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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,065 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #62

May 062016


  • 210,618 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes-Benz E320. After the vehicle was refueled and parked, an abnormal fuel odor emitted from the rear of the vehicle. The contact stated that there was no physical evidence of a fuel leak outside of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the fuel tank needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 210,618.

- Eight Mile, AL, USA

problem #61

Aug 092016


  • 175,000 miles
After fuel filter replacement, vehicle operated fine for about 7 miles. While idling a couple of minutes in the driveway upon return from the short trip, the return line hose exiting the fuel filter expanded, ruptured, and sprayed fuel out at a high rate. After hose was repaired, fuel gushed out of evaporative canister discharge tube and purge valve canister. Vise grips placed on the rubber tube leading from the return line to the canister stopped the gusher. New fuel filter that was just installed (pronto PF5416) was suspected to be defective - causing excessive return line fuel volume. With the poor design of the return line plumbing and restriction back to the tank, the excess volume was piling up in the evaporative canister and out the purge valve in a massive gushing leak. Once a second new fuel filter was fitted (purolator F65416), vehicle ran properly again without leakage - however, severe leakage from the top of the evaporative canister was noted during a fillup attempt shortly afterwards. This never occurred in the prior to the filter replacement. From all indications, the design is very poor and susceptible to any conditions which result in excessive return line fuel volume. The amount of fuel pouring out of the top of the evaporative canister assembly and discharge was indeed a fire and environmental hazard - the equivalent of an open fuel pump output discharge. In addition to all of this, during the filter replacement/testing process, loud banging was heard from the tank itself. Removal of the gas cap resulted in a massive pressure release. From my observations as a mechanic with over 25 years experience servicing foreign cars, the ventilation and fuel pressurization system on this vehicle is improperly designed and unsafe. Vehicle was on a lift while being serviced.

- Orleans, MA, USA

problem #60

Jul 122016


  • 174,000 miles
Recently on today 7-12-16 at 174,000 miles the display on my 2003 E320 4S Mercedes Benz all of a suddenly displayed an illuminated message in bright white : "brake" service brake visit workshop. My vehicle was in motion on a busy major highway when the hydraulic brake system exhibited this message. Shortly prior to this messaging, I notice my brakes were more hard to apply pressure, . I am glad I wasn't driving fast, this could have been a serious tragedy to myself as well as those others on the expressway just a as I was. 2. problem with my gas tank after I fill the tank, the gas fumes become so intense after parking this vehicle inside my garage. I didn't know there were a recall. Is this fuel safety hazard recall still in effect" if so, whom do I contact to have it repaired at no cost to me the owner? 3. 4 months prior in March 2016 I incurred a problem with the coolant fluid leaking into the transmission resulting in a major monetary expense out of my pockets above $5000. Can this be covered by the manufactuer so I may be able to be reimbursed"

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #59

Dec 102014


  • 140,000 miles


Strong gasoline smell inside cabin has grown progressively worse over past year. Now it is constant - not just when the tank is filled. Have never added more gas after the nozzle shutoff when refilling - never top off the tank. I did not receive a letter from mb in Jan 2015 as other have reported on internet. I have the car serviced exclusively at the mb dealership. The 2008 fuel recall was installed about 4 years ago.

- Waynesboro, TN, USA

problem #58

Sep 192015


  • 75,530 miles
I have owned my 2003 E320 for over 10 years now, having purchased it as a certified used vehicle with approximately 19,000 miles. Everytime I park it in my garage after filling up the fuel tank, my garage smells of gasoline, eventhough there has never been a visible leak onto the garage floor. Recently after I refueled, the smell was no longer just outside the vehicle, but had now permeated into the cabin. These fumes have made it impossible to drive the car, because they are so overwhelming.

- Spokane, WA, USA

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problem #57

Nov 222014


  • 125,000 miles
Vehicle presented with red light indicating to take vehicle to workshop in red. Braking was extremely difficult, SRS system stalled the vehicle, emergency mode was activited, we were unable, at first to turn on the ignition switch. The vehicle operated as if it was paralyzed. We finally got the vehicle to run and turned vehicle into mb dealership. We were informed that the sbc unit was in need of replacement, we were beset with $1,800 repair. The vehicle is very dangerous to drive if you are not prepared for longer stopping distances, thankfully my husband was able to get the vehicle to the dealership. I found myself not strong enough to press on the brake pedal for adequate braking distance. Fuel: Upon fueling vehicle, the fuel handle will stop and immense amounts of fuel will spurt out from fuel tank. There is also a smell of gas/fuel in the cabin after fill up. This creates a huge spill and notification to attendant. Takes up a great amount of time to fill up tank. Surprisingly we haven't been charged for fuel spills. SRS: Light on for safety response system, shortly after visit at mb dealership. Have not taken vehicle to mb dealership for fear of another expensive repair.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #56

Mar 252015


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz E320. After refueling the vehicle, there were strong fuel fumes emitting from inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The mechanic diagnosed that the fuel tank needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #55

Apr 062015

E320 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
There is a gas leak on the sending unit (fuel tank) when the vehicle is filled with fuel. This is an extremely dangerous issue, and it is common with the Mercedes Benz E320. I am concerned for my safety and the safety of my child who complains of the strong smell of gas while riding in the car. It leaves the smell of gas in my garage as well..

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #54

Oct 012014

E320 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Car stalled several times and had smell of gasoline vapors in passenger compartment. Fuel sensor and pump was replaced, issue went away. Vendor will not reimburse service and parts.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #53

Dec 022014

E320 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
We have been experiencing fumes of gas after the gas tank is completely filled. Later the car developed rough idling. We took the car to Mercedes-Benz of Oklahoma city where the car has always been serviced for inspection, the dealership kept the car for four days. In the mean time we received a letter from Mercedes-Benz of usa notifying us of extension of warranty on fuel system for up to 15 years. When we asked the dealership about it we were told they know and are following the "bulletin" issued by the company. Initially we were told there was a leak on the top of the gas tank, however the car was returned to us by replacing the fuel filter under warranty. There was no paper work so we don't know what was actually diagnosed and done. The car is still idling rough, the fuel gauge is not reading correct (though the tank is full, gauge shows 1/4th empty). We will take the car back to the Mercedes dealership tomorrow. Fuel leak is a serious matter, we wish the company had taken serious steps to fix it and had informed the customers of the actual problem. Hope NHTSA will look into this matter.

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #52

Dec 102014


  • 181,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz E320. The contact stated that after refueling, a strong odor of fuel emitted inside the vehicle and then subsided after driving some distance. The failure recurred multiple times. The manufacturer issued a voluntary recall related to the fuel system however, the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 181,000.

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #51

Apr 092008

E320 6-cyl

  • 74,703 miles
On several occasions between 2005 and 2015, I smelled gas inside of my car after filling the tank. Gas soaked my back seat and carpet behind driver's seat, and leaked out the right (driver's) side of the car. When I took into the Mercedes dealer in sugar land on April 9, 2008, they were unable to diagnose the problem. After then, I avoided filling up the tank. On December 12, 2012, I filled the tank by accident and the fuel soaked by back seat and leaked out the right side of the car. I took it to an auto repair shop, and the fuel pump seal was replace.then on July 1, 2014, the fuel pump went out and had to be replaced along with the fuel pump relay.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #50

Nov 042014

E320 6-cyl

  • 153,000 miles
I recently noticed the smell of gasoline in the cabin of my vehicle. As it got stronger I became more worried. When cleaning out the car today I noticed the driver side rear seat belt was stained near the bottom(smells like fuel). I pulled up the back seat and under the seat on the driver side rear there is a significant amour of fuel puddled and stained into the floor and around a circular looking cover of some sort. While looking on the internet I saw that it has been common in this year/model car.

- Montgomery , AL, USA

problem #49

Jul 082014


  • 190,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz E320. The contact stated that there was a fuel odor present inside the vehicle and was leaking fuel without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 190,000.

- Conley, GA, USA

problem #48

Jul 012014


  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz E320. The contact stated that after refueling the vehicle, there was a fuel odor without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 136,000.

- Blythewood, SC, USA

problem #47

Mar 132013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz E320. The contact stated that fuel fumes emitted into the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the fuel pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Woodlake, CA, USA

problem #46

Sep 192014

E320 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
I filled the tank and it leaks on the garage floor at a steady drip underneath the rear driver passenger side tire where the tank sits...notice it leaking from the top of the tank coming down on to the floor...I cannot fill the tank and the smell and the amount of gas on the floor I believe is quite hazardous in an enclosed garage underneath a bedroom.

- Windsor, CO, USA

problem #45

Oct 072014


  • 98,197 miles
I had a gasoline to leak in the well under the passenger seats in the back of my 2003 E320 Mercedes Benz. This is a serious safety hazard. About 2 weeks ago, I had to spend $1200 to replace a fuel pump on my 2003 E 320 Mercedes Benz. When will Mercedes Benz recall these models for fuel pump problems? they were never able to detect the problems while this car was under warranty, but now it's coming up 11 years later. Over 40 complaints have been sent to the consumer product safety commission (cpsc) about this problem, but Mercedes is still saying that there are no recalls, nor do they have any knowledge of these fuel leak problems. There are also owners in other states with the exact problem, but listed below is a complaint on cpsc's website from a laurel, md 2003 E320 owner with the same problems that I'm experiencing: Jul 31, 2011 - laurel, md - gasoline my 2003 Mercedes Benz E320, in which the fuel filters are located underneath the rear seat, had a powerful gasoline order inside the vehicle. The Benz repair shop stated it was a hairline fracture in the fuel filter and it was leaking gas. They replaced the filters, but I've seen them replace the same type filters in 2008 models. I think this is a defective product and a safety hazard. If me or my spouse had been a smoker, or caused a spark, we could've potentially caused a fatal explosion. I think this needs to be investigated.

- Lanham, MD, USA

problem #44

Aug 142014

E320 6-cyl

  • 115,500 miles
After filling up car there is a strong smell of gasoline inside.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #43

Sep 102014

E320 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
I'm lucky to be alive! I purchased this car in 2005 and ever since I purchased my 2003 merc. Benz E320, it's been a crazy ride! here's a list of different issues that happened to me over the course of me owning this vehicle, which unfortunately I still do. I was driving with my little girl in tow and my brakes went out on me several times, my battery dies constantly, I had an issue when after I pumped gas you could smell fuel both inside my car & outside of my car, I literally one time had fuel pouring from the back of my car that ended on my garage floor. (thank god I don't smoke!) my suspension is constantly rattling, I have water that leaks on my feet when I drive occasionally and sometimes I have heat in the winter and sometimes I don't. I always have a check engine light on and as soon as I fix one, another one comes on. I currently had issues with code PO134, PO135 and had the O2 sensor changed, then my check engine light came back on and now I have codes PO171 & PO174 that I have no idea how to get fixed because it could be a number of issues. My battery drains when my electric seats are plugged in and so I have to have them unplugged to save my battery. Did I mention my back tire blew out on interstate 95 and I almost lost control of my car. It's devastating to pay the amount of money you do for this particular model, it's pretty on the outside and is a mess under the hood! is it normal when you have the ac on for it to sound like an airplane ready for take off? I'm tired of investing all kinds of money into this car, I just can't take it anymore! I can't even pass my va. State emissions test because of all these error codes (check engine light and malfunctions) and the state doesn't even find my car worthy of being on the roads.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

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