4th Jul 2005, 21:58

My A160 has done 67000km and has just blown its ECU unit. This caused the vehicle to run roughly, stall and blow black smoke and deposit exhaust soot on the driveway. I am advised the unit must be replaced at $AUD2500 (July 2005). I have chosen to have the ECU repaired ($AUD1200 with a 2 year warranty).

Previous major problems include

- brake failure, repaired under Warranty.

- Replaced steering column ($AUD1600), just out of Warranty. The car had been serviced a few weeks previously and no problem found. The local petrol station mechanic identified the problem whilst reversing the car. Not impressed with MB quality or servicing.

25th Jul 2005, 23:16

As a follow up to my original post, I later found out the alternator became intermittent in my A160. Sometimes it would charge the battery... sometimes it would not. The car was stranded with a flat battery more than a couple of times.

7th Sep 2005, 08:33

Hi, I have just bought a second hand A140 with 45k. I only had it two weeks when the timing chain snapped. Luckily I had bought it from a reputable dealer who had given me a six month's engine and gearbox warranty. The engine had to be stripped and pistons replaced etc.

This seems to be a serious design flaw. Disappointing for a supposedly quality brand!

7th Nov 2005, 05:35


I bought a A160 and had it for 2 days and the steering felt VERY heavy all of a sudden... I took it off to my mechanic who said it could have been something minor, however, it turned out to be the power steering itself ($2000AUD for a replacement) I have now been told, that apparently this is a very common occurance in these cars.

I am so sorry I have bought this total lemon, now we re just trying to get rid of it... cheaply made!

15th Nov 2005, 00:19

Hi All.

I’ve bought 2000 A-Class Avantgarde in 2001… very much happy with the car until now. But lately, the car is jerking whenever I slowdown from speeding… and the worst part is after it jerked for a few times… it will automatically shift the gear to 1st…

Anyone of you ever experience this?


16th Nov 2005, 20:52

Our 2000 A160 has done 55,000Km and now needs the Engine Control Unit/Air Sensor replaced at a cost of $1,740 yet this has no moving parts!

I am claiming through the small claims court under NZ consumer Guarantees Act, as it obviously should have lasted longer than this.

20th Dec 2005, 03:30

My 1999 A160 Avantgarde has been having trouble with the auto transmission. It will sometimes display 'F' on the dash and will not go into gear or will 'thunk' out of gear. they have replaced the ignition unit, but are now saying it could be the engine control unit which is about $2000. Has anyone else had a similar problem. It tends to happen after the car has been running for some time. It has only done 36,000 kms.

28th Dec 2005, 02:17

Hi yes I have had the same problem with my A160 gearbox. It comes up with a 'F'. I have no idea what this is. I'm getting it into the service centre soon. The gearbox went into F in the middle of me waiting in the McD's drive through. I had to wait for 1 hour before it went normal again! I am disappointed with A160. I still love it and I think Merc has obviously turned into money hungry company. Where's there promise for quality gone? I paid a price to have a quality small car. I might as well buy a Toyota. I've been to the service people 4 times this year. My rear view mirror Dropped off! and my rims actually cracked and they told me I had hit something. I was on the freeway in traffic! where was this A class made in!?

3rd Jan 2006, 22:17

Re 20 and 28 Dec comment: I have finally got them to find the fault with the transmission - it is the selector unit which is costing $1800 installed! Has anyone had any luck with going to small claims? My car has only done 36,000 kms!

10th Feb 2006, 08:12

I have had my A 190 since 2000. There have been numerous problems like, the seat handles broken off, the fan belt broke, the 'BAS ESP' light came on last year for new brake bads and now this year again. I'm told this is a electrical fault? The power steering has failed and the steering wheel, when turned sounds like the window wiper's are on, but on a dry window screen, so you get that awful squeak as you turn the wheel. In cold weather it gets worse. I am also told due to this electrical fault, I may need a new part in the engine which will be very costly.

Does anyone have this problem?

14th Jul 2006, 16:30

I purchased an 1999 A160 Avantgarde six months ago at 87,000kms. Now at 97,000kms the transmission control module has apparently decided to supply damaging fluid pressures to the trans and stuffed the first gear (just spins). At an estimated repair cost of $7,500 (new control module and trans repairs) I have decided to stick to Toyota, though I am seriously looking at the new Suzuki swift. After paying $11,500 initially and $900 on repairs before this, if I paid for these repairs I could have bought myself a brand new Swift for about the same money! I have pulled the TCM fuse out to drive it in F (second gear, 4500rpm@62km/h). I am thinking about controlling the trans solenoids manually to give me the other good gears (2-5, who needs 1st anyway). Has anyone had any success or tech knowledge on how this can be done? Other than all the faults I think the A class is a good looking fun car to drive. Maybe the new A class doesn't have all these problems.

20th Aug 2006, 14:00

I have an A160, year 2001, with 80000 miles.

I have had numerous problems with mine also, but I am hoping someone can advise me on the current problem, which no garage including Mercedes is able to find the solution to.

When I turn on the ignition and put my car into reverse, it cuts out immediately. If I turn the ignition on with the car in neutral or a gear other than reverse, it will most likely work, but on occasions the ignition will not turn over at all for a period of time with either of the above situations. It eventually corrects itself and the car will start working again after a period of 5 to 10 minutes.

The car has been stripped from a wiring perspective to see if there is a wiring fault. No fault is ever found. One day it works perfectly, and the next day the fault may occur on each drive.

If anyone has experienced this problem, please email me at bcfja4@eircom.net

12th Jan 2007, 06:45

To the previous poster, indicator stalk, seat height handles, alternator... this sounds just like my car (I'm the original poster).

The alternator is worth replacing as it will go intermittent and leave you stranded when the battery goes flat. I chose to sell my car after all the repairs were done (under extended warranty) and let someone else deal with the quality and reliability hassles.

An expensive Mercedes lesson well learned.