15th Nov 2003, 16:24

The 1993-1995 wiring harnesses on ALL Mercedes were defective due to a biodegradable insulation. This wiring was used inside the throttle actuators also. The TA controls the cruise control and the idle. The head gaskets were defective during these years too. Usually it results in an outside oil leak. If the wiring harness is not replaced it COULD short out other items like your computer. It is possible.

Read carefully: I would not put any trust in a Mercedes dealer further than you can throw them. They will rip you off at any chance you give them. If you have an existing factory warranty then the dealer can be used. However, after that find a good independent mechanic that works on German cars if you are going to own a MB. It never ceases to amaze me what LIES they tell people, and incorrect repairs. This is why people become so frustrated with owning a MB.

That being said, they did have some problems with these models. However, it is not the end of the world. If you can find a model that has had the wiring harness, and head gasket replaced it can be a great car. The TA is not cheap either and run around 1000 bucks just for the part. This can certainly be something to bring the asking price down. Get the seller to knock off 2k, replace the faulty parts, and drive for many many years to come. This is not for everybody obviously. I do not mind because I perform all the work on my cars myself. I had my head gasket replaced by the person who sold me the car before buying it. I will replace the wiring harness in the next couple of months.

MB will replace some of these items on a "Goodwill" policy SOMETIMES. I got zero response from my local dealer when I asked about this. No help, no answer, nothing. I figured as much, but I thought I would try anyway.

Despite the flaws, they are great cars. There is a wealth of information on the web about these models. I would recommend that anybody who is thinking of buying one read as much as you could BEFORE you run out and buy one. The most important thing is to have an independent tech and not a dealer to rely on. If you rely on a dealer you will spend your last dime and still have a car that does not run right.

I'm sorry to hear about people's ownership experiences with MB. The Dealers really do ruin it for everybody. MB started building cars more on a price as well. I feel that the 80's probably put out some of the best Mercedes ever. While the 190e 2.6 was not as much fun to drive as my c280, it has a lot less quality issues than the c280.

3rd Mar 2004, 09:12

I found this site because my 1996 C220 is in the dealers shop. Two months ago the air pump seized and this time the throttle actuator failed. 'Check Engine' light came on in both cases and each time it cost me well over $1000 to fix. I bought my car new and it's 81,000 miles. Only shortly after the 6 year 60,000 miles emission warranty has expired. It's been a great car, but if things start to fail this early on then MB has a problem.

26th Oct 2007, 07:57

To 22:37. I agree also with your comments. My experience with Merc is the same - especially disappointing rust protection. Here in the UK, most C and E class Mercs are rusting quite badly by the time they reach 10 years old! I would also agree with your next car, my Volvo's have been brilliant with regards to reliability (as well as other factors). I would try the S60 - luxury bargain of the year and generally exceptionally reliable!

15th Jul 2009, 03:46

I cannot believe the last comments. The C klass from the '90s is one of the most reliable and durable cars ever made. The mileages these cars can stand are amazing. These are tough cars, very strong, just as a tank, maybe only second to W124.

18th Aug 2009, 09:22

My experience with the pre 1997 C-Class is not all that good, build quality is much lower than that of the earlier 190 series (drives "heavy" for a smaller car).

I drove a lot of these early C-Classes and they rattle as much like a B model Opel Vectra, more engine noise and other annoying things... build quality is not like a Benz should be, later cars though are much improved.

Still.. it's like there smaller on the inside than a 190 series.. it's like driving a new Volvo S40/V50.. no headroom.

17th Sep 2012, 04:33

I know people that trade their cars in every 2-3 years. (I have one friend who trades her vehicle in every time the tires wear out!) Some people prefer newer cars, or want to trade them in while the trade-in value is still high. Other used cars are off-lease or former rentals.

Just because the car was traded in, doesn't mean that there was something wrong with it. If that were the case, used car dealerships would be out of business in NO time. I have a 20+ year old Mercedes with 256,000 miles on it, that I bought used with 212,000 miles on it, and it has NEVER given me any problems. My father bought a similar model that he purchased BRAND NEW, and it has had several visits to the dealership for quirky little defects.

My point? You take a chance with ANY car - NEW or used. (I've got a 1993 Honda Civic that I'll put up against ANY new car for reliability!) That's why used cars cost less - the risk is inversely proportional to the price. Please post comments that are factual, practical and useful in helping readers assess the risk of a used car, instead of wasting this resource with trite, subjective opinions.

17th Sep 2012, 10:53

Remember research is very important BEFORE buying a used car. With a MBZ, even more so, as they tend to make a change here and there, and try things and revert things between model years and something within the same year i.e. the biodegradable engine harness. It was a good idea on paper for green thumb points, but in practice they found out it was not such a good idea. By now, most of those troublesome harnesses have been replaced. If not, either have them immediately decrease the price or walk away. Some people are afraid to walk away. They see a nice car, they want that car, and they don't want to walk because they feel time is wasted, but a month later, they lament and wish they would have just walked away.

Having owned MBZs of various mileage, from high as 250,000 miles and still running, to low miles that barely broke 80,000, the main thing is maintenance. Avoid the dealer if you can. They will one, take you to the cleaners for the simple stuff that any half guy with a brain can fix with a screw driver. Two, they tend to mess things up.

Remember, cars outside the warranty period and older cars and/or with higher miles and not a rare collectable, are considered low risk. What most people visualize when they take their 1995 C-Class Mercedes to the dealer, is that some guy that has been working on cars for years, with certs coming out their ears, an expert on all things Mercedes, is working on their cars. 99.9% of the time, this is not the case. Those people are busy working on high risk cars such as those new S600s, AMG packaged cars, and SLRS and the likes. The guy working on the 1995 C-Class and the like is some fresh tailed graduate that barely knows where the OBD2 port is, or the fringe guy that is kept around because he/she is related to the head guy.