really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,119 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.

2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 steering problems

steering problem

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #97

Jan 102017


  • 95,000 miles


Electronic steering lock (esl)goes out damage without reason, happen routinely to most of this models mechanic shops and dealer stated it, vehicle parked won't unlock steering or simple restart

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #96

Dec 212016


  • miles
The steering wheel electronic lock, shut down my car. I drove to the doctors office and it stop working. It would not start. I found out that there are 1000 of complaints from other people who had the same problem.. but since there isn't a recall we would be subjected to paying out of our pocket. About $950.

- Sayreville, NJ, USA

problem #95

Dec 172016


  • 93,000 miles
Ordinary day at my job, got off and went to my car and put the key in lights in the instrument cluster came on and message was " remove the key" turn the key to accessory nothing happens, turn it all the way to start the ignition nothing happens, the vehicle is stuck in park and there is no way to move the shifter. After a research online and few phone calls I found out that this is a very common problem among Mercedes vehicles. I took it to the dealer they did diagnose it for steering wheel lock and quoted me $1,300 for repairs. I do believe this should be a recall or at lease Mercedes-Benz of usa take it's part and reimburse the parts since it's a very common problem. I'm not happy at all of the way they deal with this problem.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #94

Dec 022016


  • 50,000 miles


2008 Mercedes C300 with bad esl. Cost to fix is $1200. Seems like this is a known issues with Mercedes as an internet search leads to many other who have had the same issue. I parked the car at work, then went out several hours later to go to lunch and it would not start. There was no sound of the starter or any other noises when trying to start the car. I thought it was the battery, but all the lights and everything else electrical worked on the car. Just to be safe, tried to jump the car, but it still did not start. Car was stuck and could not shift it into neutral. Had to call a tow truck to get it towed my local mbz dealer. Turns out it has a bad esl.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #93

Nov 282016


  • 75,000 miles
An hour after parking the vehicle, I was unable to start it back up. Had it towed to the dealer and diagnosed with eis/esl failure, at a cost of $1700 to replace. Mercedes disavowed all knowledge of this being a common issue, despite hundreds of online complaints to the contrary. All signs point to this being due to a cheap/faulty part at manufacture, which can fail at any time, leaving drivers stranded in potentially unsafe areas or on the side of the road. Car has 75000 miles and exemplary service record.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #92

Sep 022016


  • 130,000 miles
Eis issue/steering wheel lock module. Vehicle was disabled and would not start due to eis/steering wheel lock module complication. Very common in C300 mbz

- Laughlin, NV, USA

problem #91

Nov 052016


  • 92,717 miles


Car suddenly would not start. Steering locked, ignition would turn, but nothing happened. Had to take it to the dealership. In a loaner car now. Said it would cost approximately $1200 to fix the steering wheel lock problem. Technician said it was a common problem among C300. This is an outrage, and Mercedes Benz should be held liable.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #90

Nov 012016


  • 107,000 miles
C300 not starting due to bad electronic steering lock mechanism, seems to be common.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #89

Oct 172016


  • 91,234 miles
Electronic steering lock fail car won't turn

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #88

Oct 012016


  • 115,000 miles
Car wont start, local mechanic refer to common problem (ignition moduel),I was coming out of the cvs phatmacy and the car just wont start, called mb the Y asked me to jump start but nothing, different key nothing so I towed to the dealer.

- Danville, IL, USA

problem #87

Sep 192016


  • 62,200 miles


Driving at night and car was parked. Tried to start the car but it won't start at all. I had the car towed to the dealership and was diagnosed as a steering lock mechanism malfunction. This issue has been submitted by other C300 owners and has been a common complaint. There is a safety concern by all of us regarding the problem especially it can happen anytime. I would like to request that this be escalated to a recall for all affected models from Mercedes. It is unfair to us to keep paying over a thousand dollars for the repair. My car only has 62200miles in it.

- Montebello, CA, USA

problem #86

Aug 122016


  • 75,250 miles
Electronic steering lock motor failure - car did not start and engine non-responsive. Only the dealer and Mercedes Benz authorized repair shops can fix this issue. Understand that this is a common problem. Vehicle was stationary.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #85

Aug 122016


  • 57,811 miles
This occurred in stationary position in my garage. Steering wheel locks up when parked with wheels forward / turning key to start engine does not work. Per the dealer, the electronic ignition lock anti-theft control unit is faulty. There was no indication of a problem prior. This could leave people stranded in dangerous situations.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #84

Aug 132016


  • 88,000 miles
I stopped at a kwik trip (2006 N spring St, beaver dam, wi 53916) to put gas in my 2008 Mercedes C300. Car would not start after filling up. My steering was locked and so was my shifting as I was stuck in park. After troubleshooting things such as the battery, fuses, etc I looked online and found out many people have been in the same situation. There are videos on youtube and forums with tens of thousands of views and numerous posts describing what seems to be a electronic steering lock (esl) or electronic ignition system (eis). I know Mercedes has acknowledged the problem and they have argued it is not a safety hazard but there are many instances where it can be a big safety hazard. Luckily it was summer here in Wisconsin where I was stuck at that gas station from 7:30pm - 1:00am. So essentially the problem has nothing to do with filling up with gasoline. It is just with the car suddenly not starting. It is a esl failure and it isn't only a safety hazard, Mercedes is charging 1300-1900 for what they acknowledge has been a known issue with certain models! I filed this thanks to a forum, as I mentioned earlier there is a lot of evidence of this on the web.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #83

Aug 062016


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Mercedes Benz C300. The contact stated that while driving at 35 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering lock and ignition module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 99,000.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #82

Jul 292016


  • 122,115 miles
Tried to start the car totally dead, steering column locked, towed it to the mechanic the mechanic states that he is trying to purchase the part from Mercedes. Mercedes states that the car might have to towed there because it is a safety issue and they have to handle the repair. Waiting to hear if Mercedes will sell the part 8/1/16. Obviously a recall issue how can the government help us with this obvious safety issue.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #81

Jul 222016


  • 93,121 miles
On July 21,2016 at 9am and I parked my car and went to work, 2 hours later came back and try to start the car, did not start. Car door locks and trunk locks open and close but when I turn the ignition on, no response, no display on instrument panel around speedometer gauges. No hissing or cranking or beeping noise also. Steering column was also locked up and inoperable.about 2 years ago command screen with lcd display that controls all functions smoked a little and was shut down display. Going to the last weeks problem steering column has locked me out and also eis that is the communicator from ignition switch and alternator or started do not function also. I happened to see more than hundreds of car with the same year group and model has smiliar problems.my car mileage was 93121. I would like make this as a manufacturing problem of unreliability of the parts and the manufacturer let it roll off assembly line with out doing diligent testing of the parts involved from the suppliers for reliablity and durability and in turn cost the consumers $2000-3000 of unnecessary expense/troubleshoot and fix/ than you very much for your help.

- Monroe, NJ, USA

problem #80

Jul 192016


  • 87,000 miles
I went to the cinema as regular day, no rain nor hot. When I'm back after 2 hours, the car suddenly could not start without warnings or anything else. The light still good, battery is good, radio still on. So I went on research and there are tons of complaints about this C300 model on the steering lock problem. I don't know why Mercedes Benz let it happen, there are no fault from customers; they should recall to change the steer wheel, which easy cost you $1,600. I would not happy at all for Mercedes Benz quality control since it let the C300 has that default without any notices or attempt to alert consumers.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #79

Nov 112014


  • miles
Malfunctioning electronic steering lock control unit which seems to be a common defect for mb W204

- Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #78

Jul 032016


  • 90,000 miles
08 Mercedes C300W -- went into H.E.B for 5 mins, car was stationed on flat surface. Returning to vehicle I inserted the key, all of a sudden the car would not start, no crank what so ever. Lights and radio worked, but the windows, steering and shifter would not move at all. Dealer says its the steering lock and lots of customers have had the same problem; unfortunately, Mercedes has not put a recall on it as of yet. Total cost $1,500 as of 07/05/2016. Part $575 diagnose $175 and labor $750 wow. I will never own another Mercedes. I now know how to respond to those who ask how I feel about Mercedes. Very disappointing.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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