Software May Allow Sprinters to Roll in Park

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. – Daimler Vans USA, LLC is recalling almost 50,000 model-year 2019-2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans with manual parking brakes and seven-speed automatic transmissions because a potentially faulty software program may allow them to roll even when the transmission selector is in “Park.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Part 573 Safety Recall Report 21V-972, “The defect is a rare and temporary park lock system error that could increase the risk of a vehicle rollaway, but only in the specific circumstance that the driver does not follow the proper, prescribed steps for safe parking (emphasized in the operator’s manual) and instead exits the driver’s seat without setting the parking brake.”

In addition, the report indicated extensive testing resulted in “rare and temporary park lock function error on a small number of vehicles. Yet despite Mercedes-Benz’s intensive investigation, multifaceted testing, analyses, and evaluation, no clear and specific technical root cause for the rare phenomenon has yet been identified and confirmed.”

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Pedal Issue Leads to Sprinter Recall

The company identified an issue which might contribute to the “occurrence of a park lock function error or enhance the related rollaway risk: the “Park Lock Support” (“PLS”) function.”

This function is managed by the ESP control unit – not a part of the transmission – and the company’s lone remedy for the rollaway condition is updating the ESP control unit.

The NHTSA report indicated customer complaints, primarily from delivery companies, initiated the investigation which led to the recall, but it did not mention any accidents or injuries related to the issue.

Mercedes-Benz will recall the 48,400 Sprinters produced between June 05, 2018, and

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Nov. 30, 2020, but believes the affected vehicles number less than one (1) percent of this group.

Dealers are scheduled to be notified beginning Jan. 24th and owners beginning Jan. 31st.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.