Common Mercedes Sprinter Van Problems We Fix All the Time

You see them all over the roads now; Mercedes Sprinter vans. These little wonders make delivery services easy on their drivers, but they don’t come without their own set of problems. Mercedes-Benz is one of the most reliable and safest automobile brands in the world, and the common problems that plague Sprinter vans are something we fix every day here at Louisville Automotive Shop.

Broken Flex Pipe

The Sprinter van’s exhaust flex pipe is known to breakdown and cause engine trouble. The pipe develops a hot exhaust leak and melts the flex pipe wiring. The hot exhaust can also melt the DEF nozzles and, sometimes, the DEF lines. This results in engine shutdown until such time as the flex pipe is replaced.

Clogged Diesel Particulate Filter

The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) filters exhaust particles to prevent black smoke from exiting through the Sprinter’s tailpipe. Foreign particulates can clog the DPF and interrupt the exhaust flow. If the exhaust is not exiting the engine, you’ll end up with performance issues and possibly a total shutdown.

DEF Failure

If you get a check engine warning while you’re on your delivery route, the Sprinter van might be telling you that the DEF heater has failed. The DEF heater works with the DEF/AdBlue tank, which can freeze up without the heat supplied by the DEF heater. Freezing usually only occurs during the cold winter months.

Faulty Glow Plugs

The Mercedes Sprinter diesel van uses glow plugs instead of spark plugs to fire up the engine. These plugs wear down and fail over time just as spark plugs do, or they can be broken. The nice thing about glow plugs is they last much longer than spark plugs because they only fire up when you start the van.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks, specifically oil cooler leaks, are common on Sprinter vans. The oil leaks commonly occur at the oil cooler gasket, and replacing the gasket can solve the problem. It’s important to have oil cooler leaks repaired right away, however, as the oil seeps out of the gasket and onto the engine’s cooler seals.

“Rumble Strip” Noise

If you’ve ever driven over rumble strips, you know what the Sprinter “Rumble Strip” noise problem is. Low or incorrect transmission fluid can make it sound and feel as if you’re driving on a rumble strip. The more common cause, however, is a worn-out torque converter clutch, which can be rebuilt.

Start Countdown Failure

Aside from freezing up in cold weather, the DEF/AdBlue system can also cause a startup countdown prematurely. This is how many times you can start the Sprinter’s engine again. Once the countdown reaches zero, you won’t be able to start the van. Faulty DEF and NOX sensors also cause this problem.

Give Louisville Automotive Shop in Louisville, KY, a call if you’re having problems with your Sprinter vans. We’d be happy to service your fleet and make all necessary repairs.


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