There’s no doubt about it, the Mercedes E-Class is a great vehicle that still looks good today and it’s one of those cars that you’ll be proud to drive around without the ostentatious showy-ness of a sports car. You can pick up some real bargains on the second hand dealer circuit, but what’s the best way to be sure that you’re not picking up a lemon?
In this article we give you a breakdown of some of the most common issues, helping you avoid serious difficulties and problems with your purchase.
Looking at purchasing a 2004 W211 E-Class? This particular vehicle was the subject of a recall with cars made between January and April in 2004 being returned to the manufacturer due to a problem with the Sensotronic brake control. This causes the car to unintentionally switch to the standard hydraulic braking system, giving a warning light that alerts drivers to the change.
When you take your second hand E-Class for a test drive make sure you pay close attention to the ride quality. Of course, suspension is always an area to watch in any used vehicle, but this is especially true with this model of Mercedes. Listen out for a knocking sound that could be a giveaway that the thrust bushings have cracked.
Thinking of buying a 270 CDI from 2009 or later? If you are looking at one of these Mercedes diesels then be aware that there is a widely reported problem with the injector seals, which are especially prone to failure. When you’re driving the car make sure you pay attention to any fuel smells in the car or chuffing sounds from the engine. Frequent losses of power are also a giveaway sign and you can confirm any suspicions by looking for a black deposit around the injectors.
There was a massive recall of over 85,000 E-Class vehicles in 2010 due to a power steering fault, so if your potential purchase is from around this time then be vigilant as problems with the pump could lead to a issues and a compromise of steering control. Fortunately as this was such a prevalent issue it should be unlikely you’ll see it in a car that’s still on the road and Mercedes have stressed that drivers will still retain a reasonable degree of control of the vehicle.
In the M271 and M271 EVO engines there is a known fault with the camshaft. This is due to the adjuster’s cast iron construction being prone to premature fatigue and wear. Any model with this type of engine should be checked out thoroughly to ensure that there are not problems with misfiring, problems with the acceleration and responsiveness of the car and general rattling noise. All these are signs that there could be a costly bill on its way to the owner of the vehicle.
Issues with lights
Even if you’re buying your E-Class in the day-time, pay special attention to the head-lights, which will need checking as there is a reported fault where the voltage supplied to the bulbs was known to be too high causing a premature burnout. Equally there have been reported problems with the sealing gaskets on the rear causing dirt and debris to enter the unit
Over the years there has been a persistent problem with the transmission on many different types of E350 causing vibrations, clonks and shudders that detract from the drive quality and will generally be apparent from the moment you take the vehicle for a test drive. Whilst there was no recall due to this fault, it is common enough to be one to watch for when considering a second hand purchase.
Of course the E-Class is a quality car that will still turn heads on the road many years pasts its production, and it’s known to hold its value well. As with all second hand cars however a diligent and meticulous attitude to checks and observations will prevent you from buying something that could cost you a whole lot more than the initial price.
For affordable replacement engines, gearboxes and more, check out our new and used Mercedes Benz E-Class parts page.