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W211 spring failure

My W211 Mercedes-Benz Estate (2007, 48,000 miles) has gone BANG quite suddenly.

The RAC engineer (35 minutes from call to arrival) immediately diagnosed a broken front coil spring.

Apparently an increasingly common issue across all European makes, my questions are:

1) Why do they break when stationary & not when moving
2) Are there any warning signs to watch out for in the future
3) What is the best solution - local 'proper' garage staffed by experienced engineers, Full MB Main dealership, or local MB specialist given the importance of the issue & hourly labour costs of each?
4) What are the likely costs (pair of springs....ish...) for the 3x options above
5) Can I reasonably expect a contribution from Mercedes-Benz, when its only four months beyond the 36 month warranty, has a full Mercedes service history (incl from Mercedes-Benz Frankfurt within the last 4 weeks) & only has just 48k miles showing.

Asked on 18 April 2011 by Fangio

Answered by Honest John
1) Why do they break when stationary & not when moving: They usually fail first thing in the morning when they are cold and relatively brittle.
2) Are there any warning signs to watch out for in the future. No.
3) What is the best solution? Up to you. How much do you want to pay? If you go via the MB dealer they might get some goodwill from MB towards the cost of the replacement.
4) what are the likely costs (pair of springs....ish...) for the 3x options above. Can't tell you.
5) Answered under 3.
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