Mercedes-Benz issued a voluntary recall on diesel-powered versions of five models. Model year 2011 M-Class and GL-Class SUVs, E-Class sedans, and R-Class vehicles are included. Model year 2012 S-Class automobiles are also included in the recall. A potential fuel leak at the fuel filter could spill diesel fuel onto the roadway or ignite in the presence of a spark.

In an earlier recall, leaks from the fuel filter were blamed on improper lubrication of the filter's O-ring. After continuing to receive complaints of fuel leaks from customers in Europe, Mercedes-Benz identified the material composition of the O-ring as responsible. Mercedes and their suppliers have addressed the production process to eliminate the problem. Dealers will replace the faulty diesel fuel filter if necessary at no charge.

While the recall may affect 6,872 diesel-fueled vehicles total, Mercedes-Benz estimates that less than 1 percent of these will actually contain the defect.

Because the subjects are newly-manufactured vehicles, some units included in the recall may still be on dealers' lots. Mercedes-Benz advised dealers in a letter earlier this month that affected vehicles in their inventories should be verified and should not be sold or leased until the recall campaign is launched.

The recall campaign is expected to begin late next month, with notifications sent to owners about one week after launch. More information is available by contacting Mercedes-Benz at 1-800-367-6372 or by searching safecar.org for campaign ID 11V496000.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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