2010 Mercedes Benz C350 4 Matic; Radiator Repair

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about the Germans, the German automobiles and a 2010 Mercedes Benz C350. What was going on with this fine German automobile?

Bernie: So this car came to our shop with a massive coolant leak and that was yeah, a coolant leak suddenly developed in the vehicle and the car was brought in for a coolant leak repair. 

Mark: So this car is about 7 years old, but that, doesn’t that seem a little soon for this kind of replacement?

Bernie: Yeah, so what we found, that I didn’t mention that, was actually the radiator was leaking quite badly and yeah, it is pretty soon I mean for any car nowadays, seven years is pretty early for radiator replacement, especially on this car, because this car only had I believe it has under 50,000 kilometres on it. So it’s still a very young vehicle and something with a lot of life left in it. I drive a Subaru that’s a 2001 and the radiator is still hanging in there you know, it’s original, so radiators can last a long time on any make of car.

Mark: Ok, so what did your analysis show as the reason why this radiator failed so soon?

Bernie: Well to put it in a nutshell, this vehicle is a rebuilt write off car, if that tells you anything, I know we’ve talked about avoiding rebuilt write off cars for certain reasons and that’s, I would say that’s why the reason this radiator failed.

Mark: Ok so was the radiator installed somehow wrong or was there damage that was not found in the write off repair?

Bernie: Well what we found when we took everything apart was it was right down to installation. So we’re serviced this car actually for a few years now and it’s actually been a fine car, drives well, there’s nothing really wrong with it but when we took everything apart, what we found was that the person who put the radiator in had done it incorrectly and I’ll just share some photos right here. So here’s our 2010 C350, nice looking car for sure, so here’s the radiator and actually I’ll share a different photo first, this is the actual failed point on the radiator. If you look, this is a seam, this is an aluminum radiator on plastic which is pretty much every vehicle on earth these day has these, the metal’s crimped over a plastic housing and if you look along this housing, if you look very carefully you can see actually a crack here and to look at the radiator itself, this plastic has actually bulged which is kind of odd but this is where the radiator was leaking and it suddenly developed a big crack. Now why did it develop a crack? Basically it was installed incorrectly. Down at the bottom of the radiator, and again this is typical for many cars, not just Mercedes, they have, they hold the radiator in with two plastic pegs on the bottom and there’s a big rubber mounting piece that sits in the hole in the body and the radiator slips in there and then there’s two brackets on the top, one here and here and bolts that hold it down. So pretty simple, easy to install, very common across the platform for most makes of cars. What we found when we took it apart, is one of these rubber pieces was missing and the radiator was mounted actually with the rubber piece hitting the bottom of the vehicle body and they rigged up some kind of device to hold the radiator tight from the top. So this is why I don’t recommend buying rebuilt write off cars a lot of times. People who work on them are really to that competent and that’s where a lot of problems lie, they, if there’s incompetent people who work on them, they just put them back together somehow and from a distance you never see any difference but over time, again you know, 50,000 kilometres, it’s a 7 year old car, the radiator’s failed and it’s cost the clients a lot of extra money that wouldn’t normally happen for another 5 to maybe even 10 more years.

Mark: Ok so stay away from rebuilt write offs, a further lesson. How are Mercedes C350s for reliability?

Bernie: Overall, they’re very good. This car’s a good example, I mean even at this mileage, there’s no fluid leaks, sorry at this age, there’s no fluid leaks, car starts well, it’s as reliable as anything else on the road for sure. But being a fancier German car, there’s more to go wrong so over time you’ll spend more money than you would on a sort of more basic Japanese car but overall, excellent car.

Mark: So there you go, if you have an Mercedes in Vancouver and you’re looking for service or repairs, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book an appointment, they’re busy you’ve got to book an appointment or check out our website pawlikautomotive.com or our Youtube channel, got hundreds of videos on there, very popular these days, check it out Pawlik Automotive. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

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