Airbags can save lives, but they can also hurt people if they deploy at the wrong time. To that end, Mercedes Benz has recalled nearly 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. that contain airbags that could deploy without warning.
Mercedes Benz issued the recall of 495,000 model year 2012 to 2018 A, B, C, and E-class vehicles, as well as CLA, GLA, and GLC vehicles. In all, the recall covers nearly one million cars worldwide.
While the recall has not yet been posted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a rep with Mercedes confirmed the recall with Consumerist, noting the issue was the result of insufficient electrical grounding in certain steering components.
Mercedes says that, in rare instances, if the insufficiently grounded components are exposed to an electrostatic discharge, and the steering column module clock spring is broken (due to wear), it could lead to an inadvertent deployment of the driver airbag.
So far, the company says it is aware of a “handful” of instances in which “drivers suffered minor abrasions or bruises” as a result of the issue.
The company says it expects to notify customers of the recall in the next few weeks as soon as replacement parts are available in the U.S. Dealers will then add new grounding to the steering components.
In the meantime, customers can continue driving the vehicles. However, if an SRS light comes on, the carmaker urges owners to take the car to a dealer for diagnosis.