Mercedes recalls new models to address hands-free sensor defect

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Mercedes-Benz is recalling a large cross-section of 2021 and 2022 models equipped with certain options in conjunction with the Active Distance Assist version of its Distronic driver assistance program. Vehicles equipped with the system and a heated leather steering wheel may have a sensor that does not detect when the driver’s hands are removed from the steering wheel, allowing the driver to continue driving independently regardless of the driver’s attention status, without any indication of a problem.

The campaign includes the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, SL-Class, E-Class Coupé/Convertible, CLS-Class, AMG GT 4-door Coupé and EQS, and includes AMG sub-models. For the most part, only 2022 models are covered by the recall, but some 2021 E and S-Class cars were also included.

Due to what Mercedes describes as a manufacturing defect at a supplier, the hands-off detection on the steering wheel may not work as intended, resulting in a driver not receiving a warning message asking them to keep their hands on the wheel, which reports Mercedes-Benz in its defect report to the NHTSA.

In addition, in the event of a medical emergency involving the driver (e.g. driver loses consciousness), the vehicle could continue to drive and the Active Emergency Stop Assist would not activate as intended. In this case, first responders would not be called to the vehicle, which could further increase the risk of injury from the medical emergency,” Mercedes said.

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Admittedly, the scenario described above is a pretty slim possibility, but Mercedes-Benz says the cure for this defect is a simple software update, so it won’t be much of a hassle for owners. Notifications started going out on April 1; owners should be notified of the campaign by the end of May.

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