WASHINGTON — Mercedes-Benz USA is recalling 5,058 2014-'15 Smart Fortwo and 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric coupes and convertibles because of defective steering-gear mounting bolts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A stop-sale order on the vehicles was issued on April 2.
"The affected vehicles have steering-gear mounting bolts which may break during vehicle operation," NHTSA said in its recall summary. "If the steering-gear mounting bolts break, vehicle handling could be affected, increasing the risk of a crash."
Mercedes-Benz USA told federal safety regulators that should one of the two bolts on the cross-member break, drivers would be alerted by "perceptible noises while driving, a potentially tilted steering-wheel position and the activation of the ESP warning lamp."
Parent Daimler AG launched an initial investigation into the problem in January, saying it was based on "individual field reports from outside the U.S." No injuries were reported at that time, according to a document filed with NHTSA.
Mercedes-Benz USA told dealers that consumers may continue to drive their vehicles until the repair has been made.
A Mercedes-Benz USA spokeswoman did not respond immediately to an Edmunds query asking if there are any U.S. injuries, accidents or fatalities linked to the recall.
Edmunds says: Owners should wait for their official recall notice and then schedule a service appointment. But if you have an immediate concern, it's best to contact your dealer now.