Here is a little gem of information that as Mercedes Benz owners you may or may not be aware of regarding a common occurrence that has presented itself many times in my personal experience maintaining and servicing MB vehicles.
If you are like me and are ‘in tune’ with the noises your car produces in the normal course of driving, you may be aware that tyre choice is fundamental to the quiet running of a vehicle. None more so than in the Mercedes Benz range.
I recently test drove a 75ooo mile young, C200 2004 model, in excellent condition and I would have been convinced that the noise from the front off side was a worn wheel bearing in the latter stages of its life. As usual it turned out to be a poor choice of tyre on that corner of the car. So many times have new owners of used Mercedes vehicles described an annoying ‘drone’ and are convinced it is a worn out rotational component such as a wheel bearing, when actually it turns out to be nothing more than a poor choice of tyre fitted to the car by someone who does not know any better (or the used car dealer fitted any ‘odd pattern’ of tyre to the vehicle to make its tread depth attractive to the would be purchaser).
The truth is that MB make quiet running vehicles and resonances are often heard that would normally be drowned out by road and engine noise in lesser vehicles – that’s why new owners regularly pick up on the odd noises that play above the serene quiet inside their passenger compartment.
The outline details below are from my own findings and experiences, I am neither promoting or slating any manufacturer of tyre, nor am I suggesting that every tyre of certain types and tread pattern all produce the same noise issues, they may not – however, quietly ask a well informed reputable tyre dealer and the chances are that he will impart to you the exact same recommendations.
The worst offending tyre to generate ‘wheel bearing type noise’ on the front of a Mercedes is the aggressive ‘V’ tread pattern that is often seen on modern tyres. As a rule the cheaper the tyre – the worse the noise! Their tread pattern looks very similar to this:
The next high ‘noise’ offender is the Winter or All Weather tyre, with its much smaller tread features moulded into larger segmented tread blocks placed again in a ‘V’ pattern, rather like the one shown below:
Both of the tread patterns above will more often than not give increased rolling road noise and in some cases a very pronounced ‘humming’ noise on all road surfaces, this often gets progressively lower in frequency as you brake to a halt or roll to a stop line. A far quieter, better choice of tyre would be ones with a more ‘radial grooved’ tread pattern that rings the complete circumference of the tyre as opposed to the noisy ‘V’ or ‘Block’ sections above. See below for good choice tread patterns.
The tyres above represent tread patterns that are far more favorable to the quiet smooth running of your Mercedes Benz vehicle, it does not have to cost a lot to get the best from your tyres, just an informed choice of what style of tread pattern you should be selecting at purchase. Past experience with both the ‘E Class’ ( W210, and W211 Chassis ) and ‘C’ Class model ranges has proven this time and time again. Often if I suspect that there is a tyre problem or the possibility of a worn wheel bearing I will quickly switch the tyres front to back if they are a different more forgiving tread pattern, to see if the noise changes or disappears. It often does, and by changing the rubber set up on the car will frequently cure the suggestion of any other mechanical defect.
Try it out for yourself if you are in any doubt, whats to lose? – it could save you some money in unnecessary garage bills !