When summer has arrived and, across the country, people start getting ready to go on holiday. But before you hit the road, there are a few routine maintenance checks that need to be done to ensure your Mercedes-Benz is summer ready and not likely to break down in a sweltering traffic jam.
Here are our top four car care tips for the summer:
There are two ways you can check the oil level of a Mercedes Benz – manually or via the multifunction buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard:
Make sure your car is at a level surface and only do this check when the engine is hot. The temperature needs to be around 80 deg C. Open the bonnet. Pull out the oil dipstick from the correct area of the engine and wipe it with a clean cloth. Put it back into the oil pan, as far as it will go in the dipstick tube. Once it has been fully reinserted, leave it for four seconds before removing it to get an accurate level.
Take it out again and check the oil level. Observe the Low and High marking. If the level lies between the Low and High marks, no more oil is required. If it is below the Low mark, top it up with oil until the level falls between Low and High.
Using the instrument cluster
Park the car on a level surface. Switch off the engine and leave for at least five minutes. Turn the key in the ignition to position two. All the dashboard lights should turn on.
Press the multifunction steering wheel button until you see the display “Engine Oil Level – Measuring Now”. Play with the up and down buttons until you see the following message: “CORRECT MEASUREMENT ONLY IF VEHICLE LEVEL” – this is why it’s so important to park the car on a flat surface.
This function varies from model to model. Here are the instructions for the 2006 Mercedes E-Class:
Put the key in the ignition and go to position one; you will hear one click.
Next, go to the reset button and click it three times. The voltage will then display in the centre of the speedometer dial.
Press the ‘Up’ arrow on the steering wheel and the screen will display blank information about the oil level.
Turn the key to Position Two in the ignition and the screen will read the oil level and display the final results. If you are not sure of the exact specification, check the user manual or enter your vehicle details online.
Checking the coolant
Don’t forget to check the coolant reservoir and risk your Mercedes overheating, especially as it’s a very simple task.
You can check the coolant level by first locating the coolant reservoir. It is important to do this when the engine is cold as the temperature pressure can range anywhere from 88 to 99 degrees Celsius so you don’t want to burn yourself. Remove the lid and check that the level is at the seal of the reservoir – if it isn’t, top it up with coolant. Replace the lid and the job is done.
2 – Tyres and Pressures
Maintaining proper tyre pressure is vital to your vehicle’s overall performance, safety and fuel efficiency. Fortunately, the Mercedes-Benz Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) can monitor your tyres and send you an alert if it detects a decrease in pressure.
A tyre can lose pressure for a number of reasons including a change of temperature so it is important to check them regularly throughout the year. Always check the tyres when they are cold. Along with a handheld gauge, the TPMS uses sensors in each of the four tyres to transmit inflation data to the vehicle.
You can access tyre pressure information in the instrument cluster any time the ignition is turned on. Here’s how:
Press either of the arrow buttons on the steering wheel until to reach the Service Menu. Use the arrow button to scroll up or down the menu until you reach the ‘Tyre Pressure’ section. Press ‘OK’. The current tyre pressures will be displayed.
Important: The recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle can be found on the label inside the fuel filler door. If the tyre pressures are too high or too low, the TPMS indicator will illuminate on the dashboard. If it comes on, check the tyre with a gauge and adjust them to the recommended pressures. When all four tyres are at the correct pressure, return to the display on the dashboard. If the displayed pressures look correct, press ‘Down’ on the steering wheel to reset the TPMS. Press ‘OK’ to confirm and the system will reset to these values and turn off the warning light.
3 – Check the condition of your wipers
It couldn’t be simpler to check the condition of your wipers as all Mercedes Benz wiper blades have been fitted with a Wiper Wear Indicator. When it turns yellow, you know that it is time to replace it.
Installing a new wiper blade is designed to be relatively straightforward and is something you can easily do at home. Just follow the instructions on the packet or watch one of the many instructional videos available online.
4 – Perform an air conditioning (AC) recharge
If your air conditioning system starts to blow out warm air rather than cool, it could be caused by a number of diagnostic faults. However, one of the most common reasons is that the system is running low on freon, in which case it needs to be recharged.
Here is a step by step guide on how to do so, but remember that instructions may vary according to the AC recharge kit you are using. Always read the notes on your recharging kit before getting started.
First, turn the engine on and let it idle. Turn the air conditioning on and turn it to the maximum cold setting. Next, open the bonnet of your vehicle and locate the low-pressure AC service port and remove the cap. Attach the refrigerant gauge to the service port. You will need to press and hold the quick release at the end of the hose. Read the pressure in your AC system. If the pressure is low the gauge reading will be in the white zone – if it is normal, it will be in the green zone.
Always keep the can upright. As you charge the system, shake the can slightly from side to side every two or three seconds. Every thirty seconds, release the trigger to stop the charging in process and read the pressure. Make sure it is not in the red zone. Stop recharging the system as soon as the pressure gauge display reads normal. Detach the connect from the low-pressure AC port and replace the cap. Close the bonnet and, hopefully, you will be able to enjoy the lovely cool air.
If recharging the AC hasn’t solved the problem, there may be a more serious problem and you may need to book a full diagnostic checkup.