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Are Mercedes-Benz Cars Reliable

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  • 06-07-2022
Are Mercedes-Benz Cars Reliable

This article looks at the question: are Mercedes-Benzes reliable cars? Find out more about most reliable Mercedes-Benzes cars and common Mercedes-Benzes problems.

Mercedes-Benz Reliability

Whoever you consult, from a comprehensive consumer index to your local mechanic to Mercedes-Benz fanatics, everyone will tell you that Mercedes-Benz vehicles have average reliability. They aren't the most dependable cars, but neither are they breaking down every 1,000 miles. They're typically somewhere in the middle.

For owners, this means an average yearly cost for repairs to Mercedes-Benz cars of roughly £700, putting it somewhere in the middle in terms of ownership costs and repair bills. 

As you'd expect, it's a little more than for standard cars, with average repair costs for those being around £520 annually, including scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and repairs. Not only are Mercedes repairs more expensive compared to your average car, but they're also more frequently needed.

Mercedes-Benz owners, on average, need to take their cars into the garage 0.3 times more than others. The repairs they need also tend to be more serious, with 13% of Mercedes-Benz repairs being severe, compared to just 12% for other manufacturers. 

However enlightening these statistics might be, it is important to bear in mind that the other manufacturers being compared with Mercedes-Benz cars vary widely in their build quality and reliability

 Not all of them are in the same luxury, high-performance class as Mercedes vehicles. Therefore, their reliabilities will naturally be very different. 

Suppose you compare manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, or Nissan, aiming for more family-friendly commuter cars, to manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, who produce some of the best luxury vehicles globally. In this case, there will naturally be a difference in reliability.

So while Mercedes-Benz's vehicles may be more expensive to own, their ownership costs are similar to other cars in their class. 

Mercedes-Benz Reliability Ratings

Again, while you won't find Mercedes-Benz at the top of the list for reliability in the automotive market, neither will you find them at the bottom. 

RepairPal gives Mercedes a reliability rating of 3/5, meaning "average", and out of the 32 most popular luxury brands globally, Mercedes-Benz finds itself in 27th place for reliability amongst popular models.

To go over the costs again, Mercedes also receives an average rating for ownership cost, as we have already mentioned. This rating is directly related to reliability. If your car is more reliable, you are less likely to be visiting your garage for unexpected repairs. Similarly, the more unreliable your vehicle is, the more unscheduled repairs you will need to pay for. 

How Reliable Are Mercedes-Benz?

If you want to conduct your own research, as you probably should, if you're thinking of splashing some serious cash on a luxury car like a Mercedes-Benz, there are a couple of places you can look. To discover how reliable the Mercedes-Benz model you have your eye on is, the two best places to look are consumer report specialists 'Which?' and 'ReliabilityIndex'.

Which? conduct a reliability survey each year where they contact thousands of consumers to request information about the vehicles they drive. These yearly reports provide insight into the status of certain reliable or unreliable vehicles on the ground where people are actually using them every day. They also reveal the most common Mercedes-Benz issues people experience.

In recent years, new Mercedes-Benz vehicles (typically under three years old) have been awarded another average rating with 3/5 stars from 'Which?' Average reliability doesn't sound too impressive for supposedly reliable vehicles fresh from the assembly lines. Older cars are similarly average in their reliability, but owners didn't mention any specific issues with these older Mercedes-Benz models.

The 'ReliabilityIndex', on the other hand, charts the Mercedes-Benz problems owners experienced over a twelve-month period prior to the report being carried out. Recent index charts place Mercedes-Benz cars in the bottom half of the top 100 cars in the UK. 

Mercedes-Benz was also awarded a reliability score of 173. This score again marks Mercedes as average for reliability, with cars scoring over 100 being less reliable than the mean.

However, comparing Mercedes' score of 173 to Maserati's 774, you can see how this isn't the end of the world. Looking at other manufacturers, Mercedes typically has similar reliability to the likes of Jeep, Citroen and Peugeot. 

Most Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars?

However, while it's all well and good comparing Mercedes to other manufacturers in terms of reliability, this doesn't tell us much about the different Mercedes-Benz models. 

Like other premium brands, different Mercedes brand models will be more or less reliable than others. Therefore, in the interest of comparing like for like, here are a couple of the most reliable Mercedes-Benz models.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C-Class is the first of the more reliable Mercedes-Benz cars in their infamously average lineup. In both the JD Power rankings and recent Consumer Reports, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was awarded reliability scores in the 80s out of 100.

This further suggests overall predicted reliability of 4/5, which is far from the average expected of Mercedes in other indexes.

Since its debut, the C-Class has received good to high scores from Consumer Reports on a consistent basis, which bodes well for the future of the model.

The main reason for this boost of reliability coming from the C-Class is the rugged and reliable Mercedes-Benz engine they fitted it with.

Are Mercedes-Benz Reliable Cars?

If it is maintained correctly, the C-Class engine should last for many thousands of miles. However, while Mercedes produce fantastic engines, particularly in this case, there are certain areas of the C-Class that are lacking. These include the new technology, in-car electronics and the climate control system.

According to C-Class owners, the infotainment system within the car would often freeze, and pairing their devices to the Bluetooth was far from easy. On the other hand, the climate system would take forever to warm the car, which can be incredibly annoying during the winter months.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Another incredibly reliable Mercedes-Benz car since its debut, the E-Class, has been reliable from day one back in 1986. Despite its history, newer versions of the E-Class model have managed to retain this reputation even now.

Another example of how Mercedes aren't entirely average in terms of reliability, the E-Class more than makes up for other car models' deficiencies.

Consumer Report awarded the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class a 74/100 for reliability, even giving it the much-desired "Recommended" title. 

Its predicted reliability rating was also fairly impressive, with a 3/5. There were, however, nine recalls of the 2021 E-Class, with the problems cited ranging from the seats, reversing camera and airbags.

Again, in the interest of balance and fairness, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class does bring some notable issues along with its improved reliability.

This luxury sedan seemed to suffer from frequent air suspension failures, which are fairly serious and expensive to repair. There were also a few recorded issues with the bodywork, such as wind noise entering the interior, rattling doors and cracked seals. 

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

What Are The Least Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars?

Now that we've covered the reliable models in Mercedes' range, it may be worth mentioning some of the more unreliable ones. 

Given that Mercedes are regularly given average reliability ratings, and we've already mentioned the good newer models, you can imagine what there is to find in the worse ones. 

If you are looking to purchase a new or used Mercedes-Benz vehicle but are worried about reliability issues, it may be best to give the following models a wide berth.

Mercedes-Benz GLE

The Mercedes GLE SUV is impressive to look at in the showroom, but its Consumer Report scores aren't anything to write home about. 

Being awarded a measly 43/100, the Mercedes-Benz GLE is something of a reliability nightmare with just a 1/5 for dependability. Even if it does have a Mercedes badge on its bonnet, the GLE is perhaps one of the manufacturer's least reliable models.

But what's the reason for such poor reliability from an "average" manufacturer? While the 2021 GLE has plenty to offer in terms of comfort and space on the inside, the predicted reliability based on previous versions defeated any chance at success.

What Are The Least Reliable Mercedes-Benz Cars?

The 2020 GLE was practically one big reliability issue, with faulty interior electronics, engine problems and power equipment failures. Interestingly, while the 2020 GLE was plagued with reliability problems and low ratings, customer satisfaction was rated at a surprising 3/5. 

Therefore, while there were some glaring issues with the interior workings of the vehicle, there were other elements that owners and Mercedes fans seemed to like, regardless of whether they were working or not.

Mercedes-Benz GLS

Another Mercedes vehicle that suffered some awful reliability scores was another of their SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz GLS.

Similar to the previous model, the 2021 version of the GLS was awarded an overall score of 46/100 and a dismal predicted reliability score of 1/5. A truly worrying pair of scores for another of the manufacturer's luxury SUVs.

As appears to be a trend in the Mercedes models with poor reliability, issues with the internal electronic system seem to have guaranteed such poor scores for the GLS. It even faced recalls due to unsolvable issues with the reversing camera.

Mercedes-Benz GLS

This may have come as a surprise for fans who would have expected more from such a notable manufacturer, despite their previous average reliability scores. Other issues include the interior infotainment system. While it worked better than the reversing camera on that particular model, there was an incredibly steep learning curve for owners to get to grips with.

Additionally, some of the buttons and switches on the control panel didn't illuminate, which made it even more difficult, and possibly dangerous, to use while driving. Again, much like the GLE, while the Mercedes-Benz GLS received shocking reliability scores and suffered its fair share of issues, consumers and fans gave it a warm reception.

With its vast amount of interior space with three rows of seats, experts, fans and Mercedes-Benz user experience commentators all loved the innovative space solutions it offered, despite its problems. It just goes to show that while the consumer experts and reliability indexes may doom a car to infamy, fans can always have their own say. 

Common Mercedes-Benz Problems

As we have revealed so far, while Mercedes-Benz is one of the world's most luxurious and well-known auto manufacturers, they aren't immune to shocking reliability issues. Besides the problems that often come attached to certain models, there are common issues that you can find across the entire range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Here are a few of these common issues that you might want to be aware of if you are thinking of purchasing a Mercedes-Benz car.

Check Engine Light - in many consumer reports, various Mercedes-Benz models were noted to have inconsistent lighting in their check engine lights, which seriously affected drivability. A particularly famous example of this was the Mercedes-Benz E350, which was famous for this issue. You can find the source of the problem with faulty camshaft adjuster solenoids, which can be tricky to replace if you don't know how. 

Transmission Issues - when it comes to German manufacturers and their gearboxes, you can honestly do a lot worse than Mercedes-Benz. However, while the 5-speed transmission itself might be reliable, the 13-pin connector and valve body within the transmission are less friendly. Issues with the connector can lead to fluid leaks, while the valve body leads to poor shifting between gears. 

Rusting - every car owner and manufacturer dreads rust, and unfortunately, it's something most people will have to deal with at one stage or another. While most vehicles will suffer from rust as they age, Mercedes-Benz vehicles seem to rust more easily and quickly than others. This is mainly due to cost-saving measures, such as using cheaper metals and thinner layers of paint. The most common areas you're likely to find rust on your Merc are on the front bumpers, behind your license plate positions and along the interior floorboards where the metal is thinnest. 

Misfiring - while any car that reaches a considerable age can be expected to misfire as the engine's components break down, older models from Mercedes seem to reach this level of wear much sooner than others. When it comes to Mercedes-Benz models, engine wear and misfiring are known to occur as early as when there are between 60,000 to 100,000 miles on the clock. Luckily, misfiring is one of the easier and cheaper issues to fix. Replacing spark plugs is par for the course in terms of scheduled maintenance and repair, but it can be a sign of something more concerning if you start running into these issues while your Mercedes-Benz car is relatively new. 


Are you looking for Mercedes specialists in Surrey? If you are a Mercedes-Benz owner you will want to ensure your car is in the right hands. 

 Follow the links below for Mercedes servicing and repairs in Godstone, Crawley, Croyden, Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas.