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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Maintenance and Repair



  • Hi: Although I would not recommend that you drive with a faulty ESP, it could be dangerous, even in sunny Cal. It may not be the problem. I just got a MB trouble code reader and reset tool. You can get them on ebay for about $50. It will give you a diagnostic of what is wrong. And you'll be able to reset the warning..Then take it to someone who can fix it.. Everything for a Merc is expensive unfortunately... but its worth it.. I'm looking for a service light reset tool now. Merc want 400 Euro here for an A service (plus parts)..
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    Yes, the symbol is counting down to the required service. To reset it, you need the proper instructions, and any good MB shop knows how to do it. You presumably plan to have the car serviced somewhere, whether at a dealer or an independent - take it to them, tell them you need it reset, and promise to be back when the car needs its next service. The charge will be zero or minimal, and you can judge if this is a place that should get your business.
  • Stragely, the warning went off after another day of driving, and has not returned after 1,100 miles. I've since had a warning to check the right front marker lamp, which went away when I restarted the car, and a check engine light that went off after I refueled.

    The check engine light I am not worried about, as the fuel tank was low and the light came on after a panic stop from 85MPH on a 6% downgrade. The freeway in front of me was closed suddenly due to a fatality accident and after coming to a screaching halt (extremely smooth and undramatic, by the way), the car sat for two hours on the downgrade waiting for the freeway to reopen, at whcih time I had the check engine light (car was shut off until the freeway opened). I tried openeing and closing the gas cap but to no avail, called the roadside assistance and they suggested adding fuel.

    So far I love the car, it is the most comfortable and quiet cruiser I've ever driven, just nervous about electrical gremlins that these are famous for.

    I do have one gremlin that the selling dealer (not MB) will cover repair of and that is that the sunshade in the back window doesn't work about 60% of the time. Sometimes I push the dash button and it works perfectly, sometimes it does absolutely nothing. I'll have this checked in 3,000 miles when I take the car to MB for my A service. Hopefully they can explain the ESP warning and other messages at that time.

    My car's service history shows two electrical system services at 18,000 and 25,000 miles, so obviously this has occured before.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    I would not be surprised to learn that the wiring harness upgrade has not been accomplished on this car....these kind of seemingly random electronic "events" can be a symptom of this problem.

    I've owned dozens of cars in my time, and our '02 C240 is our 14th MB - and there is nothing else out there at anything like the price that I would want more. Ours has been reasonably trouble-free - the wiring fix was the only thing that smelled like the ubiquitous electronic problems that so many people have had. In our case, the ESP messages could always be reset by shutting the engine off and restarting, and it only happened a few times, but twice in the last year so I told them to get out the Service Bulletin and apply the standard fix. No problems since.
  • After looking at MB's c230's and BMW's 325i's for 2006 and reading your message boards for problems on these cars. I like to ask which vehicle you recommend?. I know MB changed the engine to a 6cyl and MB is partly owned by Chrysler does this also impact my decision? If i sound like a dummy so be it but I like your expert opinion.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    The Chrysler connection is irrelevant [in any case, Daimler bought Chrysler, not the other way around - Chrysler is now technically a German company].

    For this model year, and assuming you're talking about automatic transmission cars, it is almost a straight wash. The BMW is in its first year, and there are the usual list of first-year problems, though none of them are especially serious so far. The MB is in its 6th [and next-to-last] model year, though the drivetrains are heavily revised as of this year. The BMW handles better, the ride is probably a wash, and the MB has a bit more room in the cabin and the trunk. BMW has gone exclusively to run-flat tires, which for a variety of reasons I am unhappy about [expensive to replace, can't be fixed if you actually USE the run-flat feature]. MB has the worse reputation for problems, but that is mostly old news and simply doesn't apply to the current year car - the E90 BMW is in its first 9 months, and there are some teething problems.

    If you want a manual trans, then I would probably go with the 325; by a small margin, I think their manual box is better.

    Also keep in mind that the C230 comes standard with the so-called sports package, which is extra on the 325. That's why, for me, the car to have is the non-sports C280, not the C230, but to each their own. I think the sports package is nothing but problems - ride compromised, staggered tire sizes, unidirectional tires - but again, it's whatever your priorities are.

    You'll hear a lot of bad-mouthing here about the C; I think the '06 version of the C matches up very nicely with the 3er. It comes down to how important that last bit of handling and "sportiness" of the BMW is to you vs the better refinement and slightly more room of the MB. And, what you think of the local dealers - this can easily be the tie-breaker is all else is equal in your mind - whichever one you pick, these cars are German, not Japanese, thus you and the dealer are inevitably going to spend some time together after the sale. I've had mostly good service from the MB dealerships I've dealt with [MB Sacramento, Reno, and Portland OR for our current car]; my history with BMW, which goes back a few years, was less good. It all depends on who's better in your market, and that's a hard thing to know in advance...
  • Is this wiring harness TSP something that would be a free fix even after the factory warranty runs out? My car had two electrical system repairs while under warranty, so I'm wondering if I can get Mercedes to do the wiring harness upgrade on their dime when I bring it in for my A service in 3,000 miles.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    Don't know - and I wouldn't wait. More time means a better reason for them to say no.

    Technically, once out of warranty, you're out of luck, but dealers have the power to make these decisions, within reason. It's going to be up to you to make someone see reason, assuming this is the problem, of course.

    It's a Service Bulletin, or a Service Campaign, or words to that effect....mention the ESP messages as the primary symptom. Because ESP is a safety feature, you may get more consideration out of warranty.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    I'd go along with jrct9454 for the most part. It depends what's most important to you, but I don't think your comparison is apt. The MB C280 would trump the BMW 325i in my mind; but the 325i would trump the C230. The C280 is meant, I think, to be a competitor to the 325i (the C350 would compare to the 330i).

    There are a few other things that weren't mentioned that are important to me. I believe the C280 is 3.5" narrower than the 325i - although that may have changed. I live in an urban area, and stuff like that is important to me. In addition the C280 has a slightly narrower turning radius; albeit not significant. I like to be able to make sharp turns.

    These are subtleties, though.
  • rayk5rayk5 Posts: 1
  • I had a new battery installed, code doesn't work. My mechanic contacted "another" code and still doesn't work. Mechanic tells me it will take 1/2 day to remove/re-install radio in order for them to get serial # of radio to give to dealer for yet another code. No radio for 3 weeks now...anyone have this problem? Any advice other than paying $65/hr for 5 hrs to remove radio/re-install????
  • rowlandjrowlandj Posts: 254
    That amount of time to remove the radio is insane. The unit slips out of the dashboard after insertion of removal 'keys' into a few slots around the radio. From what I understand the unit can be out of the vehicle in about 5 minutes.

    Try someone else for the job as this does not make any sense at all.

  • I have a 2002 c240 sedan with 82,000 miles. Recently got a couple warning messages about "excessive oil level." Car was being driven on level ground. The message appeared briefly and then went away. Had an oil change a month ago. Similarly, over the summer I got a warning message once-in-awhile that said "check coolant level." I did and the level was fine each time I checked. Is the same defective sensor involved?
  • drumdrum Posts: 4
    Has anyone experienced a slipping between the first, second and third shifts with this transmission? I find it very annoying and the dealer has tried a softward update so far without success...any ideas? Dealer has said it might be necessary to replace the valve body...
  • drumdrum Posts: 4
    I had these kind of electronic message errors on my 2001 and the dealer said it was due to faulty sensors and finally replaced the offending sensors with success. Since there is no dip stick it is not possible to check the oil level yourself!
  • This happened with our 2002 C240 when it was still under warranty. The dealer replaced what he called the "climate control module" and the problem has not recurred.
  • mezecamezeca Posts: 66
    This bulletin to replace the ESP connectors is relatively inexpensive . The parts are probably less than $20 and the labor is one and a half hours at the most.
  • mezecamezeca Posts: 66
    Actuall, you can. If you use the arrow buttons, scroll one time after you reach the service idicator screen. It will measure the oil level for you, and say if the oil is okay, or under or overfilled.
  • My left headlight went out Friday night, so I took it to get a new bulb on Saturday morning and that didn't fix it. Went to the local MB dealer who fiddled with it and determined that I need a new computer module at $350 to get my headlight back.
  • THANK YOU!!! Saved me $$$.
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