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LAST UPDATED:  March 16, 2021

Mercedes Reliability

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PUBLISHED ON March 16, 2021

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mercedes-Benz

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Ze Germans have a reputation for utmost precision, craftsmanship, and build quality, and Mercedes-Benz is often held up as the epitome of such characteristics. “The best or nothing” is, after all, the company’s slogan. 

The brand has been around since just before the turn of the last century, having truly started the automobile craze with its Patent-Motorwagen. Now, it’s the desired manufacturer of those looking to upmarket themselves and their lives with the brand’s luxury machines. Given the very long history, as well as the millions of cars sold by the brand, questions about reliability, even in the face of those characteristics, arise on a daily basis.

But how can you, our dear readers, determine which Mercedes-Benz is the best for your money? How do you sift through more than 100 years of customer testimonials without going cross-eyed? You listen to us, that’s how! The Drive has put together a guide on what to look out for and what to be wary of when looking at purchasing a Mercedes-Benz. 

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Endurance

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Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

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Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

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EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

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What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability-over-all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Lexus spent 15 years creating the perfect paint, for goodness’ sake. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability

Short answer: you. The longer answer is a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule (if you have one), your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance like regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

And lastly, keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis under-stressed and happy for far longer compared to hitting every trip to the grocery store like it’s the Indy 500. 

Mercedes-Benz Specs

Vehicle Type: Compact Sedans-SUVs-Trucks-Sports Cars

Doors: 2,4,5

Engine options: Numerous

Pricing: $40,000-$300,000

Is Mercedes-Benz Reliable?

As detailed above, reliability is generally something that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so we can’t make a definitive statement that Mercedes-Benz is reliable or unreliable. 

To better assess its reliability, however, we’ve assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information as possible. Let’s start with common problems, as told by recalls, investigations, and comments listed in Mercedes-Benz’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

Mercedes-Benz’s NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are Mercedes-Benz’s most popular models’ issues throughout the years, including the C-Class, G-Class, and E-Class. 

2020 C-Class

Recall: Inaccurate Vehicle Location for Emergency Services, Front Seat Belts May Not Fully Retract/FMVSS 208, ESP System Software Programmed Incorrectly, Turbocharger Oil Feed and Return Lines May Leak, Inaccurate Vehicle Location for Emergency Services

Complaints: 6

2019 G-Class

Recall: Inaccurate Vehicle Location for Emergency Services, Incorrect Child Safety Lock Label, Loss of Stability Control and Anti-Lock Brakes, Improperly Routed Front Door Wiring Harnessess, System Interprets Seat Belts as being Unlatched, Powertrain Control Unit may Reset Causing Stall

Complaints: 2

2018 E-Class

Recall: Emergency Call (eCall) Function May be Disabled, Inaccurate Vehicle Location for Emergency Services, Seat Belt Warning System Not Operating Properly, Oil Feed Line to Turbocharger May Leak, System Interprets Seat Belts as being Unlatched, Rear Spoiler May Detach, Front Seats Backs May Improperly Lock, Steering Coupling may not have been Locked, Steering Rack Locknut May Fail, Affecting Steering, Starter Battery has Exposed Positive Cable, Insufficient Limitation of Front Passenger Seat, Child Seat may not Deactivate Passenger Air Bag, Child Seat Anchor May Detach in a Crash, Seatbacks may Not Lock, Incorrect Welding of Backrest Rail and Fittings

Complaints: 22

Common Mercedes-Benz Problems and Repair Costs

As with other car brands, not all Mercedes-Benz models are built to the same exacting standards. Here’s a quick rundown of problematic Mercedes-Benz offerings, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

2006 Model Year E350: Balance Shaft Failure

Repair Costs: $4,850, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“Bought the car on Dec 23 2017 and a week later found the Check Engine Light was on. Took it to our independent shop who checked the codes and found the balance shaft was out of spec and we had 2 choices to repair it. We could have the engine removed and disassembled, then replace the balance shaft at a cost of over $4500. The 2nd solution would be to replace the engine with a used engine but it would be possible that the engine could develop the same (common) problem. I normally check out a potential new used car purchase but several things combined to prevent me from doing so. And I have one more complaint!” 

2012 Model Year C250: Starter Rattle

Repair Costs: $4,290, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“ENGINE light kept popping up...was being told that it was sensors...next thing when I took it into the Mercedes Benz dealer in Fort Myers, fl was told was the timing chain and camshafts. paid out of pocket approximately $5000 on a car with 42,000 miles. I knew there was a problem when you turned the key and took a couple of tries to start up or was a delayed start-up and made a forced sound.”

2007 Model Year E350: Gas Tank Leaks

Repair Costs: $2,440, according to CarComplaints.

Customer Complaint:

“Mercedes agreed to extend the warranty on the fuel system for the E 350, years 2003-2008 for 15 years and unlimited mileage. This was an arrangement with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Due to a fuel leak, I spend $1950.00 on part No 211 470 88 01 for a new fuel system. When presented with a claim, Mercedes declined coverage. The reason Mercedes gave, was based on its VIN number my E 350 was not part of the warranty extension. When asked the Mercedes representative could not tell me why my 2007 E350 was not covered were as another 2007 E350 might be covered. My feeling is Mercedes does not want to live up to the warranty agreement and uses the VIN NO declination as a quick way getting of getting rid of people like me.”

JD Power Consumer Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score, “Measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.” 

A-Class

2021: NYR/100

2020: NYR/100

AMG-GT

2021: NYR/100

2020: NYR/100

C-Class

2021: 80/100

2020: 80/100

CLA

2021: 76/100

2020: 76/100

E-Class

2021: 75/100

2020:75/100

G-Class

2021: NYR/100

2020: NYR/100

GLA

2021: 74/100

2020: 74/100

GLB

2021: 76/100

2020: 76/100

GLC

2021: 80/100

2020: 80/100

GLE

2021: 75/100

2020: 75/100

GLS

2021: 76/100

2020: 76/100

S-Class

2021: 75/100

2020: 75/100

FAQs About Mercedes-Benz

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!

Q: Are Mercedes-Benz Expensive To Maintain?

A: They can be, though again, that depends on how you treat it, how the previous owner treated it, and if you’ve followed their regularly scheduled maintenance. That said, they’re luxury cars and prepare to pay luxury car prices for maintenance and repair. 

Q: Are Mercedes-Benz’s Offerings High Maintenance?

A: That depends on the generation and, more importantly, if you or the previous owner followed its regularly scheduled maintenance and treated it with care or as if Lewis Hamilton were in the driver’s seat.

Q: How Many Miles Do Mercedes-Benz’s Last?

A: According to Consumer Reports, new cars are all designed to exceed 8 years or about 200,000 miles. However, individual mileage may vary based on, as stated above, how you treat your car. 

Q: Are Repairs Expensive on Mercedes-Benz’s?

A: As with all repairs, it depends on the part affected. If it’s deep within the engine, it could be quite expensive. If it’s a loose body panel, likely not. But again, Mercedes-Benz’s are subject to higher prices for parts thanks to their luxury status, global manufacture, and shipping.  

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Endurance

Save $350 on an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Get a Free Quote

Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

Get a Free Quote

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

Get a Free Quote