hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,794 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.

2001 Mercedes-Benz C320 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Mercedes-Benz C320 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Jul 162016


  • 0 miles


My battery keeps draining. When I look at the display screen it only states that the front right light is out. When I had two mechanics look at it and they stated that my battery is being drained due to my seat function not working properly. After not using my battery for hours it dies. I keep having to jump it. My battery has been replaced less than a month ago so I know the battery is not an issue. My display screen gives me a few different malfunctions and than one moment it displays no malfunctions. After charging my car and than leaving it a strange churping sound goes off in my car causing my battery to die again. There are times when my car has died in at night in strange areas and I have to alone and unsafely jump my car and sit until my jumper provides my battery with enough juice to start my car. When I am driving my functions stop working because my battery isn't strong enough to power the everything. This has happened on a number of occasions.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #28

Mar 292016


  • 109,042 miles
I just bought the car and two days later the smart key won't turn, can't unlock the steering wheel and the shiffter the good think the car was parked on my drive way call tow truck take to the shop and they say I need a new key and ignition control module but only dealer can do that, $1,400 dollars job

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #27

May 052014

C320 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
At 55 mph the front left brake engages without applying the brake pedal and after a few seconds releases, the bas and ESC faults are then visible on the dash. The brake light switch was replaced by Mercedes two times, but this condition shows up after a few days of driving, codes show that the yaw rate sensor or connection is at fault. Even when the car is in park with the engine running on a flat level surface the fault warning dash lights ESC and bas will come on with no movement in the car. This is a very dangerous situation for a collision from a vehicle following me and running into me. Many others posted the same problem. Why is there no recall ? I have 8 grandchildren that you should care about.

- Saint Charles, IL, USA

problem #26

Jul 222014

C320 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


The "multi function display" (mfd) screen in the dash fades with interior heat (in summer) and eventually fails over time. The mfd displays all critical vehicle operation information (such as coolant temperature warnings, electronic stability control activation, etc.), and all notification of vehicle fault codes that occur. Without the information visible, the owner can't know if there is a safety problem. There are no mechanical gauges serving as back-up. Further, the vehicle odometer is only visible in the mfd. Without an operating mfd, the owner cannot view, or certify the correct odometer mileage, required by federal law when selling the vehicle to a dealer or subsequent owner. This is a well-known fault across several Mercedes models. Dealers offer to replace the mfd, at considerable owner expense. However, because of the odometer issue, I believe that Mercedes should fix the display at zero cost to the consumer.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #25

Apr 182008

C320 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
My 2001 Mercedes-Benz C320's battery was constantly going bad and having to be jumped after not starting it or driving it for approx. 24 hours. Finally, after a certified Mercedes mechanic investigated the problem, he informed me that the problem originated from the driver's seat module, which was draining my battery. He informed me that if I unplugged it for the time being, my battery would no longer drain. Sure enough, after unplugging the seat module, I no longer had issues with my battery draining. The seat module controls seat adjustments as well as steering wheel adjustments, so this is very inconvenient, and unsafe, because there are times, when I have to plug the module in adjust my seat or steering wheel, and it does not work, and I'm stuck with the seats or steering wheel in an uncomfortable position. I have also had problems with brake (stop) lights, turn signal lights, etc., in which the vehicle indicator states that particular lights are malfunctioning, and then after awhile it goes away, and then days later, the lights are inoperable again. I have spent quite a bit of money replacing bulbs. I originally purchased this vehicle in 2004 when it was still under warranty.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #24

Jan 112014

C320 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Really dad experience problems with drivers and passenger side seat control modules draining battery when key off my car started on fire under the hood.!! two times.

- Pittsburg , CA, USA

problem #23

Sep 032007

C320 6-cyl

  • 34,579 miles


The trunk lid would occasionally open up on its own, especially at highway speeds, blocking rear view. This was a major safety hazard. The problem occurred several times over a period of one-two months.

- Kildeer, IL, USA

problem #22

Mar 222010


  • 53,000 miles
Power control seat & steering column module/regulator went out & before it did it use to drain the battery where car wouldn't start if sat for less than 24hrs, so had to unplug but now the entire system doesn't work plugged in. I can barely reach the pedals to drive properly, this is a safety hazard & needs to be a recall. It also needs to be a way to manually adjust. Thank you

- Inglewood, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 142012


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes Benz C320. The contact stated that she attempted to start the vehicle but it would not start. The dealer sent someone to charge the battery. The contact stated that the failure recurred three additional times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the driver's seat was draining the battery. The dealer disconnected the fuse for the seat but the contact was unable to adjust the seat when needed. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 64,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pasedena, CA, USA

problem #20

May 312012


  • 154,000 miles
I purchased this car as a graduation present for my daughter. I know it's and older model, and has high mileage, so I expected some issues. However, after reading several post across the internet it seems as if the seat module issue is a problem. Everytime she lets the car sit for more than a day, it won't start. She has to jump start the car, and this seems to be an issue across the board that Benz should have recalled by now. This is a major issue and something needs to be done. This morning the card once again would not start. I have contacted the dealer and Benz direct, but they will not recall the car for this issue, they just want you to pay to have it repaired. With so many people having the same problem why has this car not been recalled"?"

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #19

Dec 202010

C320 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


On the first occasion (December 16, 2010), my Mercedes C320 electrical system shut down the engine while I was driving. The car engine shut off as I was driving 57 mph on the freeway during morning rush hour. There were several cars and tractor trailers behind me when the car shut off as I was driving. The incident was terrifying, as no warning lights (nothing) came on in the car. Luckily, other drivers saw me in distress and I was able to maneuver over three lanes of traffic to get to the side strip. The car was towed to phoenix motors (Mercedes Benz dealership) whereas they indicated an electrical component had gone bad. However, I later learned this diagnosis was incorrect, because seven months later the electrical system shut down again as I was driving. Another incident took place where I had no control over the car mobility while driving 60mph on the freeway, because the engine went dead. The electrical system shutting down the engine without warning to the driver can cause a deadly crash. Presently (December 21, 2011), my car is in the hands of phoenix motors again, however, they have yet to determine why the electrical component is shutting down the engine while driving. I am requesting NHTSA to investigate this matter, because this type of defect has the potential to destroy innocent lives while driving. An electrical component shutting down an engine while driving is serious and deadly. Please, please look into this matter. I was lucky in both incidents, because an angel was watching over me. I could have easy been injured or killed, not to mention others that could have been killed. In both incidents a tow truck was called to tow the vehicle.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #18

Oct 102010

C320 4-cyl

  • 93,100 miles
Battery drain, seems to come from defect in seat controller module. See 19 pages of forum: www.benzworld.org/forums/W203-C-class/1196568-Mercedes-C320-battery-drain-11.html Mercedes C240 2001, but many other models and years affected.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #17

Jun 252010

C320 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,211 miles
Malfunctioning seat control modules drain battery in 2001 C320 Mercedes Benz. Not long after purchasing the car in January 2008 with 51,000+ miles, I paid $175 dollars for a new mbz battery, before asking dealership to disconnect seat control modules. I was not prepared to pay $1200 to replace modules. June 25, 2010, my 2001 C320 stopped during a trip to phoenix, AZ from California, due to fuel pump going out. My 79 year-old mother and I waited in 100+ degree weather for a tow, which took 3 hours to get to phoenix mbz dealership. Oakland service rep never suggested replacing, although the car was serviced during the suggested mileage for replacement. The phoenix dealership initially replaced original fuel filter, and never thought to check if original fuel pump needed replacing. On June 28, 2010, my car stopped again on the return trip to ca, and we were towed back to AZ, where fuel pump was replaced. The incident cost me almost $2,000 more than I planned to spend, while attending my graduation ceremonies in Arizona. Considering the expense to maintain a Mercedes, as well as the cost of the car, you would think the service staff would be more proactive with customer service. I suggest Mercedes create a better warning system for equipment failures like the seat control modules and fuel pump. I also suggest Mercedes consider lowering their service prices, so the average "joanna" can pay the maintenance to keep a dependable car. The valve cover gaskets were leaking oil and transmission electrical connector was leaking. Updated IVOQ 09/10/10

- Antioch, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 142010


  • 45,000 miles
I also have a 2001 C320 since new here in South africa and I have the same problem with the electric front seats draining the battery. If it stands for more than 2 days the battery is flat. It's a problem because it also influences the other electrical accessories as the battery has to be charged and in some cases jump started. While this can be done successfully if you are stuck out of home base sometimes you cannot manage the recovery team that cause all types of voltage spikes when trying to get the car on line again. It seems ludicrous that a seat motor that does not work hard at all can cause this problem. Really not the excellence in engineering I expect from this marque. Here is the VIN no [xxx] as I cannot enter it a few steps later as it does not accept it. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Pretoria, 00, USA

problem #15

May 132008


  • miles
I am the owner of a 2001 C320 Mercedes Benz. I purchased this vehicle back in July of 2003. I have always had complaints about my front seats draining my battery I was told again just recently that it was a problem with that model and year. I think Mercedes should recall this problem and correct it immediately.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 262010


  • 65,000 miles
Mercedes Benz C320 2001 model. Power seat module shorts and drains battery. The constant draw off the system could at some point, cause a fire, while driving or over night in garage. 2 twice it was failed within a 1 yr time frame. Dealer charge $1000 to fix the problem only to have it happen again. Dealer would not supply old part for inspection.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Jun 062009


  • 100,000 miles
Mercedez Benz C 240 year 2001 has many defects that required several thousands of dollars. The dealership and the manufacturer did not provide any help.

- Davidson, NC, USA

problem #12

Feb 012009


  • 82,000 miles
We own a 2001 Mercedes C320 and have had several problems with the electrical systems all related to the power seat assemblies draining the battery over night. We have had them replaced by the dealer, first time was under warranty, and now- just about a year or so later, same problem. If we unplug the power seats, the batter does not drain. We know we are not the only ones with this problem, see www.benzworld.org/forums/mb-safety-testimonials/1279095-C320-battery-problem-plz-help.html. I agree that it is ridiculous to spend the type of money on this car and get ripped off by the dealers for "diagnostics" on a very well known problem and also getting shafted for replacement parts, only to have them fail the same exact way. This is a widespread problem for Mercedes, and to not acknowledge it and just keep raping customers without fixing the original problem is wrong. I can only hope this complaint will keep just one person from purchasing a Mercedes, of any type, in the future. Mercedes needs to step up and deal with this. Great for the image to see mb owners getting their overpriced cars jump started by Honda and Volkswagen...

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #11

Jun 202001

C320 6-cyl

  • 1,079 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes Benz C320. While driving approximately 20 mph on normal road conditions, the engine stalled without warning. The engine warning indicator remained illuminated on the instrument panel until the engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted after several attempts and was taken to the authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the failure was related to the engine control module (ECM). The vehicle was repaired according to the service warranty. In addition, when the outside temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, the vehicle would shutter. When the vehicle has been parked for a couple of days, the electrical system rapidly drains the battery. On three separate occasions, the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for identical failures without resolutions. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 1,079 and current mileage was 85,000. Updated 2/5/09 the consumer stated the air mass sensor was repalced. Updated 02/10/09.

- Ione, CA, USA

problem #10

Dec 202008


  • 57,000 miles
The power seat control units drain the battery, as they turn on and off during extended periods of rest.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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