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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • cbennicbenni Posts: 3
    Wow. I really appreciate your response, jrct9454. I'll do just what you're recommending.

    I have been fairly busy online with this by sending email to MBUSA Customer's Online , filing a complaint with the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (confirmation number 10073090) as well as posting to other online Mercedes-Benz resources.

    Here's the link to the ODI http://www.odi-nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq

    Thanks again for your help.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...how this turns out.
  • uplandupland Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 MB C240, 6 speed, that just turned 25,000 miles. I love this car but it has developed a really annoying squeak from the front suspension (left and right). It sounds like a dryed out rubber bushing in need of lubrication. The same thing happened last year to the right rear and I believe MB replaced the strut or suspension bushings.
    Has anyone experienced this or heard of any service bulletins regarding this? At the same time the ride has deteriorated. Instead of being the firm but comfortable German ride it hits the bumps like a stone. Wonder if this could be related to the squeaking or wear on the Goodyears?
    Car goes in June 1 for the A service but thought someone might have advice. Thanks.
  • cbennicbenni Posts: 3
    Here's an update on this issue.

    Talked to MBUSA Customer Care. They state the dealer is within their rights to charge the $90.00 per hour to find the problem with the intermittent horn. Also told that the Zone Rep, Brian Maloney, does not speak with customers.

    Talked with someone at NHTSA-ODI. Was told that as there is not a current recall on the intermittent horn if I continue to have the dealer search for a resolution "get complete documentation". Stated I should request a written description of what has been done in an attempt to repair my vehicle along with the recommended service actions moving forward.

    Sorry about the bad link in the previous post. Here's the correct link and the phone number to NHTSA-ODI:

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq
    888-327-4236

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

    Thanks again.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I think the key is to talk to both the service manager and the general manager of the dealership. It's not the labor rate that is at issue, it's the inability of the dealer's techs to find the problem in a timely fashion. The response you got from MBUSA was predictable [I'm assuming the car is out of warranty - another argument for buying the extended warranty], but a responsible dealer principal should agree to put a limit on how much the total bill should be for this kind of diagnosis.

    Have they looked at the alarm system?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    There is at least one TSB out on the suspension problem you describe. Since your car should still be under warranty, this shouldn't be a big deal. Can't remember the exact wording of the TSB, but it has to do with the bushings in the front suspension. The dealer ought be familiar with the problem.
  • farmhillfarmhill Posts: 1
    I am having trouble with my alarm system, for the past 3 nights the alarm system has been activated for no reason at all. The strange thing is, it has gone off roughly the same time over the 3 nights.

    Any ideas
  • My daughter bought a 2004 C230 coupe in March 2004. After 2400 miles the transmission hose burst and the car was flat bedded to Sovereign Mercedes in Brooklyn, NY. As the car was not purchased there, the original dealer authorized a rental car. After 2 days, the car was returned to her and broke down again after just 6 miles! Again it was returned to Sovereign who has now had the car for over 2 weeks. According to their mechanic, they overlooked a faulty radiator the first time around and now have to replace the entire transmission, as well as the radiator. The parts are on order. In the meantime, Sovereign refuses to provide a loaner vehicle, or authorize a rental, and White Plains Mercedes, the selling dealer, says that it is Sovereign's problem now as the initial repair was mishandled. Mercedes USA refuses to intercede claiming that each dealer must set their own policies regarding loan vehicles. My daughter is out over $700 in rental charges, and counting. This is my daughter's first car and definitely her last Mercedes!!!
        If Mercedes is seeking to alienate the next generation of car buyers they are certainly off to a flying start!
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    It's interesting to see that each dealer is free to do whatever they feel like regarding providing a loaner or not.
    I had thought the cost of loaners and rentals was at least partially sponsored by the factory warranty program.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...on the C-Coupe board.

    Dealer franchise agreements in this country permit individual dealers to do just about anything they want, short of outright fraud. The punishments that the manufacturers can impose are too small generally to be much of a disincentive for poor policies. Over the long haul, poor CSI scores will doom a bad dealer, but that doesn't help you when you need a problem solved today.

    In the past, MBUSA had supported the loaner program by generously offering very low flooring costs for cars kept in stock for this purpose...plus the dealer could then turn around and sell the loaners as Starmark cars, and often still turn a profit over the original cost. Still, many dealers refuse loaners to customers who did not buy their car at that dealership, or impose other limitations. The small print on the loaner program in the various brochures makes it clear this is up to the individual dealer, but this seems deceptive to most people, and so it probably is...
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    According to the poster, even the dealer he purchased from did not want to work on the car or provide a loaner because some work had already been done at a different dealer.

    Anyway, he can blast the dealer with unflattering survey responses now if he wishes.

    Mercedes really seems to be spiralling downhill with the reduced quality and reliability ratings, dropping free maintenance on 2005 models and the company not supporting the loaner car program. What next?

    Which manufacturers still support loaner cars at the corporate level as a perk that all owners get for at least the factory warranty period? BMW, Lexus, others?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...that requires its dealers to offer loaners. It is VIRTUALLY universal with Lexus, but certainly not BMW [there are plenty of horror stories there, too], and in every case, the dealer has the ability to opt out if they want.

    Lexus has a huge advantage: their policies at the corporate [Toyota] level make it fantastically profitable and lucrative to own a Lexus franchise. They keep the number of dealers low, assuring that no territorial disputes arise and keeping sales-per-dealer numbers near the top of the industry year after year. They just TAKE CARE OF THE FRANCHISE, and the dealers respond by toeing the line...win-win for everybody.

    By contrast, MBUSA over the past 10-15 years has done just about everything possible to alienate its dealer body [this all started during the Mike Jackson era - he's now taken his act to the other side of the table, running Autonation's group of dealerships]: cutting margins, allowing multiple competitive dealerships within tight geographic boundaries, and most importantly, imposing the impossible task of fixing a bunch of cars that are often virtually unfixable [the last S-Class launch was an unmitigated disaster; the early W203 C-Class cars were troublesome; the MLs were stinkers at the beginning, etc. etc.].

    I've been buying MBs since 1968, and our '02 C240 is number 14. I like the car very much, and knock on wood, it has been very easy to live with so far [two small problems remedied at the dealer with no great difficulty] - HOWEVER, I always qualify my recommendations these days when asked: if you want a trouble-free ownership experience, buy Japanese. The Germans still produce a superior touring car, but owning one requires a degree of patience and understanding that may or may not be worth it to you. And yes, in my opinion the best cars they ever made were the W126 S-Class cars, and the W124 Es...I'm out looking for a good used W126 right now.

    Real MB enthusiasts, including virtually all of the MBCA club members I know, do indeed focus heavily on the "good old days" that seemed to have ended sometime in the mid-to-late '90s. To be completely fair, this applies IN SPADES to hardcore BMWCCA people, as well - most of them think most of what BMW is offering up these days is of no interest to them [I belong to both organizations], and think BMW has lost its way.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    If the manufacturer puts up money directly or indirectly to pay for or subsidize the loaner program, they should be able to "require" it.
    I looked through the Lexus website and the only reference I found was for the Certified Pre-owned cars. Looks like complimentary loaner cars are part of the deal with CPO cars.
    If loaner cars are at the dealers whim on a Mercedes or other luxury brand, then you might as well just buy a non-luxury brand car and take part of the savings to pay for your own rentals if needed.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...but your beef is with US franchise laws. Thanks to a great lobby, a lot of lawyers, and generous political contributions, the dealers call the tune, not the manufacturers.

    What SHOULD happen, of course, is that no car maker ought to advertise a program that the dealers are not 100% committed to delivering. The wording in the literature is legally unambiguous, but practically misleading.

    We've probably beaten this to death...the fact remains, MB and this particular dealer have managed to alienate a first-time customer - the worst no-no in the business. Sigh...
  • spantspant Posts: 2
    Can someone please clue me in on the use of the phone buttons on the steering wheel?

    As background, I am considering a 2002 C230 as a used purchase, but want to make sure I have some form of hands-free phone unit to use. I saw the phone buttons on the column, but have no idea what they are linked to?

    I'm guessing it is some proprietary car phone service that you pay a subscription fee towards, but on the off chance that it somehow works with your existing cell phone, please let me know.

    Any clue would help...-Clueless
  • fellyfelly Posts: 16
    I've been noticing a very slight pull to the right on my new C230K from just a few months old car. Has anyone experienced this problem? Any advise? Thanks
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Sure. This isn't unusual. When I tested our '02 C240 prior to the sale, it had a noticeable pull. I stipulated that it had to be fixed before closing the deal. It took two tries. On the first, the alignment tech said that he had set it within specs, and though it was improved, it wasn't cured completely. I asked the service mgr to assign the most experienced suspension guy to the case; he decided to vary the caster settings [made the left and right front caster settings slightly different]. Caster affects the willingness of the car to change direction, so he in effect made it just slightly more stubborn on the side that was pulling. Voila, problem fixed. The cars tracks like the proverbial train now, which is the way all MBs should.

    Keep in mind the problem could also be one or more tires with belt problems; one of the standard tricks is to swap tires from side to side, or back and forth [not possible of course with staggered tire sizes or unidirectional tires, which is one reason I avoid both] to see if it goes away.

    Bottom line: for a competent dealer, this should not be a huge challenge. If it proves to be, find a better dealer.
  • fellyfelly Posts: 16
    Thanks for the advise jrct9454. I'll contact my dealer today and have them take a look at it. Will update once its completed. Thanks again.
  • I'm thinking about getting a 04/05 C230 Sport Sedan. I've never purchased a MB or any European car, only Toyotas & Mazdas in the past. I have a mixed impression of MB's mechanical quality/reliability. Basically, I've heard, "they used to be great, but they've gone downhill." I've also seen some graphs on the internet that shows a pretty rapid decline in reliability over the last 8-10 yrs or so.

    Can anyone comment on this?
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