Mercedes-Benz Car

How to Identify V12 Engine Problems in Your Mercedes

By Bavarian Performance Specialists January 10, 2021

Even the best-engineered cars will have some problems associated with them, and Mercedes is no exception. While any Mercedes is a wonderful car that represents the best in German auto engineering, its owners often report problems with their V12 engines.

These powerhouse engines are what give the Mercedes its great performance, but they can also be a source of headaches when something is amiss with their inner workings. In this article, we’ll give the V12 a closer look, and discuss some of the common problems it can have, and how to address them.

The V12 Engine

A V12 engine gets its name from its 12 pistons and the distinctive V-configuration in which its cylinders are arranged around the crankshaft. These engines date back to 1904 when they were first used in racing boats. Since then, they gained popularity with luxury cars and other vehicles like airplanes and even tanks. The pistons are arranged in two sets of 6 cylinders each and are at a 60-degree angle to each other; hence, the V-shape we mentioned earlier).

The advantages of the V12 have to do with how smooth it can run thanks to the timing in power strokes that can be achieved and how well-balanced they are. Some disadvantages are extra cost and complexity in design and construction. Most Mercedes with a V12 engine on the road today will have one of two models, the M275 or the M279.

What are the warning signs of a failing V12 engine?

There are a few common ways in which the Mercedes V12 engine can signal it’s on the way to failing. Although these symptoms share common traits among cars, each car and especially each Mercedes is distinct in how they present themselves. Owners should be aware of these and look, listen, and feel how their cars are running to identify them as they show up.


There is a range of problems that could lead to an overheating engine. These can run from blown head gaskets, a cracked radiator, coolant leaks, or engine oil that has been allowed to get too old and dirty. It’s very important that you pay attention to the temperature gauge and if you start to notice your Mercedes engine is running hotter than usual, it’s time to get it into a professional shop to be checked for problems.

Leaking Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic systems can develop leaks for a variety of reasons. These hydraulics are what drive the active body control system of your Mercedes. Damage or normal wear can cause these to leak around seals, lines, or struts. You should be able to tell when you are leaking hydraulic fluid when you notice it pooling under where you park your car, such as your garage. The fluid will be amber in color.


Misfiring is one of the most obvious signs of a problem V12. The causes could range from a clogged fuel injector to blown head gaskets, or a mass airflow problem. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to get your Mercedes into an auto service center as soon as you start to observe misfiring occurring.

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

If you start to notice that you’re not getting as far on a tank of gas as you once were, you may be observing an early warning sign of an engine problem. Although this problem can also be caused by underinflated tires or overworn tires, it’s also possible that your V12 engine is having problems.

Preventing V12 Problems with Proper Maintenance

One of the best things you can do to stave off potential problems with your Mercedes V12 engine is to take good care of it by checking your Mercedes Oil Level Check oil levels regularly, and keeping it topped off. Also, make sure to service your car regularly according to Mercedes recommendations to catch any problems early on and have them addressed.

At Bavarian Performance Specialists, our specialty is in German-manufactured cars such as your Mercedes. When you bring your Mercedes to our shops in Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Westlake, Malibu, and Newbury Park, CA, you can be assured that they will be given the highest quality service by our trained technicians.

We’ll have your Mercedes V12 quickly running as designed, providing you with the performance and smooth handling you’ve come to love about your car. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

* Mercedes-Benz Car image credit goes to: BONDART.