What Mercedes Sprinter Van Years to Avoid Or Models With Poor Reliability?

Author: Rohan Paulos
Updated On:

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is currently one of the most sought-after vans on the automobile market, so why are people worried about Sprinter van years to avoid as well care so much about its reliability?

First, we admit that Sprinter models are proven beast of efficiency, usefulness, and above all, reliability that has distinguished unique vans.

However like all vehicles, some models manufactured in certain years are better or stronger, and conversely – hence the often queries about Mercedes sprinter reliability, especially when looking to older used or older versions.

mercedes sprinter reliability

What Sprinter Van Years to Avoid?

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van model year to avoid is simply the one that has registered the highest number of complaints. This honor (or not) goes to the 2015 model year. Complaints include problems with the body, paint, interior accessory, and windshield/window problems.

Just like Sprinter year 2015, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van has also been flagged for similar issues, with owners reporting insufficient acceleration, faulty brakes, and rattling sounds emanating from the engine bay that could indicate a faulty part.

Another popular model year that has triggered concerns is the 2020 Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, which has been found to have very low mileage and costly maintenance costs. To help you navigate the tricky waters of purchasing a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, the table below gives advice on which years to avoid with outlines of their major issues.

Mercedez-Benz Sprinter Model (Years)

Avoid Model (Yes/ No)
1999 Yes (Old)
2010-2014 Yes (Pretty decent but low-standard)
2015 Yes (Mechanical flaws)
2016 Yes (Lowest rating)
2017-2019 No (Good quality)
2020 Yes (Low mileage rate)
2021 No (Best overall)
2022 – Present No (Improved performance)

Best Year for Mercedes Sprinter?

What year is the most reliable Sprinter van? While there has been improvement in every model year, all Sprinter vans are nonetheless solid. After a study that involved all the available Sprinter model years from 2004 upwards, the consensus rested on the 2006 model year. This outcome is a no-brainer as the 2006 model year has the best quality exterior.

What are Mercedes Sprinter Reliability Scores?

Mercedes Sprinter vans have been on the market since the early 2000s and have gained popularity as a dependable cargo van option with only a few sprinter reliability issues.

Mercedes Sprinter reliability scores are determined by how well the vans perform, how long they last, and how frequently they require maintenance, which differ depending on model year. The reliability ratings are based on feedback from van owners on their vehicles functionality.

Overall, Mercedes Sprinter vans have received widespread praise for their dependable performance and long-lasting capabilities, making them a popular choice for commercial cargo delivery across the globe.

Old bad cargo van

How Long Do Sprinter Vans Last?

How many miles do Sprinter vans last? Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans are famous for their durability. Everything from their body to their engine is built to last. They can easily rack up 300,000 miles or more.

It’s not uncommon for a Sprinter van to pull off 450,000 miles and still be kicking fine. You should, however, prepare for your van to undergo its first major repair after 150,000 miles under its belt.

What is Considered High Mileage for a Sprinter Van?

What is high mileage for a Sprinter van? Apart from their durability, Sprinter vans are also known for their high mileage. But even then, racking 300,000 miles or more miles within the first 10 years of service is considered high.

Which Sprinter Van is Best and Why?

Which vans last the longest? On average, they all do fine to about the same degree. Typically, this is anywhere between 150,000 to 300,000 miles. But the 2006 model year takes the cake. It’s ranked the best Sprinter van of all time. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is undoubtedly the most reliable sprinter van on the market.

The Sprinter has an impressive reputation for dependability, thanks to its powerful engine and well-built construction that can withstand heavy commercial use. Whether you’re a business owner or someone who needs the right vehicle for their menial job, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van has the performance and credibility to meet your demands without breakdowns.

Beautiful RV interior

What are Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 Problems?

Although the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has proven to be an excellent work vehicle for a wide range of businesses, the van’s 4×4-wheel model has been known to have some concerns. Some drivers have reported issues ranging from electrical system malfunctions to powertrain and transmission malfunctions.

These issues can be costly and inconvenient to repair, as well as potentially dangerous concerns for drivers, so it is vital to be familiar with them and take the necessary precautions to ensure the Sprinter vans perform optimally. The following are some of the most common issues that Sprinter 4×4-wheel owners and drivers should be aware of:

  • Injector defects
  • Glow plug malfunction
  • Exhaust flex pipe rupture
  • Clatter in the torque converter strip
  • Intercooler hose leaking
  • Losing power mode
  • Clogged DPF or faulty EGR Valve
  • Vacuum leaks in turbo regulator systems, etc.

Which is the Best Mercedes Sprinter Engine?

The most popular and perhaps the best Mercedes Sprinter engine is the Mercedes-Benz OM651 engine. In light of modern Sprinter engines, the OM651 is a superior, efficient engine and has shown to be a good choice for Sprinter owners. It boasts a turbocharged, 4-cylinder design that delivers high torque for excellent towing and hauling capabilities.

Other viable options include the Mercedes-Benz OM602 engine, OM617 engine, OM612 engine, OM647 engine, OM654 engine, OM642 engine, and, most recently, the Mercedes-Benz OM601 engine. They all provide excellent performance, low emissions, and fuel efficiency, making them popular choices for those who want to keep their Sprinter running for many years.

Mercedes sprinter luxury van

The Sprinter van Safety

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter offers one of the most advanced safety features in the automobile industry.

  • Driver and Passenger Airbags: The driver and passenger front, thorax, and window airbags will keep everyone safe in the event of an accident.
  • Active Brake Assist: This in-built safety system picks up on the likelihood of a collision with an oncoming vehicle and immediately sends visual and audible warnings, which is followed by autonomous braking.
  • Active Distance Assist: This is an intelligent cruise control system that senses prevailing traffic conditions and subsequently paces your speed to keep your van at a safe distance.
  • 360° Camera: When driving your van in reverse, this visual parking assistant employs four high-definition cameras to capture your surroundings and bring them on your multimedia display in real-time.
  • Hill Start Assist: The role of this safety system is to prevent your van from rolling backward or forward, offering you additional road confidence when starting on a hill.
  • Crosswind Assist: This system picks up on the oncoming crosswinds against the van’s sail-like side and adjusts the individual wheel brake to keep the van safely on the road.
  • Attention Assist: It helps to monitor the driver’s sleeping pattern and provide warnings if fatigue is detected, thereby preventing sleep-driving.
  • Traffic Sign Assist: This system uses a camera to assist with identifying speed restriction signs, No Passing Zones, and No Entry signs.
  • Others: Other safety systems include Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Load-Adaptive Electronic Stability Program, and Rescue Assist.

Common problems

The following are some of the common problems encountered by Splinter van;

  • Broken flex pipe

The exhaust flex pipe of Sprinter vans is popular for breaking down and causing engine trouble. What usually happens is that the pipe develops a hot exhaust leak that goes on to melt the flex pipe wiring. It can sometimes even affect the DEF nozzles and lines. If left unchecked, it can lead to total engine shut down.

  • Clogged diesel particulate filter (DPF)

The DPF filters exhaust particles and stop black smoke from leaving through the tailpipe of the Sprinter. Foreign matter can block this DPF and hinder proper exhaust flow. Otherwise, it may cause performance issues.

White mercedes van

  • Faulty glow plugs

Instead of spark plugs to fire up the engine as in fuel vans, glow plugs are used in diesel Sprinter vans. Over time, these glow plugs can wear or break causing problems for the engine.

  • Oil Leak

Oil leaks, particularly oil cooler leaks, are a very common Sprinter van problem. They typically occur at the oil cooler gasket. Repairing the gasket often fixes the problem.

FAQ about Sprinter Luxury

The following are some of the frequently asked questions about the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.

When did Mercedes start galvanising sprinters?

Mercedes started galvanising sprinters fully by mid-2004. Although all steel Mercedes panels were galvanised from Quarter 1, 2003, it wasn’t until mid-2004 that the company released their first fully galvanised Sprinter.

The production of the galvanised Sprinter was essential for Mercedes, as the increased rust protection meant that their vehicles were better suited to tackling extreme weather conditions and had a longer lifespan.

Why do Sprinter vans rust so much and how to deal with it?

Rust is one major problem that the owners and users of Sprinter vans have reported worldwide. It’s believed to be common in all Mercedes vehicles, but that’s not what this article is about.

This rust problem is primarily due to a design flaw. Mercedes-Benz began applying fewer coats of paints while switching to water-based paints.

This decision lowered the protection offered to the vehicle’s exterior. The hack is to treat your van with an anti-rust solution, irrespective of the model year. It’s better to do it as a precautionary measure.

But if your van already has rust, sand, and grind the area(s) affected. Then, apply the anti-rust solution, before following it up with a primer and topcoat of paint respectively.

Mercedes mini van

What are Mercedes sprinter electrical problems?

These are all problems related to the electrical wiring and components in the Mercedes Sprinter. Examples include short circuits, faulty connections, blown fuses, weak batteries, corroded terminals, and damaged sensors or computer modules.

If these issues are not addressed and resolved promptly, they can lead to more serious problems, such as complete engine failure or overheating of the vehicle, which can result in a financial burden for the truck owner. And these problems are more common with Sprinter van years to avoid including 2015  and 2016 models.


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