Mercedes Sprinter problems: Are They Reliable?

Mercedes Sprinter, a dependable commercial vehicle, comes with its fair share of issues. Owners often encounter complaints related to start cycles and wiring. Understanding these common problems is crucial for maintaining the Sprinter’s performance. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further complications and ensure longevity. By delving into the lifetime warranty and grasping the intricacies of these challenges, owners can optimise their experience with this robust vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular maintenance and timely servicing can help prevent common issues with the Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI, such as turbo and fuel pump problems.
  • Keep an eye on the auto gearbox, ignition switch, gear selector, and sliding door to address any potential problems early on and avoid costly repairs.
  • Addressing issues with the steering rack, DPF, injector, wheel speed sensor, and inlet manifold promptly can help maintain the performance and reliability of your Sprinter.
  • Understanding the common problems associated with the Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI can empower owners to take proactive measures and seek professional assistance when needed.
  • By staying informed about these potential issues, Sprinter owners can ensure the longevity and efficiency of their vehicles, ultimately saving time and money in the long run.
  • Regularly monitoring and addressing these common problems will contribute to a smoother and more reliable driving experience with the Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI.

Sprinter 313 Cdi Problems

Engine Performance

The Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI model is known to encounter various engine performance issues. One common problem is related to the turbocharger, which can lead to a lack of power and acceleration. This issue often arises due to carbon build-up in the turbo’s variable vanes or actuator mechanism. Problems with fuel injectors are frequently reported, causing rough idling and reduced fuel efficiency.

Another prevalent concern affecting the engine performance of the Sprinter 313 CDI is related to the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve. Over time, this component can become clogged with carbon deposits, leading to poor engine operation and increased emissions. These issues may result in reduced overall vehicle performance and reliability.

Reliability Troubleshooting Tips

To address these challenges, regular maintenance plays a crucial role in preventing potential problems with the Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI model. Following manufacturer-recommended service intervals for oil changes, air filter replacements, and using high-quality diesel fuel can significantly contribute to maintaining optimal engine performance.

Moreover, utilizing diagnostic tools such as OBD-II scanners can help identify specific issues within the vehicle’s electronic control systems. Addressing any fault codes promptly can prevent further damage and ensure continued reliability of the Sprinter 313 CDI.

Auto Gearbox Problems

Signs of Gearbox Issues

The Mercedes Sprinter is known to experience automatic gearbox problems, which can manifest in various ways. One common sign is rough or delayed shifting between gears. This could indicate issues with the torque converter or the transmission itself. Another telltale sign is fluid leaks underneath the vehicle, signaling potential problems with the oil cooler or other components.

Furthermore, drivers might notice unusual noises such as whining, clunking, or grinding when shifting gears. These noises could point towards internal damage within the gearbox system. A dashboard warning light related to the transmission may illuminate, indicating potential faults with sensors and electronic components like the engine ECU.

Impact on Vehicle Operation

When left unaddressed, these gearbox issues can significantly impact the operation of a Mercedes Sprinter van. A malfunctioning gearbox not only compromises driving comfort but also poses safety risks due to unpredictable gear changes and potential loss of power while driving.

Moreover, continued use without addressing these problems can lead to further damage to vital components such as engines and alternators due to increased strain on these parts caused by an inefficient gearbox.

Solutions and Maintenance Practices

To ensure a smooth-running gearbox, regular maintenance practices are crucial for Mercedes Sprinter vans. This includes periodic fluid checks and replacements as well as proactive inspection of key components like flap motors that control airflow within the transmission system. Seeking professional diagnostics at authorized service centres is essential for timely identification and rectification of any emerging issues related to automatic gearboxes in Mercedes Sprinter vans.

Ignition Switch Problems

Identifying Faulty Ignition Switches

If your Mercedes Sprinter experiences difficulty starting, it could be due to ignition switch problems. Signs of a faulty ignition switch include the engine not starting, stalling immediately after starting, or the dashboard lights flickering when trying to start the vehicle.

A common issue with the ignition switch in Mercedes Sprinters is related to the heater element, which can malfunction and prevent proper electrical contact within the switch. This leads to intermittent starting issues or a complete failure to start.

To diagnose if an ignition switch problem is causing your Mercedes Sprinter’s starting issues, you can perform a simple test. Turn on the headlights and attempt to start the vehicle. If there’s a noticeable dimming of the headlights while attempting to start, it indicates that power is being drawn away from them due to a faulty ignition switch.

Consequences of Malfunctioning Ignition Switches

The consequences of having a malfunctioning ignition switch go beyond just inconvenience; they can pose serious safety risks as well. A failing ignition switch might unexpectedly cut off power while driving, leading to loss of control over steering and braking systems.

Moreover, if left unaddressed for too long, an unreliable ignition system can lead to permanent damage in other components such as starter motors and batteries due to excessive strain caused by repeated attempts at starting.

Gear Selector Problems

Common Issues

Mercedes Sprinter owners often encounter gear selector problems. One of the common issues is the gear shifter getting stuck in park or difficulty shifting between gears. Another frequent problem is the gear indicator not displaying the correct gear, causing confusion for the driver.

These issues can be frustrating and even dangerous if they occur while driving. When these symptoms are noticed, it’s crucial to address them promptly to avoid potential accidents and further damage to the vehicle.

Symptoms and Repairs

Symptoms indicating potential gear selector malfunctions include a non-responsive gear shifter, unusual noises when shifting gears, or an illuminated shift indicator light on the dashboard. Ignoring these signs could lead to more severe transmission problems.

To resolve such issues, Mercedes Sprinter owners have repair options like inspecting and replacing damaged shift cables or repairing faulty solenoids that control gear selection. It’s essential to consult a certified mechanic for accurate diagnosis and proper repairs.

Preventive Measures

To avoid gear selector problems, regular maintenance is key. This includes checking for any signs of wear or damage in the shift cables, ensuring proper lubrication of moving parts within the gear selector mechanism, and addressing any warning lights related to transmission promptly.

Sliding Door Problems

Indications of Sliding Door Problems

The sliding door in a Mercedes Sprinter van is designed to provide convenient access to the cargo area. However, when it starts experiencing issues, it can be quite troublesome. One common indication of sliding door problems is difficulty in opening or closing the door smoothly. You might notice that the door gets stuck or makes unusual noises during operation. There could be visible signs of wear and tear on the tracks or rollers that guide the movement of the sliding door.

Another clear sign of trouble is if the door doesn’t latch securely when closed, posing a potential safety hazard while driving. This can impact accessibility as well as compromise security for any items stored inside.

Solutions for Fixing Sliding Door Problems

To address these issues, one solution involves inspecting and cleaning the tracks and rollers regularly to ensure smooth functioning. Lubricating these components with an appropriate grease can also help reduce friction and prevent premature wear.

If there are visible signs of damage or excessive wear, replacing worn-out parts such as rollers and track mechanisms may be necessary. In some cases, adjusting the alignment of the sliding door can resolve issues related to it not latching properly when closed.

In severe cases where multiple components are malfunctioning simultaneously, seeking professional assistance from a mechanic or technician experienced in working with Mercedes Sprinter vans may be required to diagnose and fix more complex sliding door problems effectively.

Turbo Problems

Warning Signs

If you own a Mercedes Sprinter, it’s crucial to be aware of potential turbo problems. One common issue is the vehicle going into “limp mode,” where the engine loses power and restricts speed. This can indicate a problem with the turbocharger, which may need immediate attention.

Other warning signs include excessive exhaust smoke, whistling noises from the engine, or a noticeable decrease in overall power and acceleration. These symptoms could signal issues with the turbo system that require inspection by a qualified mechanic.

Effect on Engine Performance

When turbo problems arise in a Mercedes Sprinter, they can significantly impact engine performance. A malfunctioning turbocharger may lead to reduced fuel efficiency and increased emissions due to incomplete combustion of fuel. It can cause overheating and eventual damage to other engine components if left unresolved.

The compromised performance resulting from turbo issues also affects the overall driving experience. Reduced power output makes it challenging for the vehicle to accelerate properly or maintain consistent speeds when climbing inclines or towing heavy loads.

Fuel Pump Problems

Common Issues

Mercedes Sprinter drivers often encounter fuel pump problems. These issues can lead to poor engine performance, including difficulty starting the vehicle and a lack of power during acceleration. A failing fuel pump may also cause the engine to stall unexpectedly, leaving drivers stranded.

One common problem is a faulty fuel pump relay, which can prevent the fuel pump from receiving power, leading to starting issues or causing the engine to shut off while driving. A clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel flow to the engine, resulting in reduced power and efficiency.

Another issue is related to wear and tear on the fuel pump itself. Over time, components within the pump can degrade or fail, impacting its ability to deliver an adequate amount of fuel to the engine for combustion.

Diagnosis and Solutions

To address these fuel pump malfunctions, it’s essential for drivers or mechanics to conduct thorough diagnostic tests using specialized equipment. This includes checking for proper voltage at the fuel pump connector and testing for sufficient pressure within the system.

If diagnosed with a faulty fuel pump, replacement is often necessary as repairs are typically not feasible due to their intricate internal components. Using genuine OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts ensures compatibility and reliable performance when replacing defective pumps.

Regular maintenance such as changing filters at recommended intervals helps prevent some common issues associated with diesel engines like those found in Mercedes Sprinters.

Steering Rack Problems

Common Challenges

The steering rack system in Mercedes Sprinters can encounter several challenges. One common issue is the development of leaks in the steering rack, leading to a loss of power steering fluid. This can result in difficulty steering and a noticeable decrease in steering responsiveness. Another challenge is the occurrence of excessive play or looseness in the steering wheel, which may indicate wear and tear within the steering rack assembly. Moreover, problems with the steering gear mounting bolts can lead to instability and inconsistent handling.

A malfunctioning steering angle sensor, often found in modern vehicles including Sprinters, can also cause issues with the electronic stability control system. In some cases, this may trigger warning lights on the dashboard or affect overall driving safety.

Symptoms and Maintenance

Identifying potential steering rack problems involves paying attention to specific symptoms such as unusual noises when turning the wheel, vibrations at high speeds, or uneven tire wear. Drivers should also be vigilant for any signs of leaking power steering fluid under their vehicle.

To maintain optimal performance and prevent these issues from arising, regular inspection of the steering components is crucial. This includes checking for leaks, ensuring proper alignment, and addressing any abnormal sounds during operation.

Regular maintenance practices like flushing and replacing power steering fluid according to manufacturer recommendations are essential for preserving the integrity of the entire steering system.

DPF Problems

Signs of DPF Issues

The diesel particulate filter (DPF) in Mercedes Sprinter vehicles can get clogged over time. This leads to warning lights on the dashboard, reduced engine power, and increased fuel consumption. When the DPF is not functioning properly, the vehicle may also produce more exhaust smoke than usual.

If you notice the dashboard displaying a warning light related to emissions or if your Mercedes Sprinter starts running less efficiently than before, these could be signs of DPF issues. If you experience a loss of power when accelerating or notice an unusual amount of black sooty deposits around the exhaust pipe, it’s likely that there are problems with the DPF.

Impact on Engine Emissions and Performance

When a diesel particulate filter becomes blocked or faulty, it can have detrimental effects on both engine emissions and performance. The blockage restricts the flow of exhaust gases through the system which results in harmful pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere.

Moreover, as a result of decreased airflow caused by a malfunctioning DPF, your Mercedes Sprinter’s engine might struggle to perform optimally. This could lead to poor fuel economy and reduced overall driving experience due to compromised engine efficiency.

Cleaning Methods and Preventative Measures

To prevent DPF problems, regular maintenance such as long drives at higher speeds can help burn off accumulated soot within the filter. Using high-quality diesel fuel and ensuring regular servicing according to manufacturer guidelines are crucial preventative measures for maintaining a healthy diesel particulate filter in your Mercedes Sprinter.

Injector Problems

Common Problems

Mercedes Sprinter owners often encounter injector problems, which can significantly affect the vehicle’s performance. One of the most common issues is injector clogging due to carbon buildup or debris in the fuel system. This can lead to poor fuel atomization, affecting engine efficiency and causing rough idling or misfiring.

Another frequent problem is injector leakage, where the injectors fail to seal properly, leading to fuel leaks and potential fire hazards. Electrical faults within the injectors can cause irregular fuel delivery, impacting overall engine performance.

Indicators of Faulty Injectors

Owners should look out for several indicators of faulty injectors such as decreased fuel economy, loss of power during acceleration, rough idling or stalling when at a stop. Furthermore, black smoke emissions from the exhaust could signal injector issues.

These problems not only compromise the vehicle’s efficiency but also contribute to increased emissions that harm the environment. Therefore, it’s crucial for owners to address these common problems promptly through proper diagnosis and maintenance.

Diagnosis and Maintenance

To effectively diagnose injector issues in a Mercedes Sprinter, owners can utilize diagnostic tools to identify specific cylinders with malfunctioning injectors. Once identified, cleaning procedures using specialized solutions or ultrasonic cleaning methods may help restore normal function.

In cases where cleaning isn’t effective, replacement of malfunctioning injectors might be necessary. It’s essential for owners to seek professional assistance if they are unsure about diagnosing or resolving these problems on their own.

Wheel Speed Sensor Problems

Impact on ABS and Stability Control

The wheel speed sensor problems in Mercedes Sprinters can lead to issues with the ABS (anti-lock braking system) and stability control. When the wheel speed sensors malfunction, it can trigger the check engine light or engine light on the dashboard. This indicates a problem with the sensor system, affecting crucial safety features of the vehicle.

Malfunctioning wheel speed sensors may cause erratic behavior in the ABS, leading to potential loss of traction during braking. Stability control relies on data from these sensors to ensure that the vehicle maintains stability during cornering or evasive maneuvers. Therefore, if there are issues with these sensors, it could compromise the effectiveness of both ABS and stability control systems.

In some cases, faulty wheel speed sensors might result in unexpected activation of these safety systems even under normal driving conditions. This can lead to an abrupt reduction in power or braking force being applied by the vehicle’s systems when not needed, potentially causing unsafe driving situations.

Diagnosing and Resolving Issues

To address wheel speed sensor problems, diagnosing is often done through specialized diagnostic tools that read error codes related to sensor malfunctions. Once diagnosed, repairing such issues usually involves cleaning or replacing damaged components within the sensor system. For instance:

  • Cleaning dirt or debris around a wheel speed sensor
  • Replacing a worn-out or damaged sensor

If cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue, replacing a faulty wheel speed sensor becomes necessary for restoring proper functionality to both ABS and stability control systems.

Inlet Manifold Problems

Challenges Associated

The inlet manifold in Mercedes Sprinter vans can face several challenges. One common issue is the build-up of carbon deposits, which can restrict the exhaust flow and disrupt engine performance. This can lead to reduced power, increased fuel consumption, and rough idling.

Another challenge is the potential for cracks or leaks in the inlet manifold. These cracks can allow unmetered air to enter the engine, causing an imbalance in the air-fuel mixture. As a result, this imbalance may trigger warning lights on the dashboard and affect overall vehicle performance.

Symptoms and Consequences

Drivers should be vigilant for symptoms such as a decrease in engine power, rough idling, or illuminated check engine lights on their dashboard. If left unaddressed, these issues could lead to more severe consequences such as permanent damage to vital components like oxygen sensors or catalytic converters.

Moreover, inefficient exhaust flow due to inlet manifold problems may also contribute to higher emissions output from the vehicle. This not only impacts environmental regulations but also results in decreased fuel efficiency over time.

To address these challenges effectively:

  • Regular inspection of the inlet manifold for carbon buildup and leaks is essential.
  • Cleaning procedures using specialized solvents can help remove carbon deposits.
  • For cracked manifolds, replacement with high-quality parts is crucial for long-term resolution.

What Is the Best Year in Terms of Reliability?

I am sure that owners could provide lots of individual stories about how reliable their Mercedes Sprinter van has been, but to get the full picture, the Mercedes Benz Forum carried out a survey with almost 1000 respondents. The results show that nearly 40% of Sprinter drivers voted for the 2006 model of van.

This makes 2006 the best year for Mercedes Sprinter in terms of reliability according to the people who know – the people who own or drive one. Mercedes indeed brought out the 2006 model to be the best van that money could buy, and its reputation seems to have lived up to that claim.

Third generation Sprinter models may surpass the older vans with their complex computer systems and endless features, but it will be hard to beat the love the older vans earned.

Any High Mileage Sprinter Problems?

Normally if you peek at van forums you will find endless discussions about common Mercedes Sprinter problems that are causing issues for owners of high mileage vehicles. Surprisingly, or maybe not surprising considering their reputation, the Mercedes Sprinter forums are filled with stories about vans that have incredibly high mileage and are still going strong.

There are even stories of vans that have done over 500,000 miles with the original fuel pump intact. It is to be expected that at a high mileage you will be replacing the glow plugs or the driveshaft, but the most common high mileage Mercedes Sprinter problem is with the bodywork as it does tend to rust.

How Many Miles Can a Mercedes Sprinters Last?

A Mercedes Sprinter van is a trustworthy vehicle built in Germany to high standards. This quality means you can expect to see a Mercedes Sprinter last over 300,000 miles, especially with regular maintenance.

A quick check with owners will let you know that there are plenty of Sprinters on the road with up to 650,000 miles on the clock. This is a rarity in the van class and is down to the original build quality and the superiority of the parts. One owner actually said that they had owned the van so long it had become part of the family.


You’ve now got the lowdown on the potential problems that can crop up with your Mercedes Sprinter. From auto gearbox and ignition switch issues to turbo, fuel pump, and DPF problems, it’s clear that keeping an eye out for these troublemakers is crucial. Don’t forget about the steering rack, injector, and wheel speed sensor problems too! Knowing what to look for can save you a heap of hassle down the line.

Now that you’re clued up on these niggles, make sure to stay on top of your Sprinter’s maintenance. Regular checks and servicing can nip these problems in the bud before they snowball into major headaches. Stay vigilant and keep those wheels turning smoothly!