Should Mercedes-Benz corporate pay for repairs?

This was the letter I sent to Mercedes-Benz and am still waiting for a reply. Do you feel they should pay for repairs and has anyone else had this problem?
I am writing to you to request a refund for car repairs that are due to a design flaw inherent in the 2005MB C240.
On Monday, June 1, 2015 around 9pm, in a heavy downpour, my wife and I were driving through Annapolis,MD to our destination in Ocean City, MD. As we were exiting rte 97 to get on to rte 50 east, all the lights in the dash lit up and a message came on about a coolant problem and advised me to get to a service center and then the car engine shut off completely. I was in the middle lane doing about 60mph with cars and trucks on both sides. Luckily, I was able to move to my left and coast to a stop on the left side shoulder without incident. AAA came about 1 hour later and took us and the car to the local Mercedes dealer on 1920 Forest Rd. From there we took a cab to a hotel and called the Dealership in the morning. I spoke to Jeff Johnson and he was very understanding of our situation. He arranged for a loaner so we could continue on our way while he worked on our car.

What we found out is that front water drains are probably the size of a pencil and being so small were clogged due to the heavy downpour and this caused water to enter the fuse box and front control unit. We were able to see the residual water on both sides of the engine. The plugs were removed and the water drained out. These plugs were not replaced in order to prevent this from happening again. The ME control unit was replaced and programmed. I inquired and found out that this design was changed to larger holes to keep this problem from recurring in later models. We also had to have rear coil springs that broke off at the base replaced.

This car was bought, not from a private party, but rather a dealership in Fairfield,CT and I was never informed nor was there any recall on this problem. I guess MB just figured it wasn’t worth it, I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that my wife takes the car in every week to the car wash. Could that have contributed to the problem? In any case driving in a rain storm should not put our lives in danger. There are many scenarios where this could have turned into an accident if not a fatality and that is why I am requesting a refund for the parts and work done to fix the water problem because this never should have happened.


No car is guaranteed forever against problems and warranty does not last forever.

I see no Recalls related to the problems your car has experienced and as far as I’m concerned you’re out of luck and barking up the wrong tree.
The fact that design changes occur from year to year does not mean for one second a Recall will be issued or is justified.

At what age and mileage do you think MB corporate should stop footing the bills for every hiccup that surfaces?

+1 to ok4450’s comment.
The vehicle in question is apparently 10 years old, and all warranties are long expired.
While I empathize with the OP, I believe it is unrealistic for him to expect free repairs after 10 years of service.

No. The car is over 10 years old. Just because a newer model or version of something has been updated from previous versions by no means implies that the older versions are defective or faulty. Just that newer is better. That’s progress. Otherwise every part on a 1969 Buick would be defective or faulty compared to one 10 years newer.

I’m certain MB provided a generous and comprehensive warranty on this car and held up their end of the bargain if and when any issues arose during the warranty period. After the warranty expires, all repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of the owner. I don’t care if we’e talking about a car, a washing machine, or a TV.

No vehicle is designed flawlessly ten year after manufacture under any and all extreme weather conditions. You’ve come upon one of life’s realities: nothing is perfect.

Let us know what MB says… when and if they reply.

If MB does answer…I would love to see the reply. I need a good laugh.

Hey, they just might surprise us all and do a goodwill warranty. Stranger things have happened!

I can’t speak to the springs issue, but I don’t think MB would be responsible for the water entry and shorting the fuse panel problem. In the future there’s a couple of thing you (as the car owner) can do to minimize this from happening again. First, try to keep the air vents under the windshield free of debris, stuff like leaves and pine needles, etc. Use a shop-vac or similar and vacuum that area as often as needed. It might be needed as much as once a week if you park under trees in the fall season. Second, whenever you have your oil changed, ask the staff to also check to make sure all the drains are clear.

I speak from experience. Earlier this year I noticed my truck’s under-windshield drain system was clogged, and rain water was entering the passenger compartment and making the carpet wet. While cleaning that out (which was a pretty big job), I also noticed the door drains were not draining correctly either. All in all it took me 2-3 hours to get all those drains cleared and draining freely again.

One other thing you could do, secure a copy of Consumer Reports “Car Reliability Guide”. It lists known issues by make/model/year, and if the manufacturer is extending the warranty for those items or offering some other kind of help. Best of luck.

I’m confused - is all this happening under the hood? Not inside the passenger compartment, right? Where, exactly, are the plugs that were removed?

You can always ask. I personally think 8yrs/100k-150k is the limit for most car makers and defects and paying out of warranty. Acura seems to use that # for free campaigns that yielded me two new cats on my MDX at 7yrs/115k miles.

It would be nice if all cars were perfect and had no issues at the ten year mark, but they aren’t, and they don’t. I’m surprised to you thought your car would still be perfect. No ten year old car is, not even a Mercedes Benz.


As others have already said 10 yr old car with what ever amount of miles. All I can say is good luck.

I think you’re out of luck but it would be nice if the mfr would provide a little more info on where the drains are and how to clear them out in the owners manual. Even the factory service manuals don’t seem to have much information on clearing drains as a maintenance item. The other thing is I think I might provide some water protection for the fuse block and computer like a baggie if this is a common issue.