6 Mercedes-Benz Models to Avoid (with Years)

There is no doubt that Mercedes makes some of the world’s most premium performance vehicles. Vehicles that sit at the pinnacle of automotive technology. But sometimes they also fail miserably. 

Among the many failures, here are the 6 Mercedes-Benz Models to Avoid.  

1. 2015 Mercedes C 300 

The Mercedes C300 has been a great car for years. It has a great powerhouse, premium interiors, great ride quality, and is also decently affordable for a Mercedes. But where Mercedes failed with the 2015 C 300 was with the reliability. 

While the 2015 Model boasted handsome interiors with robust power figures and performance numbers, it horribly failed at keeping up with the expectations. 

The 2015 C300 had multiple reported engine problems. This included issues with loose fuel delivery modules, fuel pump issues, overheating, etc causing fire hazards. The C300 also had issues with the sliding shaft that can separate from the steering coupling socket causing noises and losing complete steering control. 

The problems went on with the airbags, headlights, windows, rear axles, and even software malfunction. In its time Mercedes had to make 11 recalls to fix all emerging 2015 Mercedes C 300 models. 

Even if your vehicle didn’t have any issues, the cost of ownership of the 2015 Mercedes C 300 was a whopping $31,517 in five years. With all the extra headaches, the 2015 C300 isn’t worth any penny. 

Also read: 5 Serious Reasons Why Mercedes are so Expensive

2. 2012 Mercedes R-Class

It’s no surprise if you hadn’t heard about the R-class. I mean the only thing special about it is the number of regular problems it had. The R-class, to begin with, is defined as an SUV that looks like a wagon and drives like a Minivan. 

It had a 4WD drivetrain powered by a 302hp V6 engine paired with an automatic transmission. The R-class was sold between 2006-2012 where it was marketed as a family cruiser. It had decent mileage, good cargo, and a spacious cabin with seating of 7. Even today it’s quite an attractive set to buy. But you shouldn’t.

Because the R-class not only has Vibrations which is very uncommon in Mercedes. It had a problem with turbo actuators, sometimes failing the whole turbo costing upwards of $4000. The suspension on the R-class was also bad and known to crack, often adding another $1000 in repair.  

It had engine knocking issues, had creaking and banging noises, rust problems especially on the doors and front, engine random shutdown along with power loss.    

Also read: Is Mercedes W211 Reliable? (Important Facts)

3. 2005 Mercedes-Benz W220 S-class

The Mercedes W220 was an S-class Mercedes produced between 1998-2005. Being an S-class, it was loaded with premium features and a powerful engine. The W220 was made better in every way than the previous-gen W140 S-class. What wasn’t better was the mindset of Daniel Benz. 

In the need of making great profits, the quality level of the W220 was greatly reduced. It had cheap plastic parts with low-quality leather seats with a very bad fit and finish. It had a softer transmission setup which when coupled with a powerful V6 or V8 tended to break. The regular repair/replacement cost is between $500-$1000. 

The S-class Airmatic suspension was also prone to fail, with parts costing $200-$900. The use of low paint quality leads to rust on the side panels and under the cars in just 2-3 years. While the cheap plastic parts needed regular replacement because they would just break.

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According to a W220 S55 AMG Owner, he paid $13,492 in repair and maintenance over 12 months driving 38000 miles after his 9-year old Mercedes was out of warranty. That is more than enough to buy a used 2000 W220 Mercedes. 

4. 2013-14 Mercedes-Benz ML 350

The Mercedes ML-350 was a part of the M-class lineup that changed to GLE in 2015. The ML350 especially the third-gen W166 (2012-2015) offered great interiors with good fit and finish. Even today the ML 350 is still a great car to buy as your first car. But the one year you should avoid is the 2013 and 2014 model. 

According to Carcomplaints.com, the ML 350 is one of the most complained about SUVs from Mercedes. This particular year had multiple reports of engine problems appearing at only 19000 miles. The engine would randomly shut down, costing $3900 to repair. The 2013 model had multiple reports of oil cooler leaks costing $4000 to fix. 

Other issues included problems with the air-bag, transmission engine, and fuel pump problem. The ML 350 also had 2 major recalls affecting 33,000 units. 

Also read: 10 Best Mercedes Cars Under $10k (Good Condition)

5. 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL X164 

The Mercedes GL X164 can be called one of the most unreliable Mercedes classes of this century. The X164 GL-class was a Mercedes full-size luxury 5-door SUV that went out of production in 2012. It offered 7 models in 6 years, with 5-diesel and 2-petrol engines. 

Being a luxury SUV, all variants had high-quality leather interiors with power-adjustable electric seats, automatic climate control, Mercedes AIRMATIC suspension, and 4Matic drivetrain. The GL-class was supposed to be as the current GLE but its reliability proved otherwise. 

For starters, the Diesel variants had issues with the crank sensor that caused engine stalling, check engine light, and failed ignitions. Repair cost averages around $200-$250. 

You also had problems with leaking V8 and V6 cam plugs costing $500, leaking oil cooler with repairs at $700, failed VVT actuator costing $350. It also had problems with failing intake manifold gasket (error code P2004), adding around $450 – $550 in repairs. Not to mention it had leaking from the sunroof, malfunctioning rear tailgate, failed oil level sensor, etc.  

One severe issue found that triggered a massive recall of all GL-class SUVs was problems with the airbags. The airbags had an ammonium nitrate gas generator without any drying agent which caused chemical change under varied climatic conditions. This leads to the bursting of gas generators that can injure the passenger with broken parts. 

Also read: 10 SUVs that Will Last 300k+ Miles (with Photos)

6. 2007-09 Mercedes E550

The Mercedes E550 is a great choice when buying a used Mercedes E class. Sold for over 11 years since 2006, the E550 is one of those cars that was built for high-speed cruising. Powered by a twin-turbo V8, it produced 402 hp coupled with a 7-speed automatic and a 4 wheel drivetrain.

Just like all E-class the E550 offered a great package of luxury and performance. But among many great years, the few that it lacked were the models between 2007-2009. 

In the last years of the W212 gen of Mercedes, the E550 suffered greatly in terms of reliability. It had multiple reported engine problems along with transmission and suspension issues.    

The timing chain and the timing gears would fail and ruin the whole engine with repair costing more than the car itself. Another heavily reported problem was suspension failure with the suspension breaking down and leaking air, dropping the car down overnight. The replacement charger reported are between $2000-$3000. 

The E550 also faced similar recalls to the GL-class as mentioned above. However several customers reported that the recall never happened and the issue was never resolved. Leaving a great chance of having faulty airbags in the 2011-2012 models of E550.

3 Mercedes-Benz Models that are Reliable

Now that we have discussed the most unreliable Mercedes that you should always avoid. Let’s take a look into 3-Mercedes Models that have proven their reliability over time. 

1. The Mercedes-Benz E-class

With over 13 million units sold the Mercedes E-class is the most sold Mercedes ever. It sits right in the middle of the Mercedes lineup balancing both bits of power and performance. It is the place where it sits in among other classes that enables it to offer best-in-class luxury with the most advanced driving feature. 

Mercedes also puts great effort into ensuring that the E-class lives up to customers’ expectations. When it comes to reliability the E-class is rated at 200,000-250,000 miles of life expectancy. For which it does require high maintenance costing around $788 annually.  

Also read: Are Mercedes Reliable After 100k Miles?

2. The Mercedes-Benz GLC

The Mercedes Benz GLC is the most loved Mercedes SUV. It is also the most sold SUV from Mercedes with over 40,000 units sold annually in the US alone. The GLC is a premium family SUV that offers multiple power options and seating configurations. 

While the GLC is loved for its elegant styling, luxurious interiors, riding dynamics, and wide range of options. It is also known for its robustness and reliability. Just like the E-class, it has avg. life expectancy of 200,000-250,000 miles. It has a maintenance frequency of 10,000 miles but has an average cost of $1039 annually. 

3. Mercedes Benz C43 AMG

The Mercedes C-43 AMG is the most affordable AMG on offer. It is powerful, has precise handling, sharp cornering with great design language, and aerodynamics. Being an AMG it is more alive and fun to drive than any C-class. While AMGs aren’t expected to be much reliable, the C43 has some great feedback. 

The 2017 and 2019 models of C43 are quite liked with a 4/5 reliability rating. It also has 10,000 miles maintenance frequency with an average maintenance cost of $1,000.