Safety officials close Mercedes fuel leak probe

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. safety officials have ended their nearly three-year investigation into more than 280,000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars, after they found that a fuel leak that causes a gasoline odor in the vehicles poses no risk to drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday that it found tiny cracks at the top of fuel tanks that can cause fuel to seep through. The investigation of 2003 to 2008 model year vehicles was opened in January 2012 after owners complained that their cars were filled with a strong gas odor when they refueled their vehicles. Some owners said they found fuel inside their cars, under the backseats, but the NHTSA said it found no evidence of that happening in its investigation.

The NHTSA said it closed its investigation after Mercedes offered to extend its warranty on fuel tank components in 2003 to 2009 model year E-Class vehicles to 15 years and unlimited mileage.

Mercedes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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