Is Mercedes W204 Reliable? (Explained)

Mercedes is known for its luxurious car lineup, and the most important vehicle in its portfolio has been the C-class. W204 is the generation of C-class, introduced by Mercedes in 2007 and remained on the sales charts till 2014.

The Mercedes W204 was a major upgrade over the previous generation of C-class that was considered a bit old school in comparison to its rivals. Offered in different body styles, powertrains, and equipment options, it can be considered one of the most successful C-class generations ever.

W204 has all the amenities, luxury, and technology that one would expect from a compact luxury sedan. Despite suffering from some reliability issues in the starting years, it is a very solid car and lasts hundreds of thousands of miles if maintained properly. Let’s have a look at W204’s reliability, maintenance, different engines, and models years.

Is Mercedes W204 Reliable?

W202 is a very reliable car and the top choice of consumers looking to own a compact luxury car. Despite the problems in the early years of production, it is still very robust and serves you well if maintained properly. Like other Mercedes vehicles, the W204 comes with different engine options and body styles, such as a sedan and coupe. If maintained properly and OEM parts are used regularly, the Mercedes W204 can last a good amount of time and miles on the road.

Even the problems in the initial years were not that concerning, and the manufacturer was onboard with regular recalls and rectifications. And after more than a decade of service, it still runs strong and you can still find some good examples with more than 250,000 miles on the odometer.

Mercedes W204 is one of the most loved and sought-after generations of the C-class you can find good reliable cars under $20,000 in the market.

Also read: Is Mercedes W212 Reliable? (Important Facts)

What are the Most Common Problems with the Mercedes W204?

The Mercedes W204 is known to have some manufacturing issues and suffers from mechanical failures over time. Most issues are usually fixed by replacement of the faulty part, but are usually costly. Some common problems include engine failure, power steering issues, faulty fuel injectors, oil leakage, and leaky fuel filter.

The main cause of these problems is poor build quality and neglect in the maintenance of the car.

1- Engine Failure

A very common problem in the early W204 models. The problem occurs due to a fault in the electronic components, such as the crankshaft sensor and MAF sensor, leading to a lack of power and failure. It can be expensive to fix and requires a complex replacement of the sensors. This problem usually occurs after 150,000 miles.

2- Power Steering Issues

The most common issue with the steering column of W204 includes leaking fluid that can drip onto the pump, a locked steering wheel with keys in the ignition, and weak mounts. This issue appears well after 175,000 miles and requires a complex job to fix.

3- Faulty Fuel Injectors

The fuel injectors in some early models of W204 are known to be faulty and get chocked over time. The main factor behind this problem is the collection of debris, and this problem could be avoided by regular servicing and replacement is also not so costly. This problem occurs after 150,000 miles and can be easily fixed by replacing the injectors.

4- Oil Leakage

Another common problem in Mercedes W212. Occurs due to leakage of fluid, faulty U-rod, or worn-out mounts. Drivers report frequent jerks and vibrations in the steering wheel at high and low speeds. This problem appears after 150,000 miles and requires a costly fix to get back to working condition.

5- Leaky Fuel Filter

The fuel filter harnesses and seals are quite fragile in some W204 models, which can cause fuel leakage frequently. The fuel pump must be serviced and the fuel filter should be replaced if the problem is diagnosed. This problem occurs due to the usage of low-quality fuel and appears after 150,000 miles or so.

Cost of Fixing the Common Problems with the Mercedes W204

1Engine failure$8,000-2,000
2Power steering issues$300-1,500
3Faulty fuel injectors$200-400
4Oil leakage$700-1,000
5Leaky fuel filter$250-700

Which Mercedes W204 Years are the Best and Worst?

The Mercedes W204 was on sale from 2007 to 2014 and went through a facelift in 2011 as well. Some earlier years suffered from reliability issues, while the later models were an improvement, especially in the build quality.

Best Mercedes W204 Model Years

  1. 2012
  2. 2013
  3. 2014

Worst Mercedes W204 Model Years

  1. 2007
  2. 2008

Also read: Should You Buy a Mercedes with High Mileage?

Which Mercedes W204 Engines are the Most and Least Reliable?

Mercedes W204 is available with both the diesel and gasoline engine options with different transmission systems as well. W204 has some rock-solid engines that, if maintained properly, would last a lifetime, while the others are not so durable. The best engines in the W204 are M271 and OM646, while the least reliable engine is M276.

Most Reliable Mercedes W204 Engines

  1. M271

This 1.8L 4-cylinder engine is one of the most reliable engines available in the W204 generation. Very efficient and simple to maintain, and not so expensive to run as well.

  1. OM646

This 2.1L diesel engine is a very sturdy option while looking for a W204 C-class. It is powerful, very reliable, and efficient to run daily. This is one of the most preferred powertrain options in this lineup.

Least Reliable Mercedes W204 Engines

  1. M276

The most common problems with M276 are the faulty engine sensors and leakage due to head gasket issues. This engine should be avoided when looking for a used W204 model.

Is Mercedes W204 Safe?

Mercedes W204 is one of the safest Mercedes cars, and one of the very few compact cars that are loaded with advanced safety and driver assistance features. It comes equipped with all the active and passive safety features available on the market.

The safety features & equipment in the Mercedes W204 include;

  1. ABS with EBD and Brake Assist.
  2. Adaptive cruise control with speed follow.
  3. Vehicle Stability Assist.
  4. Pre-collision warning with emergency braking.
  5. Lane departure warning and lane-keep assist.
  6. Blind-spot Monitoring.
  7. 10 airbags with passenger detection.

How Much Does Mercedes W204 Cost to Maintain?

These are some of the maintenance costs of a Mercedes W204;

  1. Oil change: $170
  2. Filters (air, oil, and fuel): $270
  3. Brake oil: $230
  4. Cost of a tire: $250
  5. Gear oil: $300
  6. Labor charges: $300-500

Total: $1,620

Yearly maintenance cost: average $1,620

Yearly Fuel Cost: average $1,800-2,000

Insurance Cost: $1,100

What is a Good Mileage for the Mercedes W204?

125,000 miles should be considered a good mileage and acceptable for purchase. It is not such an older generation, and one should be able to find a clean car with fewer miles on the odometer. If you’re planning to buy a used Mercedes W204, make sure the official maintenance records are available and the mileage is not above 150,000 miles. These are quite sturdy cars and can easily run up to 400,000 miles if properly taken care of.

Also read: 3 Cheapest Mercedes to Maintain (+ Costs)

What Parts Should You Replace and After How Many Miles?

To ensure that your W204 runs flawlessly and performs at its optimal, remember to stick to the official maintenance schedule and make sure the faulty parts are serviced or replaced.

1Lubricants7,500 miles
2Air, oil, and fuel filter7,500 miles (25,000 for fuel filter)
3Brake pads20,000 miles
4Tires30,000 miles
5Spark plugs and battery75,000 miles
6Timing belt80,000 miles

Are Mercedes W204 Parts Widely Available?

Mercedes produced the W204 generation of C-class in huge numbers worldwide, 2.5 million to be precise. With such a well-established dealership network and aftersales hub, the availability of parts for W204 should not be a problem, given that there are so many potential customers for spares and options in the used market. Mercedes also offers online sourcing for those customers who cannot find OEM parts in their vicinity.

The spare parts for Mercedes W204 are easily available and can be sourced from different regions’ headquarters.

How to Buy a Reliable Mercedes W204?

To make sure you’re buying a reliable used Mercedes W204 in the used car market, keep the following points in mind;

  1. Get the car checked by a third-party inspection team for an unbiased report on the car’s actual condition.
  2. Remember to check the maintenance records, ownership history, and CARFAX report to be sure about the car’s history.
  3. Check the undercarriage area and engine bay for rust, and check all the bushings and suspension area, brake rotors, and calipers as well.
  4. Inquire about the replacement of faulty/damaged parts for surety.
  5. Take a test drive yourself and ask an automotive expert to help you check the car.
  6. For a good W204, get a 2013 or 2014 model, as most problems were rectified when these cars launched and you would be able to find one with fewer miles.

Mercedes W204 – Pros & Cons


  1. Luxurious cabin with a premium build quality.
  2. Both diesel and gasoline engines are available.
  3. Loaded with all the latest safety features and driver assistance technology.
  4. Parts are widely available and relatively easier to find.
  5. Very reliable car to own and comfortable to drive.


  1. Expensive to purchase and costly to maintain.
  2. The spare parts, labor charges, and repairs are very expensive.
  3. Electronics on these cars become problematic quite frequently.
  4. Insurance and running costs are also very expensive.