The Top 10 Smallest Recalls of 2013

2012ChevroletVoltRecalls

We recently counted down the top 10 biggest recalls reported by KickingTires in the first half of 2013. This week, we're out to show it's not always size that counts.

As we demonstrated last time out, among the many millions of vehicles for which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls each year, individual actions themselves can number in the millions — as was the case when Chrysler agreed to inspect and repair 2.7 million Jeep SUVs due to a potential fuel-system problem that could cause fires in rear-end collisions.

At the other end of the spectrum are recalls so small — single-digits-small — that in some cases it might be quicker for us just to shoot an email to the individual vehicle owners than it is to report it. Don't get us wrong; safety recalls are serious business and have the potential to save many lives each year. That said, some households have as many cars parked in their driveway right now as are affected by some recalls.

Without further ado, the smallest recalls reported by Cars.com so far in 2013 are:

By Matt Schmitz | July 29, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Mb-slk
Mercedes-Benz is recalling 71 model-year 2013 versions of the SLK250 and SLK350 roadsters due to a problem with the airbag occupant classification system, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Oct. 9 through Nov. 20, 2012; check your vehicle's build date on driver-side doorjamb sticker. In these cars, the OCS incorrectly classifies a very light person as being a child and deactivates the airbag. This increases the risk of injury to the passenger in the event of a crash.  

Mercedes-Benz will start notifying all affected owners this month, and dealers will replace the passenger side seat cushion and the OCS for free. Owners can call Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By Jennifer Geiger | June 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

Cars.com Reviews the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Since its debut in 1996, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class has been a model that looks better than it drives, according to Cars.com Industry Analyst Kelsey Mays. The third-generation 2012 SLK-Class is certainly sportier than its predecessor, but it still can’t keep up with the BMW Z4 or the Porsche Boxster, Mays says.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Review

By Colin Bird | November 30, 2011 | Comments (0)

Cars.com Podcast: 2012 Honda Civic Si, 2012 Nissan Altima, 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK

2012HondaCivicSi
Our podcasts are often a mixed bag in terms of discussing various cars for very different buyers. That holds true with this podcast where editors Joe Wiesenfelder, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley talk about a high-power compact coupe, mainstream family sedan and luxury hardtop roadster.

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By David Thomas | November 28, 2011 | Comments (1)

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG: First Look

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG

  • Competes with: BMW M3 convertible, Audi TTS roadster
  • Looks like: AMG name is again a part of the SLK lineup
  • Drivetrain: 415-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 engine with a seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Early 2012

Mercedes-Benz has revived its high-performance AMG trim (absent for the 2011 model year) for the redesigned 2012 SLK-Class.

The 2012 SLK55 AMG features the only V-8 powertrain offered on the roadster. Like the four-cylinder and six-cylinder, which feature new fuel economy measures, the new V-8 is also more fuel efficient and powerful than its predecessor.

The 415-horsepower 5.5-liter V-8 produces 60 hp more than the last generation’s 5.4-liter V-8. That’s achieved through a high-pressured fuel-injection system and high compression ratio compared with the outgoing model. The 2012 model can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (three-tenths of a second faster than the previous generation) and can reach a top speed of 155 mph.

By Colin Bird | August 22, 2011 | Comments (6)

Convertibles and Gas Mileage: What Does it Cost to Put the Top Down?

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Jealous of that top-down roadster in the next lane? Take heart: Its driver will probably pay for it at the pump. Put the top down in a convertible and gas mileage takes a hit at cruising speeds — the result of an open cabin that’s anything but aerodynamic. The exact reduction is open for debate: One test found a slight mileage improvement at low speeds with the top down, followed by a mileage decrease at medium and high speeds.

I logged 100 miles of steady highway cruising in one of our test cars, a 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350, to investigate. According to the trip computer, losing the SLK’s folding hardtop cost 4.4 mpg — 27.3 versus 31.7 mpg. That’s significant, but probably not enough to deter any SLK driver from going topless on a nice day. (With the car, that is.)

Still, a 14% hit in gas mileage seems significant. I consulted James Smith, former president of the Society of Automotive Engineers, to find out why. Smith currently teaches mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of West Virginia.

“The [auto] designers are making every attempt they can to make the air flow smoothly up the windshield, across the roof and down the back deck,” Smith told me. “And when you remove that roofline you have more area there; more room for the air to get recirculated back in.”

Not every top-down scenario is created equal.

By Kelsey Mays | July 26, 2011 | Comments (5)

New Mercedes V-8 Increases Power, Efficiency

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A new Mercedes-Benz V-8 debuting in the 2012 SLK55 AMG later this year will be a prime example of having your cake and eating it too. Power is up significantly over the preceding V-8, and thanks to new gas-saving technologies, Mercedes says mileage increases by around 30% over the 2010 SLK55 AMG. That car returned mileage of 14/22 mpg city/highway.
 
The 5.5-liter V-8 has 60 more horsepower than the previous SLK55 AMG for a total of 415 hp. It’s similar to the 518-hp, twin-turbo V-8 found in the 2012 CLS63 AMG, but loses those turbochargers in favor of natural aspiration.
 
Cylinder deactivation and direct injection are two added features used to increase gas mileage on the new engine. Mercedes calls its cylinder deactivation "AMG Cylinder Management," though the feature is used elsewhere in the industry under different names. During light driving conditions, four of the eight cylinders are shut down by closing the valves and cutting the cylinders’ fuel and ignition supply. The feature in the SLK55 will only activate if the efficient Controlled Efficiency (C) driving mode is turned on by the driver.
 
A stop/start function like that found in the CLS63 AMG is paired with the 5.5-liter on the new SLK55 AMG. It automatically shuts off the engine when the car is stopped to save gas. The feature is most common in hybrids and rarer in non-hybrids. It’s especially rare in performance cars like the SLK55 and CLS63.

The SLK55 AMG with 5.5-liter V-8 debuts this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

By Joe Bruzek | July 22, 2011 | Comments (2)

What Does This Button Do?

Slkbutton
 
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 hardtop convertible hides its controls for the top’s operation in a nifty command pod on the center console. Opening the pod reveals two buttons. One button’s duty is clear — to open and close the top — while the other button looks like a window control. But there are window switches on the armrests already, so what does this one do?
 
Could this flying windows symbol be for the built-in Microsoft Windows 3.1? That would be sweet. I haven’t played Minesweeper in years. 

By Joe Bruzek | July 21, 2011 | Comments (4)

Ch-Ch-Changes: Mercedes-Benz 2012 Lineup

SLS AMG Roadster For the 2012 model year, Mercedes-Benz has upgraded most of the powertrains in its lineup with more fuel-efficient transmission and engines, including a new four-cylinder and start/stop technology on some models.

Many models also get a new audio head unit, which has a 5.8-inch display, Bluetooth audio streaming, phonebook download functions, album cover art display and a USB port. We’ll denote which models get the new audio system with *new radio unit. There’s also a new 7-inch touch-screen navigation system available on most models, which includes real-time weather updates, three-dimensional city models and a 10-gigabyte music player.

Continue reading below for more details:

By Colin Bird | May 12, 2011 | Comments (1)

Redesigned 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK, CLS Priced

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLSMercedes-Benz revealed pricing for its redesigned SLK-Class Roadster and CLS-Class four-door coupe this week. The 2012 SLK350 will start at $54,800 and the 2012 CLS550 at $71,300.

The redesigned 2012 SLK350 costs $1,500 more than last year’s SLK350. That price gets you two large color displays, leather upholstery, real wood trim, bi-xenon adaptive headlamps and 18-inch wheels. The SLK350 is powered by a 302-horsepower V-6 mated to a seven-speed automatic.

Significant changes coming to the new SLK350 include an all-new interior made of real aluminum trim, new dash materials and a new flat-bottom steering wheel. New standard safety features include a drowsiness detection system, which monitors the attentiveness of the driver.

By Colin Bird | April 27, 2011 | Comments (1)

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