Last night when I wrote my little diatribe, I was pretty upset, particularly after reading MB DNA's links, as well following the link that SteveVillatoro provided. In the short term, my Smart car will be parked back in the driveway, far enough away from the garage doors that it can't set fire to the house. We're leaving on a two week cruise in March, and I can't be burdened by the fear that this car will catch fire for the two weeks that I'll be away. I have a history of buying quirky cars, usually very small ones, which I prefer, but this is the first time that I ever owned one that, it turns out, could do great harm while parked (or while motoring along, even worse). I recognize that "could" is the operative word. If I wanted to be safer about it, I guess I could have the SAM unit replaced, but even I realize that spending another $1,000+ on a car that will sell for $6-7,000 if I'm lucky is nuts. If Diamler had just done a recall on these cars that would cover mine, manufactured in October '08 and sold as an '09, I'd be happy. It's a shame, as my car looks new inside and out.
Alsrac and jimvw57, I'm so sorry that this happened to you, as well as the myriad others that were listed on the link that Steve provided.
jimvw57, It's true that other cars also experience fires. I remember seeing more than a few air-cooled VW Beetles that had burned on the side of the road over the years. My own brother watched as his twenty year old Audi hatchback burned to the ground on the side of one of Houston's busiest freeways some years ago. Reading all the accounts on Steve's link makes me increasingly angry that Diamler has failed to recall earlier cars, and that they seem to care so little about Smart owners. I have always had great service (at a price, admittedly) from Mercedes/Smart of San Francisco, but I can only wonder how much longer they will service our cars, now that ICE cars have been dropped. I do think that one reason they treat Smart owners well, is that they recognize that we may trade up to a Mercedes. I would consider that, if my step-son's shop didn't have a fairly constant traffic in German car owners coming in for service and repairs that are simply unheard of in their scope and frequency among Japanese brands. We hear all about German engineering as though it was the greatest thing ever, but cost and longevity-wise, they just can't match the freedom from worry of Toyotas, for example. I get that many Japanese cars feel more like appliances. I get that most huge leaps forward in technology in cars come out of Germany, but it doesn't seem to become less expensive to maintain until Japanese car makers get their hands on it and make it reliable. On the other hand, German cars are so nice and fun to drive, at least when they're under 4-5 years old. Then, in my experience, is when they suddenly need a new radiator, water pump and thermostat (and a few more odds and ends) at 45,000 miles. I really hated when I read in the BMW Roundel magazine that this is normal, to be expected service on a car with only 45,000 miles. Read that while I was waiting for service at an independent shop that charged about a third of factory service. That was on a 5-series, as well as my Z3.