We all know what Mercedes-Benz is capable of and its influence on the car industry. The company blessed us with the magnificent CLK GTR, the (Gullwing) 300SL, and the ahead-of-its-time McLaren SLR. For 95 years, Mercedes-Benz vehicles have had a special place in our hearts (and our bedroom walls). But, what about Mercedes-Benz’s reliability? Are they harder to maintain? Will you need a Mercedes-Benz repair manual every time you take your car out for a spin?
Indeed, these famous vehicles have had a bit of a reliability concern for some time. As a result, one of the many questions a Mercedes-Benz technician is regularly asked is: are these vehicles really harder to maintain?
Of course, no one likes a fast and premium car unless it’s reliable. After all, a vehicle should be a one-time investment followed by regular small maintenance-related bills — not huge and unexpected ones.
So, are Mercedes vehicles really that harder to maintain than others? Let’s find out.
How Much Does It Cost to Service a Mercedes?
All cars must go through scheduled maintenance checks spread over different intervals. Upon crossing the 10,000-mile mark, a Mercedes-Benz owner should pay a visit to the dealer to get his vehicle serviced — ‘Service A‘ in this case.
A typical ‘Service A’ (after the first 10,000 miles) includes engine oil and oil filter replacement as well as a visual inspection of the fluid levels, engine air filter, cabin air filter, tire pressure, brakes, and resetting the maintenance counter.
The cost of a ‘Service A’ package can vary depending on factors such as replacement parts availability, labor, or even location. However, for reference, Mercedes-Benz owners can expect a Service A to cost anywhere between $200 and $350. If the car has had an abusive life in its first 10,000-mile journey, the Service A cost is likely to be higher.
Furthermore, a Mercedes must go through a second service after crossing 20,000 miles. Service B includes the replacement of the engine oil and oil filter (done every 10,000 miles so at every service), brake fluid change, brake components inspection, air filter check and cabin filter replacement, fluid level checks, and maintenance counter reset.
Similar to Service A, the cost for a Mercedes’ Service B ranges from $450 to $900, depending on parts availability, location, labor, and even the model itself.
For more details regarding Service A and B, you’ll need to have a look at a Mercedes-Benz maintenance manual. Indeed, the manual visually represents the different checks and measures the vehicle may go through during the various Services recommended by the manufacturer.
Other Car Manufacturers’ Maintenance Costs
Mercedes-Benz’s other German cousins, including BMW and Audi, have somewhat similar A and B Services and maintenance costs.
Indeed, Audi’s servicing costs resemble that of Mercedes-Benz vehicles Service A (or B): $300 to $400. But then again, the price can vary depending on the parts’ availability, but especially labor. The same applies to BMW, charging its customers between $200 to $400.
Of course, the price of each service may also depend on the overall condition of the vehicle. Abusing a Mercedes will likely result in broken parts and costlier services. Consequently, it’s always a good idea to head over to eManualOnline, get your hands on a good Mercedes-Benz auto repair manual, do some of the work on your own, and save on repair bills.
But in short, a Mercedes’ servicing cost is very similar to its rival premium German brands.
Why Is Mercedes-Benz Unreliable?
There’s no denying that Mercedes-Benz is no Toyota regarding reliability. The German automaker wants to be the best at everything, hence its motto, “the best or nothing.” Therefore, to stay ahead in the game, Mercedes-Benz must ensure all its machines are technologically-advanced compared to other German, American, and Japanese manufacturers.
A quick look at the older Mercedes-Benz models in the 2000s will tell you how technical those cars were. Filled with electronics and sensors, these Mercedes-Benz models were way ahead of their time.
However, since these older S-Class were technologically superior, the chances of something going wrong were pretty high.
Indeed, broken sensors and faulty electronic components contributed to several Mercedes owners’ nightmares, causing frequent breakdowns and other issues. As a result, it’s not surprising that you can grab an S-Class from the 2000s for less than $5,000, not even a fraction of the original price. So why not get your hands on one of those and diagnose and fix the faults cheaply with a Mercedes-Benz shop manual, right?
That said, newer Mercedes-Benz models are even more advanced than before. Be it the MBUX infotainment system or the self-driving AI, there are even more things to go wrong. Luckily, Mercedes-Benz has improved a lot since the 2000s, and the technology found in newer Mercs is much more reliable than before.
Older Mercedes-Benz models have a knack for being unreliable and costly to maintain. Buying a 2000-era Mercedes-Benz S-Class can burn a hole in your pocket or — as Scotty Kilmer would say — prove to be an ‘Endless Money Pit.’
Now, imagine the same for a Toyota Land Cruiser, which has been holding up its value for over a decade. Therefore, a good way of determining the reliability of a car is by finding out its resale value.
But as we saw earlier, Mercedes-Benz vehicles cannot be compared with reliable brands, such as Lexus, as those are built to last. Besides, the cost for fixing a tiny malfunction in a (latest) Mercedes is equal to a fraction of a Corolla’s price.
That said, it is still pretty soon to form an opinion about the reliability of the company’s newer models, but they have shown great potential. Many of its premium models, such as the AMG G63, for instance, have been holding up in value insanely well — we can only hope it keeps going that way in the future.
Simply put, when looking at other rival brands such as BMW and Audi, Mercedes-Benz is not that far behind in reliability. However, comparing Mercedes-Benz to Lexus’ pristine track record is simply out of the question.