Mercedes W164 is the second generation of Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and it was produced from 2006 to 2011. At the time of its release, it was among the best Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) available worldwide.
The car is still a popular choice among buyers looking for a second-hand luxury SUV. However, most customers are concerned about the maintenance costs and frequently inquire “Is Mercedes W164 reliable?” Read this article till the end to know everything about the reliability of the Mercedes W164.
Is Mercedes W164 Reliable?
Mercedes made some major improvements in the W164 that increased the overall reliability of the car. In the luxury SUV segment, the Mercedes W164 would be a safe choice as it has already stood the test of time.
The reliability of any model of Mercedes W164 will largely depend upon the current condition, age, and mileage of the car. If all of these parameters are checked, then you can expect to have a quite reliable car. You will certainly face reliability problems if the car wasn’t well maintained in the past.
Also read: Is Mercedes W210 Reliable? (Important Facts)
What are the Most Common Problems with the Mercedes W164?
The five most prevalent faults of Mercedes W164 are listed below, along with the costs to solve them.
- Balance Shaft: Initial models of Mercedes W164 are usually plagued with this issue. The balance shaft is placed in the center of the engine to minimize vibrations of it. After 60k to 80k miles, the gear of the balance shaft wears out and off-balances the whole engine.
Balance shaft repair is very expensive and you can expect to pay $3500 to $4000. Labor costs make up a huge proportion of this cost because one has to remove the engine, timing chain, idler gear, and many other parts to complete the repair.
- Airmatic: Airmatic is the self-leveling suspension system used in the Mercedes W164. It uses air as a medium and a compressor is placed to generate the required air pressure. Over time the compressor’s piston deteriorates and no longer generates the required air pressure.
The issue usually appears after 100k miles, and the replacement of the system costs $1500 to $1700. Labor costs are expected to be $250 to $350 and parts are priced at $1300.
- Sensors: Mercedes W164 was a major upgrade from the first-generation W163. It included many new features like seven-speed automatic transmission, a center limited-slip differential, and a four-wheel electronic traction system (4-ETS).
Hundreds of sensors are used to take data and give a command to these features. Sometimes these sensors become faulty and require replacement. Mercedes W164 computer system is used to detect the malfunctioning of the sensors and they are usually replaced for $200 to $300.
- Heated Seats: To increase the comfort of the passengers, the Mercedes W164 has heated seats. It has been reported that sometimes the seat heater does not work properly or stops working at all. The faulty system can also overheat the driver’s seat.
The estimated cost to repair this problem is $600 to $800. Repair costs can be cut down by using aftermarket or second-hand parts
- Oil Leakage: It is not uncommon for Mercedes W164 to have oil leakages. The leak usually occurs around the engine or transmission of the car. You can detect these leaks by the burning smell or by just having a look at the engine.
Oil leakages can happen any time, but a usual cycle is 40k to 60k miles. These leakages should be addressed immediately as they can cause a lot of damage to the engine. If there is no major issue, it costs under $200 to repair this problem.
Which Mercedes W164 Years are the Best and Worst?
Models of Mercedes W164 sold in 2006 and 2007 are reported to have relatively more issues. Most of these were corrected in the upcoming models, and the last four years’ models are considered the best ones.
Initial models faced a balance shaft, heated seated, faulty sensors, and many other issues. Mercedes positively took the feedback and came up with better models. Therefore, models produced after 2007 are relatively better and have better reliability.
Also read: Is Mercedes W124 Reliable? (Important Facts)
Which Mercedes W164 Engines are the Most and Least Reliable?
There are both diesel and petrol engine variants of the Mercedes W164. Diesel engines in general and 4.0 L OM629 V8, in particular, are considered the most reliable ones.
Diesel engines of Mercedes W164 are more efficient and face fewer problems in the long run. M272 and M273 engines are considered the worst ones because they break down more frequently. Both of these are petrol engines, and therefore I would advise you to buy diesel engine variants of Mercedes W164.
Is Mercedes W164 Safe?
Yes, the Mercedes W164 is a pretty safe car and received the highest possible ratings by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the crashworthiness test.
Mercedes W140 is equipped with front and rear head curtain airbags. Side torso airbags were also included in the models produced after 2007. The car also received a five-star rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for both driver and passenger safety.
How Much Does Mercedes W164 Cost to Maintain?
The true cost to own a Mercedes W140 will depend upon a number of factors like usage, age, mileage, and condition. Excluding the cost of any major repair, the overall maintenance cost of the Mercedes W140 is estimated to be around $7850 for 10 years.
The average yearly maintenance cost of the Mercedes W140 is a little over $950. For insurance charges, the average rate is $113 per month and that accounts for almost $1300 per year. Another $350 will be charged as taxes and fees.
For a decade-old Mercedes W140, the depreciation amount will be around $1000 per year. Fuel is very expensive nowadays, therefore fuel costs will take up a significant portion of the total charges. Around $2800 will be spent on fuel if your yearly usage is close to 12k miles.
What is a Good Mileage for the Mercedes W164?
Any Mercedes W140 available right now will be at least 11 years old. Therefore, anything under 60k miles will be considered good mileage.
Mercedes W140 with less than 40k miles on the meter will work the best, but that will be very hard to find. Whereas, 80k miles should be your upper limit, and avoid buying a Mercedes W140 that is close to 100k miles. Mercedes W140 requires some major repairs after 100k miles and the repair cost will be at least in four figures.
Also read: Should You Buy a Mercedes with High Mileage?
What Parts Should You Replace and After How Many Miles?
Below is the list of parts that you should replace on the Mercedes W140 after the said number of miles:
- Spark Plug: As a rule of thumb, Mercedes W140 needs spark plug replacement after every 30k miles. The average cost to replace spark plugs of Mercedes W140 is around $370.
- Timing Belt: The timing belt should be replaced after every 60k to 90k miles. The timing belt of the Mercedes W140 is very expensive and you can expect to pay $1500 to $2000.
- Battery: The battery of the Mercedes W140 is replaced after 3 to 5 years, and the replacement cost will be around $300.
- Tires: Mercedes W140 is a midsize luxury SUV and requires tire replacement after every 30k to 40k miles. Regular tires are priced from $250 to $400 whereas premium tires will cost more than $700.
- Oil Filter: It is replaced twice a year or with every oil change. The oil filter of the Mercedes W140 usually costs under $20.
Are Mercedes W164 Parts Widely Available?
Mercedes W140s were produced and sold in large numbers, and there is no shortage of its parts. You can also purchase aftermarket parts from an online platform at a much lower price. Another option will be the use of second-hand parts, especially those that don’t wear out very easily.
How to Buy a Reliable Mercedes W164?
Look for the below-mentioned things to buy a reliable and long-lasting Mercedes W14.
- Engine: Check for any oil leaks around the engine and all of the car’s vital fluids. Check the legitimacy and condition of the essential engine parts. Then start the car cold and listen for any strange noises or vibrations.
- Service History: Review the vehicle’s comprehensive service history. You can see how well the car was maintained by looking at the service history. You should also compare the mileage displayed on the meter to the vehicle’s service history and physical condition.
- Mileage: Mercedes W140 is likely to be more reliable when it has less than 60k miles on them, and anything beyond 100k will certainly cause problems. It has been noted that some people reverse the car’s mileage meter, so double-check it with the car’s service book history. Also, make sure the car’s physical condition corresponds to its mileage.
- Test Drive: Take a test drive to experience how the Mercedes W140 performs in real life. Avoid purchasing a W140 that makes a knocking or clipping noise because this suggests a problem under the hood.
Make sure to accelerate the car to a reasonable speed and inspect its gears, brakes, suspension, and transmission system.
The Mercedes W164 – Pros and Cons
Mercedes W140 is known for its luxury and comfort. It is also very powerful and has a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons. Another benefit is the strong reliability of Mercedes W164 especially the ones that have a diesel engine.
Initial models are relatively less reliable and have issues with the balance shaft, airmatic, and distribution chain. Its petrol engines are less efficient and have weaker crankshaft. One major downside of owning a Mercedes W140 is the high maintenance and repair costs.