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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans

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  • My mother bought her E350 just last month. On Thursday, her car suddenly was unable to exceed 15mph. It had to be towed to the dealership.

    When the customer service rep test drove the car, he told my mother that it was a problem with the transmission. The dealer gave her a loaner car to drive until her car could be fixed.

    On Friday, at the end of the business day, the dealership phoned my mother and told her that one of the service mechanics would be *taking the car home with him for the weekend*.

    The service mechanic that would be taking her car lives 40 miles from the dealership in an area of L.A. that I *really* would NOT be comfortable parking a $50k car in. What's the deal? Is this NORMAL??

    Firstly, I take issue with a new car, only a month owned, already having problems. But above and beyond that, I find it incredibly dodgy for a mechanic to take someone's car off the premises and keep it at their home for the weekend!

    The dealership assured my mother that it's par for the course and they are insured, should anything happen to her car; however, if something DID happen to her car, it would pay for repairs, not replace her car. Therefore, her new car would become a salvage.

    Does anyone have any advice? Is it common for the 2006 E350 to have transmission problems? Is it a common and acceptable procedure for a mechanic (at the MB dealership, mind you) to take the client's car home with them?

    Thanks.

    (also cross-posted to the Problems & Solutions board)
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    No way should one of the mechs be taking the car home, whether he lives in the slums or Beverly Hills. If the dealer feels that they need to test drive the car in order to ascertain what is wrong, then the time to do this in regular business hours from the dealership. As far as your tranny problems go, unfortunately these do not seem that uncommon with the E350. Several other Merc boards have lots of folks reporting similar issues. I love the style, size and performance of the E350, but the relentless troubles with the E in general and now the E350 have dampened by enthusiasm to trade my BMW for one.
  • My mother picked up her car today. The service department claims the mechanic only took her car overnight (drove it to his home Friday and returned it Saturday), which is simply *fascinating* to me, considering the mechanic put 150 miles on the car. In addition to the incredible additional mileage they put on the car for "test driving" it, the cream interior was filthy with grease marks, several personal items (a mini-mag flashlight and a CD) were missing, and there was a crack in the windshield. They promised to repair the windshield tomorrow.

    The service department claims that the transmission problem was due to low transmission fluid. I really find that hard to believe. And they needed to take the car off the premises and drive it *150 miles* in order to determine this?!

    The car seems to be running okay for the moment. We'll see what happens.

    Incidentally, the dealership where her car was serviced was the Rusnak in Arcadia, CA. If you get your MB serviced there as well, please beware. After having read the Rusnak website, I had to laugh. Number one in service? More like number one in serving themselves---with *your* car.
  • mbz8991mbz8991 Posts: 1
    I am experiencing a rattling noise when I turn on my A/c, it appears this happens when my A/C Compressor comes on. The A/C works, however, it is accompanied by the sound.........Any suggestions?

    Thank you....
  • cctdicctdi Posts: 82
    When a carmaker puts out a new design for a major part like the transmission, the air suspension, the overhaul of the electronic control etc., there are always some issues. The 01 E320 4matic wagons I got had the big leak of the transmission oil the first week I took it home; the combination of the unnecessary auto and manual shift tranny was still quite new then. The Touareg V10 I got last year had so much things to be corrected; even the opening of the fuel tank neck can’t fit the nuzzles at many diesel isles. The 04 Allroad 4.2 drove me nut for its air suspension problems. And this is the first year for the E350 equipped with the 7A tranny, maybe there are some bugs MB yet to pick. For taking home the car by a mechanic to test the problem of the car is new to me. I wouldn’t let any body take my E320 CDI which I just picked up two weeks ago home. On Touareg Vortex forum I did see quite a few times that car owners requested that the mechanics to test drive their cars to verify the existing problems, but I haven’t seen anybody mentioning the car be taken home for the purpose of testing the car. I am glad the 06 CDI and other 4matic models still got the 5A tranny which has been on the market for years.
  • Luxury Mid Size sport sedans August 2005 US sales numbers:

    MB E-class: 5.011
    BMW 5-series: 4.359
    Lexus GS: 3.335
    Infiniti M: 2.623
    Acura RL: 1.721
    AUDI A6: 1.509
  • I have been trying to find info on upgrading my (on order) 2006 E320 CDI. Can I find some technical information on the stereo? Someone got a link? Will it play DVD - Audio disks? What amplifiers can be upgraded? What about iPod Integration? Can I use AUX Input to have XM Radio instead of Sirius? Any links you could email to me would be appreciated - Thankx
  • Just bought a 2005 e320 Sedan New. Seems at times the car boggs to almost stall, just like getting out of 1st gear on stick shift. One time it stalled on my mom driving on the freeway. Did this happen to anyone else? If so, what could be the problem? Thanks! Also, when the brake pedal pulsates after a few pumps, is that normal?
  • HID lighting is better overall! Although, thieves look for such things. My friends headlights (HID) got ripped off and total damages were 6k @ 1k deductible! Good Luck!
  • I just recently purchased a 2000 e320 with the smart key. I was wondering if it is possible to reprogram the ignition part of the car and the keys with new codes. I lost the smart keys and worry about losing the car to theft. thank you
  • its $150.00 and must be ordered thruogh the service dept. before 10am for 2 day delivery to dealer only you must go there to have it programmed. and provide proof of . ownership . these are laser cut keys.
  • the problem you are referring to is called limp mode its a protective feature to save tramission from frying . this should not be happening on a 06 i would not let any dealer take car home . they know how to fix this problem needs new tranny module . easy repair.
  • to reset thiswith key in position 2 press reset button on the dast 2 times until it resets if you cant figure it out call mbusa and ask for roadside dept. they will walk you through the fix over the phone they have very knowleable inhouse people working there and know how to fix alot of problems. without taking to service dept. i know i used to work there.
  • My 2006 E350 also has this problem that the A/C fan does not go down. Adjusting the temperature does not change it. Dealer is still in denial in the first visit. I will try my luck with a special visit appointment to see if they will change what they are saying.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    A reporter is looking to interview folks who recently bought, ordered, or are considering ordering an AWD BMW 5-Series, Cadillac STS4, Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic, Audi A6 Quattro or Lexus GS300 AWD and is getting the car to replace an SUV. Please respond to jfallon@edmunds.com no later than Thursday, September 15, 2005 with your daytime contact information and the makes/models of the vehicles coming and going in your life at this time.
    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
    Edmunds.com
  • I have a 2002 E320 4Matic with about 46k miles and the manufacturer's warranty is about to run out. We've had our share of issues, mostly not serious but pesky and time consuming. Steering wheel continues to squeak, especially in warmer weather, despite repeated efforts to fix the problem. After swapping every part imaginable in the steering column, the dealer is now telling us that the squeaking is not serious and with time the pieces that are rubbing together and making noise will grind down to the point where the sqeak will stop. Does anybody have a view? A squeaky steering wheel is unsettling, particularly in a $50k car! I do like the safety features of the car and want to hold on to it - hence extended warranty question. I have looked at 1Source and Warranty Direct, which both price out at about $3k for a 4yr (additional) with 80k
    -100k miles (total). Mercedes repairs can certainly be expensive, but 3k upfront is a lot of dough. What do people think? Should I get the warranty or "self-insure"? Thoughts on extended warranty and squeaky steering wheel appreciated.
  • I don't have much to add other than my 2001 E320 4matic also has the squeaky (it sounds more like a plastic on plastic or rubber on rubber moan on my car) steering wheel. Also only in warmer weather. I mentioned to them that I thought it was related to temperature change. Of course I know nothing. They changed a power steering boot. Well, it took two tries, first time it "popped back off", which I noticed as an unusual amount of road noise getting into the cabin. Typical...multiple visits for a problem.

    Oh, I still have the groan.

    It's pretty clear what has happened w/Mercedes. In one of the other forums (LPS I think) someone posted an MSNBC link to a story detailing how Mercedes put pressure on suppliers to cut costs. And it allowed these suppliers to be less strict on tolerances to meet those goals.

    I've had two fan speed regulators go.
    I have the steering wheel that groans when it's warm.
    I currently have a speedometer that jumps rather than sweeps once my car has been parked in a a hot parking lot all day.
    My drivers side headrest motor burned out in the first year. I'm the only driver of this car so it is NEVER used.
    My car was serviced 3 times for leaks in the transmission (identified as 3 different components).
    There is plenty more where this came from...

    My parents, in Florida, have had 3(!) rear windows drop/shatter due to failed lifter mechanisms.

    After the transmission fiasco, the dealership gave me a complimentary 1 yr extension on the warrantee, I guess under starmark. That made my coverage 5 yrs/100K (from 4/50K). No sooner does the factory warrantee end, my passenger side headlight washer springs a leak. (This is another of those items I NEVER...and I mean NEVER...use). My first inclination was to just let it drain..but, wouldn't you know it, those crafty mercedes engineers linked the two fluid resevoires together. So, of course, I couldn't wash my windshield either.

    Anyhow, back to the story. Starmark did not cover this repair. When I asked them if they felt that the washer was a safety system, they said no. Interesting how they list it under safety features on the SALES brochure.

    I wouldn't buy the extended warrantee. I'd add the 3+K you save to the 20 you'd make selling the car and buy a Lexus.

    Regards,
    BigRob.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    flyered:

    Hmm, $3K for an aftermarket warranty? I think that when you bought the car, you had one year to buy MB's own 4/50 extension for under $2400.... Seems like a good deal now?

    I guess that's why I only buy slightly used MB's; I get the Starmark warranty and buy an additional year or two to make sure I get to 100K with coverage. I'm on my second such deal now. I actually kept my 1996 far beyond the 100K mark (140K); and it cost me...! Head gasket at 120K...!

    bigrobnh:

    I also currently have the 2001 E320 but without 4-matic. I've had it for 18 months now and it just turned 60K without anything going wrong. It's just had two service trips. Now, since I mentioned it, watch me have to take it in for a dropped window or tranny leak or whatever.. BTW, if you are the ONLY driver, how did you ever realize the headrest motor burned out?
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    There are a ton of strong MB E supporters here...but paging through the various posts suggests that even the new E350 has some serious quality issues including the transmission. Why it has taken MB so long to understand that the Japanese and even Americans are eating their lunch on quality, is beyond me. People salivate over any new Lexus, even though it lacks the "soul" of a MB or BMW - why - because it will run forever on routine maintenance. Somewhere in the late 90's, MB achieved a level of arrogance that caused them to ignore how well they were making cars. We are MB, therefore our cars are wonderful, apparently became their mantra. Well, guess what, they were wrong. While they snoozed, the rest of the automotive world caught and often passed them in terms of quality and reliability. Today, we are subjected to endless Edmunds message board posts about the horrors of owning a MB. In the military, when there has been a major screw up, they take a day or more to "stand down" for refresher training and focusing on the important issues. In my humble opinion, MB needs to do this NOW! It is incomprehensible that such an important marque can allow its reputation to be trashed while doing so little (seemingly) to fix these problems. Obviously, they know about them, but somehow, have allowed the E to slide into the 06 model with many of the same, and some new (7 speed trans problems) to creep in. Come on, MB, how "loyal" do you think your clients will be if this keeps up? Your Japanese and American competition will kill you as your reputation continues to erode because of quality problems that should NOT continue to happen.
  • I didn't know Starmark 4/50 extension at purchase would have cost $2400, but in that light an extra $600 doesn't sound too bad. I do want to keep the car a few more years b/c just doesn't make sense to me to pay the new car premium more often than you have to. But 3k is no chump change, so I am still torn. In other words, more opiinions welcome. Also, if anyone has had experience with Warranty Direct or 1Warranty, much appreciate the feedback. Last thing I want is to pay up, think I am covered and then have troubles with claims. Thanks in advance.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think at this point we're in the "pile on" phase. I mean really, reading some of the posts here you'd think that no E or any other Mercedes was capable of holding up the day after it left the dealership. This is mesg board and thus the place for folks to vent their problems. Every brand of car sold here has a thread on the Repair board with posts in them and MB is no different. There are some posts here from the same people that state their problems and that hardly means there is some major problem with the E's tranny or engine.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not saying for a moment that MB doesn't have a problem with reliability, but its been overblown by many at this point. The way CR has talked about the E-Class no one here will ever think it is reliable no matter how the cars actually hold up in the field.

    BMW while having proved more reliable is no Toyota either. Not by a long shot and them running forever is one of these statements that glosses over the fact that keeping a BMW running "forever" is no cheaper than keeping a Mercedes running forever. Well at least for the first 4 year or 50K, which BMW now pays for.

    MB's problem isn't due to them thinking they could do whatever, it comes from being spread too thin and having too much else going on (mergers etc.) to keep their eye on what they did best.

    Also, IMO reliability and quality are different things, or reliability is a component of quality. Audi's have fabulous "quality" but terrible reliability. The day an American car is built as good as a Mercedes I'd buy one. Sure they're getting good marks in reliablity surveys for using ancient technology not nearly on the level of any European or Japanese luxury car, but to say they're eating Mercedes' lunch on quality is simply false. An American car riding on an ancient platform using a derivative of a 20 year old engine might be less trouble to own, which it should be, but it isn't nearly the car a Mercedes is. This is what the surveys and the people who live by them continually miss and evidently can't even begin to understand.

    M
  • microrepair
    I didn't find it, their service department did when doing a Service A or B. I was none the wiser.
    They are quite good at finding problems. They aren't always that good at properly identifying them. Nor are they that good at obtaining parts to fix them.
    As I've said before, most of the time issues I'm experiencing are not critical. My car has never been on a flatbed. However, they are continual, frequent and quite disappointing.

    Regards,
    BigRob.
  • I fully agree with merc1. I currently own a 02 C320 (wife's) and a 05 E320 CDI. So far both have been trouble free. I previously owned a 95 C280 and a 01 E320 that were also pretty much trouble free with only minor problems (fuel pump on C280 at 40K+ miles and an outside temperature display on the E320). I would purchase Mercedes again.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    Maybe...and I do agree that there are always tendencies to "pile on" when something/someone is down; however, the frequency, depth and breadth of the complaints about Mercedes and their dealerships are abnormally high. What seems especially troubling is that complaints have been going on for years, are documented widely by respected sources like CR and JD Powers, yet are continuing to surface on the newest models like the E350 - and not just trivial stuff (transmissions, etc). No doubt there are plenty of people who have not experienced problems, but enough have, consistently, and made noise about them, that Mercedes truly has a major PR issue here that won't go away until both HQ and their dealer network get serious about fixing them.
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    I am in PR, and I have to smile everytime someone brings up MB's "PR" issue.
    Sadly, in most cases, these "PR" issues are borne from operating or business issues that business executives or managers refuse to acknowledge or correct until a public outcry ensues. MB's is a textbook example of this. MB really doesn't have a "PR" problem as much as a "reality" problem: they have been unresponsive to the growing evidence that their products, processes, systems and infrastructure are not best-in-class. One can debate the how or why, but that doesn't really matter to the consumer. They are the only arbiter that matters.

    I have owned 3 Mercedes (and many other lux and non-lux brands) and my problems have been mostly minor, but I know others' are not. What I have experienced though is that the customer service experience -- from sales to service -- is inferior at MB, especially compared with other manufacturers. This has exacerbated the physical quality problem, and is, in my opinion, more problematic over the longer term than the manufacturing quality, because perception is so slow to change, once it has been formed.
  • A very thoughtful post on the challenges faced by MB. I still own one of their vehicles and sold my other to buy a BMW 5-Series in 2003. No regrets on the vehicle side and have been more than pleased by my BMW Dealer experience to date.

    One of the 4 MB's purchased by my wife and I had a structural problem with the front bumper assembly... it completely separated from the car when pulled onto a flatbed tow truck! Without boring everyone, what MB put us through soured us both on the brand more than the car itself (1999 ML).

    MB has tampered with what it's customers have held most dear over decades... engineering excellence and top-drawer quality. Sure, it costs to maintain an older MB, but well worth it IMO. Whenever I've had my Rolex cleaned and maintained over the years, it has cost me a considerable amount. Well worth it for me based on the ownership experience of having a watch I'll wear the rest of my life!

    Arrogance and the ownership experience will never mix successfully and MB has been forced to rethink how dealers hold up their end of the bargain. Some get it... some don't. Those that don't send customers to their competition - simple as that. THe branded image becomes tainted and it is difficult to regain. Witness Audi and unintended acceleration. Problem handled arrogantly and the public responded. Although they build a wonderful car line from top to bottom (especially the A8), their sales numbers in this country lag those in comparable European settings.

    If I were running MB, I'd have already bent over backwards to get the dealer (sales and service) channels and the manufacturing operation on the same page with a more collaborative business process focused on a quality ownership experience. Can't have both arms of the MB organization on different pages or the customer ultimately suffers.

    One interesting thought... Toyota has historically had the highest "quality" car lines but among the worst retail experiences. They still sell lots of cars on quality perceptions (and reality) alone and people still endure cheezy dealer experiences. Tells me that if MB can arrest the quality issues and thoughtfully engage its consumer base, they will pull out in fine shape. The competition is nipping at their heels and, in varying degrees, successfully taken long-time customers away.

    We'll se if real leadership surfaces at DCX.
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    I also own a BMW and the sales and service experience is so much better than MB.

    You know its funny, the NYC MB dealer is the only company-owned site in the US and you'd think it would be a showcase for a quality ownership experience...it is far from that. I have had better experiences at the Ford dealer up the street.

    I agree that if they can get the quality right then they can turn things around. It will take time but it can be done. But they will really only have one chance to do it right.
  • I've owned 3 MBs over the years and there have always been minor issues with the cars: electrical stuff, wind noise, transmission thunks, but I will still continue to support the brand for the following reasons.

    1) Service experience has been better than others. I have not experienced Lexus, but Honda, Subaru, Toyota and BMW service has been less than the level of service I experienced at MB.

    2) Driving experience. This is the most important factor. MBs are just very solidly built and I have a great experience driving them. I don't care if my car never breaks down but if I don't enjoy driving it I don't want to own it. I've had new Japanese cars and after a couple of years, they just don't feel the same, they feel worn out. The engines just feel used up already. And the metal skin is so thin that a minor hit from someone else's door will cause a big dent in it.

    I'm not arguing with anyone about this, it's just my experience and my thoughts. Your mileage may totally vary.
  • Hi: Does anyone know where I can get rear seat covers or cargo trays and such at a discount? TIA.
  • I commend you on a very well-written commentary.
    I am just about to purchase a CDI- will probably order as I cannot find available one that has the options that I would like.

    I presently own an Audi A6 and am choosing to sell that vehicle prematurely because of numerous and repeated minor electrical annoyance problems. My expectation is that MB will be better, and hope that MB is already on the way to improved QC. I have owned 4 MBs in past, the newest being an '84, and all were virtually trouble free.

    Am wondering if anyone has a dealership they recommend particularly as a GOOD place to purchase a new CDI? Willingness to deal on price is a strong consideration as I am not wedded to the dealership in my home town :P .

    Keeping my fingers crossed...
This discussion has been closed.