Mercedes C-Class W204 problems – Common Issues & Buyers Guide

Mercedes W204 problems: We reckon this is going to be one of the easiest buyers guides to write and research. Do you wonder why? Because the W204 C class is known as one of the most reliable modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles. We owned one and loved it. The W204 Mercedes C class was the answer to the highly popular BMW E90 and it was a proper counterpart. It still remains one of the best-selling Mercedes cars and after all these years it remains highly popular, especially the V8 AMG models. With the introduction of the W204, Mercedes-Benz regained its reputation for being a reliable car manufacturer. The predecessor of the W204, the W203 was plagued with mechanical and bodywork issues. Here is our breakdown of the common Mercedes W204 problems and issues.

Mercedes W204 problems and major faults

  • Major faults were rare and heavily dependent on the engine present in the W204.
  • The V6 models, like the C350, had the same problems as their brothers in the E class. These engines suffered premature timing chain failure. If you are buying one, make sure that the chain has been replaced or at least pay attention to any weird engine knocking sounds. This is an expensive fix, especially if the chain breaks while driving.
  • Expect common Mercedes 7G automatic transmission issues. These include common and known TCM (Transmission Control Module) issues that result in hard and jerky gear shifting. Software updates sometimes resolve the issues. In some cases, the TCM needs to be fixed by a specialist (sensor replacements).
  • Even though the W204 does not have rust and corrosion issues, they do suffer the same problem as the W212 E Class. The rear subframe is known to rust through and demands a complete replacement which is quite costly (expect 1200$ + labour). Get the subframe and rear axles inspected before purchasing the car.
  • Early W204 diesel models had common fuel injector problems that should not be an issue now, as most W204s have had this problem fixed, but do be aware of the faulty Delphi fuel injectors and ECU on the 220CDI and 250CDI engines. This fault was admitted by Mercedes and fixed under warranty.
  • When buying high mileage W204s, make sure to check the condition of the timing chain. Oftentimes sellers realize their car needs a replacement and decide to sell the car. Replace the timing chain before it breaks! We cannot stress this enough.
  • Diesel models with manual gearboxes are prone to early dual mass flywheel failures (every 60,000 miles / 100 000km’s). Take notice of excessive vibrations from the engine and take notice of any clunking and thudding sounds. Make sure the flywheel has been replaced, or make sure you replace the dual mass flywheel and the entire clutch set before it breaks while driving.

Minor faults

  • Xenon headlights on all models experience problems due to moisture and corrosion on the xenon headlamp multi-connector. Oftentimes, the multi-connector needs replacing if it is beyond repair.
  • Auxiliary belt pulleys are prone to heavy wear. They become loud and need replacing. 
  • All W204s with the engine code 272 experience camshaft position actuator failures. A replacement is needed. They are also known to leak oil. Have this checked when buying a W204 or when doing the first service. Even though it is not a big issue it can leave you by the side of the road.
  • Early models (pre-2010) are known to suffer from power steering fluid leaks that can be seen on the power steering pump.
  • Some owners report problems with oil leaks due to faulty “O” rings on all diesel variants.
  • Owners report issues with the steering lock and column. A replacement module is quite expensive (est. 400$) and needs replacement. Symptoms include: no ignition lights turn on when inserting the key, the steering lock does not release.
  • Vehicles with more than 60,000 miles / 100 000km’s are known to have MAF (Mass airflow sensor) issues, a replacement is needed.
  • Take notice of water pump leaks, replace it before it completely fails and causes potential engine damage.
mercedes w204 rear

Body and interior problems

  • Owners reported rust and corrosion spots on the wheels.
  • Steering wheel trim is known to become worn, wavy and flaky. 
  • Owners are reporting premature wear symptoms with leather interiors.
  • Pre-facelift models are known to have dashboard creaks.
  • Mercedes W204 problems include whimpering tailgate hinges and folding mirrors. Regular lubrication solves the problem.

Electronic problems

  • The W204 is not plagued with electronic problems. The most common issue we have noticed on Mercedes Forums is the faulty turn signal issues that occur as a result of moisture intrusion to the control module.
  • Owners also report issues with gas pedal electronics and wheel sensors, both ignite the ESP warning light on the dashboard. 

Frequently asked questions

Are Mercedes-Benz W204 reliable vehicles?

Based on our experience and several years of ownership, we can confirm that the Mercedes W204 is reliable, one of the more reliable Mercedes vehicles in fact. Be aware that these vehicles are getting on in age and that proper maintenance is a must! Always check the service history before purchasing a W204.

What does w204 mean on Mercedes?

W204 is a factory code for the Mercedes C class that was produced from 2007 to 2014. It serves as an identification code.

When did the Mercedes W204 receive a facelift?

The W204 Mercedes-Benz C class received a facelift in 2011.

Which is the best Mercedes W204 engine?

If we had to choose one it would be the 220CDI diesel engine with 170 hp. The best petrol engine is the V6 350 engine.

Conclusion and recommendation

Despite its age, the W204 is holding strong in all aspects. It still looks good and with regular maintenance, it remains one of the better Mercedes cars out there. When buying a W204, the main thing to look out for is service history. These cars are only good when they are properly taken care of. 

ProsConsBest pick
– Much more reliable than its predecessor the W203
– Aged very well
– Great diesel engines
Comfortable for its sizes
– The interior on the pre-facelift models
– Price, these are holding their ground when it comes to prices
– Any model with a diesel engine

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