Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Mercedes A Class hatchback?
The A-Class is quite long for a family car and the seating position is low, with awkward visibility out of the rear. With that in mind, check the extremities of the car carefully for any dents or dings. Also check the alloy wheels for any kerb damage. Make sure the rear seats fold as they should and that the tailgate opens and shuts properly. It’s worth checking any electrical equipment on board as well to make sure it all works.
What are the most common problems with a used Mercedes A Class hatchback?
Insecure seat backrest
Vehicles built between 18 June 2013 and 25 July 2013 had a problem with the driver and passenger seats on cars fitted with AMG seats. In the event of a side impact, the backrests may come loose and therefore compromise safety.
On certain diesel models built between 1 February 2014 and 30 November 2014, there’s an O-ring that can let oil leak out, damaging the environment or, in a worst-case scenario, resulting in the engine running low on oil and causing internal damage.
Loss of drive
The driveshaft might detach from the wheel hub on examples manufactured up to 30 June 2013, causing a sudden loss in drive. The braking and steering will still be operational for you to steer the vehicle to safety if this does happen, though.
Front passenger airbag
Due to an issue with the installation of fuses on some A-Class models made between 8 September 2014 and 7 November 2014, the front passenger airbag might not deploy in an accident. This also affects the instrument cluster and windscreen wiper operation.
There’s a possibility that the camshaft in the engine could break on cars constructed between 16 July 2015 and 11 September 2015. This would result in an immediate loss of power and potentially lots of damage to the internal components of the engine.
Risk of fire
The high-pressure fuel lines on some vehicles built from 28 November 2015 and 19 November 2015 can break, because some weren't made to specification. Over time, this can get worse, with poorer fuel economy and the potential for an engine fire if the fuel finds an ignition source.
Dual-clutch gearbox failure
A poor weld of a component inside the gearbox of cars that were built between 1 October 2015 and 19 November 2015 and came equipped with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox can either crack or fail. This can lead to the car going into limp home mode or losing drive completely.
Front passenger airbag
Another front passenger airbag recall, this time for examples built between 31 July 2016 and 20 March 2017; there was an issue with the airbag igniter that could inflate the bag only partially or not at all.
Potential electrical fire
In the unlikely event that the engine seizes up on vehicles produced between 1 February 2014 and 28 February 2017 and the driver continues to try to start the car, the high current limiter going to the starter motor could overheat and potentially cause a fire.
Brake booster failure
There’s a risk that a vacuum line connection from the brake booster could snap, resulting in a loss of all boost assistance to the brakes. This means that the driver will have to apply additional pressure to the brake pedal in order to stop.
Is a used Mercedes A Class hatchback reliable?
Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz as a brand didn’t do particularly well in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, ranking 26th out of 31 manufacturers. The A-Class didn’t do very well in the family car category, either. In a class of 27, it was the petrol versions that did best, managing 19th place, while diesel models were a few places south of that, in 25th.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
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