- I have received nothing but conflicting information regarding the problem and the likely fix. The problem statement ranged from "asbestos is not used in the pads any longer so every manufacturer's brakes make this noise" (which, of course, is not correct) to "cars in Ontario seem to be the only ones having this problem". With respect to the fix, there has been similar confusion -- I was told that new pads were being designed, then I was told that MB was preparing an "updated rotor", the latest I have heard is that it is a new pad design. Who knows!...
- The third time it was serviced, I was quite frustrated that they were only replacing the pads over and over again and this did not seem to make any difference, and had a conversation with the service manager and general manager. At that meeting I was informed that this was a problem with many (most? all?) the 2013 E-class cars and that they really didn’t know what the issue was but that MB was working on a new brake design that would be available by mid-January and that I had to put up with it until then.
- Mid-January came and went with no resolution. I was told that MB was still testing the new brake system and it would be available by mid-March. Inquiries in mid-March went nowhere. My inquiries with Victoria Star Motors did not generate any response. While talking to MB Canada’s service manager on March 21 (it might have been on March 22) I was informed that the new parts would be “here” the following week. Then in an email on March 27 from MB Canada, I was told that they did not know when it was going to be ready. It is hard to know what to believe any longer!...
- My last two emails to Victoria Star Motors (on March 1 and on March 20) inquiring about the date for a final fix went unanswered -- except for generating requests for re-testing the car. After three trips to the dealer, after three pad changes, after a confirmation that most, if not all, of the 2013 E-class vehicles have this problem, what is there to test? I inquired what was going to be tested, and the response was that it was to confirm the noise, to test the temperature, etc. When I inquired how testing the temperature, etc was going to affect the final fix, the question went unanswered.
- September 22, 2012: I purchased the car from Victoria Star Motors.
- October 11, 2012: Brake squeal started. I wrote an email to Mr. Zane Mercey at Victoria Star (who was the sales agent) complaining about the brake squeal. Zane answered the same day stating “Brakes on a brand new car can sometimes have a slight squeaking noise as you mentioned” and suggested that I monitor it and let him know if it continues.
- October 19, 2012: I wrote back indicating that the noise was still continuing. We scheduled a service call.
- October 26, 2012: First service call. The car was checked by a service person who claimed that all of the cars from any manufacturer was experiencing this problem since brake pads were not using asbestos any longer, so there was more metal-on-metal contact. Of course, this makes no sense and once I indicated so, that claim stopped. They did replace the rear brakes (to this day I don’t know why they replaced the rear brakes since the noise was coming from the front). The invoice for the first service is here.
- November 19, 2012: The brake squeal restarted about a week after the first service. Another call to set up another service appointment when they replaced the front pads this time. The invoice for the second service is here.
- December 2, 2012: I wrote to Mr. Zane Mercey again to notify him that the noise was back and to inform him that if there was no resolution I would write to MB Canada directly. This generated a phone conversation on December 7 when I was notified that MB Canada had advised putting on S-class pads on the car. So, another service visit was scheduled.
- December 13, 2012: New pads were installed (invoice is here). By this time I was sufficiently frustrated that I had a tasty conversation with the Service Manager (Mr. Wolfgang Koehler) and General Manager (Mr. Justin Nesbitt) of Victoria Star Motors along with Mr. Zane Mercey. During this conversation I was informed that this was now a known problem with these cars, but they did not know the cause and they were simply experimenting. I was also informed that MB headquarters was working on a solution, but that would not be available until mid-January. So, I was advised to give the new pads a try and wait for mid-January.
- December 26, 2012: Unfortunately, the squealing restarted and I wrote to Mr. Mercey both to complain and to urge quick resolution.
- December 27, 2012: There was an email from the Service Manager Mr. Koehler, part of which read:
“We have a case open on your vehicle with Mercedes-Benz Head Office. I have updated the case with Technical Services to let them know that the squeak has indeed returned. Mercedes-Benz Canada has informed me that Germany is aware of the concern and is investigating a solution and I should have an update Mid January.”
“As an interim solution I would be willing to bring the vehicle back into our shop and endeavour to limit the squeak; specifically we would try new pads(possibly front and rear), chamfer the pads and put grooves in the pads to minimize the noise.”
“Why do you expect that they will work this time when they failed three times before? ... Why should we now have any expectation that another change of the same things would solve the problem?”
- January 17 & January 21, 2013: I had two phone conversations with Mr. Justin Nesbitt who told me that the “fix” was not going to be ready in January as they expected and that they were now looking at mid-March for the fix. I was told that the new brake system was being tested as we spoke. He also indicated that he had the same problem in his E-class car and that he had recorded the squeal and had sent it to MB Canada.
- January 23, 2013: I wrote to Mr. Justin Nesbitt raising two issues. The first is about the problem with the brakes. I wrote:
“If, as you indicated on Friday, all of the E-class 2013 cars that you have sold have this problem, it is inconceivable to me how this passed through quality control during production (if not all cars have this problem, then I have other issues). It seems to me that MB must have known or should have known of the problem, but let it slip. This is terribly troubling. We were basically sold a defective product.”
- January 24, 2013: I receive a response from Mr. Nesbitt:
“I do understand your points below. I do agree with you that some form of compensation is justified from the manufacturer.One point I don’t agree with is Mercedes-Benz having known about the issue and just let the cars be released. In terms of customer satisfaction, and cost, doing the repair after the fact is far more costly and detrimental to the business. If they had know about the issue, they would not have allowed that design.I will be in touch with you within the timeline you laid out below.”
- February 11, 2013: I heard back from Mr. Nesbitt:
“Essentially Mercedes-Benz will be providing an updated rotor sometime in March, but as of today we don’t have the exact date in March.I am going to propose to Mercedes-Benz Canada that they pay for your first two services as a form of compensation, and I wanted to discuss this with you to see if this would be of value to you.”
- March 1, 2013: I wrote to Mr. Nesbitt indicating that I had not heard from him regarding the repair or compensation, and asked for an update.
- March 5, 2013: I heard back from Mr. Nesbitt:
“Our regional service manager will be at our dealership on Thursday. I would like to have him drive your car so he can experience the brake noise first hand. ”
“However, I don't understand why this is necessary. You said you had documented it in your cases by recording the sound and sending it in. You (meaning your dealership) has experienced mine. So, what is there to test it again? The noise is the noise.”
- March 20, 2013: I wrote to Mr. Nesbitt after no response to my previous email:
“Given the lack of response to my repeated inquiries about (a) the definite time for fixing the brakes for good, and (b) resolution of the issue of compensation, I have to conclude now that MB Canada and Victoria Star Motors does not wish to resolve these issues in a timely and reasonable fashion. I am, therefore, writing to inform you that I have decided to take further actions on this issue.”
- March 21, 2013: This generated a call from MB Canada Service Manager who asked to test the car. I questioned why he needed to test the car again, and his response was that he needed to confirm the noise and test the temperature, etc. I asked him why it was necessary to confirm the noise when it was already confirmed at the dealership; his response was that he was asked to test it. I asked him how testing the temperature, etc was going to impact the pending repairs, but there was no response to that question. I also inquired when they expected the redesigned parts, and he indicated that they would be available “next week” (i.e., the week of March 27).
- March 22, 2013: I wrote to Mr. Tim Reuss (CEO of MB Canada), copying Mr. Justin Nesbitt, and summarized the history and asked for his assistance in fixing the issue. I explicitly indicated that I was not at that point bringing up the issue of compensation, and that I wanted to get the car fixed first, and we would address the compensation issue later.
“A meeting was conducted with all the parties involved last Friday, March 22, 2013 regarding your concern. I will wait to hear from them today with some new information.”
- March 27, 2013: I wrote to Mr. Marasigan inquiring about the resolution of the matter. He wrote back:
“Very simply, the brake squeal is produced by a vibration of the brake components. While especially annoying, this type of brake squeal does not negatively affect the vehicle’s brake performance or indicate a brake problem.Regardless of circumstances, we recognize that the brake squeal has been an ongoing concern for you. The factory has recently advised us that a modified brake pad is currently in development. As we do not know when the modified pads will be released, we will continue to update Victoria Star Motors as to our progress and provide them with a confirmed release date, when available.”