Mercedes are sophisticated vehicles with powerhouse engines and comfortable interiors. Their brand is built on comfort and dependability without compromising on their excellent performance standards. For that reason, it’s unusual to see broken-down Mercedes in your everyday life, as those who make such a purchase want to ensure their vehicle stays in tip-top shape.
Your Mercedes will occasionally experience issues beyond routine maintenance and normal wear and tear. With the advent of more environmentally friendly policies in vehicle manufacturing, one of the compromises in the industry came about on Mercedes’ “biodegradable” soy-based engine harness wire insulation. The problem: engine overheating, and the occasional rat.
Your engine harness wires are responsible for relaying electrical power and important electrical and mechanical information throughout your engine. These wires compose a complex system of wires, connectors, and terminals that all act with two end goal functions: to keep your vehicle running and your passengers safe.
Starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, vehicle manufacturers turned to soy-based engine harness wire insulation to remove toxic chemicals from their formulas. These biodegradable replacements seemed great for a time, and they certainly sound good on paper, but after a while, they begin to do what they’re meant to do: degrade. This causes problems for Mercedes owners, who may then need to have their harness wires replaced, as frequently the same damage that occurs to the insulation affects the internal wiring as well.
One of the natural causes of degrading engine wires is due to the extreme, prolonged heat of your engine. Over time, your engine wire insulation may begin to melt, crack, or otherwise show signs of wear and tear.
Another typical cause of engine harness wire damage is due to the ceaseless vibrations exerted upon the engine wire insulation by the everyday function of the engine. Combined with the heat of the engine, over time, this can cause the insulation to crack, flake, or degrade over time, leaving the wires exposed and your Mercedes in need of a checkup.
The other natural cause of engine wire insulation degradation is rats and occasionally mice.
These little pests are drawn to the engine’s heat as well as the soy-based insulation around the engine wires. Over the last 30 years, rodents have been known to chew through the insulation (and the wires encapsulated within) with reckless abandon.
There are a variety of symptoms that may occur from engine wire damage, depending on if, where, and which engine wires were damaged with the insulation.
A stalled engine can be a sign of a lot of things, but if your engine stalls suddenly and refuses to start again, it could be a sign that your engine wires have finally snapped.
If your vehicle seems louder and shakier while you’re stopped, or if your carriage vibrates while speeding down the highway, it could be a sign that the insulation around your wires has been compromised.
If your check engine light goes on and the usual suspects aren’t to blame, it may be time to have your mechanic check the state of your engine harness wires and insulation.
If you bring your car to a mechanic or non-garage car shop and use a computer to connect to your OBD system, that computer will spit out a list of codes for what could be wrong. If you go through this process and get several codes, especially if they’re seemingly unrelated, it’s time to bring your Mercedes in to a mechanic immediately, as something is wrong.
If you notice any of the symptoms of bad, broken, or chewed-through engine harness wires or insulation, it’s time to bring your vehicle in to St. Matthews Imports, today. We are the #1 rated German auto repair shop in Louisville. St. Matthews Imports of Louisville, KY operates and services German autos at multiple locations, including Hubbards Lane, for automotive service and repair. Call us today for an appointment or stop by to speak to one of our technicians.