Mercedes-Benz E-Class is among the models affected by the airbag recall. Picture: Daimler AG

Stuttgart, Germany - Mercedes-Benz is recalling more than a million cars and SUVs worldwide to deal with potential unintended airbag deployments.

Company officials said on Monday the safety recall covered 495 000 vehicles in the United States, 400 000 in Britain, 76 000 in Canada and a few hundred thousand in Germany; they didn’t immediately have a worldwide total. 

Models involved are some A, B, C and E-Class models from 2012 to 2018, as well as some CLA, GLA and GLC sports utility vehicles.

As part of the fix, the company said dealers would add new earthing to the steering components. An electrostatic discharge, coupled with a broken clock-spring and insufficient earthing of steering components, could lead to inadvertent deployment of the driver’s side front airbag.

Warning light

Apparently, a warning light will appear on the dashboard if the clock-spring breaks and if that happens, customers should immediately contact their dealer for the repair because, if the wiring isn’t correctly earthed, the airbag in the steering-wheel boss can go off by itself.

The dealer will replace to clock-spring module in the steering wheel, a job which should take an hour at most, at no cost to the customer. Mercedes-Benz said it would be contacting affected customers and asking them to bring their cars in.

A Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman in the United States said there had been "a handful of instances where drivers suffered minor abrasions or bruises" due to the airbag problem.

No deaths have been reported and the issue is not related to the huge recall of Takata airbag inflators worldwide.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa said it was aware of the recall and if any local models are affected, owners will be contacted.

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