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Mercedes Benz W203 2001-2007 worst merc to buy ever

Mercedes Benz 2001-2007 with M271 or M272 Engine - Don't buy it second hand
Let me defend myself first. I am a merc fan. If I thought it was an investment I would buy a new one, but it happens that I know a little more about money since school days and realized that a new car is a waste of money.

I started looking for a good second hand car

This had led me on the adventure of looking for a good second hand car that is comfortable and reliable. Another important factor is fuel consumption. It must be low since I am in no mood forking out half my salary in fuel costs.

The C-Class size fits my requirements perfectly so I started looking at various models and technical specifications. I was quite baffled at the amount of information that is available on mercs compared to other vehicles which is great if you are planning to buy a second hand car and do some of the maintenance yourself.

I think the best source of Mercedes videos and information is I think Kent is very realistic and has enormous knowledge of these vehicles and its worth visiting his website and his YouTube channel.

Shock and no awe realisation

My enthusiasm started to dwindle when reading about the problems caused by the M271 and M272 engine. The big uproar and hooha is caused by a fundamental design flaw resulting premature wear of timing chain sprocket for the balancer shaft. If the sprocket wears of and the timing chain slips, it results in the death of your engine. The cost of fixing it can quite often be the price of a second hand replacement merc and many people considered selling their cars for scrap. Yes it is that expensive to repair.

A complete list of M271 engines and in which car it was used can be found on AustralianCar.Reviews website.

So the following Mercedes Benz C-Class 2001-2007 models are a sure no go if you want to buy them second hand:

  • C180K 1.8L 143hp Inline 4 cylinder (I4) M271
  • C200K 1.8L 163hp I4 M271
  • C200K CGI 1.8L 170hp I4 M271
  • C230K 1.8L 170hp I4 M271
  • C230 2.5L V6 204hp M272
  • C280 3.0L V6 231hp M272 
  • C350 3.5L V6 272hp M272

The above mentioned cars are all duds. They will drive nicely until you reach ±150,000 - 200,000 km, and if you are not lucky your engine will go bang.

So if you want the petrol C-Class merc, you need to budget the replacement of the timing chain into your maintenance cost and also into the price of the car.

The best option, if you really want the C-Class W203 Mercedes is to go for the diesel versions, either the 220 or the 270. They have their own problems but not as big as the M271 and the M272 engine.

Read more about Mercedes Benz C180 and C200 models below:

At the end I might as well buy a Toyota 
Update: 2017/09/26: eventually I purchased a Toyota Corolla Quest which is a far better deal any old can ever be


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