The illuminated Mercedes-Benz star badge option has a problem with its electrical ground connection, according to a recall notice posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The issue could potentially lead to malfunctions of the car’s windshield wipers, left headlight or power steering, which sounds like it could possess your car.
The notice, dated October 9, says that up to 12,799 vehicles are potentially affected by an “incorrectly installed electrical ground,” listing five 2020 Mercedes-Benz models: GLE 350, GLE 450, GLE 580, GLS 450 and GLS 580 SUVs. Here’s more detail from the NHTSA website:
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC. (MBUSA) is recalling certain 2020 GLE 350, GLE 450, GLE 580, GLS 450, GLS 580 vehicles equipped with an optional illuminated Mercedes-Benz star logo in the front grill. The star logo’s electrical ground connection may not be installed properly, potentially affecting the function of other components that share the same ground connection, such as the power steering control unit, wiper motor, and/or the left headlight.
MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will relocate the ground connection, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 8, 2020. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372.
The notice also helpfully drives home the point that “If the power steering, wiper motor, or left headlight malfunction there could be an increased risk of a crash.” Indeed.
I am not going to take advantage of this easy opportunity to wound the often-mocked trend of light-up automaker grille badges too much, a Pimp-My-Ride modification that Mercedes-Benz shockingly championed in marketing and design. But if we’re talking about super-expensive luxury cars for people who might spend house-scale money on a wristwatch, we’re talking about people who may be attracted to the validation of intrusive brand presence.
The U.S. Postal Service took the badges off its Mercedes-Benz vans for appearances, so what does it say that someone might want theirs to shine brighter than anything else on the car? I don’t like to wish ill on people, but this recall is sort of funny in a mice-in-the-palace way for a poor guy like me.