The 2013 Mercedes A-Class, or the W176 in more manufacturing terms, was the first A-Class that shifted its form from a small minivan into the classic hatchback design. By changing the design, Mercedes made the A class almost unrecognizable compared to its predecessor. However, the W176 A-Class was now a true competitor to the BMW 1 Series Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A3, which dominated the luxury hatchback segment before 2013. The W176 Mercedes A-Class was and still is a good competitor in the segment. They achieved this by focusing on the A-Class reliability and quality materials which separate the W176 A-Class from its competitors even today. Despite being fairly reliable, there are still some W176 Mercedes A-Class Common Problems that you should know if you are in the market for this car. Let’s dive in!
W176 A-Class DCT transmission issues
The W176 Mercedes-Benz A-Class suffers from the same DCT (dual-clutch transmission) problem as its off-road brother the X156 Mercedes GLA. W176 A-Class vehicles made between the beginning of November 2015 and the end of January 2016 are equipped with faulty DCT transmission. If the vehicle has a DCT transmission, it is prone to complete failure due to a bad weld of the clutch pack. This problem was resolved by a recall. If you are buying an A-Class with the DCT gearbox, make sure that the vehicle you are buying is not affected.
DCT gearboxes by Mercedes-Benz are generally incredibly reliable. Because it is a direct shift, dual-clutch transmission it means that regular maintenance is highly important, so make sure you do not buy a vehicle with no maintenance history. We wrote about direct-shift gearbox problems before and we even covered how to drive a car with a DCT transmission.
W176 180 CDI OM607 timing belt replacement
The 180CDI, OM607 engine was made in partnership with none other than Renault. Just because Renault is involved in this engine, do not think it is bad. The opposite is true, the engine is fantastic and causes absolutely no problems. One thing to remember here is that the engine uses a timing belt and not a timing chain. The timing belt needs to be replaced every 100,000 kilometers or 60,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. Most Mercedes engines feature a timing chain that does not need a regular replacement.
If you are buying a W176 A-Class with this engine, make sure that the timing belt has been replaced to avoid engine damage. While this is not one of the W176 Mercedes A-Class problems, we do want you to be careful when choosing this engine.
W176 200d, 220 CDI, 200d timing chain problems
The OM651 engine is also present in the W176 A-Class, just like it is in the X156 GLA. We wrote about this problem in our X156 buyers’ guide and we have to repeat it again here. A number of owners are reporting timing chain and timing chain tensioner wear and the need for premature replacement. This is more present on vehicles that are driven hard when cold and on engines with a high mileage count. Be on the lookout for a short knocking sound at the startup engine. Replacing the timing chain is both expensive and complicated.
W176 A45 AMG turbocharger failure
The C117 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG underwent an MB USA service campaign 2014120001 for the 2014-2015 model years. Seeing how the W176 A45 AMG shares the same M133 engine, the W176 A-Class A 45 AMG is also affected by this turbocharger problem. The turbocharger failure is caused by contaminated oil feed tubes. We talked about the causes for turbocharger failure on LifeOnFour before. Without an oil feed, the turbocharger is doomed to fail. To determine if a replacement was needed, the oil feed tubes were inspected along with the axial play that should not exceed 0,08 mm.
2015 W176 Mercedes A-Class camshaft failure
W176 A Class 2015 model year vehicles are prone to camshaft failure. If the camshaft fails, there is a complete loss of power and the engine needs to be shut off as soon as possible to prevent further engine damage. Repairs are complex and expensive. We should note that this is not one of the most common W176 Mercedes A-Class problems, so you should not be really worried about it.
ECU problems on the W176 2013 A-Class
Certain W176 A-Class models experience problems with the ECU which disrupts the engine, preventing it from starting up. Most cars were fixed under warranty and recalls.
Water pump and thermostat issues on the W176 A-Class
Just like the X156 GLA, the W176 also faces issues with the water pump and the thermostat. Both need to be observed and replaced if any problems arise. This is especially common on the A 250 petrol engine.
W176 A Class steering rack problems
One of the common W176 Mercedes A-Class problems is the clunking noise coming from the steering rack. When the steering causes this clunking noise, it is an indication of a bad steering rack bearing, or better yet one of the bearings on the steering rack. Replacing the steering rack is usually what is needed to resolve the issue.
DPF filter warning lights on diesel W176 models
Even though you could consider the A-class a more city-friendly vehicle, the diesel variants are not big fans of short journeys and constant inner-city stop-and-go traffic. Short trips cause the diesel particulate filter to clog up and light up the DPF warning light. An extended journey of at least 30 min above 2000 RPM can resolve a minor clogging of the DPF. If the clogging is extensive, manual cleaning or a new DPF filter is required.
Engine misfiring problems on the w176 a-Class
Owners of petrol engines in the W176 are commonly reporting problems with misfiring. Coil packs are the usual suspect. Replacing them solves the problem.
W176 Oil leaks
Owners of the W176 A-Class are reporting several oil leaks that develop over time. The most common oil leak is at the O ring. Monitoring the engine for any oil leaks is recommended but it is generally not a big problem to resolve.
Body and interior problems
Water in rear passenger footwell problem on the W176 A Class
A lot of owners are experiencing damp footwells at the rear passenger seats. The water leaks into the car through the rear vent covers. Solving this water leak issue is simple and the replacement parts are inexpensive. Here is how to resolve this issue.
Seat belt rattle problems in the W176 A-Class
Early 2013 models of the W176 A-Class are known to have problems with rattling seatbelts. The part that is causing the annoying rattling is the seat belt adjuster. In some cases, simple lubrication of the seat belt adjusters resolved the issue. In other cases, owners replace the entire seat belt adjusters with new and updated versions of this part.
W176 A Class windscreen washers failure
Both front and back windscreen washers on the W176 A-Class are known to cause trouble. The rear windscreen washers usually fail due to a loose hose that attaches to the jets. Front windscreen washers on the other hand experience problems with both the hoses and the jets. In most cases, both need to be replaced. It is definitely an annoying and time-consuming repair. Some owners also report problems with the windscreen washer fluid pump and electrical contacts.
Failing O2 oxygen sensors on the W176 A-Class
This is a common problem in most modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles. A malfunctioning O2 oxygen sensor will ignite the “check engine” warning light. A new sensor is needed in order for the engine to function normally.
Failing wheel speed sensors
Just like its bigger brothers, the W176 A-Class also suffers from failing wheel speed sensors. Malfunctioning speed sensors affect the ESP and the braking system so replacing them should not be delayed.
Auxiliary battery premature failure
One of the most common problems with the W176 A-Class is the “Auxiliary battery malfunction” warning message. The W176 A-Class has two batteries, the primary battery is responsible for engine ignition, while the smaller, auxiliary battery stays responsible for all the gadgets and electronics of the car, including the start and stop system. In most cases, this problem is resolved by replacing the auxiliary battery with a new one.
Frequently asked questions
Is Mercedes A Class W176 worth buying?
Yes, we would say that a well-maintained A-Class is definitely worth buying. We actually consider the W176 A-Class to be one of the more reliable Mercedes cars, especially after the facelift in 2016.
Is Mercedes A Class W176 reliable?
Yes, the 2013 W176 A-Class is a reliable car. The main thing to look out for is clear maintenance history. Most engines in the 2013 A-Class are without major problems so you can expect good long-term reliability.
Why is Mercedes A Class so cheap?
The A-Class used to be cheaper than the segment competition. This changed with the introduction of the 2013 W176 A-Class generation. The new hatchback design finally posed a true competitor to the highly popular Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3 and the BMW 1 Series. The A-Class today is not cheap, not new and certainly not used.
Conclusion and recommendation
Let’s be honest, there are quite a few W176 Mercedes A-Class problems, but none of them would actually deter us from buying it anyways. Especially the facelifted models which were available from 2016 and onwards. The 2016 model year A-Class offers much better reliability, as most common pre-2016 problems were eliminated and the A-Class also received much better and modern styling. Our recommendation for any of you interested in buying a W176 Mercedes A-Class would be to look for 2016+ model years and clear maintenance history, especially with the AMG models. Head to the Mercedes-Benz website to check for any recalls based on the VIN number of the vehicle you are buying. Good luck!