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C-Class (W203) 2001-2007, C160, C180, C200, C220, C230, C240, C270, C280, C300, C320, C230K, C350, Coupe
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W203 Reliability?

 
Old 01-30-2011, 02:25 PM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
W203 Reliability?

Hey guys, I'm considering the w203 C-Class for one of my future vehicles. I really love the design and the way they look. However, I haven't been able to find any good discussions regarding it's reliability, as they've all been a mixed bag. Which are good model years? Which one ones should be avoided? Common issues? How about some input from current W203 owners? Thanks.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:51 PM
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2003 c230k
https://mbworld.org/forums/c-class-w...y-results.html

I have a 2003 C230k the only major issue I had was the leaking Cam Sensor. And right now at 80,000 my alternator is going.
Other than that a pretty solid car.....

Last edited by bigspender101; 01-30-2011 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:55 PM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
I saw that. Didn't look too promising... Also, looked like a good chunk of data was missing. I see you drive one, what has been your experience with it?
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:56 PM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
Well thats not too bad... although I get the feeling that the w203's are generally a hit-or-miss with reliability :/
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:08 PM
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Any W203 post face-lift will generally be reliable.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:08 PM
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'03 c230k ss
according to members on this forum, 2006-7 are the ones to get.

I've had issue with my 2003, some minor/some major, but overall it hasn't been too frustrating. (knock on wood)

if you are looking for ultimate reliability, look toward Japanese.

High end Germans, great as they are, to me too over engineered for their own good.

just too many dang parts to accomplish a single objective.

I still love my baby Benz though.

W203 is still one of my favorite body styles.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:13 PM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
I've had issue with my 2003, some minor/some major, but overall it hasn't been too frustrating. (knock on wood)

if you are looking for ultimate reliability, look toward Japanese.


I would rather the unreliable German or Swedish vehicle over ANY ricer, any day

Anyone know anything about the wagon?
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:32 PM
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03 g35 coupe...........02 c32 Sold
Originally Posted by sb.legacy View Post
Any W203 post face-lift will generally be reliable.
+1
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:24 PM
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2005 C230K, 2006 C230
The W203 is one of my favorite body styles, too. I don't have a long history with W203s, but I know three pretty well. My neighbor has ~150K miles on her 2000 C230K (I know, it's not a W203, but I figure her reliability is worth mentioning) and has loved it. My wife has a 2006 C230 with ~40K miles and I have a 2005 C230K with ~42K miles. My wife's was bought as a CPO about 4K miles ago and I got mine about 7K miles ago. We haven't had any problem with ours (and from the CarFax report the PO didn't either.

I've heard that 2005+ are the years you want (I hope they're right! ). The 6 cylinder engine in my wife's car is a lot smoother than the 4 in mine but my 4 isn't at all what I would call rough. It's just that I'd call the 6 silky smooth ! My wife has the automatic which is also very smooth. My car has the 6 MT. I can't say I'm in love with the tranny, but it's ok. The relationship between the gas and brake pedal isn't very good for heel-toe but it's passable.

Mine seems to get a lot better gas mileage, but I do a lot more highway driving than she does. Still, we are a little disappointed with the mileage and it will be something we address at her next service.

Overall, we like our C230s a lot. My wife wishes hers were a bit bigger - partly because she used to drive a mini van and needs a place to store all the junk she's used to carrying around. I haven't enjoyed a car this much since I had my Ford Probe GT. In fact, so far, I'd have to say my C230 is probably my favorite car ever (my Lotus is in a different category. It's sort of family!). I know this isn't a very long term report, but hopefully it provides a data point or two. Good luck in your search!
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:51 PM
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2005+ is the way to go.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:52 PM
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Get 06+.. The only issue is the cam position sensor or p0012/p0015.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:03 PM
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06 C230 SS 6spd
have a 06 and loving her, haven't had any problems so far.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:17 PM
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I love my car too.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:43 PM
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'02 C230 Coupe (Me) '03 SLK320 6MT (Wife)
The thing to know, getting into any of these vehicles, I believe, is that although they are reliable vehicles (almost any of them, but the '05+ especially so) is that they are maintenance intensive compared to what you may be used to, especially if you are used to Japanese cars.

Not discouraging a Mercedes by any means, and I love both of ours, but they require more frequent attention and adjustment compared to the Honda's and Toyota's that I have owned in the past.

Mercedes has recommended services, and although the cars are over engineered in many ways, the services are exactly what and when they expect it to be done. It doesn't have to be done by the dealer, but it does need to be done. The other thing to keep in mind is that a service is frequently more than just an oil change, if it is done properly. They call for a lot of checking things, that really ends up being making sure bolts are still torqued right, or little things like cleaning and lubing the sunroof tracks.

Many people on the forum are very successful in maintaining their vehicle, but the thing you have to keep in mind is that they all are the type people (just my opinion) that either keep the vehicle in exceptionally good condition, or are the type that will notice things that need to be done (for example the sunroof lube) even if they don't do them at the time for an oil change.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:46 PM
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2004 C230k 6MT; '75 Triumph TR6
I have an 04 and my issues were:
-the front suspension (all the bits have been replaced under warranty, clunking and knocking), There are definitely problems here and the replacement parts all have a 204-xxx-xx part number now. (trust arms, ball joints, sway bar links, tie rods etc)
- left front wheel bearings (did it myself - kit is $59)
- my alternator throwing a malfunction code even though it seems to be doing its job and voltages are too spec;
- a leaking cam solenoid (what else is new!) might have to fight MB Canada on this one
- Sticking parking brake (due to pre-mature corrosion in the mechanism- I free'd it up and it is fine for the past 2 years).
- Leaking diff seals where the half shafts come out (warranty).
- The I-R on my drivers outside door handle for the remote does not work i.e. for the windows)
- Bad rear speaker ($65 to buy the individual speaker)
- The car goes through rear tires (staggered set) at a 2:1 ratio compared to the front (I don't do burn-outs)
- with 99,000KM I have replaced the front rotors and pads twice (an extra one that I did not expect), and the rears once
- replaced the OEM battery recently as a preventative, it was still strong after 7.5years
- front fender liner broke apart (?? part was $38)
Other than that the car has been fine, I had a issues with my Acura (bearings, rear calipers multiple times, rad, steering wheel controls, warping front rotors constantly, rusting out exhaust component and premature rusting on the body) so I don't think any car is immune to problems. I had a Ford Probe GT and that was a nightmare - never again an American or Mazda product
The Benz is a more satisfying car to drive. Compared to my friend's 07 530ix my Benz seems bulletproof, that car has been a disaster

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Old 01-30-2011, 07:55 PM
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I fall into both the categories Mike listed. I keep my car in very good condition and I notice things that need to be done and the conditioning on my car is pretty much constant. That said, I find the maintenance requirements to be fairly low. I follow the 13,000 mile oil change intervals without issue. I try to stick with top tier fuels and add techron concentrate every few thousand miles. I only use approved fluids and stick to OEM parts if at all possible. Brakes last between 30/40k miles. Cabin filter replaced every 26,000 miles, air filter replaced about every 40k. Again, my oil analysis showed that the paper filter works fine for the 13k oil change interval and that the air filter does a fine job even at 40k of usage. But my area is low dust, that is something that should be noted.

If you're smart and savvy, you can maintain these cars at a reasonable cost.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:09 PM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
Originally Posted by MW_ATL View Post
The thing to know, getting into any of these vehicles, I believe, is that although they are reliable vehicles (almost any of them, but the '05+ especially so) is that they are maintenance intensive compared to what you may be used to, especially if you are used to Japanese cars.
Haha like I said I would take the maintenance intensive Euro over the ricer

I haven't really had any serious problems (touches wood) with my '94 W124 E Class (which I love), so I think it's natural to be wary of some of the newer cars.

Thanks though, all this information really helped, glad you guys are (for the most part) enjoying your w203's!
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JMcGlash View Post
look toward Japanese.


I would rather the unreliable German or Swedish vehicle over ANY ricer, any day
Originally Posted by JMcGlash View Post
Haha like I said I would take the maintenance intensive Euro over the ricer

Japanese automatically means ricer?
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:58 AM
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Benz FTW!!! Then Audi, then BMW then other Japanese cars.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:05 AM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
Originally Posted by Karo View Post
Benz FTW!!! Then Audi, then BMW then other Japanese cars.
I would say then American, then Japanese...
Hahaha at least buying American would allow us to rebuild our auto industry, which used to build good, reliable cars...

Still not as good as Benz though
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JMcGlash View Post
I would say then American, then Japanese...
Hahaha at least buying American would allow us to rebuild our auto industry, which used to build good, reliable cars...

Still not as good as Benz though
I agree but the weird thing is my dad use to have a Chrysler and that damn thing was assembled in Mexico. I believe even the engine was built there. Sometimes I don't believe in that kind of crap anymore. I am patriotic but if our auto industry is outsourcing why should I as the consumer care about them? If these major auto companies are outsourcing even their IT jobs (which I am in the IT field) to other countries why should I even look back at them?

Atleast that's the way I feel.


I think their working with Mexico again. I remember in 2002 Mexico's plant was closed but I guess it's time to outsource.
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/gm-ch...to-mexico.html

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Old 01-31-2011, 10:33 AM
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'94 E420 177K- (for sale, parts car) '92 300E 179K (LEMON)
At any rate, the US companies have come a long way because they've had to... not to get off topic but the new caddy CTS is gorgeous!!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JMcGlash View Post
At any rate, the US companies have come a long way because they've had to... not to get off topic but the new caddy CTS is gorgeous!!!
And unreliable, my neighbor has a 08 CTS performance with the rare 6spd. manual and he has had nothing but problems with it. Airbag lights, to random CEL's.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:07 PM
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I would love to drive a CTS-V Coupe or even a Sedan. Those cars are sick and from what I hear handling wise they are German!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Karo View Post
I would love to drive a CTS-V Coupe or even a Sedan. Those cars are sick and from what I hear handling wise they are German!!
maybe.. i heard they fall apart like no other, though.

+1 for the audi > bmw
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