Vehicle speed control and structure issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
When buying a luxury SUV, customers expect to get every penny’s worth out of the vehicle. Since the automaker claims that the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is “a more intelligent SUV,” expectations are insanely high. However, it doesn’t take long to see how dangerous this model actually is now that it is riddled with recalls.
Click on other model year to view more problems: 2021
Most Common Problems
There have been an astonishing 31 complaints and an equal number of recalls for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUVs. They represent problems in 22 of the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) complaint categories.
But it’s not always easy to spot exactly what consumers are finding wrong. It’s easy to see that the largest number of complaints in one category are about the electrical system. You will, though, have to read them all to find out that several of these relate to the 48V battery malfunctions and/or a warning light message that states, Coolant too hot shut engine off.
This is of considerable concern, because it’s become clear that the 48V battery issue affects a range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
2020 Mercedes Benz GLE Complaint Summary
|Number of Complaints
|Vehicle Speed Control
|Unknown Or Other
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
|Back Over Prevention
The ultimate problem with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE model batteries is that they malfunction or fail. Typically, but not always, there’s a warning that states, Coolant too hot shut engine off.
As one complaint states, when this happens, there is nothing you can do. It “is unable to be fixed.” It happens when the vehicle is moving, and can result in the engine shutting itself off.
This particular complaint states that it happened “on a busy street. I was almost hit by another vehicle as I lost power.” His car “barely rolled into a parking lot.” He goes on to say that it could have been “a horrible (fatal) disaster had I been on the freeway.”
He reports that “malfunction”, “see operator’s manual”, and “48V battery see operators manual” all came on in rapid succession before the engine shut off.
Another complaint states that when the 48V battery malfunctioned, he was advised it wasn’t charging. He then got more messages including:
- the car was overheating
- to pull the car over and not drive it
“At that point I lost engine power and was unable to even drive the car up a slight hill.”
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There is a recent technical service bulletin (TSB) posted to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class page that addresses the battery issue. It states that the Xentry battery Test doesn’t match the current state of the battery installed. It suggests what dealerships can do to overcome the problem.
There is another dated December 1, 2021 that points out “functional impairment of 48V on-board electrical system”.
There was also a previous TSB that was shared with NHTSA, as required by law, that mentions software tests. It also recommends replacement of 48V batteries.
Vehicle Speed Control Issues
The vehicle speed control system is designed to keep occupants safe from harm, but in the 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE350 it is simply a disgrace.
Here’s one review on the Edmunds website. “The Early Collision Warning system is a great technological addition to the vehicle, but there seems to still be a lot of “kinks” that need worked out. I’ve had to adjust the sensitivity several times but there is still a high number (5 or 6 instances in 7-8 months) where I’ll be sitting at a red light and all the sensors surrounding the vehicle turn red, and the warning sound blares for no reason. There was also a time when I was driving down a highway and the system registered the shadow on the road from an overhead highway sign as a car in front of me and slammed on the brakes. It was quite scary, as there was a car behind me at the time, but thankfully no accident occurred. Obviously driving across shadows is a regular occurrence, so I’m not sure what caused that particular issue, but that’s the same problem with the other times with the sensors going off when there is not any obstruction there; we were not able to determine what the causation was.”
It turns out that this system is currently being recalled. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V540000 says that there is a software error causing the radar-sensor control unit to malfunction and impair the functionality of the system’s Active Brake Assist. Considering how “intelligent” the GLE350 is supposed to be, it might be safe to assume that all other vehicles are just downright stupid.
However, a majority of the complaints seem to be centered on the structure and manufacturing of the GLE350 itself.
Take a look at this Edmunds review. “The day I picked up my car I got a call to return for service. I had to drop my new GLE back to fix it. A couple of weeks later the rear windshield wiper came off. A month or so later I got a recall. The wires in the engine had been wound too tight. I had to take my car back for 24 hours to fix. Today I got another recall. Apparently the trim on the back windows can come off while driving and cause an accident. When I called to take in my car for the recall I mentioned to the receptionist that this is my 3rd recall. Her reply: yep, we are sending a lot of recalls these days.”
From here, we see numerous recalls that must be addressed. The first one, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V459000, says that there might have been a welding error that leaves a small hole in the floorboard. While this is not acceptable in a luxury vehicle at all, it’s more alarming that because of this defect, water can infiltrate the cabin and cause permanent damage. Talk about driving an expensive lemon.
The air bags also pose a problem, as outlined with NHTSA Campaign Number 19V458000. This states that when the temperature in the cabin gets higher, the front air bags might not deploy or could be delayed. Hopefully, customers never need to use the air bags, but the other recalls indicate that there’s a higher chance of accidents.
For example, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V572000 states that the connection located between the fuel tank and fuel filler pipe might not have been welded correctly. If this is the case, a fuel leak could occur. Wherever there is fuel, there is also a higher chance of a car fire.
In other structure-related recalls, there is NHTSA Campaign Number 19V587000. Within this recall, it is made clear that the air conditioner drain hoses were not installed correctly and water is draining into the passenger compartment. This water could lead to a short within the system and create massive problems. Plus, it destroys the resale value of the luxury SUV.
One final recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V709000, says that the rear door window trim might come detached because of a manufacturing error. This detached part can cause a road hazard and further proves that the GLE350 is falling apart at the seams. Whether the cabin is flooding or parts are falling off, no one wants to drive this “intelligent” SUV any longer.
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