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

Electrical system & brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The original Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was launched in Germany in 1995. Today it is a Mercedes-Benz flagship in the van business. The company calls it their “classic.”

But even classic flagship Mercedes vehicles have problems.

The 2007 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 and 3500 models are the first recorded on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. There was just 1 recall for that year and 1 complaint about the 2500 model; none for the 3500.

But not every model year has been this good. For example, 2016 was a particularly bad year. While there was only 1 complaint and 1 recall reflected for 1500 and 4500 models, the others didn’t fare as well. There were 15 recalls and 22 complaints about the 2500 model, and 16 recalls and 58 complaints about the 3500 in 2016.

There have already been at least 12 complaints about the 2021 Sprinter vans. Generally, the smaller models (1500 and 2500) are passenger vans, though 1500-3500 are also available as cargo and crew vans.

So far in the 2021 NHTSA log, 2 complaints are about 1500 models, 9 about 2500 models, and 1 that relates to the 3500. Recalls are also high. But we are going to concentrate on complaints.

Most Common Problems

The complaints about the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to the NHTSA are filed according to the model. There is only 1 about the 3500, 2 about the 1500, and 9 about the 2500.

Looking at them collectively, the most common problems are:

  • 4 that relate to forward-collision avoidance
  • 3 to brakes
  • 2 to lane departure
  • 2 to the electrical system

There are also individual complaints categorized as problems relating to airbags, back-over prevention, equipment, the powertrain, seat belts, seats, and suspension.

But many complaints refer to more than one faulty component or system. So, we’re going to focus on the most common problems.

2021 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Power Train
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Fuel/propulsion System

Forward-Collision Avoidance & Brake Problems

Since 2 of the forward-collision avoidance problems also relate to brakes, we’re going to include brake problems here too.

One of the 2 complaints about a 2500 Sprinter passenger van combines forward-collision avoidance with brake problems. The incident happened in icy weather when the brakes didn’t stop the van from moving on an upward slope, and it crashed.

Another complaint that also involves brake problems says the system “malfunctions frequently without conditions that warrant” the failure. While the problem was confirmed by the dealer, the complaint states that the dealer says there is no malfunction in the system. The owner has taken the van to the dealer 4 times.

The “dealer recalibrated and reset and called tech support.” But, the “manufacturer said that is the way it is supposed to operate. The problems persist on every trip we take. Warning indicators began within 50 miles of my picking up the vehicle brand new from the dealer. System disables then resets itself at random times during driving. Dealership states they have no codes indicating fault in (the) system.”

Another complaint states that “the vehicle would inadvertently abruptly stop every 20 minutes.” Before the failure, the “Dynamic Brake Support/Brake Assist warning light goes on. Even after the owner disabled the brake assist function, the failure recurred.

At the dealership, “the mechanic determined that the aftermarket tires had caused the sensors to become defective.” The mileage was only 3,200 and the owner was given a loaner vehicle.

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Problems with the Electrical System

One of the 2 complaints about the 2021 Sprinter electrical system is that a recall repair part was not available. This relates to a backup camera that displays a blank image. The recall warns that it can increase the risk of a crash or injury.

The second involves airbags and seats. Key issues are that the fuse for the power seat blew. After replacing the fuse, the owner of the Sprinter discovered “several bare wires caught up in the swivel mechanism underneath the driver side seat.” When he tried to start the vehicle again, “the windshield wipers were going off on their own, the airbag sensors were lit and nothing seemed to be working quite right.”

He found more bare wires and additional blown fuses.

“After investigating online to see if there was an open recall for this vehicle, we found that the 2019, 2020 and 2021 sprinter vans had a very similar issue with the wiring under the swivel seat that caused airbag deployment. I have only had this vehicle for five days and it is now at the dealer.”

There are no open recalls, and the dealer told the Sprinter owner it might take 6 months for the fault to be repaired.

“I don’t understand how this could not be part of an open recall if it was previously reported in the 2019 2020 and 2021 models with swivel seats, and mine is a 2021.”

Lane Departure Problems

One of the 2 lane departure problems is also categorized as a forward-collision avoidance issue. The complaint is that the lane-keeping assistance and automatic braking features are on by default.

The NHTSA complaint describes how the failure happened twice on one trip. “I believe this is a safety hazard.”

The first time, “Lane Keeping Assistance took over the vehicle without warning from a slight wind gust, and almost caused us to get in an accident. We were traveling at 60+ mph on an interstate highway, and without warning, the van started to move from side to side, and (it) was difficult to gain control of the van.

“The MB Lane Departure Assistance was automatically braking different wheels of the van at different times to force the van to stay in the lane, but we never went out of the lane in the first place. If there was a car next to us, our 2021 MB van would have caused a severe accident.”

The second incident happened when Automatic Emergency Braking was engaged. “The system thought a shadow from a light pole was an object in the road. We were traveling at 20 mph in a town center on a sunny morning, and the braking happened for no reason. We then saw the shadows.”

Ultimately, the complaint says, “We would like Mercedes Benz to allow owners to turn off safety features.”

The second complaint says that the active lane departure assist warning light illuminated on the instrument panel, causing the steering wheel to shake and the brakes to lock. “The vehicle independently began to steer out of the lane and into another lane which almost caused a crash.”

The van only had about 400 miles on the clock and the failure occurred another three times on the same day.

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

The best indication that a vehicle is a lemon is if significant problems recur.

Lemberg Law has negotiated many settlement deals for clients over the years. If you think your 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a lemon, call our Helpline and we will assess your case. It won’t cost you anything because the law says Mercedes-Benz has to pay the legal fees of lemon law cases.

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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