2021 Mercedes Benz GLC Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine & fuel system problems are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is a luxury crossover sports utility vehicle (SUV). It was renamed from GLK when the second-generation 2016 model was launched.

Although well-received in the marketplace, there have been complaints and recalls from day one. Lemberg Law highlighted a cross-section of consumer complaints about the 2020 model.

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2020   2022

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Mercedes Benz GLC

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Vehicle Speed Control
Air Bags

There are 18 formal complaints on file with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for this model. Additionally, there are 15 recalls. About 4 of the complaints are that dealers are unable to perform or complete the recall. This clearly doesn’t resolve any issues for 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC owners.

There are fewer complaints and recalls reflected on the NHTSA website for the 2021 model – 11 and 5 respectively. But it’s worth bearing in mind that only 5 of the 18 complaints made about the 2020 model are dated 2020. Only 4 of the 15 recalls are dated 2020.

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC

The most common of the 11 complaints for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC relate to the engine, fuel/propulsion system, and structure of the vehicle – in that order. So, we will look at these more closely.

Other problems consumers complain about relate to back-over prevention, the electrical system, vehicle speed control, and visibility/wiper.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC Engine Problems

There are 5 complaints that involve engine problems. All involve malfunctions of varying severity.

One refers to an incident that happened less than 45 hours after purchase of a new 2021 GLC. The internal combustion engine misfired and malfunctioned while the SUV was driving at about 65 mph. Then it stopped and shook vigorously and continuously. The driver couldn’t keep moving or stop the shaking.

“We are severely, physically, emotionally, and mentally distraught due to the manufacturing defect.”

The explanation was a valve train component defect caused major downstream effects to the engine.

Another complaint about engine failure happened when a 2021 GLC had only 199 miles on the clock. A valve spring failed and the engine stalled shortly after the owner had collected the new car.

According to the complaint, the dealership downplayed the failure as “a simple fix.” Nevertheless, the owner accepted “goodwill assistance” from the manufacturer.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC Fuel System Problems

Three complaints involve the fuel/propulsion system, 2 specifically the fuel line. One GLC owner describes how the SUV stopped and gasoline was pouring out from under the hood. The fire department closed the street because of a fire risk, and the SUV was towed to the dealership where a high-pressure fuel line was replaced.

This SUV had only 1,000 miles on the clock.

The other issue was an incorrectly installed fuel line bracket. This was also repaired.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC Structural Problems

There are also 3 complaints about the structure of the SUV.

One complaint relates to a flaw that is covered by a service campaign for an earlier model, but doesn’t cover the 2021 model that has the same flaw. Dated 10 May 2019, the service notice requires Mercedes-Benz to replace the protective grille over the SUVs radiator.

“There is an existing issue for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Service Campaign #2019040010. However, it only includes 2019 models. I purchased a 2021 GLC model and it has the same issue of not having the protection on (the) front radiator. Looks like Mercedes-Benz didn’t do anything about this issue and kept making vehicles with the same defect.”

There are many similar complaints about the radiator grille on forums.

Another complaint fires at the same problem, although the SUV owner isn’t aware of the predated service campaign.

“I have purchased the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic coupe and noticed a design flaw on the car.

“The front bumper provides no protection to the radiator. It has already started chipping due to the rock damage. This can leave the car impaired on the freeway, which can be dangerous. I did contact the dealer and they said there is nothing they can do.”

The third complaint is that there is excessive rust on the frame of the vehicle.

What to do if your 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If your 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC has issues and you believe you’ve got yourself a lemon, contact Lemberg Law so that we can assess your case. We have many years of experience dealing with lemon law and have helped resolve various settlements for clients.

It’s not going to cost you anything because the law says that Mercedes-Benz must pay the legal fees of lemon law cases.

Complaint Data

CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 17, 2023
My sunroof exploded while I was driving on the highway. There were no other cars around me and no overpasses. There is no explanation for the sunroof breaking. I thought someone shot out my window. It was the scariest experience I have ever had driving. If there were cars around, it might have caused a major accident.
CategoryAir Bags, Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection
DateDec 29, 2022
Vehicle will flash warnings on dash the the blind spot assist in inoperative and the front passenger air bag malfunction. The active brake assist is also malfunctioning as the two white cars colliding is on. The dealership as tried to fix this issue 5 times and has tried argue the the active brake assist is functioning normal.
CategoryElectrical System, Fuel/propulsion System
DateSep 27, 2022
My car was bought new in october 2021 & I began having problems after having it for 6 months & the mileage at that time was about 4000 miles - it was in april 2022 & the check engine light came on & I had a loss of power to where it slowed down & would not go any faster than about 30/35 miles an hour going on a straight road way & no faster than about 10 miles an hour going uphill. The engine sounded funny as well. It had to be towed to the dealership for repair. This incident happened again a month later & it was towed to the dealership at that time. The next incident just happened this month (mileage=6620) & again it was towed to the dealership for repair. Same scenarios all 3 times. This last incident, I was told that it is glitch & they don't really know what is causing my car to basically go into "limp mode"; however, they are awaiting a software update that they expect will resolve the problem, but they are not sure when it will be available for installation & did not give me a timeline. In the meantime, I was given back my car as I was the 2 other times without a resolution or security that my car is doing to make it to & from my destination. The car is still under warranty & just under a year old now. I was told by the dealership that they have no other customers complaining of this problem & they feel it is very isolated. I asked them to reach out to their corporate office in hopes of making a deal with me as I have lost all confidence in the car, but they reported having no luck in reaching anyone to discuss my problem. The 3 incidents where the car had to be towed were very scary for me as other cars were blowing their horns at me because I could not accelerate & go any faster & when I was going up a hill - it was really bad. I was very lucky that all 3 times happened not far from my home & not on the interstate as the outcome could have been very bad for me in regards to my safety.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 18, 2022
The hvac system has a very had odor that could impact our respiratory health, and giving us headaches when we drive. I wanted to share with you my current situation that I believe relates to the mercedes hvac class action settlement (https://www. Mercedeshvacsettlement. Com/). My 2021 glc300 mercedes is experiencing exact same issues as described in the mercedes hvac class action settlement even though the settlement only covers vehicle models up to 2019. I have been a loyal mercedes customer for over 20 years and took in the vehicle 4 times to address the bad hvac odor that occurs 3 to 4 times a day when I turn on the hvac. It has a moldy, mildew-y, or similar odor emanating from the vehicle's hvac system. The dealership admitted they did smell the odor but there is nothing they can do to address it after they changed the air filters and cleaned the evaporator coil. I then escalated to mbusa escalation team to request a full refund or replacement based on the arizona lemon law statute and they were of no assistance and completely denied my request stating that the vehicle is working as intended. I even went to a lemon law attorney and provided them all the 4 service documentation records showing that I took the vehicle in 4 times and evidence from dealership admitting that there is an odor from the hvac for the same issue with no root cause or resolution to address the odor from the hvac. The attorney passed on taking my case, which I believe is a good solid case. Do you have any further ideas on what I can do start a class action lawsuit against mercedes or investigate extending mercedes hvac class action case 1:17-cv-01701-at to include vehicle models beyond year, 2019? Based on my observation this is still happening in mercedes vehicle models 2020 and newer.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJun 15, 2022
Driving on i75 in georgia using distronic speed control. This system scans highway speed control signage and automatically adjusts the vehicle speed based on speed limit signs. Unfortunately the state of georgia has deployed minimum speed 40 signs alongside the highway that are identical in size and appearance to speed limit signage. The next result is the car automatically dropping the current speed (say 70 mph) to 40mph with heart stopping effects, particularly in heavy traffic. Turning off the automatic speed control eliminates the problem. This is a major safety flaw that, left unfixed, will results in loss of life.
CategoryStructure:body, Visibility/wiper
DateMay 30, 2022
Sunroof glass panel exploded outward. Fabric retractable interior sunroof liner did contain all of the fragmented safety glass. No prior impact on or to the sunroof. If the interior fabric sunroof liner had been retracted, the interior of the vehicle would have been showered with the glass shards impacting the driver and all passengers. There was no warning. A loud sound similar to gunshot occurred as the sunroof failed. The vehicle was driven to a local windshield repair facility for examination. I contacted and notified mercedes benz usa of the incident. They have not done a follow-up as of this date. I contacted mercedes benz of anchorage ak and will do a follow-up with that dealership on may 31 2022.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
DateMar 27, 2022
Unexpected severe braking when changing into turn lane. Unexpected severe braking when approaching intersection with no cars in intersection or on either side of car.
CategoryBack Over Prevention, Electrical System
DateNov 29, 2021
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes-benz glc300. The contact received a recall notification for nhtsa campaign number: 21v354000 (back over prevention, electrical system). The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The part was not available for the repair. The contact had not experienced a failure. Parts distribution disconnect.
DateSep 28, 2021
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes-benz glc300. The contact stated that while his wife was driving at an undisclosed speed, the "add 1 quart of oil" message was illuminated. The contact's wife did not pull over and continued driving while the "stop driving" warning message was illuminated. The contact's wife was able to drive to the residence. The contact noticed there was a quart of oil on the floor from the engine compartment and detected a burning oil odor. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the dealer replaced the o-ring. The vehicle was repaired but remained at the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.
CategoryEngine, Vehicle Speed Control
DateSep 03, 2021
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes-benz glc300. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate while the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact stated there was no warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not informed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 7,000.
CategoryStructure:body, Unknown Or Other
DateJul 09, 2021
Excessive frame rust, the pictures I included are all the patches that have been done to the frame so far.
DateJul 09, 2021
On day zero when I bought the car, it was raining. The new car wiper was shattering or making bumpy movements. It was not cleaning the heavy rain water or it was spotty. The mercedes mechanic told it is a known issue and there is no permanent fix. They just changed the wiper blade and put solvent on windshield which may be good for few days/weeks and need to take the car everytime, I have this issue till I have warrantee. This is very annoying and safety issue in houston rainy season. It can happen anytime in the middle of busy road and under rain.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJun 19, 2021
Entered parked vehicle and noticed very strong gas fumes. Vehicle would not start. Looked under the vehicle and noticed very large quantity of gasoline on the ground. Vehicle was towed to mercedes dealership in rochester, michigan. Diagnosis was an incorrectly installed fuel line bracket. New bracket was installed and problem was corrected.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJun 16, 2021
Fuel line malfunctioned, car stopped , gasoline was pouring out from under the hood. I was "lucky" that it did not catch fire, fire department showed up, closed the street, car was towed, dealership " replaced high-pressure line of fuel system high pressure pump". It all started without a warning, suddenly after about 1 month of driving ( 1000 miles) a brand new mercedes glc300.
CategoryEngine, Fuel/propulsion System
DateApr 26, 2021
On april 21, 2021 at about 1800 (time), less than 45-hours after purchase of the new 2021 glc 300 vehicle, the internal combustion (engine) misfired and abruptly malfunctioned while in steady acceleration at 65-mph. My family and I were headed eastbound on the ca-60 freeway in lane three (leftmost, fastest lane). As soon as the engine spontaneously sputtered, it abruptly stopped and intensely shook the entire car vigorously, aggressively, and continuously with no ability for control nor for the option to continue to accelerate. There were three cars behind my vehicle also accelerating at the speed of traffic (65-mph) that also abruptly screeched to a halt to steer clear of my unusually malfunctioning vehicle. This was the most traumatic event that has ever happened to myself and my family in our lifetime. As you can imagine, we feel extremely fortunate in having survived this horrendous, unexpected, and cruel safety risk as no collision was fortunately reportable. The vehicle's malfunctioning and performance issue had placed us in an extremely high-risk of safety concerns and near moments from my or my family's health-related tragedy as the halt of numerous cars within the freeway closely swerved-away from our direction. As you can imagine, we are severely, physically, emotionally, and mentally distraught due to the manufacturing defect to the 2021 glc 300 engine. After 30-hours of continued questioning, analysis and discovery, it was confirmed of valve train component defect causing major downstream effects to the engine and immediate inability to accelerate on the highway with direct serious life threatening risk to a new vehicle and my family within it. Please consider this detrimental incident for other's global safety through my tragic experience.
DateMar 29, 2021
2021 mercedes glc. Consumer writes in regards to valve spring failure and stalled engine. *ld the consumer stated shortly after purchasing the vehicle, the valve spring broke causing the engine to fail while driving. The failure mileage was 199. The consumer stated the roadside assistance grossly under estimated it's arrival time. Also, the consumer was in an unfamiliar area but, roadside assistance required an address before sending the tow truck. The consumer had to walk the street to find an address on a home. The consumer felt the dealership attempted to downplay the failure as a simple fix. The manufacturer was notified and offered goodwill assistance which the consumer accepted. *js *js
CategoryEngine, Structure:body
DateMar 08, 2021
I have purchased the 2021 mercedes-benz glc 300 4matic coupe and noticed a design flaw on the car. As you can see in the attached picture, the front bumper provides no protection to the radiator. It has already started chipping due to the rock damage. This can leave the car impaired on the freeway which can be dangerous. I did contact the dealer and they said there is nothing they can do.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateMar 08, 2021
There is an existing issue for mercedes-benz vehicles. Service campaign #2019040010. However, it only includes 2019 models. I purchased a 2021 glc model and it has the same issue of not having the protection on front radiator. Looks like mercedes-benz didnt do anything about this issue and kept making vehicles with the same defect.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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