12 Most Common Mercedes-Benz Problems

Whether you have recently purchased an older Mercedes-Benz or are planning on buying one, you might want to know the common problems associated with this car. In this article, we will cover some of the issues found with most Mercedes-Benz models including the E, C, S, ML, SLK, CLK, CLS, GL, and G Class.


The Mercedes has been known for having rust issues even though that does not mean all models are affected just some of the older models, making it worthwhile mentioning. Most of the models affected were from the 90s and early 2000s that showed signs of rust in high-wear areas. There are a few opinions regarding rust issues but the leading issues seem to be when the manufacturer believed the car was becoming too expensive to manufacture. At one time, Mercedes was using cheaper steel and used less paint. In turn, this led to thinning in certain areas and rust would take over.

Even the newer Mercedes models can still suffer from rust. Take your flashlight and inspect the entire car. Look under the wheel wells and rear bumpers. Check the front fenders and rear quarter panels. One other place you should check is around and behind the license plate. Remove the plate and check thoroughly. Keep in mind, that once rust sets in it’s very expensive to get rid of. In general, stay away from cars that have signs of rust, it’s very expensive to repair.

Engine Mounts

Mercedes-Benz Engine

The older models of Mercedes-Benz used solid rubber for the engine mounts. They were initially designed to reduce vibrations coming from the engine and travelling throughout the car to the passengers. This process worked well on mounts that were becoming damaged and splitting. You will be able to feel if these mounts have shown significant damage from vibrations as well as possibly clunking under acceleration.

The mounts on later models had a habit of becoming damaged after 100,000 miles and leaking fluid. The good news, while the symptoms are the same, the mounts are not expensive to replace. You will know when the engine mounts are failing because you will experience vibrations on the seat, in the cabin, and even on the steering wheel.

Thrust Link and Control Arm Bushings

Without getting into a lot of details, the bushings are small rubber components found in the front suspension. They are filled with fluid and have a habit of cracking open when they start aging. Not only will this lead to the suspension not working properly, but will cause a mess!

If you go through an abnormal bumpy ride or there is wear on your tyres, you should take a closer look. Also, Mercedes is prone to ball joint wear, sway bar links, and other issues.

If you are looking to purchase a Mercedes that is close to 100,000 miles you should be aware of these issues. Also, some reports suggest anything over 60,000 miles could have several problems.

Electric Window Problems

It’s important to mention that this is not only a problem with Mercedes but the window regulators have a habit of malfunctioning. Window regulators work quite hard to lower or close windows and they seem to fail more on Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and C-Class than other models.

There are several other brands including BMW and Audi that also suffer from window issues. The number of parts to a window regulator includes the pulleys that wear out and become detached. You should check to see if the windows are slow or non-opening when you look at a car.

Air Suspension Problems

Air Suspension Warning

Before 2000, Mercedes started using air suspension in some models and later in many other models. While the system offers a very high-quality ride, it is not without its problems. Issues can surface with the air suspension bags and the relays. The struts can fail completely leaving one section of the car much lower than the rest.

If this happens, it’s important to have it repaired immediately as it’s not safe to drive otherwise. Air struts can leak and are hard to notice if it’s a very small leak. Over a long period of time, a small leak will cause other problems with the compressor itself.

Catalytic Converters

Mercedes-Benz Catalytic Convertor

Although this is not a huge problem, there are reports that the converters will fail on a Mercedes that only has 60,000 miles, which is actually quite low. As the catalytic converters become less effective or clogged, the oxygen sensors may trigger a check engine or service engine light. As the condition worsens, you may notice performance issues such as misfiring and hesitation. Replacing the catalytic converters can be somewhat expensive depending on the model. Signs of an issue include misfiring, sluggish acceleration, and general performance issues.

Crank Sensor

This can be a little technical even though there are several common starting issues with Mercedes engines. It comes down to the sensor in the engine that measures if the engine is not aligned and will not turnover. There is some evidence that you will get a warning at odd times when it won’t start but over time, it will become more frequent. Again, this can be hard to spot.

Automatic Gearbox Issues

Mercedes-Benz Inside

While the Mercedes auto gearbox is an excellent design, the 13-pin connector, and the valve body are not as good and are very weak links. They can fail and lead to shifting issues like not getting into gear. The good news, is they are not a big problem to get fixed. Make sure you check the shift from park to drive a few times when viewing the car to make sure it works properly.

Misfiring Issues

Even though Mercedes offers a great engine, firing problems are quite common when an engine gets beyond the 100,000 mark. Coils and spark plugs need to be replaced from general wear and tear but many of these engines seem to need this service at much lower mileages. Misfiring and failing spark plugs have gone bad at 60,000 miles which is not something you would expect to see.

Check Engine Light

One very common issue is the check engine light coming on which is usually caused because the cap is not on properly. Once you have fueled your car, make sure the fuel cap is on tightly or the check engine light will probably come on.

Please Note – You can get an OBD II scanner to read and as well as erase the engine fault codes on your Mercedes.

Technology Aging

Diesel Particulate Filter

The bottom line is that Mercedes-Benz is cutting edge in engineering and this can be good or it can be bad. There will always be lists of faults with any car that is operated on new tech and have to be corrected. In many cases, a Mercedes is usually a car that is bought when it’s new so if the technology starts to age, more people can afford them even with its issues. While the systems are pretty complex, issues can arise and become a problem in the real world. The driving experience is excellent due to its mechanics and very impressive technology. When it does fail. The cost can be expensive to fix.

In A Nutshell

Mercedes-Benz is an excellent car at the top of the car manufacturing list of premium cars. Like all cars, at some point service will have to be performed. If you stay on top of maintenance requirements and get it fixed when something does go wrong, you will have this car for a very long time.

This article should give you some important info for keeping your Mercedes in great condition and what to watch out for. These cars are extremely reliable but will come with a large price tag for servicing, repairs and even general maintenance. Always check your car to see if something seems to be wrong, and get it serviced as soon as possible. Before purchasing a used Mercedes, find out how the car was treated, whether it was up to date on its maintenance needs and get its MOT history.

If you are having issues with your Mercedes you can get your vehicle checked and the issue diagnosed and resolved by booking online today.

For further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or you can email us directly at service@lowtonmotorcompany.co.uk. At Lowton Motor Company we service all vehicles produced by all the top manufacturers from the a Kia to a Porsche and everything in between. Our experienced technicians have access to and traning with all the latest technology. You can be sure your vehicle is in safe hands whether it’s in for a repair, a service or just the annual MOT.

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