hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,291 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 C230 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz C230 Owner Comments

problem #6

Jan 222011


  • 92,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz C230. The contact stated that whenever she would start the vehicle, it would jerk violently. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop where it was diagnosed that the cam shaft sensor was leaking and the timing chain was defective. The manufacturer was contacted who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 92,000.

- Long Branch , NJ, USA

problem #5

Jul 102009


  • 72,850 miles
C230K coupe at 73,000 miles with sudden valve guides worn bad cylinder, compression loss recently in April I was called into mbz for a recall on a vacuum hose, here I am a few months later and IżM driving and my car starts shaking, idling strange and then I take it to a mechanic and he figured it at first glance it may be worn valve gasket seals and I said ok let's change them and put in new plugs too...then he checks the compression and discovers that it is half of what it should be, what" why should the cylinder heads be worn and need to be replaced for nearly $3000, ...this seems to be happening too many owners of this model on here and mbzforums for this 2003-2005 years. Loss of compression in one or more cylinders. This should be recognized by mbz as a defect and since when do these engines fail at 50,000or even 80,000" I feel this should be paid for by them, this is ridiculous and should not be happening at this mileage!! defect, flaw in design...they need to step up and admit it at Mercedes headquarters. Please help us owners, they are getting away with this, mentioning vacuum hose recalls on this 2003 year but some dealers have recognized that these engines are defective and a recall needs to be done on these valve guides/cylinder heads. Why is it that there is an inconsistency on how this problem is recognized by the dealer and handled. Some on the forums have said that the dealer screwed them if the 50,000 warranty is over and others have had the parts only paid for by the dealer and others have had the whole thing paid!! too many of these C230K engine cylinders/valve guides are going bad, they are defective and mbz should be correcting this. I should not pay $3000 to rebuild engine that has been maintained on schedule and for a car that is at only 73,000 miles thanks

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #4

Dec 272006

C230 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles
2003 Mercedes C230- purchased new- bought extended warranty. Have followed maintenance program religiously. Last B service was Dec 4th-$900 on Dec 27- car completely died & smoke coming out the back- coolant light on. Towed to closest dealer- they can't tell me why it happened but- the spark plugs soaked w/coolant, #2 plug smashed on top, #2 cylinder intake valve bent & broken. #2 &4 pistons damaged. Even though extended warranty is up- Mercedes will not stand behind the car- say can not pin point a mfg defect even though this rarely happens even with high miles- Mercedes Benz usually can get well over 200,000 miles. Now cost is $8,000 to put in rebuilt motor or $11,000 to repair damaged one- something had to cause this- there were posts on your site from 2003 regarding engine & cooling issues but could not find more detailed info- NHTSA item# 10002965- do you have more info or give me advice?

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #3

Apr 052003

C230 4-cyl

  • miles


Consumer disappointed with her problematic, unreliable and potentially unsafe vehicle. The window seals scratched the glass tint. The radio reception was poor and the keyless entry system only worked at close range. The technician indicated that the tint was likely the cause of the poor reception and inability to use the entry system at further distances. The dealer installed scraper seals to alleviate the scratching. The vehicle shut off five times in a 45 min period and all the service lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken tot he dealer who determined that a cylinder had misfired and water was in the spark plugs. The dealer replaced he cylinder head and all valves. The bas, esp and ABS light illuminated while driving. There was a lack of airflow power when the A/C was used. The vehicle hesitated when accelerating. There was a strong mildew odor coming through the vents. Cd skipped when turning corners. A rattling noise could be heard from the engine while the A/C was on.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 042003

C230 4-cyl

  • 4,497 miles
New car died in middle of the road. Vehicle stalled when coming to a stop. The consumer believes the vehicle continued to stall die to faulty engineering of the vacuum and compression systems. The vehicle has been taken to the dealer five times for this problem but no matter how many times the parts were replaced the vehicle continues to stall. The dealer replaced broken vacuum hose, brake booster hose and oxygen sensor.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #1

Mar 102003

C230 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,400 miles
This is a new Mercedes-Benz C230 compressor engine with one thousand miles. Last month a sulfur smell emitted from the exhaust while warming. I was told this is normal. Three times this week on ignition the car shook violently and would not stop until the engine was turned off. The car is drivable and I have returned it to the dealer. They are attempting to fix it.

- Glenview, IL, USA

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