The most common Mercedes-Benz problems range from engine system failures to problems with the brake system and rough gear shifts to transmission issues and rusty engine mounts.
Price doesn’t always equal perfection, a harsh fact that even the most luxurious car makers aren’t immune to. Cue
Mercedes-Benz—the manufacturer undoubtedly makes some of the sportiest, efficient, and most reliable vehicles out there.
However, whether it’s engine issues or airbag recalls, even the German automaker produces cars that struggle.
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What are the most common Mercedes-Benz problems?
The German luxury carmaker is known for its high-tech (and high-price) sports vehicles. Though the brand offers top-notch design and a luxurious ride, the manufacturer received a 3.0/5.0 reliability rating from Repair Pal.
Though this rating isn’t bad, we did the sleuthing to find the most common hiccups that may make your Mercedes-Benz unreliable. Here are the most common problems we found across all makes and models:
- Gear shift problems, including rough shifting
- Transmission problems
- Engine malfunctions, including bad catalytic converters and rusty engine mounts
These common problems are just the starting point—each model has a list of prevalent issues. So to make it easy, we provided the table below for a complete breakdown of the most common problems with the Mercedes-Benz models available in 2022:
J.D. Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
Leaky differential cover and seal, brake system failure, broken front suspension system, bad air pump system relays
Steering lock mechanism failure, engine malfunction, noisy drive
2011, 2015, 2016
Faulty dashboard warning lights, leaky steering rack, failure in the camshaft adjuster solenoid or crankshaft position sensor
Sticking air pump relays, cracked front suspension system, low brake pressure, differential leaks
2000, 2003, 2005
Faulty fuel or steering systems, electrical issues, rattling engine, airbag malfunction
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Most common Mercedes-Benz E350 problems
Average annual repair cost: $788
CarComplaints.com complaints: 131
Mercedes E350drivers have reported cracked thrust link bushing in their front suspension system. This special part helps to absorb shaking and vibration from the road. However, these bushings are known to fracture—the result is a bumpier ride and excessive wear and tear on the tires. Speaking of leaks, leaky differential covers and seals are also common for the E350.
Also, beware of sticking air pumps, which help the E350 maintain its ride height. This system has been known to fail, resulting in the air pump running constantly and draining your battery. Some drivers have dealt with low brake pressure and a faulty brake control system as well.
Most common Mercedes-Benz C300 problems
Average annual repair cost: $739
CarComplaints.com complaints: 104
Though fairly reliable, the
Mercedes C300does not come without its problems. Whether it’s a faulty steering lock mechanism or trouble getting the engine to turn over, CarComplaints.com rated these common issues as “really awful,” the worst on the severity ranking since the average repair cost will set you back $1,300. But know that these problems don’t usually start until the 90,000 to 100,000-mile range.
Some drivers have also reported excessively noisy rides, especially at highway speeds.
Most common Mercedes-Benz ML350 problems
Average annual repair cost: $1,020
CarComplaints.com complaints: 65
ML350is one of J.D. Power’s top ten midsize SUVs. Nonetheless, owners have reported rough shifting caused by issues with the gear system.
The camshaft adjuster solenoid tends to malfunction, along with steering rack failures and issues with the electrical switches in the door latches or rear tailgate.
Most common Mercedes-Benz E320 problems
Average annual repair cost: $1,456
CarComplaints.com complaints: 50
Like some of its E-series siblings, the
E320is prone to fissures in the thrust link bushings, wearing down the vehicle’s tires and making for a bumpy and unenjoyable ride. The air pump is also known to malfunction, not to mention leaks in the differential cover and seals and low brake pressure.
Most common Mercedes-Benz C250 problems
Average annual repair cost: $770
CarComplaints.com complaints: 52
C250may be a Mercedes classic, but with age comes more aches and pains. The most common and arguably the most dangerous C250 problem involves faulty airbag systems, which some say fail to deploy entirely (the 2012 model was recalled due to this issue). Other complaints include rattling engines, electrical issues, and problems with the steering system.
Though fuel system problems don’t appear as frequently as the more-serious airbag failures or steering system issues, they’re possible and something to be aware of.
Are Mercedes-Benz cars reliable?
Mercedes-Benz engineers luxurious cars, but they’re not the most reliable. The experts at Consumer Reports rank the manufacturer’s reliability in the lower third of all car brands.
However, this does not mean that every model under the Mercedes-Benz umbrella should be avoided—J.D. Power ranked the 2017 and 2018
GLAas one of the best small premium SUVs of 2020 and 2021!
When buying a Mercedes-Benz, be prepared for an average annual repair cost no matter the model, and may be even higher for the brand’s least reliable models, such as the 2006 E350.
The least reliable Mercedes-Benz model: 2006 Mercedes-Benz E350
Most common problems: Rough shifting, camshaft adjuster solenoid failure, cracked front thrust link bushings
NHTSA complaints: N/A
This E-class sedan was introduced to up the speed and performance of this then-overlooked series. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine was the first of its type to be installed in an E-class vehicle.
Even though the new E350 was expected to offer a powerful performance boost over its sister E320 model, the manufacturer had not yet worked out all of the problems when they released the very first E350 in 2006.
Most of its problems are in the engine—the balance shaft is one of the biggest, not to mention most serious, problems. Not only do repairs for this essential piece cost $4,500+, but be prepared for other costly issues to be stacked on top of it, such as fissures in the front thrust link bushings, shifting system failures, and excessive tire wear-and-tear.
The most reliable Mercedes-Benz model: 2008 Mercedes-Benz E350
Most common problems: Rough shifting, camshaft adjuster solenoid failure, poor engine performance
NHTSA complaints: 195
The experts at J.D. Power rated the 2008 Mercedes-Benz E350’s reliability 85/100, proving how the manufacturer boomeranged back after the unattractive 2006 release of the E350.
But even the most reliable Mercedes-Benz comes with its problems. Rough shifting, failure of the camshaft adjuster solenoid, and poor engine performance are the most common issues arising for this vehicle.
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