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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • If you want to find a message board dealing with cars having problems, try the Porsche 928 site that I've been participating in for the last 6 years (I owned 2). I know they're not new cars, but the problems aren't covered by warranty, either. But, the people bitched, fixed the problems and got back to driving and enjoying their cars. In that case, the rewards of driving a 928 far outweighed the problems.
    VW's record is not something to win J.D. Powers' award, and I'm a VW fan. About a year ago, I steered my sister away from considering a new Honda Civic to a new Jetta. During the process, I showed her the Town Hall Jetta sight so she could read the various messages. Big Mistake. So I had her drive both cars. She's not a car person, but immediately fell for the Jetta, even with it's less than glorious reliability discussed on the T.H. site.

    I guess it all depends on what your priorities are. No car gets a 10 in all categories, regardless of the magazine reviews.

    Of course, after saying all that, I'll probably be in Lemon Law litigation with my C240, 6 months after it arrives ;-)

    John W.
  • My point is not that VW Passat is more reliable...but that simple fact is there are too many problems showing up for a car that costs this much no?

    Those that say this board is a lightning rod for such posts, need to go check the VW Passat site and numerous others that don't have as many.

    Just as Zmeenows post says that others are problem free, that is indeed true, I don't doubt that...but I do wonder about a new car going dead while driving or keys not working all of the sudden...that is a *Very Serious* problem that DOES NOT usually occur on a repetitive basis with other cars....
  • I just picked up my new c230 on Saturday. Sorry about the post here, but you people are much more active than those on the c230 board. I love the car so far, but the break-in period is really annoying. JW: it's a 6-speed Orion. If you're interested, I have a link to my Photopoint account in the "c230 vs. rsx" TH forum in the hatchbacks section. It might help a little with the wait - the color is absolutely beautiful - light plays with it really well. Good choice!

    Anyway, when playing cds, is there a way to keep the display so that you can see the timing of the current track as well as the #? I know that you can hit "up" and the track time will come on briefly. I read the manual, and it doesn't say anything about making the time a permanent part of the display.

    Since I'm here, let me add my two cents in. Ceccon, I ordered my car (on 7/26, so wait wasn't too bad) because it's hard to get a manny, and I knew exactly what I wanted (C2, C7, Bose). Maybe it's easier to get what you want in So Cal, but I knew exactly what I wanted and didn't want to settle with getting most of my preferences.

    Go to the vw vortex site, do a search for "window regulator" or "gear grind" and see how many hits that you get. They have had these problems for years; they must be sentimental, because they should have been fixed a long time ago. They're generally reliable, but the little things tend to go on them. I guess that everything's a tradeoff. While the Japanese cars are reliable (I know; I've got a '90 crx), my personal opinion is that they are just missing something at the top end of the scale, so I'd be willing to trade off a little reliability for something that I enjoyed to drive a little more. But, as people here have already said, owners with no problems generally don't speak up about it, so the trend on this forum would paint a worse than reality picture of the C's reliability.
  • I also live in Atlanta and I am interested in the C240. Could you let me know who you dealt with to get your car at just 3% over invoice?
  • Could somone direct me to where to go to get current invoice prices for the C240 and all the various packages and options?
  • Tommy- Thanks for the pics of your Orion Blue car. Great color. Actually, I was going to get Bordeaux Red. I took the family down to the local MB dealer. They had a Magna Red C240 6 Spd Sport on the show room floor. It was sweet. The family loved it. But since I just sold my Guards Red Porsche I didn't want to get another bright red car. I then took my family to the lot and showed them the Bordeaux Red. They all hated it. So I said I really wanted Orion Blue, but that's a $1k option. They all said "get it". So here I am.

    John W.
  • Kelly's Blue Book has their 2002 invoice prices on-line. Check out

    You can build your car at the site also.

  • ahostahost Posts: 36
    That is a feature; I remember I saw it somewhere in the manual
  • ahostahost Posts: 36
    Thanks for the information. I had the new valve kit installed last Friday, and it actually seems to completely elliminate the noise. So, just to let other people with the problem know that now there is an efficient solution.
  • I dealt with Greg Townsend at RBM of Atlanta.
  • Dtcola - Thanks for the info. I will definitely pay a visit to RBM of Atlanta.

    Slker - Completely forgot about Kelly's Blue Book. There appears to be a problem with the web site and so I was unable to get any info. on new car prices. Will try again later. Thanks.
  • I am new to this so please bear with me if I am repeating this question. I have ordered a C240 2002 and it is promised for about the middle of October. I now have an 83 300TD with 206,000 miles so it's about time. Would you advise purchasing an extended warrante and if so, are you only able to purchase it with the new vehicle or can you buy it from another MB dealer? I noticed that some people mentioned buying it in Chico (is that CA) Thanks for any help you can give me.
  • Absolutely buy an extended warranty. I live on the Westside of Los Angeles and my dealer is in Santa Monica. I just purchased an extended warranty from Lisa Lehrbaum, Finance Manager, Courtesy Motors, Chico, CA -- (800) 655-3535. She is a pleasure! The cost of the warranty for my almost four-month old C320 is $1580. I purchased it earlier than needed, because Lisa feels the price is due to go up. The retail for the extended warranty is approx $2550. I called different dealers in my area and the lowest figure I found was $2050, but not from my dealer -- they would not discount anything.

  • I recently took delivery of my 2002 240 C from RBM after an eight-week wait. I negotiated (quite easily, actually) to pay 2001 MSRP for the 2002 car -- so, about $600 under 2002 MSRP. I would definitely encourage you to push hard with those guys.

    Also, as I reminder, I had the terrible experience with the front-mounted license plate being installed by RBM -- which, to my surprise, permanently damages the front bumper with four holes. After a very difficult series of conversations with the MB regional rep, RBM's general manager and my salesperson over the course of three weeks (a process that got very heated, included my stopping payment on my check, and both sides threatening lawsuits), I got them to agree to exchange my bumper with an undamaged one at their cost. Once the gloss got off of the situation, it was clear that RBM (and other MB dealers, truth be told) held the same attitudes about customer service as the stereotypical American car dealer.

    If you do deal with RBM, please proactively demand that they not add any dealer promotional propaganda (including front license brackets, unless you want that permanent addition) to your new vehicle.
  • w2p2w2p2 Posts: 63
    I too bought my car from RBM. A 2001 C320. It has been in the shop 3 times since I bought it in Feb.
    Twice for the same problem. It won't crank. It will turn over , but will not crank. They have said both times it is the key. They have replaced the key again and I got it back yesterday. This makes a total of 3 key replacements since I got the car.
    I have had the oil changed twice at RBM. Once at 4000 and the second time at 9000, only because I was having the car serviced for the cranking problem.
    Each time they over filled the oil. I live in Decatur and got almost home each time and the oil light came on.
    If you get your oil changed there I suggest you tell your service Rep. to double check the amount they add.
    The first time they said they over filled because of new equipment at the new speed service building. This time they didn't have an excuse.
    Once at
  • w2p2w2p2 Posts: 63
    That was the the reason I kept having to put in more.
    Thanks for the suggestions about my car. I am preparing myself to start negotiating for a new car or a refund. I am checking on the lemon laws here is Georgia. Alot has been going on lately.
  • nankynanky Posts: 75
    I had the new valve kit installed last Friday, and it actually seems to completely elliminate the noise.

    >>I am glad it did. I had to wait for about three weeks for the kit to arrive but I believe it had just been released when I found out about it. Did you also have to have to wait or was it readily available?
  • I have a UK C320 Avantgarde with factory fit Sports suspension and 17" AMG alloys. This will be same as US C320 Sport with staggered AMG III alloys.

    This is the second one I have had as the first had a "stalling" problem which the dealer could not fix after 3 visits.

    Both cars had the same suspension + wheels, the first one was firm in town - UK town roads are terrible - but sat beautifully on the highway or any fast twisty roads and really felt as though it was on rails.

    My current one is completely different - it feels harsher in town - I am still adjusting my seat after 4 weeks - and is bouncy / fidgety / fill in your own word on highways / twisty roads particularly above 60. I do not have confidence in it above 80, even then it feels as though you are travelling much faster than that as you are bounced about in your seat.

    I have booked it in next week to be looked at, but does anyone have similar experiences or any ideas as to what it might be? (I checked tyre pressures, tyres on this are Michelins, previous car Pirellis).

    From my previous experiences I hope it is simple and obvious (packing not removed for instance). It is also very hard to describe, so apologies for my attempt.

    Thanks, Ronnie
  • Bwatl - Appreciated you sharing your experience with RBM. I spoke to a salesperson there who at best might wave the destination cost $645. I guess I would have to work real hard to get 3% over invoice. Have not pushed real hard yet because I will not make my final decision as to what I really want until late October. I will most definitely stipulate that I do not want front license brackets. That is good advice.

    W2p2 - I am concerned about the quality problems you mentioned such as the car not cranking and a cracked windshield reservoir. I hope the your third set of keys will do the trick. Forty grand is too much to pay for a lemon.

    I am trying to decide whether to pursue the car of my dreams or settle for the rock solid reliability of a Lexus. If I could get a mercedes with the reliability of Lexus there would be no debate.
  • I haven't contributed for quite awhile though I watch the posts on the reliability isuues. I have an early (Nov 2000) build that has been in on 7 separate occasions for:
    squealing brakes (2 Trips, fixed), noisey purge valve (better, but will go for the replacement kit), moving or shifting drivers seat cushion ,2 trips,fixed, (actual frame replaced), bad memory module for drivers seat(fixed, module replaced) keys replaced( fixed), wiring harness to enable the satellite unlocking (early builds below 59000 need this )upgrade.

    I think Zeemenow is in the minority when it comes to problem free motoring since I have several friends with the C320/240 who have all been back at least 3 times for this and that.

    At 10,000 plus miles I do want to balance the comments about what is right. I am averaging 27+ miles per gallon for the last 3600 miles.(avg speed 42 miles per hour). I managed 31.4 mpg for 254 miles in a mostly highway cruise. The return trip was 30.2 mpg running the AC intermittantly cruising at 65 to 75 mph. The brakes are the best I have ever used. (Rented a Lincoln LS on a recent trip and realized that after almost rear ending someone ). This car is very quiet handles well, is fast and instills great driver confidence. It is a very attractive design.

    I also have an LS 430 which has been back to the dealer but once in 9 months. This car is very refined and it too was a new model build just like the Benz. In short the Benz will get replaced before the Lexus but I will admit that I feel more noticable in the Benz and much more anonomous the in the 430. If I could do this over I would have still bought the Benz but should have waited for the C 320 wagon which to my eyes comes off very well in the styling dept. By the way I dumped the factory wheels/tires and went for 255/40 18 inchers in the back and 225/40 18 s on the front. The ride and road noise are is fine and it brought the rear end down an inch which makes for a really nice looking stance ( knows this car well as to various fitments)

    Best Wishes to all
  • Not to partake in dealer bashing, but I did want to at least vent about the call I had with RBM's general manager in the process of trying to resolve the bumper situation.

    After I explained my position that I thought it was the dealer's responsibility to at least give me the option of having the front plate installed (especially since the salesman did admit that I wasn't the only customer who was very unhappy to find out about the permanent damage -- all for a front bracket that isn't required by the state!), I said, "Sir, with all due respect, as a piece of advice from the customer, I would train your salespeople to mention this to the client prior to delivery." He abruptly cut me off saying, "Don't you tell me how to run my business -- we're doing quite fine without your input, thank you very much. I don't go into your business and try and tell you what to do?" To which I replied, "Actually, if I didn't listen to you as my customer, I would be out of business."

    So, unfortunately, the rose-colored glasses are off -- I thought buying a MB would be some sort of fantasy experience, but alas, I guess I fell victim to marketing hype.

    Bottom line: buyer beware -- don't take the dealer's word for anything. Continue to use forums like this and be aggressive about asking questions and taking charge of the buying experience.

    (With less than 200 miles on my new car, I'm probably not qualified to report my experience. But, so far, so good -- although, I did get the new albaster white color, which I had hoped would be more different than it really is from the 2001 "white" color. Would probably take a German engineer to tell the difference in a parking lot.)
  • ktanktan Posts: 9
    I own a C320 that I bought in early February and have no problems whatsoever. My belief is that the only guys who post messages typically have a problem of some kind while the rest of us who don't have problems either don't read this message board or don't bother posting.
  • I appreciate your reply to me, Miki, about the extended Warranty. How soon after purchasing a vehicle should/must you purchase the extension? And will it be accepted at any Mercedes Dealership? Thanks
  • fuzzofuzzo Posts: 88
    Hi Rob,
    I was thinking of getting new whee;s for my 240 and was looking into 18's for them. The only thing is that it seemed as though the front and the rear would need to be lowered to make it look nice. In your post you mentioned that you had only lowered the rear? So have you not lowered the front?

    Do you have any pics of your car with the 18's on?

    Thanks in advance
  • ahost,

    Come on . . . a "feature"???? I hardly see how being uncomfortably warm--and not being able to control it--can be considered a "feature". Let's at least be honest enough to call it what it is . . . a design "flaw."
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Obviously there is some concern regarding the anecdotal evidence of many design and QA/QC flaws in the new C Class. There has been some speculation as to whether this board is a representative sample (of course it's not), or if these are even common problems.

    Perhaps one way to assess this is to examine statistically significant reliability sources. I don't know if this is any kind of omen or precursor of things to come, but this year, Consumer Reports has taken the W202 C Class off its "Best Buy" list due to an average performance. The car was on the Best Buy list for several years before that, with above average reliability. What will happen next year when CR first rates the W203? I really wonder.

    Notably, the BMW 3 series remains a CR "Best Buy". But if you read the anecdotal evidence on BMW message boards such as, these cars also seem to have a spate of reliability issues. Some are rather grave; many posters have indicated that their engine cooling fans (mostly Siemens, but some Bosch) have failed and as a result the engine has overheated. BMW did a recall on all E46 3 Series cars, only to recall the recalled part yet again, replacing the fans (made by Siemens) by Bosch units.

    What is wrong with this picture? Bosch and Siemens used to be highly respected suppliers. But wait, there's more ... apparently there is an issue with premature A-arm bushing failure resulting in very sloppy handling and braking imbalances. There may be a recall in the works for this too. There is also a host of other problems described on the board. At least CR has not (yet?) found sufficient data to suggest that the 3 should not be called a Best Buy any more.

    Quite frankly, the more I read in this vein, the more I like my 1966 Peugeot 404 Coupé, which in its long life has had no unusual part failures, or a single breakdown. In 35 years!! Maybe I should restore it now instead of buying a new car. In fact, I think I will.

    Even my 1989 405 is still going strong at 155,000 miles, though it did have several issues under warranty (none involving inoperability, I hasten to add).

    If I lay down some big bucks for a new German car, I'll expect near perfection. If the car ever became inoperable, for any reason, I'd be horrified. Speechless. I would be in the manufacturer's face like their worst nightmare. Such shabbiness is simply inexcusable. No paying customer should have to do alpha testing for a carmaker. And yet that seems to be what I'm seeing evidence of here, to one degree or another.

    Some of the folks here whose keys have failed to operate, or have had electrical shutdowns while driving, would likely think twice about taking a long trip in their new car. One or two of you even mentioned this in previous postings.

    Well, our family just got back from a 4000+ mile trip in my fully loaded (with luggage and people!) Peugeot 405. I knew the car would not break down. Think about it folks ... this is an old, orphaned, French car. Parts are hard to get. No roadside assistance, no local dealer, no warranty. But I knew there would not be a problem. And there wasn't even a hiccup.

    I am truly glad that I'm not able to buy a new car at this moment, as it gives me time to assess the situation and react accordingly. I'll be watching JD Power, ADAC Pannenstatistik, CR and even the costs of W203 extended warranty closely over the next couple of years to see what I should do.

    Meanwhile, I hope that those of you who are experiencing problems with your C Classes manage to sort them out and enjoy your cars. I really want to buy one, but I'm not sure it'd be the right decision.

  • dalfruin,

    it looks like maybe one of your shock absorbers is dead. try to push down on each corner of your car. the corner that bounces too much or offers least resistance could be at fault. this is just a hunch on my part; i can't believe that it went past quality control if really faulty. hope you find it.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    They don't build them like they used to. I have a neighbor who has a new C-240 6-speed and an old 240D 4-speed. He has put over 250,000 miles on his "D" without any significant problems. As for his new "C" with 5,000 miles, no significant problems, but it's been back to the dealership numerous times for little things that are driving him nuts.

    His assessment is that over the past few years MB has gone in the direction of flashy styling, lots of electronic gimmicks, and (relatively) high volume production at the expense of building an incredibly solid, well engineered and tested car (i.e. what their reputation of 10-20+ years ago was built on).

    As for dealerships that forget who is the customer and how to deliver service, I think that is unfortunately another example of MB going towards quantity over quality.

    I remain on the list for a C32, but will be giving this dilemma further thought before I stroke the check. I'm also on the list for an M3, and it appears to me that BMW has not "fallen" as much as Mercedes in quality control. Perhaps because they weren't quite as high as Mercedes was to begin with.
  • w2p2w2p2 Posts: 63
    Yep, this morning wouldn't crank. They are on the way with a mechanic. I cannot believe this. I spend 43,000 and have 10,000 miles on it and it has cost me 3 days pay!
    Its not the key, It's only 3 days old!
This discussion has been closed.