly. However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet reported any actual vehicle-fire till now. However, Mercedes has reported 11 thermal events to date.
Owing to the reports, Mercedes doesn’t want to take any chances with people’s lives, therefore it has initiated the recall.
If you have received an email somewhere around April 14th, you should definitely go and get your vehicle checked up. If you have not received any email, you might still be at risk, so give the Mercedes helpline a call to verify whether your vehicle is within the 53K affected models.
However, even if it’s not, you can still go to the local dealer and request an inspection because there could be more affected models.
What To Do If You’re On The Road?
It is a fair possibility that you have taken the van on an adventure and received the news while you’re still miles away from a Mercedes Dealer.
If that’s the case, you should try to locate the closest dealer and head there for an inspection.
As a precautionary measure directly released from Mercedes, operating the front blower in manual mode will reduce the fire risk. So, avoid using the Auto-Mode till your vehicle is inspected.
Further, avoid using maximum blower speed or extreme temperature settings to prevent overheating. If you smell any unusual odor, switch off the blower immediately, and give the vehicle a rest.
What To Expect Post-Inspection?
If your vehicle is affected, the dealer will do the following free of charge:
- Replace the 25-amp fuse (Part number N000000004207)
- Replace the fuse supply line
- Relocate the fuse within the fuse box to meet the new fuse layout
It’s recommended that you don’t try to fix the fuse yourself.
Is There An Aftermath Action?
Till now, NHTSA has not ordered Mercedes to stop the sale of the Sprinter van. The Base Cargo variant is available for purchase at $43,500 and soon, the electric variant – eSprinter is also set for launch.