2019 Mercedes Benz CLS Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Suspension & electrical system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When it comes to luxury models, enthusiasts are always talking about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS. With the newest lineup, the automaker claims it offers “character you can see.” While the character might not be evident with the 2019 CLS, defects sure are. Customers continue to complain about the electrical system, suspension and wheels.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020

Problems with the Electrical System

With a luxury focus, the CLS is meant to provide every high-tech feature necessary to enjoy the ride, except nothing seems to work right.

One NHTSA complaint says, “While driving on an interstate highway, I received a yellow “48V Battery malfunction” notice. Because this battery had failed before, I had read on internet forums that the car could just stop working, so I took the next exit (about 3-4 miles). At the top of the ramp, I had a red “Battery Malfunction” (red=stop driving); then, within 15 seconds the car had no power and gave me a critical “engine overheated” message. I was able to coast into a parking lot. Had I not exited, the loss of power would have likely resulted in an accident and we could have been killed. I believe the battery powers the water pump (amongst other things) and that caused the engine to overheat and shut down – but with no warning of overheating. This is the second time the battery has failed – first at 15 months and approx 17,000 miles. I had to wait 3 1/2 months for a new battery (they can’t keep up with demand – this tells me the problem is widespread) and now around 22,000 miles and 5 months after getting the new battery. A review of the MB internet forums shows this problem is pervasive in Mercedes models that use the 48V batteries and I believe this is extremely dangerous – if I hadn’t already been aware of the issue from the previous failure, I wouldn’t have known to exit the interstate before the car failed and could easily have been badly injured or even killed in a collision.”

It’s not a shocker that the electrical system is defective in this Mercedes-Benz. There are five recalls based on the system alone. One of the most important to read is NHTSA Campaign Number 19V605000. It states that the electrical line running from the engine coolant pump to the motor can chafe because of contact with the fan. When it malfunctions, it deactivates the 48V onboard electrical system and coolant pump, leading to increasing temperatures and possible engine damage. It’s unclear what kind of “character” this actually portrays other than that resembling a small yellow fruit (lemon).

2019 Mercedes Benz CLS Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Service Brakes

Problems with the Suspension

The ride in the CLA should be top-notch, especially for the price that is paid, but it’s not.

Another NHTSA complaint reads, “Upon driving over certain bumps in the road, the suspension has the sensation that the wheels and/or lug nuts are loose. This produces a disturbing side to side movement that feels like the vehicle lacks control. This condition is related to the fact that rotors wear out prematurely; two sets in 4700 miles. Bad rotors produce a shaking steering wheel when coming to a stop. Even after replacing rotors and the repairs appear to be done, the shaking steering wheel comes back readily after an episode of hitting bumps that produce the side to side movement. The side to side, fishtail, sensation happens on the freeway and surface streets around 40-60 miles an hour. This condition is disturbing and makes it seem that the next well-placed bump on the road would cause the car to lose control.”

There’s another recall that’s alarming, showing issues with the steering and suspension. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V85000 has a locknut in the steering rack that could break when under a load. If this happens, the steering could become stuck in one position, which creates a serious risk of a collision while driving. Apparently, having control of the luxury vehicle is considered an optional feature, no longer standard.

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Problems with the Wheels

Ending with the wheels on the CLA, it’s simple to see that this Mercedes-Benz hasn’t been built to the standards it should be.

One final NHTSA review says, “I have never cracked a wheel before but 2 cracked wheels in 6 months. There was no single bump that said aha I’m cracked. The tire light just comes on. The first one killed the tire but the second one the tire was fine. First incident 10/2020 and second was 4/8/21.”

While not related to the wheels, this next recall illustrates how poorly made this car actually is. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V911000 says that the horizontal adjustment screw of the headlights wasn’t adjusted correctly. This problem causes reduced visibility and can increase the chance of an accident. People are starting to wonder if any part of this Mercedes was built to luxury standards, and it just doesn’t seem so. Its “character” is coming into question.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think your CLS is a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Mercedes-Benz pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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