A file photo of a 2003 Mercedes-Benz E-500. Federal regulators are investigating… (Mercedes-Benz )
Federal safety regulators have begun a probe of fuel leaks in about 250,000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars.
The investigation was launched after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mercedes-Benz received more than 500 complaints from owners about a strong odor of gasoline, mainly after refueling.
The NHTSA said fuel may be leaking from the upper part of the gas tank. No fires or injuries have been reported.
The investigation includes vehicles from 2003 to 2008 model years. The agency is looking into whether the leaks were caused by a 2008 pollution-control recall on the car's fuel filter module.
The NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened this probe based on 20 consumer reports. All of the initial vehicles were E55 AMG models.
"Since opening the investigation ODI has received an additional 350 reports relevant to this investigation. Of those reports, 116 reports are on the E55 AMG model. The remaining 234 reports are on other E-class models (i.e., E320, E350, E500, E550 and E63) which are now included" in the investigation, the NHTSA said on its website.
The investigation will determine whether a recall is necessary, the agency said.
E-Class cars have a starting price of about $51,000.
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