Owning Experience/Reliability of C220 W204/S204

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Active Member
Feb 29, 2020
2015 C220d S205
Hello all

I just wanted to share my experience with owning my Mercedes C220 estate from 2011 (Facelift) as this is something I would like to have seen when considering buying one of these.

As the final day's approach, I have decided to upgrade to the W205 for the simple reason of the large number of maintenance costs slowly accumulating.

My car has just under 220,000 miles and has generally been flawless, there were a few simple/bigger problems as listed below but generally over the long period I had the car for it has been super reliable.

I bought the car from a Mercedes dealer with 43000 miles back in 2014 and the second I test drove it for the first time I was so easily convinced to buy it. When buying used you always sign up for a big risk of not really knowing how much the previous owner cared for the car and how it was driven, so it's always a good idea to check or ask something about the previous owner and make your own assumptions from that. Buying from a Mercedes dealer seemed out of the question at first due to the price but I did not realise the condition they normally are in, In my case, there were absolutely no scratches and clearly, the car had been run-in and cared for properly by the previous owner as it went on to do many more miles. So I do recommend buying from a Mercedes dealer but just take your time and don't let them push you into anything that you are uncomfortable with like an unreasonably high price.

The reliability has been really good with only the common faults really being an issue for me:

1 Fuel injector gave in and stopped partially working putting the car in limp mode.
1 water pump
1 radiator
1 master brake cylinder
4/ALL front suspension arms
1 Suspension coil
Rear brake lines rusted through starting a leak and a slow loss of brake pressure
2 O2 sensors
Rear Diff Boot started to leak but nothing major
Oil pan snapped when an oil change was occurring as they are made out of plastic
Some sort of power steering valve partially failed to cause occasional loss of power steering
The spinning function of the rotary controller for the Sat-Nav (more info below)

Things to watch out for:
Timing chains on the OM651 engine can be an expensive issue if not treated early, Luckily on my car that was never a problem. It can be easily self-diagnosed by listening to a cold start best with the bonnet open for a rattling sound for around 2-3 seconds after start.
On early facelift cars (2011/2012), the fuel injectors can cause an issue but this was later rectified by Mercedes. (unsure how pre-facelift cars were affected)
The water pump can easily start a leak so check for any coolant splattered in the front of the engine bay.

Personal experience:
Make sure that if you have a tow bar fitted that the electrical connector is properly sealed and tucked away as water gets in and causes the indicator and some electrical equipment to go haywire (only temporary until water is cleared out and dried).
The boot struts were rusted through so have a look at that, they can be easily and cheaply replaced by yourself.
The rotary controller for the Sat-Nav/radio stopped working due to a plastic shaft on the inside braking. This makes the Garmin map pilot useless as it relies on the rotary controller and not the up/down left/right input of the rotary controller. The up/down left/right input still works and if you have the upgraded Mercedes Sat-Nav (Command I think) then this should work regardless if the rotary function works. All other functions still work regardless of Map Pilot or Comand as they can use the up/down left/right input.
The front door kickplates Will fall off as they are really lightly wedged on unless you know magic to keep them in place.
The original 7 spoke rims are so bad if you do lots of miles in adverse weather conditions, all 4 of mine the protective layer started to peel everywhere and caused many water pockets underneath the foil and this makes them look really bad and corroded, Structurally fine but not cosmetically.
The passenger seat mat was faulty and caused the Airbag symbol to light up (Which would cause an MOT to fail).

I always did my services on time and as Mercedes said, this I feel is very important in the durability department as good care for the engine pays off in the end,

Some real positives were:
The battery was still fully functional at nearly 10 years old.
Economy on A roads (which I mainly did) was around 55mpg and when on the motorway could easily get above 60. on long journeys we did we could get around 750 miles (1200 km) on 1 tank so the economy was amazing.
The intelligent light system I think is really something to go for as not only does it illuminate the road really well but it also makes the car look so much better, also they last longer as they have a mix of Bi-Xenon lights and LED's. There are still a few old halogen (I think) lights scattered around the car but none of these ever broke.
The car technically never let me stranded anywhere in terms of a breakdown and the things that broke always left the car still drivable.

Sorry about the long post but I wanted to share my experience with the car for new buyers, also please correct me with anything that I have said that is wrong. Please feel free to ask anything if you have any questions.

Thank you also for all the help I have received over the last year on here👍
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I have just parked up my S204 C220cdi. 200,500 miles. I bought it with 94,000 It has been one of the best cars I have ever owned. I used to do all my own servicing and repairs, but time constraints with a new venture has put a stop to this. I recently had a number of faults all at the same time. Maff sensor, egr valve and actuator, injector seal, it also had a couple of oil leaks. Rocker cover and oil cooler. Independant MB garage quoted £2,700-00. The car is hardly worth it. Sadly I couldn’t bring myself to spend this on it.
Owning the car for 6 years has been an absolute pleasure, I only regret not choosing the C350cdi. I used this car for work doing regular trips to Windsor from Manchester loaded up like a van. Fuel consumption was great as well as comfort and reliability.
the only other issues I had was starter motor, water pump, dpf and rotary controller shaft. I repaired this for £5 with an aluminium from eBay. It’s an easy repair if you technically minded. I was going to replace it with a GLE. My plans have now changed as I found my dream 72 mustang. This mixed with a 88’ 190D and a tidy van is all I need for the moment.
i bought my 2012 S204 in february 2020 just before lockdown from a mercedes dealer with 46k on the clock and one previous owner granted it didnt have all the extras i wanted but condition and history out weighed that it even had the blue plastic covering on the tailgate chrome plate still. it has now done 73k and i absolutly love it the only negative point is the poor cabin space im 6ft 2 and the people in the back moan about leg room highlighted on a recent family holiday to cornwall seeing yours do 200+ thousand miles fills me with confidence it is a keeper.

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