The recall and advisory apply to Mercedes ML-, GL-. and R-class SUVs from the 2006 through 2012 model years. Brake boosters, which provide power assistance to the brakes, can corrode over an extended period of time, especially when exposed to significant amounts of water, according to announcements from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mercedes. Corrosion can allow air to leak into the system, weakening the power brakes. This would cause drivers to have to exert more force to bring the vehicle to a stop and could lead to increased stopping distances.
In “rare cases of very extreme corrosion” sudden hard braking could damage the brake booster leading to brake system failure, according to the advisory. The parking brake is not affected by these issues.
Mercedes will ask owners of vehicles involved in the recall to take their SUV to a dealer for an inspection. If the brake booster does not show corrosion, no further action will be needed, according to NHTSA. SUVs that exhibit brake booster corrosion will undergo further tests to determine if the brakes are functioning normally. In this case, owners of SUVs that have brakes that are functioning well will be asked to return later, possibly up to two years, for re-inspection and possible repairs. If the brakes are not functioning normally, the booster will be replaced immediately.
There will be no charge for any recall-related repairs or inspections and Mercedes will provide free towing of vehicles to the dealer for inspections and repairs. Mercedes dealers can also help arrange alternative transportation for owners whose vehicles need recall-related repair work that cannot be done immediately, the automaker said.