1999 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Classic from UK and Ireland - Comments

29th Nov 2010, 15:44

I also have a 1999 A160 AMG with 63000kms, initially I had problem with the tensioner pulleys, which I got replaced. Now it's showing a negative number accompanied by spanners. It started at -100, now it's close to -3000, in not more than 600km driven. What should I do? Please help.

19th Feb 2011, 14:21

Just change the oil and check out that the technician resets to zero the service odometer. What's happening is that the car is indicating you that it needs service, or that it wasn't reset last time the oil was changed.

12th Mar 2011, 05:08

After owning an older model (2002) automatic diesel LWB A-class, I have traded it in for a younger A-class, 2005 petrol model.

I didn't notice in the test drive that it has a hard and noisy ride on open road. Does anyone else have this complaint?

14th Mar 2011, 16:44

To 22nd Jun 2010, 10:02, really, anyone parting with 4k and NOT test driving deserves everything they get and no sympathy.

Had my A CDI for 7 years with only 3 coils replaced, although it's not developed a dodgy indicator which will cost £100 and a couple of my hours in time.

Other than that, yes it's not as good as the Mercs of old (I've owned a handful of pre and post 1990 Mercedes) but it's a whole load better than Korean, eastern European or French counterparts.

27th Jun 2011, 11:47

My daughter unfortunately purchased this pile of rubbish some two years ago. I strongly advise that you do not touch this car, A class 190 W reg.

I have made an attempt to take on board the problem. It is costing me a fortune with absolutely no results. It is a nightmare. The car goes into limp mode on the motorway at 70 MPH, when overtaking this can be hairy. I have never experienced a vehicle like this. Mercedes have created a lemon. I have spent £700 with absolutely no cure.

A public warning should be issued. When buying this vehicle it will run smoothly during the test run, once you have parted with the money... Welcome to the money pit...

You have been warned.

27th Jun 2011, 11:56

Did a dealer get you to write this? Overwhelming negative points raised by most. You cannot ignore the points raised by the majority. Mercedes are in this to exploit their inadequate car building.

4th Aug 2011, 19:19

A car ahead of its time!!

Back in 1998 when the fixed A-class came out, no other car of this class had all this new technology in it. This car was at the time the most technologically advanced car of its class, and even higher class cars.

A new car today, will not have much more than what you would get from an A-class 13 years ago... so just remember this.

There is one thing with new technology though... 1) it cost a lot, and 2) it has not been tested in real life, and yes things can go wrong!

Although the car is nice, slick and cute, so more like a woman's car... I would NOT advise any non technical minded person to buy one. Basic DIY car skills are a must for this car, and from my experience, for every car out there!

Most of the problems described by owners are actually minor, and can be fixed easily by any car enthusiast without a huge bill. If you go to Mercedes, they will do whatever they can to make you pay for something... this is how they make money!

Steering noise is usually caused by lack of lubricant in the retractable steering column, and it's just annoying, not a real fault. Can be fixed fairly easy, but MB will just replace and bill you!

Gear problems when you lose 3rd and 5th gear are caused by a missing or broken plastic connector; costs less than £5 and can be fitted in 2 seconds.

Grinding in the semi-auto ACS gearbox is usually caused by misaligned gear linkages. This happens when people/kids play around with the gear selector without even driving the car. It can be fixed by resetting the ACS unit, following a simple procedure.

Old worn gear synchronizers in abused gearboxes may grind a bit, but early action by replacing the gear oil, with Castol Syntrax gear oil can buy you thousands more miles.

Brake noise is from badly fitted pads from a Mercedes dealer, 18 year old grease monkey mechanics, guess where they train?? On your car!!!

If out of warranty, avoid Mercedes dealer garages (they are always after the money, they have to sell!!), but don't take it to any other grease monkey either, it's not a normal car!! Take it to somebody who knows these cars.

£700 for discs and pads??? An example of a Mercedes dealer rip off!!!

I buy a 4 discs and pads set for £80 total retail price and delivered to my house. I put them on myself... it takes me 2 hours more or less, and I save my £620!

By the way, you should change the pads earlier at 20k to 25K miles for not damaging the discs. This way your pads need replacing only around 75k miles.

This way you save even more, as 4 pairs of pads cost only £25, making the saving £675.

The car does develop other faults, as every car will do, so a bit of luck always helps too!

The paint on this car is the only real problem; it's so thin, and it looks as if there is no primer underneath it... just paint on metal!!

Rear arches rust easy if neglected or driven on wet muddy roads, and stone chips will bubble if left untreated.

Under the bonnet there is no sign of rust anywhere on my 1999 A160, which is parked always outside and exposed to the British weather!

Still though, my 1992 Toyota has no rust anywhere, not in the arches, not even in places where the metal is exposed due to scratches!!

My 1997 Nissan Micra panels doesn't rust either, but it rusts a bit underneath, and the cross member where the radiator seats basically dissolved and left the engine half hanging (I thought it will fall off).

I also threw away my BMW 325 TDS, because it was rusting extremely fast, and developed a lot of problems within 6 months.

Every German car I have ever owned left me stranded on the road at some point, when Japanese cars never did so far, and french cars either!!

Anyway the A-class is not that bad as people make it look like on the Internet. You have to understand this is a very popular car... thousands still out there since 1998, and usually people only write about stuff when something goes wrong!

The best to buy is the A160, because it's as economical as the A140, but more responsive, and much more reliable than the A170 CDI.

The A-class CDI engine in the A170 does not deliver the fuel economy claimed by Mercedes, it's slower than the A140, and it develops a lot of engine management problems.

Buy one that looks and drives well, and chances are you will be OK!

Good luck!!

4th Sep 2011, 13:45

Comments in the 4 Aug 2011 article are so true. My wife has a 53 reg A160 auto, and we are fortunate for it not to have had any serious mechanical problem. But we have found MB approach to solving any sort of problems being very quick to itemise and to charge for any sort of investigation or minor work, irrespective of the nature of the problem. The A class is sold as a car designed for every family for every day use, not the same as a S or ML class. But MB garages do not recognise this fact. So buyers be warned, you are buying a car with the MB badge, so be prepared to have to pay for the "privilege".