The German automaker said in a recall notice posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website that moisture can accumulate and cause corrosion in the cars' brake booster housing units, potentially resulting in a vacuum leak and reduced brake performance.
In rare cases of very severe corrosion, hard breaking could potentially cause mechanical damage to the brake booster, resulting in brake failure and increasing the risk of a crash. A foot-activated parking brake would still work.
Mercedes notes that drivers with impacted vehicles may notice a change in the feel of their brake pedal or a hissing or airflow noise when applying the brake pedal before the issue occurs. To date, there have been no crashes, injuries or deaths related to the issue.
FILE IMAGE - A 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class SUV at a car dealership in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Dec. 28, 2011. Photographer: Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images
To remedy the situation, Mercedes-Benz dealers will remove a rubber sleeve, inspect the brake booster and replace it as necessary. Owner notification letters will be mailed starting May 27.
Vehicles that show advanced corrosion will have an additional test performed to ensure the functionality of the brake booster. The vehicles that pass the additional test may be driven for up to two years but must return for an additional repair. Vehicles that do not pass the test will require a brake booster replacement.
All repairs will be performed free of charge. In the event a repair is necessary and cannot be carried out immediately, an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer will help coordinate towing and an alternate form of transportation for the owner.