2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Reliability - Consumer Reports
The S430 is both refined and enjoyably sporty. The most comfortable-riding car we'd ever tested at that point, its agile handling also made it a delight to drive. The roomy cabin provides vault-like silence and the engine delivers strong acceleration.
Alerts
There are 6 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

We expect the 2022 S-Class to be less reliable than other new cars. This prediction is based on Mercedes-Benz's brand history and the previous generation of the S-Class.

Overall Reliability
The 2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been recalled 6 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
00*
01
02
03
04
05
06
07*
08
09
10
11
12
13
14*
15
16
17
18
19
20
21*
Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for over 300,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2021 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Recalls
PROVIDED BY
SUSPENSION
Aug 14, 2008
A VARIATION IN THE TRANSMITTED VALUES BETWEEN AFFECTED AND UNAFFECTED SENSORS CAN RESULT IN ONE FRONT STRUT ADJUSTING TO A VALUE INDICATING BODY MOVEMENT WHILE ANOTHER STRUT DOES NOT ADJUST PRESENTING THE DRIVER WITH AN UNEVEN FRONT SUSPENSION. THIS CONDITION MAY LEAD TO UNEXPECTED BODY MOVEMENTS AT THE FRONT AXLE WHICH CAN ADVERSELY INFLUENCE THE VEHICLE'S DIRECTIONAL STABILITY AND COULD LEAD TO A VEHICLE CRASH.
Summary:
MERCEDES BENZ IS RECALLING 4,564 MY 2001-2006 CL-CLASS (MODEL 215), MY 2002-2006 S-CLASS (MODEL 220), MY 2003-2007 SL-CLASS (MODEL 230), MY 2007-2008 CL-CLASS (MODEL 216), AND MY 2007 S-CLASS (MODEL 221)PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH ACTIVE BODY CONTROL (ABC) ACCELERATION SENSORS ON THE FRONT STRUTS. THESE SENSORS MEASURE ACCELERATION AROUND THE Z-AXIS OF THE VEHICLE AND ASSURE AN AUTOMATIC ADAPTATION OF THE FRONT STRUTS TO MAINTAIN A RELATIVELY LEVEL BODY POSITION. VARIATIONS IN THE SOLDERING PROCESS RESULTED IN SOLDERING POINTS ON THE BOARD OF THE ABC SENSORS WHICH MAY NOT BE WITHIN DESIGN TOLERANCES. SIGNALS FROM THE AFFECTED SENSORS MEASURING THE ACCELERATION MAY NOT BE ACCURATELY TRANSMITTED TO THE ENGINE CONTROL UNIT.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSPECT AND REPLACE, IF NECESSARY, THE FRONT ABC SENSORS IN ALL POTENTIALLY AFFECTED VEHICLES. THE RECALL BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT MERCEDES-BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
For more information:
MERCEDES-BENZ RECALL NO. 2008080004.CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 08V405000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 4564
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Jul 07, 2008
IN THE EVENT OF A VEHICLE CRASH, THE ELECTRICAL FUEL PUMP MAY NOT RECEIVE A CRASH SIGNAL THAT IS REQUIRED FOR THE FUEL PUMP TO DISCONNECT AND PREVENT FUTURE FUEL DELIVERY AS DESIGNED.
Summary:
MERCEDES-BENZ IS RECALLING MY 2006-2008 M-CLASS, R-CLASS, MY 2005-2009 SLK-CLASS, MY 2005-2008 C-CLASS, MY 2003-2004 AND 2006-2008 CLK-CLASS, MY 2003-2008 E-CLASS, MY 2004 AND 2008 CL-CLASS, MY 2008 CLS-CLASS, MY 2004 AND 2007-2008 S-CLASS, MY 2003 G-CLASS, AND MY 2003-2004, 2006 AND 2009 SL-CLASS VEHICLES. A SOFTWARE CALIBRATION NUMBER (SCN) CODING RECEIVED ON THE AFFECTED VEHICLES DURING A RECENT WORKSHOP VISIT WAS INCORRECT. DEPENDING ON THE MODEL YEAR AND MODEL AFFECTED, THE RESULTS OF AN INCORRECT SCN CODING CAN AFFECT A NUMBER OF VEHICLE SAFETY AND EMISSION FUNCTIONS INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF FUNCTIONS: (1) THE FUEL GAUGE READINGS MAY BE INCORRECT; (2) A STUCK FUEL-LEVEL SENSOR MAY NOT BE DISPLAYED IN THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER; (3) THE OBD SYSTEM MAY CAUSE THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT TO ILLUMINATE INCORRECTLY; AND, (4) THE SPEEDOMETER MAY BE OUT OF TOLERANCE.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL RECODE THE SCN FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON AUGUST 30, 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT MERCEDES-BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
For more information:
MERCEDES-BENZ RECALL NO. 2008 070001.CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 08V303000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 404
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING, SUSPENSION
Jun 12, 2007
THIS MAY RESULT IN ABC HYDRAULIC FLUID LEAKAGE NEAR THE CATALYTIC CONVERTER. LEAKING FLUID MAY COME IN CONTACT WITH HOT ENGINE COMPONENTS AND LEAD TO A POSSIBLE FIRE.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN VEHICLES, CORROSION MAY OCCUR IN THE INNER STEEL PORTIONS OF THE ACTIVE BODY CONTROL'S (ABC) HIGH PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION HOSE DUE TO EXTENSIVE EXPOSURE TO HUMIDITY CAUSING DETERIORATION OF THE HOSE.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSTALL NEW CORROSION RESISTANT ABC HIGH PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION HOSE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON JULY 2, 2007. OWNERS MAY CONTACT MERCEDES-BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
For more information:
MERCEDES-BENZ RECALL NO. 207060002.CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 07V263000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 19924
INTERIOR LIGHTING
Feb 02, 2006
DUE TO INADEQUATE ILLUMINATION, THE DRIVER WILL BE UNABLE TO READ THE GAUGES AND INDICATORS, SUCH AS THE SPEEDOMETER, WHICH COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN VEHICLES, THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER IS EXPERIENCING ELECTRICAL MALFUNCTIONS. THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER CONTAINS GAUGES AND INDICATORS THAT MUST BE ILLUMINATED WHENEVER THE VEHICLE IS IN OPERATION.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER MODULES. THE RECALL WILL BE CONDUCTED IN PHASES. PHASE I WAS MAILED OUT TO APPROXIMATELY 7,500 OWNERS ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2006. PHASE II AND PHASE III IS SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 2006. OWNERS MAY CONTACT MERCEDES-BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 06V028000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 36911
LATCHES/LOCKS/LINKAGES
Jun 09, 2004
IF THE TRUNK LID IS MANUALLY LIFTED, IT MAY NOT REMAIN IN THE UP POSITION AND COULD CAUSE INJURY IF IT COMES DOWN WHILE SOMEONE IS REACHING INTO THE TRUNK.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN VEHICLES, THE TRUNK LID SPRINGS COULD FAIL IN THE CLOSED TRUNK LID POSITION.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE BOTH TRUNK LID SPRINGS. THE RECALL BEGAN AUGUST 17, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT MERCEDES- BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
For more information:
MERCEDES-BENZ RECALL NO. 2004 050015.CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V285000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 16690
SUSPENSION
May 13, 2004
THIS MAY RESULT IN ABC HYDRAULIC FLUID LEAKAGE. UNDER SOME CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAKING HYDRAULIC FLUID MAY COME IN CONTACT WITH HOT ENGINE COMPONENTS AND LEAD TO A POSSIBILITY OF FIRE.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, CORROSION MAY OCCUR IN THE INNER STEEL PORTIONS OF THE ACTIVE BODY CONTROL'S (ABC) HIGH-PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION HOSE DUE TO EXTENSIVE EXPOSURE TO HEAT AND HUMIDITY. OVER TIME, CORROSION MAY DETERIORATE THE INNER STEEL PORTIONS OF THE HOSE.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSTALL NEW, CORROSION RESISTANT ABC HIGH-PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION HOSES. THE RECALL BEGAN AUGUST 31, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT MERCEDES-BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
For more information:
MERCEDES-BENZ RECALL NO. 2004070012.CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V228000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 6238
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