December 23, 2008
Turn the steering wheel in our C300 at speed and it's silent. Turn the wheel at low speeds and it lets out an obnoxious groan. This isn't the first quality issue we've encountered with the Benz, and we haven't even reached the 20k mark.
So the other day I was passenger in a '98 Chevy Tahoe. We backed out of a driveway, and sure enough, the steering wheel released the same groan. But this truck has over 100,000 miles on the odometer. Is this a compliment to GM build quality?
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,700
January 23, 2008
Most cars look like this when they open their hoods.
The C300 Sport can look like this.
December 22, 2008
Over the weekend, our long-term Mercedes C300 threw up a low tire pressure warning. It's one of those systems that tells you that you have a low tire, but not which one, so you have to check all four tires to see which one's low.
I finally got around to checking the pressures right before this morning's commute. Factory pressures listed on the doorjamb are 33 psi front and 38 psi rear.
The fronts, according to my handheld digi-gauge, were 31.5 and 32 psi, and the rears were 40.5 and 35 psi. None of those measured pressures come even close the accepted TPMS threshold of 25%. Curious, I re-checked a front tire several times with the same gauge: 26 psi. 17. 34. 36. 32.
So, yeah, time to get a good tire pressure gauge.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 19,697 miles.
December 10, 2008
We dropped the C300 off at Mercedes-Benz of Long Beach the other day for a handful of minor issues: (1) broken fog lamp, (2) creaking from the sunroof, (3) front-end alignment and (4) re-attach the rubber pad on the emergency brake that mysteriously fell off.
This dealership is very convenient. And the work performed is always done to our satisfaction. But it has never been our favorite due to its anti-customer service. Not to mention the general air of disorganization.
So it wasn't a big surprise when the cashier sent us to the valet for our keys (wait 10 mins), the valet sent us back to the cashier for the keys (wait another 5 mins), the cashier handed us the keys that were in her drawer all along and sends us back to the valet. Rather than pull our car around the valet points behind him and says, "Your car is right back there, sir."
Buried in the sea of cars was our C300. Inside it we found plastic still on the seat and paper mats on the floor. Courteous at the time, but now just trash. Also on the seat was the above invitation to experience a little cheese, a little wine and the little GL.
Days out of service: 1
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,030 miles
September 15, 2008
This past weekend was my first time back into our C300. I was worried the dust storm that ravaged our Benz would come back to haunt me. It has.
I turned the wheel of the car as I backed out of the parking space down in our garage and a low "squeeeeeak" followed by an "eeeeeeeeek" as I turned the wheel back to center came out of the steering column. It didn't do that before.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer
September 03, 2008
For the holiday weekend, I decided to get out and do a little camping and stay at my family's cabin in Tahoe. In the far reaches of Nevada I set up my tent only to be assaulted by nature.
A gentle breeze soon escalated into a dust storm that raged for seven hours. My tent wasn't built for such forces. It was so bad at times I couldn't see the sun or the hood of our Mercedes I had taken cover in.
The holiday fun had ceased to be. Nature won by ripping up my high-summer seasonal tent and filling it with ten pounds of fine silt. A few items inside the now violently flopping tent took off into the sky like rockets. I ran out into the gusting dust clouds to recover as much of my equipment as possible. When I jumped back into the car I sneezed mud and dust came pouring out of my ears like upturned bags of flour.
I drove the four hours back to Tahoe in the middle of the night to recover at my family's cabin. In the morning I got a good look at the disaster that was our C300. It was white, not the original dark gray and the interior was tan, not the original black. I vacuumed out the engine bay and interior as best I could. I found a coin-op car wash on my way back to LA and hosed off the outside. I was further depressed when flows of mud ran out of the cracks and crevices from the massive quantities of hidden silt I drove off. The long drive back to LA was a snifflely one as dust still saturated the interior.
The first thing I did when I arrived was to dropped it off at the local car wash for a well deserved detail. Hopefully that $150 will do some good.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 15,130 miles
July 22, 2008
Yesterday in a weak moment of DIYism I decided to check the oil on our long-term Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport. Up went the hood with little trouble. So far so good. But then I had a little trouble finding the dipstick. Hmmmmm, not on the left. Nope, not on the right.
Just as I'm about to give up, figuring the C300 is without a dipstick, a oddity that is becoming more common on new high-end cars, I spotted the little yellow handle back by the firewall.
Not good. Its placement forces you lean over the engine compartment to complete the task, which means you're probably getting some dirtiness on your shirt.
A few months ago I noticed an equally stupid placement of the dipstick under the hood of our long-term Cadillac CTS. On that car the dipstick is buried low between the right side of the engine and the shock tower, directly beneath the strut tower brace that spans the engine compartment like a suspension bridge.
Now, the C300's dipstick is just as inconvenient to use, but the Caddy's remains the worst of the two because it's not only hard to reach, but it's surrounded by hot stuff. So you get dirty and burnt.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 12,632 miles
July 21, 2008
This weekend our long-term 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 lost one of its door lock plunger trim pieces. Don't know how, and neither of my kids is owning up to it, but it's not where it's supposed to be.
Worst part? I vacuumed the little piece of plastic up off the carpet at the car wash yesterday. Thought it was a pen cap, and it didn't occur to me what it was until it was too late.
So instead of just snapping it back in place, we'll get a new one installed at the car's next scheduled service, which according to the Benz's computer is a short 500 miles away.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 12,603 miles
June 30, 2008
After driving the long-term 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 for a few days I looked down and saw the check engine light next to the gas gauge. My first thought (as always when I see this light) was, "Hmm, I hope it's nothing serious." So I drove with a notably lighter foot until I got home, then -- as instructed by the light -- I endeavored to check the engine.
January 28, 2008
Just over a month ago, Mercedes-Benz of Long Beach special ordered a part for the C300's rear sunroof shade. It arrived from Germany as forecasted, three weeks later. So we made an appointment to install it last week.
Our service advisor called a few hours after we dropped off the vehicle. He explained, "We lowered the headliner to install the part and realized that we need more parts to complete the repair." He followed with a humble apology and admission that they should have caught it the first time.
We were surprised by the straightforward apology, but not by what it meant: Another 7-10 business days for parts to arrive. We're waiting again.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Coordinator @ 5,286 miles
December 15, 2007
A few hours after I left Long Beach Mercedes Benz in a Camry rental, my service advisor called to confirm what I suspected all along. The rear sunroof shade is broken and there's no quick fix. They gave us a temp fix by leaving it in the fully closed (or shaded) position. They'll call when the part arrives - estimate; 2-3 weeks, on back order from Germany.
The good news is I'd rather be driving a slightly busted C300 than a 4 cyl Camry LE. The problem is, that's a choice no Benz owner should ever have to make.
Totally Satisfied? Not exactly. Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 3,500 miles.
December 14, 2007
If you're really sharp, you may be saying to yourself "That's not a 2008 Mercedes Benz C Class." And you'd be right. This is the car the dealership gives you when they call you back to deliver a car that was, in fact, not fixed.
"The tech thought I meant the rear window sunshade and since your car doesn't have one of those, he disregarded my comments" That's what our service advisor said. They replaced the sunroof switch (we're halfway done) but failed to test the entire sunroof and shades - not good dude.
Here's the best part, since I was assured the car was done I brought my 18 month old daughter with me to pick up the car. The time we spent waiting for the dealer to figure out why no one did a simple test of the whole sunroof and shade after instaling the switch was the time my daughter should have spent taking a nap - hear that screaming in the background? That's her and now neither one of us is very happy.
How much is a loaded Malibu again? Or Altima, or Maxima or Accord or....
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ not one mile more than when I brought the car in.
December 14, 2007
I dropped our C300 of at Mercedes Benz of Long Beach. The sunroof switch broke off and even when you use the nub that was left, the sunroof and sunshades didn't work properly. There's also an annoying rattle coming from the headliner/visor area - related? We'll see...
It's a little disappointing - the star on the grille does mean something, doesn't it?
The dealership couldn't have been better - nice facility, attentive advisors and prompt phone calls.
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor