Mercedes to recall Smart cars due to engine fire risk

This Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 file photo shows the Mercedes logo in the grill of a Mercedes 2016 GLE SUV.
This Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 file photo shows the Mercedes logo in the grill of a Mercedes 2016 GLE SUV. –The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Under pressure from the U.S. government, Mercedes-Benz is recalling nearly 43,000 tiny Smart cars because the engines can catch fire.

The recall covers the Smart for two cabrio and coupe cars in the U.S. from the 2008 and 2009 model years. It comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation in 2016.

Mercedes says in government documents that an insulation mat can deform, deteriorate and loosen over time. That can allow it to touch hot exhaust system components and catch fire.

The government found 27 reports of engine fires in the cars with one injury.

Dealers will replace the rear insulation mat with an improved one. The recall is expected to start in July.

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