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Mercedes Benz w204 C Class Steering Lock Actuator Faulty

Why pay for replacement? We can repair!


Quite often mistaken for a dead vehicle battery, the w204 bodied Mercedes-Benz C-class suffers from a fault that will unfortunately leave you stranded at the best of times.

Quite often we get a phone call from a customer telling us their car won’t start, even after replacing the battery.

While the fault is not as common as the dreaded timing rattle fault, (common on petrol 4 cyl models), it is something we have seen many times over the last 3 – 4 years. The first few times we had forwarded the customer on to dealerships, where our poor customers were charged large amounts of money to replace a part, that should not only have not failed to begin with, but were replacing these steering lock actuator modules with new ones that were exactly the same and not modified to ensure they won’t fail again.

Once noticing that this was an issue we were going to start seeing more of, we needed to look into the fault to help save our customers a fortune and to help get their cars running perfectly again within a short period of time.


Mercedes-Benz W204 Bodied C-Class

It didn’t take long to find a great team interstate who could not just repair these units, but bring them to a higher quality than that offered by Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts. They would also carry out the repair and organise return shipping of the part at a fraction of the cost being quoted for a replacement unit.

This is exactly what we were offering our customers and were saving them money and stress. The only downside to this was the turnaround time. By the time we removed the steering shaft assembly, separated the steering lock actuator module and key reader, sent them away for repair and reinstalled upon arrival after being repaired, it meant customers were waiting up to a week to have their car back.

Most were happy to wait the required time due to money savings but it started being a hassle in the workshop, as cars would be sitting there for days, taking up room and unfortunately slowing us down.


A steering column assembly removed and the lock actuator module separated.

It was back to searching for a solution and we’re happy to say, we have found one and have been successfully repairing this fault in house at our very own workshop.

Unfortunately the car will still have to be towed in to us, but once it arrives, we will only need it for 1 – 2 days to complete the repair. The process includes removal of airbag, steering wheel and steering shaft components. We then repair the steering lock and reassemble without having to send any parts away. Both the repair and workmanship are covered by a warranty and we will endeavour to have you back on the road in a short period of time. Again saving you money.


Before reassmbly.


A completed steering lock repair.

What variants of w204 bodied C class are affected?

Unfortunately all variants are prone to steering lock actuator failure. From the base model C200 right up to the AMG C63. Coupe, sedan and wagon.

How can I tell if my steering lock actuator is at fault? What symptoms should I look for?

This fault can show some different symptoms, but the main problems to look for are as follows:

  • Key stuck in ignition and won’t start vehicle or even turn on ignition.
  • In some cases, steering will be locked. In other cases, the steering won’t lock and steering wheel can be turned in either direction, lock-to-lock.

What can I do to ensure this is not a battery fault?

Usually a flat battery will still allow you to remove the key from the ignition switch. To make sure though, a simple test would be to ensure all doors, boot and bonnet are shut and wait 5 minutes. This will turn off all components in the vehicle. Open the drivers door and inspect the instrument cluster to see if the odometer has lit up in the main screen. If not, turn your head light switch to ON and check again for the odometer reading. If your odometer is now displayed and your headlights are operating, then this is a sign of a faulty steering lock actuator. If the odometer displays when the drivers door is opened, then this may be a flat battery fault.

If you have any questions in regards to this fault, or you wish to book your vehicle in for repair, please phone

C&S Service Centre on 9484 6806 during business hours Mon – Fri.

Mention this blog and you will be passed on to the right person who can help answer all your questions.

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