Feds study batteries on Mercedes C class

Other new NHTSA investigations
1997-98 FORD EXPEDITION
Problem: Stabilizer links break, causing increased body roll.
Complaints: 14.
Vehicles: 437,000.

1995-99 CHEVROLET TAHOE AND GMC YUKON AND 1999 CADILLAC ESCALADE, ALL WITH 117.5-INCH WHEELBASE AND 60/40 SPLIT FOLDING SECOND SEAT
Problem: Seat belt buckle anchor detaches from seat frame.
Complaints: One, including a report of one injury.
Vehicles: To be determined.

1996 TOYOTA CAMRY IN COLD-WEATHER STATES
Problem: Left front coil spring breaks, causing loss of vehicle control and danger of punctured tires.
Complaints: Four.
Vehicle population: 71,000.

WASHINGTON - Federal safety officials have opened an investigation involving 64,000 1998-99 Mercedes-Benz C-class cars because of complaints about exploding batteries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is aware of five incidents involving the trunk-mounted batteries.

One person was injured by flying acid and debris in one of the incidents. Battery failure also is a safety hazard because the sudden loss of engine power affects brake and steering operations, the agency said.

If NHTSA determines that a defect caused the explosions, the manufacturer would be expected to recall the vehicles for repairs.

The agency said in its monthly report on defect investigations that it closed two cases because manufacturers had agreed to do recalls and closed three others because there was insufficient evidence that defects exist.

The cases closed for insufficient evidence had been opened because of complaints about:

  • Post-collision fuel leaks in 1996-99 DaimlerChrysler minivans.

  • Steering shaft binding in 1997-98 Dodge Stratus, Plymouth Breeze and Chrysler Cirrus and Sebring cars.

  • Overheating stop lamps in 1997-99 Chevrolet Malibus.

    Cases closed by recalls had been opened because of complaints about broken springs in 1995-98 Ford Windstars and failing blowers in 1995-99 Ford Contours and Mercury Mystiques and Cougars.

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