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Smart recalls fortwo to address fires

by Justin King

An insulation mat within the engine compartment can deform and contact the exhaust system.

Following an NHTSA investigation, Smart has issued a safety recall for nearly 43,000 fortwo cabrio and coupe vehicles from the 2008-2009 model years.

The NHTSA recently confirmed that MY2008 fortwo vehicles experienced a significantly higher frequency of insurance claims for fire damage.

Parent Daimler has since concluded that a rear insulation mat is prone to deform, deteriorate or loosen over time. In some cases, it can contact hot exhaust components.

"This could lead to an ignition of the insulation mat and possible fire in the engine compartment," the company wrote in its recall filings.

Notably, the problem appears to be related to the external catalytic converter used in US-specification vehicles. The insulation reaches much higher temperatures than in a European equivalent.