Is Mercedes W212 Reliable? (Important Facts)

Mercedes E class lineup has always been in the limelight, a fierce competitor to Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. W212 is the generation of E-class on market from 2009 to 2016, featuring a mid-cycle facelift as well.

The Mercedes W212 was totally different from the previous E-class generations and was completely redesigned inside out. Available in a variety of body styles, powertrains, and trims, it can be regarded as the most stylish E-class. The iconic twin lights design at the front carried on from the previous generation and was ditched during the facelift.

W212 came equipped with an array of smart technology, safety, and driver assistance features. Let’s have an in-depth look at W212’s reliability and long-term maintenance, different engines, and transmissions, and should you buy one?

Is Mercedes W212 Reliable?

W212 is a fairly reliable car, it has sturdy build quality and overall good durability, but its initial years had a few manufacturing faults. It was launched with different engine options and up-scale technology, with various body styles. Although the problems were not fatal, the company entertained all the complaints and rectified its shortcomings. If maintained properly and official service schedules are followed, the Mercedes W212 can be a very reliable car and good enough to clock 400,000 miles without breaking down.

Although the initial models had some reliability problems, the facelifted Mercedes W212 years can be great if maintained properly. It is a recent generation of E-class, and you can still find good options with less than 100k miles on the odometer.

Mercedes W212 can be regarded as the best generation of E-class and it has all the features that one needs in a luxury vehicle. You can still find good examples around $35k and it can be a great buy.

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

What are the Most Common Problems with the Mercedes W212?

The Mercedes W212, despite its robust build quality, had certain mechanical and electrical faults. Most problems are not that grave and can be easily rectified, or repaired. Some common problems include air suspension problems, cabin quality issues, faulty wiper blade motor, steering wheel problems, and leaky fuel filter.

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

1- Air Suspension Problems

A very common problem in W212, carrying on from the previous generation. The underlying problem could be faulty dampers, air compressors, and air suspension springs. It is very costly to fix and requires a complex job, which is very time taking. This problem usually occurs around 150,000 miles.

2- Cabin Quality Issues

Most of these cars suffered from the quality of interior panels and fitting. The majority of the owners complained of rattling noises, and fading seat covers over the years. This issue appears well after 150,000 miles which needs some servicing. It is better to get the interior detailing done regularly.

3- Faulty Wiper Blade Motor

This is not such a big issue and occurs mostly due to a faulty fuse or electric short-circuiting in the wires. Sometimes the motor also burns due to continuous overload. This problem occurs after 100,000 miles and can be easily fixed by replacing the motor.

4- Steering Wheel Problems

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 is known to leak in the W212, and passengers complain about diesel odor in the car. This problem occurs after 125,000 miles and is not so frequent or grave. Most of the time, a cracked harness or seal is the culprit, that needs fixing.

Cost of Fixing the Common Problems with the Mercedes W212

1Air suspension problems$1,000-3,500
2Cabin quality issues$300-800
3Faulty wiper blade motor$200-400
4Steering wheel problems$700-1,000
5Leaky fuel filter$250-800

Which Mercedes W212 Years are the Best and Worst?

W212 was on market for 8 years, with a mid-cycle facelift as well. Some earlier years suffered from reliability concerns, while the later models were much better overall.

Best Mercedes W212 Model Years

  1. 2014
  2. 2015
  3. 2016

Worst Mercedes W212 Model Years

  1. 2009
  2. 2010
  3. 2011

Also read: Is Mercedes W210 Reliable? (Important Facts)

Which Mercedes W212 Engines are the Most and Least Reliable?

Mercedes W212 has both gasoline and diesel engine options with different power output and cylinder layouts. W212 has some of the sturdiest power plants that can drive past 400k miles without breaking, while others are not so durable. The best engines in the W212 are OM651 and OM642, while the least reliable engine is M273.

Most Reliable Mercedes W212 Engines

  1. OM651

One of the most reliable engines in the W212 E class is this 4-cylinder diesel engine. Very efficient and simple to maintain, and no fragile parts that would get damaged over time or with usage.

  1. OM642

The 3.0L diesel is also a great option while looking for a W212. It is powerful, sturdy and doesn’t break down like some of its gasoline counterparts. It is very reliable and offers unparalleled efficiency.

Least Reliable Mercedes W212 Engines

  1. M273

The most common problems with M273 are the cam oil leakage and intake manifold problems. These are the ones to avoid when looking for a used w212.

Is Mercedes W212 Safe?

Mercedes W212 is one of the safest vehicles available, it is loaded with advanced safety and driver assistance features. Different sensors and radar-assisted features help the driver in tough situations and keep the passengers safe in case of an impact.

The safety features & equipment in the Mercedes W212 include;

  1. ABS with EBD and Brake Assist.
  2. Adaptive cruise control with driver attention alert.
  3. Electronic traction control and stability assist.
  4. Pre-collision warning with emergency braking and pedestrian detection.
  5. Lane departure warning and lane-keep assist.
  6. Rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring system.
  7. 10 airbags with passenger detection.
  8. Collision avoidance technology – Mercedes Pre-Safe.

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

How Much Does Mercedes W212 Cost to Maintain?

These are some of the maintenance costs of a Mercedes W212;

  1. Oil change: $200
  2. Filters (air, oil, and fuel): $300
  3. Brake oil: $250
  4. Cost of a tire: $250
  5. Gear oil: $300-350
  6. Labor charges: $500-700

Total: $1,925

Yearly maintenance cost: average $1,925

Yearly Fuel Cost: average $2,200-2,400

Insurance Cost: $1,300

What is a Good Mileage for the Mercedes W212?

125,000 miles is good mileage for a Mercedes W212. Initially, there were some faults in this E-class generation but they were all rectified in the facelift models. If you’re looking for a W212 in the used car market, make sure the proper maintenance history is available and the mileage is around 100,000 to be ideal. These are very robust cars and can easily last up to 400,000 miles if taken care of. But as these cars are relatively newer, it’s better if you can find a W212 with fewer miles.

What Parts Should You Replace and After How Many Miles?

To enjoy pristine luxury, optimal performance, and enhanced service life of the car, it is important to stick to the official maintenance schedule and ensure the replacement of parts, and lubricants regularly. These include engine oil and filter, spark plugs, timing belt, brake pads, and a few others.

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 W212 Parts Widely Available?

Mercedes has a huge dealership network across the globe and the aftermarket is flooded with quality, third-party manufactured spare parts. W212 was sold in two pseudo-generations due to a facelift, but was on sale in every major market. With so many vendors on board and company backup, arranging parts for Mercedes W212 should not be an issue. If OEM parts are not readily available in your region, you can contact the manufacturer for online sourcing.

Mercedes has a strong network of dealers and their parts are readily available in the majority of the regions. Always prefer OEM parts over aftermarket copies for enhanced lifespan of your Mercedes W212.

How to Buy a Reliable Mercedes W212?

To get a solid Mercedes W212 in the used car market, keep the following points in mind;

  1. Get an inspection team to check the car thoroughly using latest tools and get a detailed report on the car’s condition.
  2. Thoroughly check the maintenance record, ownership history, and CARFAX report for a detailed account of the car’s history.
  3. It is better if you choose a car with fewer miles on it and undercarriage area free of rust.
  4. Ask the owner about 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. It would be ideal to get a 2013 or later year models as they had better features and lesser manufacturing faults.

Mercedes W212 – Pros & Cons


  1. Very luxurious interior with a premium build quality.
  2. Both diesel and gasoline engines available.
  3. All the latest tech and safety features on board for exquisite ownership experience.
  4. Parts are easily available.
  5. Very comfortable to drive car.


  1. The prices are still very high, spare parts are costly.
  2. The maintenance costs, labor charges, and repairs can be very expensive.
  3. The gasoline engines are gas-guzzlers.
  4. Insurance and running costs also very expensive.