As I pulled into my garage tonight the dash display read "Brake Failure - Workshop" just as I parked it. I turned the car back on and it displayed it again just as I put it in gear. The breaks did indeed not work. Is it from snow? Cold weather? Do I really need to get it serviced?

I'll try to let it warm up in the garage for a few hours and try again.

Tags: Brakes, Drive, Electric, display., failure

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In light of the recent recall issues with other car companies, I'd recommend anyone with this brake problem file a report with the NHTSA: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

Manfred Kopisch said:

Jonathan,

Thanks for your reply. My dealer just informed me after 10 days that the car is now repaired and it will cost me  $441.43. I'm completely stumped by this. This seems to be a serious design flaw. I almost had an accident with another car when I got the BRAKE MALFUNCTION warning because my Smart ED was indeed not braking. Every Smart ED owner needs to know about this problem. If anyone spills any fluid anywhere in the car your brakes will most likely at one point not work. When some water was spilled in our trunk we were not aware that the water ran inside the car under the carpet down to the fuse box. It looked like the water had dripped out of the tail gate while driving. Who could have known this? There is no information, no warning from MB about this problem. My dealer makes it sound like our fault and wants to be paid over $400 and we are not sure how safe it is to continue driving this car.

man that stinks I do not let anyone drink inside my smart and will make sure when i transport food and drinks that nothing will spill out thanks for the tip. with the design flaw we should be warned about it

Hi Jonathan, 

Can you email me your repair order please if you're comfortable.

eric.angeloro@mbusa.com

Want to look into this. 

E

I could. It is mostly illegible due to the atrocious hand writing of the technician though.

That's OK. I can have it looked up by RO#.

There is no way Manfred should have to pay for his repair. Clearly, this is a design defect. The fuse box needs an airtight cover.

The car is now for half a month in the shop while MBFS keeps charging for the lease. It took 12 days for the repair and now Customer Care has the case for the second day without any resolution. Randy from Customer Care left yesterday a call-back number during my lunch break. I called him back right away but he didn't answer his phone, so I left two messages during the day on his answering machine. So far he has not returned my calls. While I biked once again to work this morning I was wondering what the outcome of this will be. We will see.

 

I will ping Randy.

Customer Care finally called back. First to hear one more time what happened (I provided that already Wednesday to Customer Care), then a second time to let me know that they talked to the dealer and determined that this is all our fault since we spilled water in the trunk - and therefore it won't be covered under warranty.

Mercedes-Benz seems ABSOLUTELY inattentive to this design flaw and its potential consequences to their customers. In all my conversations with Mercedes-Benz they never see any fault with their design and they don't see any need to add warnings about spills to the manual. I can not understand this, to me that borders on negligence. Do they really want to handle this like GM did handle their ignition problem? Am I completely off here? Anyone who transports grocery shopping in the trunk of a Smart ED NEEDS TO KNOW that a spill will not flow/drop out the tail gate - like it looks to the driver when opening the tail gate and unloading. Instead the fluid will run under the carpet all the way to the fuse box that is located under the foot mat of the passenger seat, corrode the fuses, and cause days/weeks after the spill a BRAKE MALFUNCTION. 

If you are lucky you have to pay $441.43 (my dealer now offers a 10% discount, so I have to pay "only" $390.84). If you are less lucky your end up in a severe accident due to the BRAKE MALFUNCTION.

I'm completely disappointed by the way this was handled and I'm terrified that anyone might be hurt or worse when running into the same BRAKE MALFUNCTION with no warning from Mercedes-Benz about the severe consequences of a spill in a Smart ED.

Hi Manfred, 

I am happy to hear they got back to you today, but was hoping for a better outcome. Considering the nature of the damage and the warranty policy, a 10% discount is a step in the right direction. 

I will be sure to follow-up and ensure your case is shared with Engineering and see about options like edit(s) to the owner's manual and such.  Not many people read the manually as closely as we do so it may require a different approach. I will revisit the manual as well. Of course looking to address the core design above all.

- Eric

Charging me almost $400 for fixing a problem that is caused by a poor design if not mis-design by Mercedes-Benz is not my idea of a step-in-the-right direction.

I appreciate that you will follow-up with engineering. In my opinion this design and the dangers is poses to drivers and passengers of the Smart ED requires an immediate warning to all existing owners and a recall.

In the long run the car needs to be re-designed in a way that

  1. Fluids that are spilled in the trunk are blocked from flowing to the fuse box. There should be a block and drain.
  2. Fluids that are spilled in the front don't affect the fuse box. The fuse box needs to be protected from moisture to avoid corrosion of the fuses
  3. An electronic "moisture warning" on the display that shows when there is too much moisture collected around the fuse box - for example simply from snowy boots day after day where the snow melts and seemingly disappears while driving, but really collects under the mat where the fuse box is - and the fuses are at risk of corroding and failing. Then the moisture could be removed in time before it causes a BRAKE MALFUNCTION

That is of course just my opinion after almost having an accident due to the BRAKE MALFUNCTION caused by this design, when a long ago water spill in the trunk ended up under the passenger foot mat and corroded the fuses that are located there. No one could have known the water went there as it seemingly dripped out the tailgate when driving home. After having gone through that experience I believe it is important to inform all customers, have your engineers think about a way to address the issue and recall the cars for a fix.

this is a very scary problem i am now not allowing anyone to drink in my car, but i never did anyway for fear of discoloring in case of spill

now i worry about transporting  fluid like milk in my car and am looking for a case to fit in my truck to make sure stuff like milk does not roll or spill out 

cause this is a dangerous problem

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