You Want to Know: Are Mercedes-Benz Cars Reliable?
Shopping for a Mercedes-Benz? If the answer is yes, then most likely you’re doing research
into Mercedes-Benz’s reliability or possibly even wondering which is the most reliable Mercedes model? So, let’s dig into Mercedes’ reliability ratings and see if we can answer the question: Are Mercedes-Benz cars reliable?
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The Mercedes-Benz Model Lineup
Mercedes-Benz currently offers more than 20 models of vehicles in the United States – from sedans to SUVs and everything in between. If you’re going to purchase new, a base-model sedan will retail at around $33,000. Expect to pay around $36,000 for a base-model SUV, but you can easily spend upwards of $100,000 for the Benz of your dreams. Here’s a quick look at the Benz choices:
SUVs – GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE, GLS and the G-Class
Sedans and Wagons – A-Class, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class and the Mercedes Maybach
Coupes – CLA, C-Class, E-Class, CLS, S-Class and the AMG GT
Convertibles and Roadsters – C-Class, E-Class and S-Class Cabriolet; SLC and SL Roadster and AMG GT
There is no doubt Mercedes-Benz makes beautiful cars that are timeless and tasteful, appealing to regular Joes, celebrities and even the Pope! So, if you’re itching to make your Mercedes-Benz dream car a reality, then you’re in luck because there are lots of Mercedes-Benz options available in both the new and used-car market. So, let’s get into it. Let’s talk about reliability.
Mercedes Reliability Rating
How reliable are Mercedes-Benz vehicles? According to RepairPal, they are average when it comes to reliability. The Mercedes-Benz Reliability Rating is a 3 out of 5, which makes it average – not the best, but not the worst.
The average annual repair cost for a Mercedes-Benz is about $900, which means it has average ownership costs, compared to $652 across all other models. This includes both scheduled and unscheduled repairs.
Visiting a repair shop for unscheduled repairs is approximately 0.7 times a year, compared to 0.4 across all models. And on average across all Mercedes-Benz models, 13% of repairs are considered severe. This compares to a probability of 12% for major issues across all models.
To give perspective, it is important to note that the data from RepairPal regarding average cost, frequency and severity of repairs is based on data from more than 300 different models that are not all in the same class category as a Mercedes-Benz.
For instance, the ranking and average cost to repair takes into account data from all makes and models from brands like Honda, Nissan, Toyota, as well as some luxury brands like BMW, Audi and of course Mercedes-Benz. So, while the Benz is slightly more expensive to own and operate, it is on par with other luxury models, like the BMW, which actually costs more to repair.
To compare apples to apples, we took a look at what Consumer Reports had to say about the brand’s two most popular models – C-Class and E-Class sedans. In terms
of C-Class reliability and E-Class reliability both models earned a “Recommended” from Consumer Reports. Over the past 10 years both the C- and E-Class models have consistently received a 3 or higher in the Consumer Reports Predicted Reliability scale, earning a decade’s long average predicted reliability of 3.7 for the C-Class and 3.9 for the E-Class. The C-Class ranked #5 out of 17 luxury compact cars, while the E-Class ranked #6 out of 16 luxury midsize cars.
So, while it may be more expensive to own a Mercedes-Benz than the average car, remember that the Mercedes-Benz is not your average car either.
Going the Distance
Are Mercedes reliable after 100k miles? Well, that depends on who you ask. The truth is that if you take care of your Mercedes-Benz, it will take care of you and go the distance – 100,000 miles and beyond!
This means keeping to a regular service and maintenance schedule, fueling your Benz with the recommended gasoline, and promptly taking your Mercedes to have it looked at when an issue arises. As with all cars, it is also recommended that your Mercedes be serviced by a qualified and certified Mercedes-Benz mechanic. If you’re not getting your Mercedes-Benz serviced at the dealership, then make sure to seek out an independent Mercedes-Benz repair expert who will provide the care that you and your Benz deserve. With proper care, your Mercedes is able to make it past 100,000 easily.
Fun Fact: Mercedes-Benz has an award to commemorate high mileage. The Mercedes-Benz Classic High Mileage Award is presented to owners whose vehicles have logged 155,000 miles or more! Other mileage milestones that Mercedes-Benz recognizes are at 310k, 466k, 621k and 1,000,000 miles! (Yes, there are six zeros, making it a million miles!)
Answering the 100,000-mile question (Are Mercedes reliable after 100,000 miles?) is not clear cut. You need to do your research. Investigate the car’s history and whether it received the TLC it deserved in terms of maintenance.
It’s a good idea to get an inspection done prior to purchasing any used vehicle, regardless of the mileage, to make sure the car is working the way it should and to check whether genuine Mercedes-Benz parts have been used if a repair was done, as well as filter and lubricants.
Also, make sure to research any fault codes associated with the used Mercedes you are considering. For the inspection, it is recommended that your Mercedes-Benz repair expert has a fault code scanner. These fault codes or Diagnostic Trouble Codes are system errors that tell your Mercedes what is malfunctioning. In newer models, these codes will trigger a dash light or error message, but this is not necessarily true with the older models, especially if you’re looking at one that has more than 100k. The scanning for codes will let you know whether or not there are any serious electrical or technical problems that might cause an expensive repair down the road.
Don’t be surprised to find that there are many used Mercedes models with high mileage – a testament to Mercedes-Benz reliability. This is due to their quality, craftsmanship and resilience of the running gear that makes up the Mercedes-Benz. And while some may say to avoid buying a car with more than 100,000 miles, this is not necessarily true. If you do your due diligence and proper research, you’re likely to find a good deal on an older Benz.
If your dream Mercedes is used or out of warranty, we’d recommend protecting your investment with an extended warranty. An extended warranty solution for your used Mercedes-Benz will give you peace of mind. Check out olive at https://olive.com/ for an extended warranty plan that you’re able to customize to meet your budget and protect your Benz immediately.
Common Mercedes-Benz Reliability Problems
As with any make and model, regardless of brand, there will inevitably be issues that may arise or be consistently seen with certain models. Below is a list of common problems that may impact the reliability of your Mercedes-Benz. The below information is from RepairPal for three of Mercedes-Benz’s most popular models.
Mercedes C300 Reliability Problems
The C300 reliability rating on the RepairPal Reliability scale is 3.5 out of 5, making it above average in reliability. The average annual repair cost is $739.
Cracked driveshaft flex discs – These cracked parts will cause excessive driveshaft movement/vibration that can be felt through the center floor of the vehicle. If these are not repaired, the driveshaft center support bearing may be damaged, or in the worst-case scenario, damage to the transmission or differential may occur. Model years affected: 2008 – 2011 | Average mileage: 71,330 | Cost of general diagnosis: $143 – $180
Oil seepage on back of the cylinder heads – Seepage and/or leaking has been commonly misdiagnosed as leaking valve covers, however, the leaking is a result of the plastic expansion plugs that are located on the back of the cylinder heads. These plugs do just that, plug access ports to the camshafts. If left unattended, the leaking oil will run down the back of the engine and eventually to the ground. Replacement is simple and should be part of regular maintenance, replacing them every 60,000 miles. Model years affected: 2008 – 2011 | Average mileage: 113,165
Squeaking and/or worn brake pads may require rotor replacement prematurely – Owners reported brakes start to squeak around the 50 percent wear point causing the brake rotor to become uneven and a lip to form at the outer edge. This requires both the brake pads and rotors to be replaced. Model years affected: 2008 – 2010, 2012, 2014 | Average mileage: 20,000 – 50,000
Failed ABS modulator – Premature failure of the anti-lock brake system (ABS) modulator due to dirty brake fluid. To avoid this problem, the recommendation is to flush the brake fluid every two years. Model years affected: 2008 – 2010 | Cost of brake bleed: $126 – $159
Mercedes E350 Reliability Problems
The E350 reliability rating on the RepairPal Reliability scale is 3.5 out of 5, making it above average in reliability. The average annual repair cost is $788.
Rough shifting – Mercedes-Benz gear shift problems have been seen in vehicles with the 7-speed automatic transmission may experience rough shifting from first to second gear, and from third to second or first gear. The rough shifting is due to an internal component failure. To repair, the transmission needs to be removed and disassembled to complete the necessary repairs. Model years affected: 2006 – 2016 | Mileage: 73,615 – 94, 877
Faulty camshaft adjuster solenoid – Camshaft position sensor problems result in failed camshaft adjuster solenoid or worn timing chain/balance shaft components result in the illumination of the Check Engine Light indicator, as well as other drivability issues. Mercedes has released service bulletins regarding these issues for specific repair instructions based on the fault codes stored. Models affected: 2006 – 2012 | Mileage: 86,045 – 92,031 | Cost of Check Engine Light indicator diagnosis and testing: $143 – $180
Failed crankshaft position sensor – Engine performance issues are encountered causing stalling and/or “crank no start” error due to this failed crankshaft position sensor. Model years affected: 2006 – 2010; 2014, 2016 | Average mileage: 85,665 | Cost of No Start diagnosis: $143 – $180
Cracked front thrust link bushings – These cracked bushings are filled with fluid to help reduce vibration, so when they crack, they will leak oil and cause irregular and premature tire wear due to the excessive movement in the suspension. Model years affected: 2006 – 2011 | Average mileage: 78,810 | Cost of general diagnosis: $143 – $180
Mercedes S550 Reliability Problems
The S550 reliability rating on the RepairPal Reliability scale is 2 out of 5, making it below average in reliability. The average annual repair cost is $1,249.
HVAC blower motor may fail – The blower failing is commonly caused by water entry through the cabin air filter areas during heaving rain or snow. The failed motor should be replaced as soon as possible. Models affected: 2007 – 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016 | Average mileage: 70,426 | Cost of blower motor replacement: $735 – $755
Faulty camshaft adjuster solenoid – Camshaft position sensor problems result in a failed camshaft adjuster solenoid or worn timing chain/balance shaft components result in the illumination of the Check Engine Light indicator, as well as other drivability issues. Mercedes has released service bulletins regarding these issues for specific repair instructions based on the fault codes stored. Models affected: 2007 – 2010, 2012 | Average mileage: 92,582 | Cost of Check Engine Light diagnosis and testing: $143 – $180
Failed crankshaft position sensor – Engine performance issues are encountered causing stalling and/or “crank no start” error due to this failed crankshaft position sensor. Model years affected: 2007 – 2010 | Average mileage: 81,051 | Cost of No Start diagnosis: $143 – $180
Automatic transmission problems, causing the drive selector module to fail – The transmission may not shift into the drive position due to a failed selector module, resulting in loss of gear selection. This may cause the vehicle to be stranded and will require the drive selector module to be replaced. Model years affected: 2007 – 2012 | Average mileage: 69,995 | Cost of general diagnosis: $143 – $180
Cracked driveshaft flex discs – These cracked parts will cause excessive driveshaft movement/vibration that can be felt through the center floor of the vehicle. If these are not repaired, the driveshaft center support bearing may be damaged, or in the worst-case scenario, damage to the transmission or differential may occur. Model years affected: 2007 – 2010 | Average mileage: 70,363 | Cost of general diagnosis: $143 – $180
A Class Above the Rest: Which Mercedes Class is the Most Reliable?
While both the C-Class and the E-Class models score average and above average, respectively, with RepairPal and Consumer Reports, the E-Class is a notch above. The Mercedes E-Class reliability is noted as slightly better than the Mercedes C-Class reliability, receiving higher ratings more consistently in predicted reliability than its smaller counterpart. Consumer Reports lists the Mercedes-Benz E-Class as being one of the most reliable used luxury cars out on the market today.
In particular, the 2009 E350 was the most popular model sold that year and caught the attention of Consumer Reports for its transmission, smooth ride, as well as design both on the inside and outside. This particular model year scored a 4 out of 5 in predicted reliability. You can snag a 2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class for as low as $7,600.
If you’re looking for a newer used E350, check out the 2010, 2014 and 2015 model years. These years also scored a 4 out of 5 with Consumer Reports. And if reliability is your main focus, both the 2012 and 2016 years scored a perfect 5 out 5 on Consumer Reports’ predicted reliability scale.
As with any vehicle, no matter how well crafted, items eventually break down. It is not uncommon to have to bring your Mercedes-Benz in for repairs from time to time, especially if it is out of warranty, so make sure your ride is protected. Mercedes-Benz repairs may be a little higher than other cars, but don’t worry because olive has you covered. olive wants to help you prepare for the unexpected and not break your wallet in the process by offering extended warranty plans with low monthly payments.
With olive, you’re covered, and you can get a quote online easily and be protected the very next day. With olive, we’ll be your reliable partner in the event your vehicle isn’t. Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to:
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