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Software Error Caused Mercedes to Recall Thousands of SUVs

A Small Package but a Big Problem

A simple software bug found in several series of Mercedes SUVs has caused a high priority recall. Over 40,000 of the defective SUVs have to be brought back in for repairs that will begin mid April. While at first glance it may seem like a software bug doesn’t constitute a measure so drastic as a recall, it turns out the error could make it more likely for the car to crash. Essentially the software was designed to aid the driver during a maneuver, but an overcorrection from a flaw in the code could increase the likelihood of a driver losing control of the vehicle and crashing. This is not fake news. The company themselves released this statement to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so it is certainly a recall Mercedes owners should take seriously.

According to their filing with the NHTSA, these are the current 2020 to 2021 models that are using the flawed software:

  • GLE450
  • GLS580
  • GLE350
  • GLS450
  • GLE580

Please note that not every one of these models has the software issue. It is important to look up potential recalls via their VIN number, or to call the manufacturer if you have doubts or are unsure about the process. In this situation it is certainly best to err on the side of caution, especially considering SUVs are typically used by families as a mode of transportation.

The Details

Thankfully, so far Mercedes has not reported any injuries, deaths, or vehicle damage that has occurred as a result of the software bug. It is their hope that they have caught it time. The software in question is called the Electronic Stability Program. Initially created to help maintain control of the vehicle, the design flaw could cause torque to be applied to the front wheels, which could result in the vehicle veering suddenly in an unexpected direction while steering.

The Good News

To be human is to err. Mercedes has done the ethical thing and approached this issue promptly and clearly, immediately admitting the fault. Their prompt and transparent handling of this event sets an ethic standard for the industry, and anyone who needs this repair on their vehicle can have it done free of charge as early as April 13th.