Common Problems for Sprinter and Vito Vans

We see some common problems for Sprinter and Vito vans. We’ll tell you what they are and how we fix them.

Should I be worried about Common Problems on Sprinter and Vito Vans?

The short answer is no, you should not be worried. Mercedes Sprinter and Vito vans are the best built and longest lasting vans you can buy.

All you need is the eyes of an expert to spot any issues before they can become serious. At Eurostar Diesels, this is our specialty. If you are considering buying a Mercedes Sprinter or Vito, make sure you get our Pre-Purchase Inspection done. Otherwise, contact us anytime for advice or bookings.

Fuel Injector Leaks

Fuel injector leaks, also known as ‘Black Death’, are common, especially on pre-2006 Vito and Sprinter vans. They are usually caused by erosion of the copper washers that seal the fuel injectors to the cylinder head. The result is a build up of carbon externally around the fuel injectors

Luckily we can extract and clean the fuel injectors, saving on replacement costs. The key to this repair is machining a new sealing surface on the cylinder head, which we use special tooling for. The cleaned injectors are reinstalled with new seals and bolts. Read more about Injector Leaks Here.

fuel injector leaks before and after fuel injector repair

Limp Mode & Engine Light

Limp Mode and Engine Lights are some of the problems we see every day. Specifically it is a low power safety mode which can be triggered by one of hundreds of mechanical or electrical faults in the engine and transmission.

We’re experts at diagnosing and repairing limp mode in Mercedes Vito and Sprinter vans as we have seen just about every Limp Mode problem before. Read more about Limp Mode here.

mercedes vito diagnostic repair

Automatic Transmission Problems

The automatic transmissions in Vito and Sprinter vans are meant to be very smooth. It’s easy to keep your transmission in good condition, the only maintenance requirement is Transmission Services at a maximum interval of 120,000km. Unfortunately many Sprinter and Vito vans come to us that have been neglected. Maybe the previous owner or mechanic didn’t know, or didn’t want to do the services.

Prevention is the best cure, so if you don’t know when the last service was done, book in for one of our Transmission Services or take a look at Transmission Repair and Reconditioning if you’re facing more serious transmission symptoms.

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

DPF filters are a great invention that remove most of the soot particles from diesel engine exhaust. There’s many myths and negative stories about DPF filters on the internet but most don’t apply to the well designed Mercedes DPF.

What happens however, is the natural DPF cleaning or regeneration process will not activate in certain conditions. This occurs any time there is an engine defect, limp mode or fault/error code in the ECU. The result is that the DPF becomes blocked.

We have a variety of methods for cleaning the DPF filters, but the real key is to diagnose and rectify the cause of the blockage. Read more about DPF filters here.

Dpf filter at Eurostar Diesels

Turbo Boost Pressure Leaks

Mercedes Diesel engines in Sprinter and Vito vans make tremendous power from a small engine capacity thanks to modern turbocharger systems. Possibly the leading cause of Limp Mode is leaks in the high pressure turbo intake components. These include; Intercooler, Intercooler Hoses, Intake Elbow, Throttle Body and Intake Manifold.

We have developed our own testing equipment for finding boost pressure leaks. We can inject high pressure air and smoke into the system to find cracks and leaks easily. Once the leak is found, replacement of the damaged part will restore power to your engine.

faulty intercooler causing limp mode on mercedes diesel ML suv

Oil Cooler Leaks

The engine in your Mercedes Vito van or Sprinter has an Oil Cooler fitted. It is like a tiny radiator/heat exchanger that has engine oil and coolant flowing through it. There’s two kind of leaks possible here. 1) The seals between the cooler and engine can decay, causing oil leaks or 2) The cooler can corrode internally which allows oil and coolant to mix. Generally oil cooler leaks can develop after approximately 170,000km mileage.

Replacing the oil cooler or seals is usually labour intensive, especially on the OM651 and OM642 engines, but we’ve got the process refined to a fine art and can almost do it with our eyes closed. If you’ve got some oil dripping from your Vito or Sprinter engine, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to assess it.

Glow Plug Faults

Glow Plugs are required in diesel engines for starting in cold weather. They heat up the air and fuel mixture inside the engine for a short period before and after starting.

Normally the Glow Plug light will show on the dashboard before starting. If it shows after starting, that is indicative of a fault.

Generally, replacement of one or more glow plugs and sometimes the control unit/relay may be required. We’re able to pinpoint exactly which parts are faulty, so you won’t have to replace them all. Read more about Glow Plugs here.

mercedes glow plug warning light and control unit relays and electrical multimeter on workbench

Suspension Clunks

One of the best features of Mercedes Vito van and Sprinter is that they drive and handle like much smaller vehicles. The suspension and steering design is responsible for this.

Over the long life of your Mercedes Van, you may begin to notice clunks, noises, uneven tyre wear or the steering feeling off-centre. At this point, you might require routine suspension maintenance. Generally this may begin at 170,000km for a Sprinter and 200,000km for a Vito, depending on many factors.

We go into more detail about this on our Suspension page.

Manual Gear Selector Wear

The manual transmissions or gearboxes in Sprinter and Vito vans are controlled by a gear selector lever (gearstick) connected to 2 gear shift cables which are then connected to the gearbox. There’s lots of joints and levers in the system so there’s many places that wear and play can occur.

Most commonly, we see that the knuckle joints in the gear selector wear out. We can replace these and readjust the cables, to get your manual shifting nicely again

If your manual Sprinter or Vito has become difficult to change gears, then you should get it repaired ASAP. Worn gear selectors and cables will cause damage to the gearbox itself after some time. You can read more about Transmissions and Gearboxes here.


When in good condition, Mercedes Sprinter and Vito vans won’t have any vibration when driving at any speed.

Sometimes, vibrations can develop from the following causes; Wheels and tyres out of balance or bent, Transmission or clutch shudder, Tail shaft/prop shaft uni-joint and bearing wear.

Thanks to our experience, we can pin point the cause of Sprinter and Vito vibrations with a combination of road testing and vehicle inspection from underneath. We’ll complete our Inspection Report and provide you with a quote and recommendations to have your van driving nicely again.

vibrations caused by fault tail shaft driveshaft on mercedes sprinter

Soft Brake Pedal

Compared to some other makes and models, Sprinter and Vito vans have a soft feeling brake pedal by design. The brakes should feel powerful and smooth. But sometimes the pedal travels too far before the brakes engage.

It’s hard to describe or measure the correct travel of the brake pedal, however we have driven thousands of Mercedes vans and can quickly tell if your braking system feels normal.

If there is too much travel in the pedal, we can perform a variety of tests to locate issues in the hydraulic system, master cylinder, brake discs and pads, or most commonly, the brake calipers. These kind of problems a rare on vans with less than 200,000km.

For more information, see our Brakes page.

mechanic inspection brakes on mercedes for defects

Coolant Warning Light

Sprinter and Vito vans have many warning lights on the dashboard, one of which is a Low Coolant warning. Sometimes this warning light doesn’t work as intended. We often see on w906 Sprinters (2006-2018) that they will show the low coolant light, but the coolant reservoir tank will be full.

The fix is easy. The usual cause is a faulty plastic float inside the coolant tank. it sinks and gives a false low reading. The solution is to replace the round plastic coolant tank with internal float.

Whilst it’s a minor issue and easy repair, it is important to fix because if you become accustomed to driving with the warning light on, you won’t be able to tell if the engine does leak coolant whilst driving. A broken coolant hose could cause sudden overheating and damage your engine. If your coolant light is on, get in touch with us today. We can get this repaired in just one hour.

coolant warning light on the dashboard of a mercedes

Maybe you have one of these Common Problems on your Sprinter or Vito?

We can help! The first step is to diagnose the issue. We then will send you our inspection report and quote you on the cost of repairs before beginning.

Contact one of our friendly team members today, or make an online booking

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