Advise On faulty product that led to an accident

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Jcombzy

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Messages
9
Location
London, England
Car
C Class Coupe
Hi all,

I am new to this forums and in need of some serious advice.

I have been having issues with the brakes of my car (C Class Coupe) for about 4 - 6 months after I purchased it. The steering wheel and the brake pedal always vibrate when I apply the brake going at speed over 30 Miles per hour.

The issue was reported several times to Mercedes-Benz customer service and appointments (about 5 appointments) were booked with Mercedes – Benz Dartford, Bromley and Orpington. On the last appointment, I was charged for a new rims, 2 tyres, brake pads and brake disc.

Just before the incident, I remember my wife saying she could hear a noise coming from the car, which eventually stopped. This was about 10 -15 minutes into the journey.

On the 20th May 2018 at about 4:30- 5:00am, I, my wife and my seven-month-old baby were driving up Plumstead common road. Then suddenly, I heard a loud noise from the passenger front side of the car. In shock, my first reaction was to tell my wife to hold on to our baby's car seat. Next thing I noticed was that my car was on the right-hand side of the road and then onto the pavement. We were lucky that it was bushes and not a fence, bus stop or wall we hit on climbing on the pavement. I remember the steering wheel was hard and it felt like it was locked to the right and for a few minute it was impossible to gain control of the car, I then remember crashing into a wooden pillar on the pavement, which from the pictures attached, you can see that was what damaged the front of the car. I manged to get the car back onto the road after avoiding a concrete fence and I remember avoiding a few cars at the roundabout before the car suddenly stopped.

I immediately got my family out of the car to a safe distance and then went back to the car to call the emergency services via the SOS call button in the car.

After several complains to MB they decided to carry out an investigation which lead to them saying the below.

'' Thank you for your patience whilst we’ve investigated your concerns.

You expressed a concern with the wheels and rims on your car when your heard a loud noise from the front passenger side and then your car went up on the pavement. The safety of our customers is very important to us, so I very much appreciate you contacting us.

An inspection was arranged to thoroughly examine your car by our Mercedes-Benz Cars UK Special Investigation team. This has now been completed and I am pleased to confirm that no evidence of a material defect were found that would have caused the left front road wheel to fracture around its circumference.

Examination of the mating surface between the hub assembly and the wheel found no evidence of fretting impact marks to suggest the wheel bolts had been left loose prior to the incident.

There was evidence of heavy impact damage on the inner rim section of the wheel assembly with corresponding damage on the tyre. There was a second impact to the inner wheel where it most likely impacted against the steering joint. More significantly, the rim was noted to be 'out of round' (oval in shape). The amount of force required to cause rim ovality, is a strong indicator that rim impacting occurred prior to the fracture.

Further evidence of impact 'curbing' was found on both right side road wheels and the right side steering track arm were seen to be deformed from impact damage.

In summary, there was no evidence of a material defect that would have caused the left front road wheel to fracture around its circumference. There was however, evidence to suggest a significant impact to the left front road wheel at the inner rim. This had caused significant deformity of the wheel and the consequential fracture.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to examine your car, we hope the findings from the inspection carried out help to allay your concerns. I would recommend that you now pass these findings to your insurance company to help you further.

I appreciate this may not be the response you were hoping for. If you are unhappy with this final decision put forward, you are welcome to seek advice with an independent such as The Motor Ombudsman (www.themotorombudsman.org).''


Please I am in serious need to advice from you guys as I am not sure what more I can do here? any advice will be much appropriated.

Thanks,
Jcombzy
 

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Thankfully no one was hurt. That looks to me like it could be a manufacturing issue despite what MB are saying, if I were you I would get an independent inspection and report.
 
The wheels has failed. They must be kidding themselves. Even buckled wheels don’t need split around the circumference.
 
(Copying my post from the other thread:)


How on earth were MB able to determine that the impact damage to the rim and steering rack occured before the rim failed, and not after???

I remember that we had to lose several Comets (and sadly, their passengers) before scientists were able to determine that the fracture on the window frame happened prior to the crash and not after.

At best MB should say that it remains inconclusive if the impact damage caused the accident, or was the result of it.

Sounds unbelievably amateurish.

Also, if the damage is high enough, you might be able to get your insurer to fight this for you.

They will then send their own expert to the MB garage and arrange a joint inspection, where the insurer's expert will ask some very difficult questions regarding how MB can prove when the impact damage was caused.

Only problem is that the insurer will only bother if they stand to save a substantial amount, otherwise it won't be worth their while to fight this for you.
 
PS - in a similar case I was involved in (not motor insurance though) the manufacturer of the faulty electrical equipment that caused a fire, agreed to cover all damages in full without admitting liability.

So while I can (just) understand why MB have difficulty in admitting that their parts and/or technicians are responsible for an incident that only through sheer luck did not end-up in serious injury or worse... I still don't quite understand why at the very least they are not offering to repair your car as a 'goodwill gesture'.

I would definitely insist that they produce whatever evidence they have to support their assertion that the impact damage positively occured before the crash (and not after).
 
I don't know if it's just MB, I suspect that all manufacturers/dealers are now the same, but the tactic seems to be to simply deny everything and hope that the problem goes away.

Their complaints department make all the right noises but then side with whatever the dealer has decided.

As Mark says, I would seek independent engineers advice on this and prepare myself for a long battle if the engineer agrees that MB or their dealer are negligent.

It's a real shame that car dealers have become so underhand but that's the way that I see it in my recent dealings with an MB dealership. Fortunately my problems have been pretty minor really.
 
It might be a good idea to contact Auto Express to see if they want to run a story.
They were instrumental in my case against Jaguar Cars regarding door corrosion on my XF.
 
Get an Independent report (which you will have to pay for).

Insist that it is completed, that is the only way you will get a clear picture of what happened.

If it is just an unlucky occurrence then your insurer should pay for all repairs (so they may well be up for paying for the Independant report or at least contributing, as it may save them thousands in repairs)

If they don’t, and the report does implicate MB, then offer a copy to them at cost.
 
The wheels has failed. They must be kidding themselves. Even buckled wheels don’t need split around the circumference.
As a man who has smashed a wheel in to a kerb, I agree. - An impact normally takes a big chunk out of the rim rather than splitting it down the middle... and what kind of rim splits on impact rather than buckling?
 
Was this one of the rims recently replaced by MB?
 
If wheel failure has occured it likely that it would have occurred at the largely unsupported inner rim as this cross section video shows. It might take metallurgical analysis to get proof if a manufacturing defect is suspected
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This really is quite shocking and I hope you get a satisfactory resolution. To me the extensive damage around the whole circumference of the rim suggests that the wheel had separated and you were then driving on the rim prior to impact with the kerb. An impact with the kerb would surely not cause that damage if the wheel was still intact.

It's a great shame that MB's default position is denial but as others have suggested there is a very strong case to purse it further. An independent assessment would seem to be the way to go.

I don't know whether it's relevant to the current incident but your car (from the headlamp) looks quite new. Just curious, but was it still under warranty when the original steering issues were dealt with and why did you end up footing the bill for new wheels, tyres and brakes?
 
It’s a ‘17 plate so definitely under warranty.
 
Your household insurance may possibly have legal cover included, so worth checking that before you go too much further.
 
@whitenemesis - Yes, the rim that split was replaced by MB 2 weeks before it split and caused the accident. I was also charged for the replacement.
 
I don't know if it's just MB, I suspect that all manufacturers/dealers are now the same, but the tactic seems to be to simply deny everything and hope that the problem goes away.

Their complaints department make all the right noises but then side with whatever the dealer has decided.

As Mark says, I would seek independent engineers advice on this and prepare myself for a long battle if the engineer agrees that MB or their dealer are negligent.

It's a real shame that car dealers have become so underhand but that's the way that I see it in my recent dealings with an MB dealership. Fortunately my problems have been pretty minor really.


Let us not forget all of the obfuscation that Ralph Nader received from the American car Industry when he tried to point out vehicle defects. Read "Unsafe at any speed"
Motor manufacturers are in it for the money.
Similarly Aircraft manufacturers prefer blameing "pilot error" rather than identifying design or manufacturing defects.
 
I have just been in touch with my insurance company and they have agreed to carry out an investigation on what caused the accident. However I had to make a claim before they agreed to this. Hopefully this will be a positive.
 
How on earth were MB able to determine that the impact damage to the rim and steering rack occured before the rim failed, and not after???
This is not a comment on this particular case (I have no idea whether MB's examination was good or bad) but there are well-established techniques for carrying out engineering failure analysis (EFA) that can reliably separate cause from effect. One of the most crucial elements of such analysis is Data Preservation - in other words that as much evidence as possible is collected from the failed equipment before it is disturbed in any way. Once it's been disturbed (by moving or dismantling it - both of which have occurred in this case) subsequent Failure Analysis becomes more difficult and less reliable.

The photo's (presumably taken immediately after the event?) and any contemporaneous records that the OP has will be useful input to any further investigation. The car itself that has been moved and dismantled will undoubtedly yield information, but whether it will lead to an irrefutable cause being identified is another matter.
 

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