really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,810 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 S430 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz S430 Owner Comments

problem #17

Nov 292018


  • 141,000 miles


Electrical/fuse/cluster panel lights are out in dash vehicle was stationary

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #16

Mar 082018


  • 90,000 miles
I have a 2003 Mercedes S430. The other day my wife was going down the highway at 65 mph when it just shut off in the middle of the road. This is very dangerous. How do we allow a vehicle to operate on the highway that would just cut off in the middle of the road without at least giving you a chance to get out of the road. Thanks

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #15

Jul 212016


  • 121,000 miles
While driving getting ready to enter the highway my 2003 Mercedes S430 instrument panel went out. The gauges got stuck on what they were while driving. I wasn't able to see anything on the panel. I took it to the nearest shop and they changed the fuse, however the fuse blew right back out each time they changed it. The car was still drivable. I haven't had this car for 1 year yet and I am lost at what to do. The shop said the instrument chaise will work but something is blewing the fuse. I was also told that the aluminator in the instrument panel is faulty and needs to be replaced. Any help with this issue is helpful.. please help as this car has become a nightmare (instrument panel, doors don't lock, passender seat moves at wierd times, and the air strut busted) instead of a good dream. I have read a number of issues with the instrument panel failure in these cars. I wish I would of seen this before I purchased it. Mercedes needs to cover the cost in fixing this issue.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #14

May 092015


  • 122,000 miles


Instrument cluster flicker when stopped at light.

- El Monte, CA, USA

problem #13

Aug 252014

S430 4WD 8-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Started car in my driveway, dash goes dark. No power windows, locks, radio, air, seats.

- Leechburg , PA, USA

problem #12

Aug 262014


  • 120,000 miles
Started vehicle in my driveway, shifted into drive and instrument cluster goes dark. No power mirrors, seats, no radio, no air.

- Leechburg, PA, USA

problem #11

Apr 132012


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz S430. The contact stated that the vehicle was emitting smoke out of the trunk and he could smell burning plastic. The contact also stated that the a pse pump continued to run after the vehicle was shut off, causing it to over heat and melt the wiring harness. In addition, the contact stated that he had to disconnect the pump from the wiring harness in order to stop the smoking. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who diagnosed that the electrical relay pump malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 78,000.

- Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #10

Jul 252011


  • 54,943 miles
A few days before the main incident, my 2003 Mercedes S430 would stall for no apparent reason. I called Mercedes roadside assistance, and they told me that I should let the car reset, and this would fix the problem. This happened two times and both times there was a temporary fix after the car reset. A day after the second reset, my car completely stalled and engine shut off completely while I was driving on the freeway causing me to almost get into a few crashes. Mercedes roadside assistance called the tow company, and they took over an hour and a half to get there. It was a very hot day, and I felt very sick from the heat. The car was towed, and it turns out that the crank sensor was faulty and needed to be replaced. Roadside assistance did not tell me it needed to be replaced, but just to let the car reset. There was no warning that the sensor was faulty. There were no lights that came on the dashboard that the sensor was faulty. This is an inherently dangerous defect, that a sensor goes bad with no warning, and the engine shuts off. The sensor was replaced by Mercedes for $433.16. I am traumatized by the incident, and I am scared to drive a dangerous car that can shut off with no warning while driving for something as small as a bad sensor. Further, I was misled by Mercedes roadside assistance that the part needed to reset, rather than be replaced.

- Minnetonka, MN, USA

problem #9

Sep 022010

S430 8-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Electrical problems with S-class Mercedes Benz navigation system shutdowns and alot of electrical systems failures.

- West Haven, CT, USA

problem #8

Aug 122010


  • 66,000 miles
Vehicle has electrical short which drains battery faulty fuse boxes.

- West Haven, CT, USA

problem #7

Jul 282009

S430 8-cyl

  • 1,700 miles


The contact owns a 2003 S430 Mercedes Benz. The plastic cover for the head light bulb melted. The dealer contacted the manufacturer requesting assistance with the repair cost of $500. The manufacturer has not responded. She also experienced failure with the battery. The dealer replaced the battery, but it continued to discharge. She took the vehicle back to the dealer, but the technician was unable to determine the cause of the failure. Additionally she cannot read any of the gauges or display on the instrument control panel. The failure and current mileages were 1,700. Updated 1/25/10 the consumer was informed that the plastic melting on both head lights was a factory defect. After the instrument panel was installed, the battery continued to die. Updated 01/26/10

- Little Rock , AR, USA

problem #6

Feb 282009


  • 61,000 miles
My car is having electrical malfunctions. The interior lights inside my car are malfunctioning. The lights on my dashboard are malfunctioning. I can't see how fast I'm driving because I can't see the speedometer. This is very unsafe for me. When the electrical malfunctions occur, nothing electrical, lights, seats work in the car.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #5

Jun 172006


  • miles
My 2003 Mercedes S500 has twice electronically self-closed it's trunk on two separate users, on two separate occasions. This vehicle has been taken to two separate Mercedes dealers for the problem. One of those dealers replaced a number of parts. Despite doing so, the second occurrence (last night), left my other half in tears, pain, with a recess in her head and a headache. The electronic trunk lid has had instances where it does not open all the way, does not close all the way, or a combination of the two. Then there is the more serious and I believe potentially life treating, unprovoked, unexplained and as yet un fixed electronic closing that has twice occurred when putting in or removing goods from the trunk. I would find it hard to believe that I am the only owner who has had such a problem. The metal trunk lid comes down with force striking directly on the top of an adults head. It is unknown what it would do to a non-adult. I have spoken to a representative for Mercedes who states to her knowledge there is no problem and that they would be happy to get the car in and attempt to fix it, but can not guarantee they can. The first time it occurred, it hit me and nearly knocked me out. After bringing the car in I assumed it was fixed, however, after last night, it clearly is not. Though I can not make it perform upon command, I have no reason to believe it will not occur again.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #4

Sep 272005

S430 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
I was driving on a highway when car just stopped. I had to get out of the car and push it for it to start again. After 500 it stopped again and had to be towed away.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #3

Apr 302005

S430 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I turned key and car did not start. I ended up getting stuck either at home or in a shopping center. Car had to be put on a flat bed. Dealer relpaced parts each time, but could not find the cause of the problem.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Dec 092002

S430 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127 miles
This auto's command (communications) system (radio/cass/cell phone/navigation system) has failed, intermittantly eleven times over the past 2 years. Since I purchased this auto for monthly trips between Maine and Georgia, I really need safe and consistent communications and navigation systems to operate properly. I've now lost faith in the safe operation of this vehicle; purchased expressly for safe, long distance, all-weather, & dependable trips of 2,600 miles each month. While the factory has attempted to repair/replace the command system ten times, it has now failed for the eleventh time! this problem has been additionally documented in the past three issues of the star: Mercedes Benz owners club magazine.

- Hulls Cove, ME, USA

problem #1

Jul 262003

S430 12-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Re: 2003 S600 [xxx] my relatively new (3000 miles) S600 has a persistent problem with the new V12 engine that has now developed into a serious safety risk for the driver. My car has been in service more than 4 times for this problem - it has been escalated to the tech center by my dealer - it has not ever been fixed. The spark plugs are regularly fouled by misfiring cylinders (1,2,7,8) - the dealer says it may be a software problem that mbusa has failed to fix..and now - when driven at speed over relatively modest bumps - the car totally dies and all power is gone...the SRS light comes on for a moment but all steering on the car is gone and (if you are not killed in the meantime) you need to steer the car manually to the side of the road as it coasts to a stop. This is a deadly driving hazard - mbusa is aware of this problem and permitting it to continue...you have failed to respond to my prior written materials including those contained in your own surveys to me...the car is a lemon and I want a new car or we will begin suit as well as state and federal lemon and fraud proceedings..we will also file a demand with NHTSA that an immediate recall be required of mbusa on all S6oo cars with this engine... note this cylinder problem began to appear at 700 miles&.in March, 2003 it happened again in April, 2003 at 1000 miles it has continued to occur and has never been fixed&. in the meantime, the new problem of the power failing entirely has been happening for about 10 days [xxx] [xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chicago, IL, USA

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