really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 9
Average Mileage:
31,800 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz C230 Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 192013


  • 103,000 miles


I have had seat belt trouble. When I first bought the car it was weak to retract. Than 9 months later it gave out on me. I looked into it online and it turns out almost all these vehicles have this problem before 100,000 miles. There are dozens of forums in complaints plenty of people saying they have the problem to in each. Its a hazard that people are driving these cars and decide they don't have $500 to buy a seat belt retractor plus $200 in labor. Also it often leaves no warning that it won't retract. There will be an accident one day and someone will die and its because they didn't have the money to fix a seatbelt that should be working. Mine gave out of no where so when I was away from home if I would of gotten into an accident that's a problem worth fixing. My girlfriend is an emt and she says that a seat belt placed to high or too low can cause U to be crunched under the steering wheel or fly up over into the windshield. So one that goes loose on you while driving will cause serious injury because just the fact that there is moving space will cause you to wiggle loose from your seat.

- Elk River, MN, USA

problem #4

Jul 282009

C230 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz C240. The contact stated while driving 15 mph the vehicle in front of him suddenly stopped causing him to crash into the rear of the vehicle. The passenger seat belt did not hold the passenger in the front seat which caused her head to hit the windshield. Both the driver and passenger side air bags did not deploy. The vehicle was destroyed. The passenger was taken to the hospital for a head injury. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed by the insurance company. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 20,000. Updated 07/08/11

- Nicholasville, KY, USA

problem #3

Jun 112006

C230 8-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
The contact was a passenger in a 2003 Mercedes CL55. The contact stated that on June 11,2006, they were involved in a head on collision with another vehicle( limousine) at 45 mph. When the driver down shifted, the driver drove into oncoming traffic at approximately 35 mph. The front end of the Mercedes was destroyed and caught fire. The air bags did not deploy until the vehicle came to rest after the crash. The front of the limousine was "sheered" off. There were three fatalities and one injury. The contact was severely injured and taken to the hospital by ambulance and admitted to the icu. The police responded and filed a police homicide case report # 246/7/9-06. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure mileage was approximately 15,000. The consumer who was a passenger in the Mercedes Benz, stated the seat back failed during the accident. According to witnesses, the driver of the Mercedes Benz was traveling at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of the road. The driver and rear passenger in the Mercedes Benz were pronounced dead and the driver of the other vehicle also expired. Updated evoq 08/26/10 updated 11/05/10 info received 01/19/11 updated evoq 03/28/12 updated 11/25/13 the consumer stated the seat belt did not properly restrain him. Updated 12/02/13

- Melbourne , FL, USA

problem #2

Jun 212006


  • 12,000 miles
2003 Mercedes-Benz CL55 low-speed (25-35mph) high-acceleration head-on impact with a limousine (approx. 45mph) where the CL55 dash mounted airbags deployed after the vehicle came to rest, and the CL55's integrated seatbelt worn by the passenger and sole survivor resulted in the displacement of the seat-back by 45-degrees without imposing a notable injury to the passenger's right shoulder. Due to the instantaneous nature of this incident the driver instinctively braced himself....on the accelerator before impact. The 516ftlbs of torque of the CL55 speared through the front end of the limousine shearing the limo's entire front clip, engine and transmission off under the vehicle and folding the limo where its driver sat. To my amazement I watched this occur with very little resistance even as the front end of the CL55 also crumpled with no airbag deployment. Thus safety systems designed for the CL500 are being applied in the amg versions of the same vehicles with power increases now over 100% above a 302hp '03 CL500. Such power is able to cause adverse affects on the ability of an accelerometer to measure deceleration during an impact under a full throttle condition. A simple push-button crash sensor would have solved this matter. Likewise, such power increases are overcoming the integrated seatbelt's ability to restrain an occupant. Other than a skirmish attempt to hide behind federal statutes, nothing has since been done to amend the design flaws associated with applying the CL500 safety systems in the amg version vehicles. Power options available however, keep increasing. Consequences are rear-head injuries to both front-seat occupants after sustaining a series of frontal injuries. Restrained passenger chose to sacrifice his limbs against the dash while the driver braced outward. Old part was salvaged by insurance company without notice in Dec. 2006. Case report with photographs and medical records are available.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #1

Jun 112006


  • 9,000 miles
1. exiting a curve on a windy road at approx. 30mph, driver applied throttle causing an automatic downshift into a 516ftlb torque lunge. With no steering control in 1-second we were in the opposite lane. Driver fought to regain control during second no. 2. then a limo blew through a stop sign on a merge landing right in front of us. Both driver's braced on their gas pedals. 2. the Mercedes cl & sl classes have the same front seats with an integrated seat belt system. Since it was only connected to the seat, the seat failed without even a bruise to my right shoulder (by over 30-40 degrees). I was left against the dash board (with my seatbelt on) throwing limbs at my survival. To add insult to injury, after breaking my left femur twice, smashing two knees, breaking my forearm, hitting my head atop my left hand on the dash and leaving my body when I pushed back and returned I had enough time to think the air bag has yet to go off. Then it did, picking me up by my head, smashing it against the moonroof before finally coming to rest in a mangled seat position. 3. in the 2.75 years it took to get to writing this correspondence, Mercedes has increased their cl power options by another 150hp and 250ftlbs of torque to 650hp/750ftlbs of torque with the same seat/belt arrangement. Nhra rules require 5-point harnesses attached to frame/rollcage components for a car capable of traversing the 1/4mile in 12 seconds or less. The CL55-65's range from mid 12's to mid 11's. and fail to connect any portion of the belt to the vehicle's frame. It makes no sense especially in a car that weighs 4400lbs to leave their occupants fending for themselves in mid flight while "buckled up".

- Melbourne, FL, USA

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