The newest ambulances in St John’s fleet have been taken out of service due to a potential safety issue with their brakes.
Sixty-seven of the emergency service’s vans are among 700 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters being recalled nationwide.
St John told 1 NEWS it didn't anticipate a disruption to the service they provide, adding, “we understand there have been no accidents or incidents within Australia or New Zealand associated with the fault”.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the issue is that in certain vehicles produced between 2018 and 2020, it’s possible for brake fluid to leak into the housing of the electric parking brake.
It said: “The leakage on the rear axle caliper could lead to an increasingly extended brake pedal travel and a softer brake pedal feel. A negative influence on the braking effect cannot be ruled out over a longer period of time.”
The safety concerns forced St John to replace its brand new frontline units with vans from its spare contingency fleet and those used at events.
St John Deputy Chief Executive of Ambulance Operations Dan Ohs, said: “We have a variety of types and brands of vehicles in our fleet and the remaining 84 per cent of our 366 frontline ambulance vehicles are not affected.”
He said 40 of the almost 70 vans taken off the road are set to be back in action by the end of next week and the remainder will return to service over the next four weeks.
Mercedes-Benz told 1 NEWS it “will replace the rear-axle brake calipers of affected vehicles with a new version with optimised sealing”.
It will also perform software updates to affected vehicles.