One of the questions we had before purchasing our Sprinter was maintenance cost. Mercedes has to be expensive, right? Maybe. If you go to a Mercedes dealer for any work, expect to pay at least $100 / hour. The upside is that we’ve found our Sprinter to be amazingly reliable. Most of the work on the van can be done with some internet research – and we hope to provide some of that on this website. Our log of maintenance and repair work required gives a good idea on what you can expect in terms of cost and frequency (over 60k miles).
Before our trip we bought a ScanGauge, which plugs into the van’s OBDII port and let’s you see some live engine sensor stats (e.g. intake air temperature) as well as engine codes from a check engine light. It’s really helpful both for watching the engine temperature, as well as trouble shooting and resetting the engine light.
Parts are usually not that cheap, but there are a few more affordable online alternatives. Amazon and Rockauto have been great resources for getting replacement parts. On the trip we usually bought all parts directly from Mercedes (i.e. oil), especially outside the US, but there’s no reason not to save some money by buying online. Often you can figure out who the Mercedes suppliers are and then buy those parts online (and skip the 50-100% Mercedes markup).
We’ll add a list of recommended spare parts to carry with you soon.
We recommend doing routine maintenance yourself (to save money and familiarize yourself with the van) and leave the more complicated stuff to experts. Mercedes recommends the following every 10k miles (source):
- Install BG 244 Diesel Injector Cleaner
- Check fluid levels
- Check engine and transmission for leaks
- Rotate tires and check air pressure
- Oil Change and Filter up to 13 qts. of oil
- Check exterior lights
- Check windshield wipers and washer system
- Check belts and hoses
- Check abrasion points
- Check rubber boots on front axle drive shafts and ball joints
- Check shock absorbers
- Replace fuel filter
- Check thickness of brake pads and condition of steering
- Reset ASSYST maintenance computer
Most of this list involves a simple inspection of parts, which we won’t cover here. So the main things to do are oil changes, fuel filter replacements, and resetting the ASSYST computer. It’s all simple and will take less than 1 hour total.
Fuel filter change
Glow plug replacement
Assyst is part of your engine computer and reminds you to do regular maintenance every 10k miles. It takes the thinking out of maintenance because you’ll know when you’re due for an oil change. After every oil change you should reset the system. It’s really simple:
- Turn ignition to ‘on’ position without starting the engine
- Press and hold ‘0’ button on your dash until you hear a beep
- Push the ‘M’ button multiple times until your display shows ‘rESEt .51’
- Press and hold ‘0’ button until your display shows ‘2’
- Push the ‘0’ button. Now your display should show ‘rESEt donE’
- Turn ignition off, and check that you did it right by turning the ignition to on, then press the ‘M’ button until you see the service mileage indicator (should say 10,000 miles for a 2008 Sprinter)
You can find a video of the procedure on Youtube.