DETROIT — US safety regulators are investigating about 218,000 Mercedes-Benz C-Class luxury cars because the rear lights can fail and even catch fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the probe affects cars from the 2008 and 2009 model years.
The agency says it has 21 reports of the brake lights or turn signal lights dimming or failing to light.
In many cases, the drivers reported a burning smell or melting of electrical parts. Some also reported smelling smoke or seeing burn marks in the trunks, and one reported small flames coming from the rear lamp connector when the trunk was opened.
The problem has not caused any injuries. Investigators will look into whether it is widespread enough to warrant a recall.
A company spokesman said Monday that he was checking into the matter.
In a complaint filed with agency in February, an owner said that while the car was being driven at night, dashboard warning lights came on, indicating tail light failures on both sides. The driver pulled over and opened the trunk to find it full of smoke, with the smell of burning plastic.
In another case, from June 2012, a C-Class owner reported that the right rear tail light wiring harness had caught fire and melted.