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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Maintenance and Repair



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    It has to do with the logic in the traction control software. They don't want you on the brake and accelerator at the same time, because it confuses the software, which uses the ABS system and throttle adjustments to invoke the traction control when necessary.
  • The engine warning light of my 2003 CL55 suddenly came on at 25000 miles. Teleaid tech said not to worry -- was probably due to "gas fumes resulting from gas cap not being tighted." Light was reset at scheduled maintenance but soon came back on again and has remained on for over 3000 miles. Anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do about this?
  • The Center vent blows cold air The side vents blows hot air hot set to max cold but the hot water never turns off no one seems to know which computer to replace I dont really want to replace all 3 any ideas or suggestions.
  • tizertizer Posts: 23
    The check Engine Light on my 2001 C240 comes on and will stay on for about 400 miles...then "go out" when the car is started and stay off for about 100 miles when it will come back on..This pattern has gone on for several Thousand Miles. The car has 76,000 highway miles. My independant mechanic checked the codes and it reads.."unauthorized"...? I have searched this board and read that this problem could be a build up of carbon in the cylinders...but the car drives perfect. Any other thoughts before I go to the MB dealer .

    Thanks for any input.
  • tizertizer Posts: 23
    The check Engine Light on my 2001 C240 comes on and will stay on for about 400 miles...then "go out" when the car is started and stay off for about 100 miles when it will come back on..This pattern has gone on for several Thousand Miles. The car has 76,000 highway miles. My independant mechanic checked the codes and it reads.."unauthorized"...? I have searched this board and read that this problem could be a build up of carbon in the cylinders...but the car drives perfect. Any other thoughts before I go to the MB dealer .

    Thanks for any input.
  • Background: My wife got a '02 C230 Sport Coupe new in the fall of '01. She absolutely loves the car, with one exception, which is not truely the fault of MB. At 6 months old the car got keyed :cry: , getting EVERY body panel and at least one tail light lens. The car got a complete repaint from a very reputable shop dealing in high end cars in the Atlanta area: completely de-trimmed and such. Best repaint I've ever seen.
    On to the problem: 6 months to a year after this, to start with on rainy days, a brake light would go out. The indicator would come on, then the brake light would start working again. Sometimes this would take a day, sometimes just a few minutes. After many trips to the dealer, all under warranty, the car got all updates they had for the wiring harness and I think anything else. Finally this last spring they kept the car for a week and seemed to get it. Of all things they claimed they believed the problem was too much di-electric grease in a connector. The tech said there was enough in it for the whole car. In any case, everything was great for about 6 months, after then the final service prior to the car going out of warranty (which it did before it showed back up), it started doing this again. Now the brake light will go out, stay out for a few minutes, then start working again. I've noticed this following her. It will be working the first few stops she makes, then go out, and then one or two brake applications down the road start working again. Of course the fault shows for her the entire drive, unless she restarts the car (which she's been known to do at a long light). This seems to sound like a loose connection, but does anyone know where I should start looking on this? Yes, I could take it back to the dealer (again), and probably should, but I just have an urge to find the likely connector and make sure the connection is tight and it isn't gooped full. Left brake light, in case it makes a difference, and yes, it is consitantly just that tail light.
    Thanks for any input and suggestions.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I believe there is a Tech Bulletin out on this. I will need to go to our car, which is garaged 4 floors below us in the condo parking garage, to get the latest list. When I have it, I'll post the number, if it is the problem I think it is.

    Before you go back to the dealer, let me see if I can help you point them in the right direction.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Well, it sounds like the dealer may already have done everything the factory has on the Tech list for this problem, so maybe it is a loose connection. I presume you've had the brake light covers off from inside the trunk and had a good look and feel for the connections there? At the other end, it could be a bad connector out of the brake pedal switch.

    There are two bulletins, both relatively old, but worth mentioning to a dealer just in case - one relates to intermittent failures [Jan '03 P-82-10-217] and the other to continuous lighting of the brake lights [kind of the opposite of your situation, but worth a look anyway] [Oct '04 P-54-21-119].

    That's all I could find; I'm also betting on a corroded or bad connection either in the engine compartment where the brake switch connects to the rest of the bus system, or in the taillight assembly itself. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
  • If you are thinking about buying a new Mercedes product, first let me suggest two web sites in which to do some research;

    1) Mercedes Benz Club of America
    2) Mercedes Forum

    At the Mercedes Club site you can read numerous post about poor Mercedes service by dealers and the resulting unhappy customers. This is at the official Mercedes Club Site where even the moderators are troubled by Mercedes quality.
    Things are so bad the Mercedes Club worked to have a special envoy at Mercedes respond to and help club members with problems.

    If you think problems like this can arise at any manufacturer, also be aware that in most cases you pay a premium for a Mercedes product. And the last four issues of the very influential auto magazine `CAR` out of the UK.. had editorial comments by it's own writers lamenting the serious quality problems and poor customer service by dealer and Mercedes Benz Corporate.

    If you think a new car warranty will allay your fears, it is not unusual to make six, seven or more visits for the same problem. And if you think your savvy enough to get a regional service representative involved, in most case it won't happen. Mercedes Corporation distances themselves from their independent dealers, and denies/refuses to set up meetings between customers and regional service representatives.

    Many defenders of Mercedes will site similar problems with other manufacturers. note that in Germany shareholders have revolted over the widely accepted notion that Mercedes is in deep trouble. Quality, corporate scandal, and fierce competition have all effected Mercedes negatively.

    Before you by a Mercedes Benz product, do some research. You may find that it is prudent for you to purchase a Mercedes product, many people may find otherwise.

    As far as the purchase of a used Mercedes vehicle, Consumer Reports discourages such purchases. Only until you understand the financial, short term and long term history of Mercedes Benz USA, and have a cursory knowledge of cars and their mechanical workings, would I contemplate the purchase of such a vehicle.
  • There is a web site called, that has a technical forum that is very good.

    The web address didn't appear in the post I submitted above so do a google search for both sites that I have mentioned above.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Well, I've been a member of MBCA for over 30 years, and an owner for 37 years, and I can assure you there are plenty of people in the Club, and in the driving population at large, who disagree that MB is something to be avoided. I too am disappointed with what has been going on in Stuttgart, but the departure of Schrempp and the track record of his sucessor has me convinced that things will continue to get better.

    I've owned EVERYTHING over the past 43 years - there is no question that Toyota and Honda do a better job of making trouble-free cars than any of the Germans. But drawing any distinctions among the German makes, including the all-too-self-satisfied BMW [I also belong to BMWCCA] is just foolish. They all make the same mistakes and all buy flawed parts from the same suppliers.

    If you want a trouble-free ownership experience, you need to stick with the Japanese. I keep coming back to MB because of how the car behaves on the road. I give every potential owner the credit for the common sense to know what is most important to them, and act accordingly.
  • I would note that BMW has surpassed Mercedes brand in units made and sold in the last count of such statistics.

    I would also recommend that Consumer Reports be consulted so one can view their predicted reliability for cars. BMW surpasses Mercedes Benz across the board.

    The suspension perch failures on W210 ( particularly diesel ) model cars is not a supplier problem, but a design flaw.

    The issue is not even about trouble free, the issue is about dealer performance, access to quality service, and ability to have contact with Mercedes regional managers.

    I don't know that there is much argument from the motoring press, private analysis by financial institutions and quality survey firms, that Mercedes brand cars presently under warranty, being leased or in dealer stock have quality issues.
    The problem is global and extends to Mercedes Credit Lending.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 all means, buy something else. It's a free market, after all. There are so many great cars out there these days, that your money should go where you want it. (For me, the '02 C240 we are driving now is probably in the top 2 or 3 cars we've ever owned....and there have been 53 in all since I started driving in HS in 1962.)
  • CDan anyine recogmmend a reasonble servicer in the Minnetonka/ST. Louis Park vicinity. Tired of paying top dollar to the dealershiop
  • tony24tony24 Posts: 15
    I agree with you. Thank you for writing your message. Hopefully, others are able to find your posting before their purchase. My 2002, C240 has been in the shop at least 20 times (probably more, stopped counting at 20) and it continues to give me problems. You might get some negative response to your posting but you must know that you are correct. I have met three people recently who are having problems with their MB. Yes, that might not be a lot but their Mercedes (03's and 04) are newer than mine.

    Yes, I know a lot of people might say that they know friends who are not having problems and that is fine. You can post your message. That said, many of us are experiencing problems on our new MB. Also, I can not speak for other automakers so please do not compare this posting with any.

    Anyway Thank you for your posting lets hope that it does help someone.....
  • does your state have a lemon law? you might want to look into it.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Our '02 C240, produced in January of '02 in Bremen [about 18 months into production] has the following history:

    -During our test drive, I noticed it needed a wheel alignment to correct pulling; this was accomplished in the first week, and the appt. to do it was part of the sales process.
    -Because our car had been unsold for nearly 6 months, and spent some time on a dirt lot, the vent tube in the differential got plugged, causing a leak. This was remedied with one visit.
    -During the most recent B service, I had them apply a TSB to our car that addressed bogus messages about ESP failures [the message appears, then is reset by an engine restart] - this was accomplished as part of the service visit.
    -I had them replace one of the horns - it was sounding like a bleating calf.

    You decide for yourselves what this means, if anything, in the context of this discussion. Let's just say our last Toyota Camry had just as many problems, with more time getting worked on.

    There were lots of early production W203s that were hopeless cases. There were lots more with a history like ours, which I regard as pretty normal for a car this complex. And the driving experience is just about the best we have had - the only better car we've owned was our '98 E320 in terms of how it behaves out there in the real world.

    I think the new Lexus IS is significant competition, but issues already bubbling to the surface on the new E90 BMW 3er suggest that you aren't going to be home-free there, either. I was all set to order the RWD version of the BMW 3er wagon [due in our market in the Spring], but not after I've been following the stories of some of the early adapters of the new 3er. If I do it at all, it probably won't be for at least another year, to allow them to deal with the same kinds of problems that seem to affect all of the German makes when a new model comes out.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Yeah, the countdown starts when the car's computer is first activated at the factory.

    The build date is shown on the data plate on the doorjamb.

    After the first service, the computer will be reset and then go from there. The dealer might be willing to reset yours now, since 4k is awfully early to dump the oil, though an early oil change never hurts. Talk to the dealer service people and see what they say.

    Our car has the FSS system, and it is programmed for 2 years, plus monitoring the oil quality based on usage. In other words, when MBUSA was paying, going 2 years was considered OK for a low-mileage user with mostly freeway miles; now that the customer is paying, it's a maximum of 1 year. What a surprise....
  • Thank You very much for your answer! I think I just go ahead with the service, getting ready for the winter. ;)
  • well, the honeymoon is over. after 130,000 miles in 6+ years, this car is showing more wear than either my Camry or Accord ever did with thousands more miles. And it didn't just happen. let's see...
    2 or 3 dashboard lights went kablooey 3 years ago
    airflow direction selector for heat/AC is stuck on one setting and can't be changed
    AM radio reception is, and always has been, terrible
    6-CD changer in trunk went belly up a year ago
    front cup holder doesn't close
    LCD readout on radio doesn't work; only bottom half of numbers visible
    power headrests no longer work
    power moonroof slides when I tilt it and tilts when I slide it
    cruise control cuts off on a whim
    low fuel warning light blinks even after vapor lock is checked and reseated

    Inquired about getting some of the minor glitches fixed but was told by the dealer tech that it might not be worth it - said that fixing the cupholder alone could run $300. No thanks. I'll play out the string with this car and then go back to Japanese.
  • mezecamezeca Posts: 66
    $300 for a cupholder? I think your dealer has lost their mind. I've replaced the one in my 97 202 for near nothing. My 97 has just turned 133,000 miles, and yes the water pump just failed. However, here is the growing list of problems on my Honda Accord that we've owned since 22k:
    Seats squeak badly.
    Excessive wind noise from all doors on the highway.
    Axle shaft boots splitting again, and one is starting to click bad in turns.
    UppleUpper joint boots are starting to split.
    Motor mounts have lost their touch.(The electronic one is supposedly $400 +labor)
    Transmission still shifts too hard.
    Speedometer needle is starting to bounce at freeway speeds.
    Brakes are still squeaking(dealer installed)
    Right rear window regulator broke.
    Steering wheel covering is seperating from the wheel itself.
    Clear coat paint is beginning to flake off.
    Cruise control stopped working years ago.
    Left rear door actuator makes this mysterious ratchet/groan every time car is locked. This car only has 60k on it.

    My fathers 02 Toyota starter went out at 40k( car just went out of warranty)
    Cost: $550 for the part, two and half hours labor, plus towing.

    My sister in-laws Toyota had the air bags deploy while parked, thank God she wasn't driving. And Toyota did not give a hoot! The dealer was absolutely useless, with the
    service mangager failing to return a single phone call. Toyota corporate never returned calls and would transfer the call to some "pseudo" persons voice mail at every attempt to contact someone regarding this matter. It took six months for Toyota to admit there was a design flaw and to finally fix the car.(new control unit and air bags).

    Back to my 97 202. It still drives like new, no wind noise, no road noise, and typical German road manners. This CANNOT be said about the Accord. It 's driving dynamics and above mentioned noises on the road leave a lot to be desired. Is it reliable? Well, if you mean that it doesn't leave me stranded, then yes(except for the ignition igniter problem that left the car not wanting to start). But is has required more than it's share of up-keep.
    My 202 has also been very reliable(never stranded) and has had less maintenance work performed overall than the Accord.

    This is why I went German again. Our 203 has been outstanding. It has had a total of 4 dealer visits in nearly two years. Once for it's scheduled A-service, and the rest was for 3 seperate tire repairs, all caused by nails. The dealer didn't even charge for repairing the tires.
  • I have a C230 and the 1 year mark is closing in. The 3rd party california "Insurance Policy" extended warranties scare me a bit with lack of coverage for this and that. Having said that the list price for the Mercedes is $3700. Seems a bit steep but 3 dealers have quoted the price and won't budge. Any luck??
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    For the official MBUSA extended warranty, start with a phone call or e-mail to the F & I manager at the dealership in Chico CA [Courtesy Motors??] - look it up on the MBUSA website. In the past, they have always been the low-price leader for the extended warranty. I too am leery of any 3rd party warranties - I'm sure some are OK, but have no basis for knowing which ones.
  • cneffcneff Posts: 65
    Sorry about the trouble you went through, I do understand your pain.

    I have had a few MBs and still do, for two main reasons. The cars drive to my liking and I have had very good service from both the dealers and MB HQ. I had a bad ML (I mean bad) and the dealer plus MB jumped in and eliminated the problem. Maybe I was lucky, but, I was impressed and picked up another MB (2004 C320 4matic wagon). FYI - MB called me back when I called.
    I know MBs can be painfully unreliable, but, I do have an extreme comparison that keeps me thinking it is not so bad. I have a 2003 Audi A4 3.0. It has been at 4 different dealers for a total of 150 days - after 2 years of fighting Audi they finally sent experts. Car still can't be fixed so Audi said I can go to another dealer. Audi has absolutely refused responsibility, no return calls and false promises (you can see my points on one of the related Audi boards). In fact, they have told me they are not responsible for their dealers behavior or repair ability often. And talk about trying to find someone to talk to, unless you are savvy with Google you won't find a human that is not just blowing smoke.
    I really like German cars, I've got fingers crossed hoping MB will keep up the service that I am used to.
  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    I currently drive a 2000 C230. Just passed 32,000 miles. Car is 5 and one-half years old. Other than routine maintenance, here are all the repairs:

    (1) fuel tank sensor replaced (under warranty--apparently a common problem in ALL German cars)
    (2) both rear taillamp clusters replaced after smae bulb bulb went out 3 times (under warranty)
    (3) CD changer swapped with remanufactured unit (just under $350 installed--part not covered under Starmark extended warranty)

    Now, I realize my mileage is low, but I for one think this is a good track record. This is my first Mercedes, after 13 years of driving Honda products (3 Accords and an Acura Legend). So far, I'd rate the Benz's reliability equal to the Legend's, and at least as good or better than the Accords'.

    Believe me, I still like Hondas quite a bit. I could very well buy another one. There is just something satisfying about driving an M-B--especially on the open road (and I have the "economy" model).

    If someone is wavering over what to buy, I tell them to consider what I call the "wow factor." Make a list of every single car you are interested in. Drive all of them, preferably over a long weekend so each is fresh in your memory. Finally, when you walk away from each "candidate," ask yourself "which one is the toughest to part with?" Or, when you see each vehicle on the road, ask yourself which one you would REALLY like to own--in other words, which one "wows" you the most. Not the most scientific or "Consumer Reports" method, but it worked for me.

    Needless to say, if you are contemplating buying a pre-owned M-B, make sure you can check ALL service records. Also keep in mind that EVERY manufacturer--particularly of luxury cars--is expected to provide more and more electronic gadgetry while keeping prices steady. More complication obviously results in more potential for repair. I believe the Japanese still have an edge over the Europeans in reliability of electronics. However, I think M-B still (with a few exceptions) has an edge in body structure, drivetrains, suspensions, brakes and steering. These "hard" parts have a stoutness that I just don't think you find elsewhere, lending to a feeling of security, whether you are a driver or a passenger.

    The nice problem for enthusiasts is that there are a lot of really good vehicles out there today, so choosing one is never easy. I hope this helps.

    Best of luck--
  • lakepoplakepop Posts: 221
    I have repeat brake light bulb failures on my 1998 C230 sedan. Have replaced the left side brake light bulb 4 times. Recently replaced the light holder/bulb ......bulb failed again! :confuse:

    Any ideas would be appreciated. I will look at the brake light switch soonest there any other component that could cause this repeat problem?
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    we've had the same problem on our 2002 C240. Dunno if there is a permanent fix.
  • Hello

    First off, I am very new to Mercedes Benz, having purchased my first one earlier this evening. It is a 2001 C240 with 66,700 miles, and with one exception, looks and feels like a brand-new car.

    The one problem (which at the price I paid, I cannot really complain about), is the ESP malfunction indicator on the multifunction display came on, and won't go off. When I evaluated and selected the car everything showed normal, but 20 miles after taking delivery (this is a 5-year-old car with no warranty) the ESP malfunction indicator came on, telling me to go to the dealer (expensive).

    Honestly, I don't care much about fancy traction control systems here in sunny Southern California, is there a way to either just disable the system or at least turn off the malfunction warning so it isn't in my face every time I turn on the car? I have the complete service history of the car and it had electrical repairs three times prior to 25,000 miles, but none after.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Well, I would have counseled you to never buy this car without some kind of warranty, even for a period as short as 30 days. This is an example of why.

    There is a well known problem that results in bogus ESP messages. It involves replacing a wiring harness and adding some new gold connectors, the old versions of which were subject to corrosion. I just had this work done on our '02 C240; there is a Tech Bulletin out that covers this.

    Look to the specifics of the "electrical repairs" and see if any attempt was made to update your car.

    ESP malfunctions will not necessarily disable traction control. TC is a lower level function than ESP, which is designed to help get you out of extreme road situations where the car is about to go out of control due to excessive steering or throttle inputs [oversteer in a turn, combined with loss of traction, for example]. It is a safety feature that MB helped invent, and which is widely sought after these days in lesser makes. I wouldn't exactly describe it as a "frill", and it could save your bacon just as easily in SoCal as in Minnesota.

    You have to do what you have to do, but I caution people against buying these cars used if you're not prepared to spend money on maintenance - and this advice applies to EVERY "upscale" make, including Lexus and Acura and Infiniti, all of which are allegedly less troublesome than the Germans. Once you get out of the warranty, things will go wrong and they have to be fixed, and it's expensive. In this case, I think there is a known solution, but you say you're reluctant to spend the money - that's legit, but this won't be the last prepared.
  • I bought a used 2000 C230 from a Landrover dealer in southern CA. When I turn my car on I see a double wrench icon with a -424. I assume this means that I am due for service. The Landrover dealer I bought the car from said it did a complete service check (with oil change) before I drove it off the lot and the reason for the indicator is because they are not a MB dealer and can not reset. Is there a way to reset the wrenches or does a double wrench mean something more serious than an oil change? Thanks!
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