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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Maintenance and Repair



  • sardis12sardis12 Posts: 1
    There is a beautiful white 2003 E320 on this reputable used car dealer's lot near my house. It's been sitting there for about three months now, I assumed something was wrong with it since it hasn't sold, but I stopped to take a look during my walk the other day. The office was closed so I didn't drive it, but it looks almost brand new inside and out. The only indication that it isn't a more recent model is that the headlights are starting to glaze over, but I understand that's relatively easy to fix with toothpaste or something. As soon as I get a chance during business hours I plan on going to take a serious look and a test drive. Honestly, you wouldn't believe how beautiful this car looks, I wish I could post a picture.

    Anyway, I wrote down the VIN# and pulled a CARFAX. The car seems to have been serviced regularly, but, although they didn't scare me away, a couple things caught my attention:

    01/17/2003 2,863 Service Facility Engine/powertrain computer/module reprogrammed; Engine/powertrain computer/module replaced

    11/25/2003 15,511 Service Facility Engine/powertrain computer/module reprogrammed; Body noise checked

    04/09/2004 21,430 Service Facility Manufacturer's recommended maintenance performed; Brakes checked; Sunroof slides replaced

    01/18/2005 33,184 Service Facility Electrical system checked; Engine/powertrain computer/module reprogrammed; Anti-theft/keyless
    remote battery replaced; Battery/charging system checked

    07/13/2009 90,740 Auto Auction Sold at auction
    in Pennsylvania, Listed as a dealer vehicle

    Does any of this look unusual or should I be wary of seriously considering this car? It seems as though there have been some issues with the engine/powertrain computer/module, whatever that is. Is that common? Would it be expensive to repair since the car is obviously no longer under warranty?

    Is there anything I should be looking for? I'd certainly have a Mercedes mechanic check it out before I bought it. I don't even know the asking price, but I've looked on Ebay and run a NADA report, and somewhere between $11,000 and $14,000 seems reasonable. Is there anything that typically malfunctions around 100,000 miles that would cost a lot to repair ($2000+)?

    Sorry for all the questions, I've always wanted a Mercedes, but it seems the reliability isn't what it once was. I've had two BMWs, and I never had the first problem with either. One is 16 years old and runs almost a good as it did the day I bought it, but I have no idea what to expect from a Mercedes.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who responds to any of the questions, I'd really appreciate your thoughts...
  • kevinc5kevinc5 Posts: 204
    It may be a problem car, maybe not. The 2003 E320 was the first year of the W211 E series. Many issues were reported with those early cars. Not sure about your example, but I'd be curious about the 5 1/2 year, 60,000 mile gap in the Carfax report. Ask your questions on and They have a lot of information on the W211 and some very technically knowledgeable owners frequent those sites. It would be worth some time reviewing the W211 forums on those sites.

    Assume nothing has been done on the car, anything can go wrong and everything will be expensive. Other than that, if you get it sorted out, expect a nice ride.

    I have a 2000 E320, W210 with 170,000 miles, running fine. For a replacement I'd consider a W211, but only the later years, 2007-2009. In any event, don't do anything without a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a qualified MBZ specialist. Good luck.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    When I bought my 2001 E430 from a MB dealer in Mar 2006, the MB service adviser said..." If you can spend the money...go with 2005-up models. if you don't, stay with 96-2002 style.

    Although 2003-2009 E-class are very beautiful and elegant cars, and one day I might consider a 06-07 black/taupe model, Pre- 2005 were terrible and unreliable to the point of destroying MB's reputation with its horrible brake by wire technology and other electronic and stereo glitches. Electronic glitches are expensive to fix on any car let alone Mercedes.

    As nice looking as these 2003-2004 E-classes are...stay away from them. I KNOW they are very hard to skip since they look so good!!

    My 2001 with 100K miles and four years of having it, has been exceptionally trouble free. Even with those models, you still need to pay attention to service/repair history.

    Good luck with your search.

  • cjones88cjones88 Posts: 23
    I've taken my new 2010 E-class 3 times to the shop to fix an interior center column squeak. The last time the car was in the shop, they dissasembled the center column and installed felt. The squeak is still there, and it's sometimes weather sensitive. It sounds like plastic hitting plastic. Does anyone else have a similar issue? The shop doesn't seem to have a solution.
  • gfr1gfr1 Posts: 55
    I doubt if anyone else will have this problem, as I don't know of any current Mercedes street cars with a "center column". Steering column, maybe? Center console, maybe?
  • dandgdandg Posts: 74
    edited August 2010
    One thing nice about the pre 2005's is they have real leather,the 2006-2010 have vinyl (Mercedes calls it MB-Tex,it was originally designed for taxi cabs in Europe I think).
    Not sure how the pull of selling a car like that with vinyl,good marketing I suspect.
    The E500's and the S' do have real leather thou.
  • The problem is there is now major cackling and static heard in the front passenger side speaker, even when the car is not on! It started out softly, but now it pops as if there is a loose wire. When I purchased the car (used MB 2003) from the dealer it did not do that until 30 days after the purchase! The car phone was partially dismantled and I'm wondering if that is the cause of the problem, or is the atennae or is this a big expensive electrical problem? Will it possibly drain the battery?
    The car is running fine, but the sound is driving me crazy! Please, anyone that can address this problem! Thanks, Chicago Girl
  • kevinc5kevinc5 Posts: 204
    Check out That site is much more tech oriented than this one and may have your answer.
  • pgguypgguy Posts: 9
    car has a moaning noise most noticeable at stop. dealer said power steering pump which was replaced with no change. anyone have same problem in convert or coupe.
  • kevinc5kevinc5 Posts: 204
    Also try or for answers to tech questions.
  • I have the same problem as well as garage door remote on the mirror fails to remember the garage code. Dealer tells me that both are normal. Noise is there and nothing they could do about it. Garage door remote is a problem that they can't fix.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    My buddy has a pristine 1998 E 320 and although he just loves his car, it's a car I wouldn't put up with.

    A headlight bulb (xenon) replacement was 309.00
    Both rear power windows started falling by themselves - 1000.00

    Last month, he was driving the car and he heard a noise and suddentl;y lost his power steering. Towed to the dealer who informed him that his serpentine belt had broken.

    Told him that the broken belt had caused a "lot" of damage - 4200.00!

    Not a timing belt but a serpentine belt!

    Now, can anyone here possibly tell me how that much damage could have happened?

    And I thought Audi's and Volvos were bad!
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,659
    edited December 2010
    Gee I wonder if his harmonic balancer or some other pulley came apart? Screws up lots of stuff as it flies into the radiator, fan, rips belts, bents pulleys, shreds hoses, spills coolant everywhere. Not nice.

    Mighty fat bill he got. I'd certainly look it over with a fine tooth comb. Some dealers do like to pile it on.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Oh, my friend with the Mercedes has no problems with paying that bill so I'm not going to dig into it at this point.

    Still, the bill would have been 5000.00 but they decided to give him a break.

    This is exactly why I just have no use for European cars even though they are certainly fine cars.
  • could anyone tell me how to reset my service due light.
  • the DAS is telling the engine to shut down.then it will turn over but wont start. then wait a bit and it will start back up.
  • Do any one know how to override the anti theft radio code?
  • you can't. That's why they call it anti-theft.

    You'll have to go to the dealer and maybe they can help you out here. Some online services claim to be able to provide the code, but I haven't personally tested their reliability or credibility.
  • Did you buy the car? My 2005 E320 w/45,000 miles is great. There are computer updates the dealer performs when you bring your car in for inspections or oil changes which may show on carfax. Anyway, i'll be selling mine this fall for around $19,000
  • I have a 2011 E350 Cabriolet and a 2011 GL350 both bluetooth and the iPod Connector.

    I am having an issue with the convertible. If I start playing music before the car has found the phone or if I receive/make a call while music is playing, the music shuts off and will not resume again unless I physically disconnec the iPod connector and reattach. The GL works flawlessly it is only the convertible.

    Has anyone else had this issue?
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