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My complaint concern my car a Mercedes E320 wagon year: 2000.
One morning I could not start my car, the steering was lock and the key will not turn to ignition, I contacted my local Mercedes mechanic that told me that the parts to repair the problem are not sold over the counter at the MB parts Dpt.and can only be fixed by the dealer. I, then towed the car to the Downtown LA Motors MB dealer (213-748-8951 Curtis Ross Service supervisor)They found out that the Steering Lock Assembly needed to be replaced and will let me know when ready, few days later they called me and told me that the part was not available at the moment…3 weeks later, I was told that the part is in back order and has NO ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)The dealer was very embarrassed and was willing to help me anyway they can and advise me to contact their HQ at MBUSA. I got in touch with someone that would not give his last name and is known to me as Arash M. 1-800-367-6372 ext. 6331, I explain the situation and told me the same thing no ETA, I asked to speak to a supervisor, someone named Michael call me back and basically gave me a big spin, mentioning that my car is over 10 years old, that I had an accident in 2009 and I never use their service to do oil change or such service at their authorized dealer, and also that Mercedes is not required to have parts after 10 years and will not do anything to help my situation. Basically my car been 12 years old is junk! I found out from my dealer in Los Angeles that a similar situation was found in another dealership and the person is waiting since February 2012. I am very worry and conclude that I am not going to be able to use my car for very long time. They have exclusive rights to sell the parts, NO ALTERNATIVE, NO after market, There is 100000 of 2000 model MB still driving on the road, it is not an antiquity and my car has only 90.000 miles, I am 62 years old. This supervisor name Michael basically told me …too bad, buy a new one!!!
Is it possible that no laws can protect me in this situation, I am left with a car that doesn’t work and can’t be fixed!
Can anybody help?

Part# 208-462-04-30 Steering Lock Assembly
Car vin# WDBJH65J3YB067411
This Michael from MB USA would not give me his last name either and seems to be an attorney and do not care of clients This is my 5th MB, and will be the last if this is the service they are providing for customer, the complete careless and no regards for clients by this US Office is not acceptable for a company like Mercedez Benz.
I hate to have to contact a Consumer Advocate group in the US to have an answer from them and maybe a possibility of legal actions, the 10 years may apply on the part and I will be looking in depth about this specific situation but as a Filmmaker and very involved in the social media I will not be gentle with MB. The fact is that NOBODY CARES if you have a Mercedes that is over than 10 years old…

I think if they had the part they’d install it for you. If they can’t get it, what do you expect them to do? They aren’t going to manufacture this part for you. You are reliant on a third party manufacturing it and shipping it to your mechanic.

Maybe ask the shop if they can provide you a loaner while they acquire the parts? This will give them an incentive to get on the stick and find the part somewhere.

Also Google the part number and see if you can find it yourself for sale on the internet.

And maybe purchase a higher volume model of MB car or other make/model car the next time. One where you can more likely buy parts at the local parts store.

  1. Get on the Internet/phone and find a junkyard in your area that has the (used) part you need, and buy it yourself.

  2. Find a good independent Mercedes/European car mechanic near you. Check the Mechanics Files tab on this website to find one.

  3. Call them and ask if they can install this part and get you some keys cut to fit, if needed.

  4. Have the car towed there and give them the part to install.

Or, if you don’t want to deal with finding a used part, let your (new) Mercedes/European mechanic find a used one for you…but you’ll have to pay extra for his time locating one.

What is probably happening is MB is out of the part. The company who makes the part, probably needs a minimum order. So MB is waiting till they have enough orders to get the parts to make the parts.

Try it’s a online listing service for junk yards all over the us, maybe you can find a used part.

What about used parts? You should be able to find a used steering lock assembly. Call a surplus car parts store (aka junk yard) and see if they can find it. There is a nationwide database of available parts.

If they don’t have the part, they don’t have the part. Seems to me though they or more likely a private mechanic could take the steering wheel off and remove the locking device. Geri rig the key mechanism if necessary using a key or not using a key, to get it back on the road at least. So I guess I’d talk to another mechanic on it, especially since the part has been identified.

I’d be a little careful though naming names and phone numbers etc., on the internet though. Understandably upset but still you haven’t been a good customer with no work done there and a ten year old car, so you probably aren’t at the top of the list for special treatment.

This happens with all car makers and unfortunately, it’s just a sad fact of automotive life that has to be dealt with.

I also don’t think you have one legal leg to stand on if you decide to bring any kind of civil action over this.

It’s just a 13 year old car…There are mechanics who will remove (drill out) the existing failed part and relocate a universal ignition switch to another location so you can drive the car. The steering column will no longer have a locking feature…If this is just too much for you to bare, a nation-wide parts search will turn up a complete steering column from a salvage yard which MAY include the lock and keys! Those are your two options…

The ignition interlock system on your car is not just a key and shift interlock system. A universal starter switch will not work. A used item from a salvage yard or another car will not work. Your car will not start or drive without the correct repair. It’s part of a sophisticated anti-theft system that goes way beyond simply locking the steering wheel and shifter. The parts for you car are not sold over the counter, they are only available to dealers or licensed repair shops registered with NASTF who are able to do the programming of the vehicle to accept the replacement parts.

I’ve heard from other shops that this item is on worldwide backorder. It’s no consolation to know you’re not alone though. This is also becoming common for Saturn and Saab parts, backorder with no ETA.

I’m surprized to the responce from M-B USA about you E320 Iwould hope the rest of the company has a better attude obout the owners of there cars with older models.

@asemaster A used part from another car can not be re-programed to work with the OP’s car?? Is a new part really the only way around this??

I’m really surprised, it’s a pretty common wear item on MB’s most popular model, and MB has the reputation of being one of the better brands for maintaining parts availability. Hope they get yours fixed quickly.

Complex electronic control systems that can not be bypassed or otherwise circumvented reduce the value of a car to it’s weight on a scale at a scrap dealer. I would assess this value when the car was brand new knowing that the time would come when these components would fail and it’s likelihood of repair was almost zero…Less face it…These cars were built to satisfy the fantasies of the FIRST owner or lessee…Benz doesn’t care about the third owner or his predicaments…

Even Mercedes Benz is becoming as disposable as a Bic lighter over high tech gadgetry. My old domestic trucks just look better every day.

@gsragtop To the best of my knowledge yes, but then again I know just enough about these cars to send them to a Euro specialist or the dealer. The way I understand this is that this is part or a sophisticated anti-theft/anti-chop-shop system to prevent these “valuable” vehicles from being stolen and/or easily parted out.

Here’s an excerpt from a discussion I had about just replacing the ignition switch on a Mercedes:

here is what we discussed and what got the vehicle on the road again: These ignition switches (EIS) have 8 tracks with 200000 rolling codes on each track. When you purchase a new one (recommend a new key-keyfob at the same time) you also purchase a returnable orange key. The procedure to get it up and running again is simple and entirely doable without the SDS (at least in my particular case). Here is how you do it: Put the orange key in…don’t try to turn it as it won’t turn anyhow…let it sit with that key in for an hour approx…suppossedly an led will turn on and turn off when the 8 tracks of 200000 rolling codes are transfered into the EIS.

Simple, huh?

The bells and whistles are wonderful until the hiccups start, huh? :slight_smile:

Ok so I guess the question is, does the dealership have the orange key?? How about this, if the op found the part used WITH the key that came for that car. Would that work as a simple plug and play?? I just figure there has got to be a way around this issue.

Which is why I’ll never buy a car with an electronic key…thank goodness for my dumb old Honda…

@gsragtop To the best of my knowledge there is no plug and play option for this system. But like I said, I’m no expert on these. I defer to the advice of those who are.

But remember, the whole point of this system is that there not be a way around it. This is Mercedes, not Ford. I don’t think there’s a highly lucrative international black market for Taurus parts. Now Mercedes…?

@jesmed How many cars are available out there that don’t have electronic keys? I can’t think of very many.