The Mercedes W210 E Class was mass produced from 1995 to 2003 and has approximately 35 different models (depending which country you live in). The engine sizes vary from the smallest being the 1998cc to the mighty AMG M113.980 5439cc 354 bhp lump. Personally I own a 320CDi and E55 AMG W210, so the majority of common problem I have already faced. The W210 was the successor to the W124, so it had a very hard task of becoming a better alternative to the predecessor.
Currently, you can pick up a half decent W210 for around £500-1000 and the price of pristine models can be 10 times that. At this price, it puts the W210 in the “Daily Driver” category but there are problems you must consider before buying a W210 E Class.
Common W210 Reliability Problems
- Rust – The most common problem is rust, which is the main reason they are a dying breed and ending up at the scrap yard. 99% of W210’s will have rust somewhere, that being on the arches, bootlid, edges of doors, front spring perches and many other areas. Depending on how much rust there is, you must ask yourself before buying – is it worth getting it all repaired? A small bubble of rust here and there is not a problem, but if every panel has bad rust, then more than likely vital parts underneath will have rust.
- Electronic Ignition Switch (EIS) – Sympton is that the key is not turning in the ignition. A replacement is over £300, so before you buy a replacement, check that you have replaced the batteries in the key, car battery is fully charged, all fuses and connections are normal and finally ensure no dirt is on the infrared part of the key.
- Injectors – Faulty injectors on diesel models, symptoms are leaks and the injectors covered in black dirt. Before splashing out, check the seal because the seal may be damaged and is the core reason for the leak. Otherwise, prepare yourself for a minimum price of £100 for a single injector.
- Console Cluster Pixel – Very common problem with the facelift in particular, although not the end of the world. The effected areas are usually the time and the gear display (D, N, P etc)
- Cloudy Headlights – Common but easily fixed with many tutorials on YouTube
- Brake Light Switch – Symptons are the BAS/ABS/ASR warning light appearing in the console
- Rear Brake Light – Common in estates, but due to poor design with dirt getting into the connection
- Faulty Duo Valve – Symptons are heater issues such as stuck on hot or not enough air pumping out
W210 Modifications and AMG Upgrades
The W210’s are great work horses and looked after models are going up in value, therefore a few modification such as upgrading the front headlight with a xenon upgrade would be a great upgrade. The rear end could also benefit with an upgrade with the latest LED conversion that would be a great replacement for the old dull looking lights.
The list of problems is quite long, however many problems are very minor/easy to fix and unlucky. Take a look on eBay, GumTree, AutoTrader etc, most W210s have high mileage and are listed as spares and repairs due to rust. The 210 is a very practical car that can keep up with modern cars on the road today. If you are lucky enough to find a W210 with little rust, you will enjoy trouble free motoring for many years and cheap second hand parts. Models recommended are the 300 TD, 320 CDi and the E55 AMG if budgets reaches that, however I may be biased!