hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,890 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 #11

Jun 232003


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz C230. The contact stated that there was an excess of smoke coming from the tail pipe, blinding the contacts view of vehicle following. The vehicle then began to lose power abnormally and was moved from the roadway where it was towed to the dealer. The dealer advised that an engine valve had melted into two pieces and a piece of the valve was found in the manifold. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage and current mileages were 90,000.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #10

Mar 012011


  • 68,000 miles
I have 2003 Mercedes Benz C230. Whenever I would start the vehicle it would give me jerk or make noise and finally just before taking it to a dealer it stalled. I had it towed. The vehicle was taken to a local shop, which suggested that the problem is much larger and needs the attention of the manufacturer and hence to taken to the dealer. It was diagnosed as the timing chain was defective and the local shop owner said this was a common problem with this vehicle and a serious problem with major cost to fix. The manufacturer was contacted who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle is not repaired as the cost of fix is as large as the cars current value. The failure and current mileage is 68,000.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #9

Nov 182010

C230 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
Leak on the antifreeze coolant tank where the thin hose connects to the coolant tank on top, the steel tube that is molded into the plastic slipped out and the plastic part cracked creating a leak. The antifreeze may leak and accumulate under the car, it can damage the engine, also it can leak while driving causing hazardous / slippery conditions, also children or pets / animals may drink the leaked antifreeze. This is dangerous.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #8

Jul 222010


  • 75,000 miles


The cam sensors on the Mercedes M271 engine leak oil which spreads to other components via the wire harnesses connected to cam sensors. Oil contamination will damage other electrical components (namely the ECU and exhaust oxygen sensors) if the cam sensors and wire harnesses are not replaced. A new cam sensor and wire harness has been designed as the corrective action. The defective cam sensor and wire harness were used on the previous engine design (M111). There is a technical service bulletin for M111 engine but not the M271 engine. Mercedes refuses to recall this defective design on the M271 engine causing owners to pay for the $900 preventative maintenance. Without this repair the ECU (part cost $2000) and oxygen sensors (qty 2 @ $238 ea) will be eventually damaged and will need to be removed and replaced. Within the past week, paid more than $ $2,400 to replace 2 cam sensors, 2 oxygen sensors, and wiring harness. Repair shop says that this is a defect that mb has known about for years.

- Hoboken, NJ, USA

problem #7

Aug 272009


  • 71,145 miles
Engine harness and camshaft solenoids contaminated due to leaking oil which subsequently required replacement of O2 sensors.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 302009


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz C230. When the vehicle was started, it shook uncontrollably and the check engine indicator illuminated. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the engine oil was leaking and damaged the wiring harness and oxygen sensor. The repair would cost $2,000. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle was out of warranty; therefore, they were not responsible for the repair. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 40,000.

- Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #5

Sep 012008


  • 65,000 miles


Check engine light came on. I took it to the dealer and they told me that the O2 sensor needs to be replaced, and the engine harness needs to be replaced. This is because the cam sensor leaked and pushed oil inside the harness and now there is oil flowing in the harness. This means everywhere there is a contact of the harness there is a possibility that there is oil on it. This seems to have become a common issue now and Mercedes is ignoring it. I have noticed that I am getting bad mileage because of the bad O2 sensor. The irony is that the dealer will fix it with the same exact part number only to have it leak again in 4 years.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #4

May 282008

C230 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
The check engine light goes on, the next day I go to independent Mercedes shop. They tell me my O2 sensors are bad. The reason that they are bad because of the cam sensor at the top end of the motor was leaking. The whole time it was leaking I didn't even know. Then the bad new everything has been coated in oil such as O2 sensors that is it gives out the check engine light. The engine harness is also coated in oil.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 052008

C230 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Camshaft magnet leaking pushing oil through engine harness" harness, ECU, O2 sensors needs to be replaced. $3,700.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #2

Feb 202008

C230 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,646 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz C230. The vehicle would only start after several attempts. Sometimes after the vehicle was started, it would fail and not restart. The dealer stated that there was a crack in the PCV hose. The cost for the repair was $404.27. The same day the vehicle was repaired, it failed while approaching a red light. The following day, she returned to the dealer and they stated that the fuel pump needed to be replaced. The repair cost was $389.82. The current mileage was 47,022 and failure mileage was 46,646. Updated 05/05/08. Updated 05/05/08

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #1

Oct 122005

C230 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
I am the owner of a C-230 4 door sedan VIN#[xxx]. I have an issue that I was looking into addressing when another major issue just arose that I need help from the manufacturer who I have contacted but not received a response. 1) last week I decided to quote insurance and make a change to allstate. Once they put in the VIN# major issues came. The price was way different then what I was paying with Mercury. To make this short, after talking to my broker at Mercury, it turns out my 4 door has the VIN# of a 2 door coupe. I called beverly hills ltd where I purchased the car new. They did nothing. I have the original temp registration from the day I purchased the car new, and the dealer typed coupe not four door and on the lease agreement. I did not notice this. Here are my issues. The coupe is more expensive on insurance - I have been overpaying since 2/2003. 2nd, am I paying a fair lease rate if the VIN# is for another body style. This car has been nothing but nightmare to deal with since the day I purchased it. It has been serviced 8 times, transmission work, 2 computers, camshaft, new radio, idle issues, brake system failed, and so on. It's a complete lemon. It is going in next week again. I have only 21,000 on the car, and drive my 2nd car more a 79 300sd Mercedes as it is more reliable then this new car. I need somewhere, someone to go to, any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much, [xxx] - phone or email updated 07/18/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Marina Del Rey, CA, USA

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