You have to go all the way back to 1984 when the first “Baby Benz” model was introduced. That sedan, which was also known as a compact executive car, opened the Mercedes brand to buyers who wanted a car that was smaller, but just as reliable as the bigger Mercedes models available at that time. The 190 was retired a decade later, superseded by the C-Class, the current entry level Mercedes model sold in North America.
Affordable German Luxury
Although Mercedes now sells an even smaller A-Class model in some markets, but not in North America, the C-Class continues to offer German luxury at affordable prices, with its newest models selling in the low $30,000 range. That entry level pricing puts the C-Class squarely in line with its chief competitors including the segment leading BMW 3 Series as well as the competent Audi A4.
Available in either rear or all wheel drive, the earliest Mercedes C-Class models were powered by a variety of gas or diesel four cylinder engines with six-cylinder power optional. But for ultimate power buyers could choose an AMG series model which was powered by a 6.2L V8 engine, an impressive amount of force residing in a small body. Needless to say those models were rare and quite expensive.
Check The Recalls
So what are some of the challenges facing Mercedes C-Class owners, especially drivers of those cars which have been on the road for a number of years and have long since used up their initial warranty? Well, some of the earlier models including 1993-2000 Mercedes C-Class sedans, went through a recall to fix corner and bumper headlamps which the federal government said didn’t meet regulatory requirements. The problem was minor in that the sedans didn’t contain the required amber side reflectors and most cars were quickly fixed to comply with the recall.
Owners of 2005-2008 C-Class models should note that their sedans were recalled to fix an airbag problem. Again, a minor problem that was rectified when a new airbag inflator module was installed which provided improved protection for certain occupants in the event of a crash. But a much broader recall across most of the Mercedes line is worth noting – that recall involved fixing a problem with the fuel pump which might not receive a sensor signal to turn off in the event of a crash. Though the problem was fairly widespread, that fix involved owners taking their Mercedes to the dealership where the applicable sensor was recalibrated – that’s it!
Fix It Yourself
Besides the occasional recall, owners are finding to be the biggest challenge with keeping their C-Classes humming is the price of repairs because taking your car to your local Mercedes dealer can be a costly matter. Instead, Mercedes enthusiasts are choosing to make the repairs themselves or buying less costly, but still OEM quality parts online and taking them to their mechanics for installation. Quality parts such as control arms, heater blowers, idler arms, fan clutch, bearing bracket, you name it. By doing some of the legwork themselves, classical Mercedes owners can save themselves some money while still ensuring that only the best replacement parts are installed.
The Mercedes C-Class continues to receive high marks from industry analysts as well as from consumer advocates. This is good news for owners who benefit from dependable transportation and high resale values which keep the “Baby Benz” at the top of many buyer’s lists whether they’re shopping new or used.