W212 facelift (and later versions) - headlamp units... worldwide shortage!

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Dave Matthews

New Member
Jan 9, 2017
2013 facelift E250
Hi folks,

Looks like we have a problem getting replacement headlamp units for the W212 facelift (and perhaps W213 as well?) E-class models...

Quick bit of backstory: a few days ago the left (ie nearside) dipped beam bulb on my W212 facelift (model year 2014 but actually but assembled in July 2013) stopped working. My car has the factory standard LED bulbs - ie not Xenons/HIDs or whatever the fancy ones are. However it looks as though you've got to remove and open up the lamp unit itself in order to get at the bulb - indeed the owner's manual implies that it's a "Mercedes specialist" job. So I popped in to my local indie today (Mick's Garage in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria - great bunch of folk!). However when they phoned their supplier about acquiring a replacement bulb - I could overhear the phone conversation - it transpires that you cannot acquire replacement LED bulbs as separate parts and the only "solution" is for the entire headlamp unit to be replaced! These cost £750 + VAT from a Mercedes dealer or £500 + VAT for an "aftermarket" one from Hella (who I guess actually make them for Mercedes anyway). But it gets worse...

... At present there are no replacement units available - either Hella's OEM version or Mercedes-badged ones - across the world... and nobody knows when fresh supply will be available... it could be several months.

Furthermore apparently Mercedes is aware that there is a burgeoning failure problem on these bulbs - perhaps age-related - and that's exacerbating the shortage problem.

So my worry now is that, on the assumption the dipped beam bulbs on both sides of my car were manufactured at around the same time, then my offside one could pop any day now as well! In which case I would not be legally allowed and safely able to drive the car after dark.

So just thought I'd post this little warning! I'd be grateful to hear whether other owners on this august forum are/have experiencing/experienced similar difficulties!



Ah, many thanks, DrNick! I'll pursue that as a possibility and report back here! :)
Believe it or not, genuine Vito (447) right hand folding mirrors are unavailable - with no ETA for them. Ive had the plastic side piece that is to the right of the SL R230 rear window glass on order for about 9 months, no ETA on that either. Its mad times !
You refer to LED bulbs. If your headlamps are like mine the are partial LED headlamps. The dipped beam is LED and the main beam is a H7 halogen bulb which can be replaced. The LED's cannot be replaced and the whole headlamp has to be replaced when they fail. The rear lamp unit is LED and has to be replaced as a unit when it is faulty.
Thanks, kjl - yes, that is indeed the make-up of my headlamp units. And I note your use of the word "when" rather "if" with regards to developing faults! :eek:
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If/when you replace it with a new one, it would be worth seeing how difficult it is to disassemble the old one, even if it is destroyed in the process. Needs documenting/photographing though so others know how to take it apart then without destroying it!
Still waiting for news from the folks at the aforementioned Mick's Garage on obtaining the Hella unit. In the meantime...

My local authorised MB dealer has quoted an eye-watering £1,588 !! That comprises approx £750 for the (MB-badged) unit itself, approx £300 for a "control module" (which *may* also be required), 2.6 hours labour and VAT.

Either way, this is turning into the world's most expensive light-bulb!
Further thought & question on this. If the fault actually lies with the control module (rather than the bulb or lamp unit), would it be worth simply trying the module for the offside lamp on the nearside one? Or do we know whether each module is "coded" specificically for offside and nearside respectively?



My local authorised MB dealer has quoted an eye-watering £1,588 !! That comprises approx £750 for the (MB-badged) unit itself, approx £300 for a "control module" (which *may* also be required), 2.6 hours labour and VAT.

But do they actually have stock... ?
Whilst I sympathise with your problem and will be just as upset as you if/when mine goes I feel I have to correct you when you refer to LED bulbs. There are no LED bulbs in the unit, it consists of a number of Light Emitting Diodes. I am not an electrical expert but normally individual LED's start to fail over a period of time. As evidenced by the high level brake lights on older cars. So if all your LED's in that headlamp have failed it may be the control unit has failed. I think you will find that all modern cars with LED lights will have the same problem. I should imagine the latest generation of intelligent lighting will cost thousands of £'s to replace. I had a W209 CLK which I had an accident in and rear ended the car in front. The headlamps looked alright and still worked and the glass wasn't broken. But on closer examination the plastic support brackets at the back of the headlamp were found to be broken and are part of the unit. 11 years ago they were £500 each and they were just ordinary halogen H7 bulbs. The damage to my car didn't look too bad initially and I drove the car away from the accident but when the temperature gauge started rising it transpired all 3 radiators had been damaged. The total bill was nearly £8500. While crumple zones may be a wonderful idea for absorbing energy more thought should be given the siting of components within the crumple zone. But maybe that won't be a problem when we are all driving around in electric cars. But it might be if you have to replace complete battery units.
^ Thanks for those terminology corrections and additional info, kjl. So is the dipped beam actually a cluster of LEDs? If so then that perhaps does suggest it is the control module (which I gather is attached to the rear of the lamp unit and can be purchased separately) which is at fault. The main beam and the DRLs all continue to work. Cheers.
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The Indie I now sporadically work at has replaced a number of new generation LED headlight modules, and your price quoted is not out of the ordinary and nowhere near the most expensive I’ve ordered.
^ Thanks, davymead. So have you seen the same symptom - ie just the loss of the dipped beam - but found that a replacement lamp unit was required rather than a new control module? Thanks.
Hi folks! It's been a long time since this problem occurred. I finally gave up on using indies - essentially because ones local to me don't have the required "coding" ability and/or weren't confident about tackling the job. The fault actually turned out to be the control module rather than the headlamp unit itself. Cost was £350 + two-and-a-half hours' labour + VAT at my local MB dealer.

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