Mercedes steering column fault – no engine start

Does your car have any of these symptoms?

  1. You need to turn the key in the ignition several times before lights comes on dashboard
  2. Key turns in ignition but no dashboard lights appear
  3. Steering is still locked even with the key in ignition
  4. Steering lock is OFF with no key in ignition

The failure may have occurred suddenly, maybe even gradually got worse, or started after having a flat battery or jump starting another car.


The above symptoms will result in:


Most Common Models affected. (but can occur within the entire Mercedes range from 2001-2016)

  • W204 C Class 2007-2012
  • W212 E Class 2008-2012

Did you check?

  1. Spare key
  2. Battery is fully charged

What do I do now?

Firstly the normal rule would be to recover the vehicle to an appropriate car repairer equipped with right diagnostic equipment in order to assess the situation and carry out the repair.

With our company, you do not have to recover your vehicle to us, we can come out to you where your vehicle is and diagnose and repair it there and then.

During our diagnostics we can confirm if it's either Electronic Ignition Switch (EIS) or Electronic Steering Lock (ESL) fault, or may advise on changing both units, and maybe even the keys themselves.

If column lock is warning light is on, some will insist on replacing the complete steering column, this is NOT required. The actual problem is STEERING COLUMN LOCK MODULE.

We can offer two options to repair the vehicle:

  1. Replace steering lock with new one from main dealer
    • Pros:  brand new lock with one year warranty
  2. Repair your steering lock (possible on 90% of cases)
    • Pros: No time wasted on waiting for parts (if not required)
    • No recovery hassle and cost (we can come to you)
    • One year warranty
    • Lower cost overall
    • You can use vehicle same day

Rebuilding the steering lock with new hardware is possible if no fatal errors are logged on the processor inside.

How does the electric steering column lock work?

Known an ESCL short, this part has the objective to protect the vehicle being started and locking the steering wheel in the absence of a correct signal received from Electronic Ignition Switch (EIS).

After entering the vehicle the on-board sensor or key reader would have to verify the key identification as one of approved status, then the device automatically releases the steering column enabling the occupant to start the car. When the driver leaves the car with his own identification key and the engine is switched off, ESCL locks the steering column safely.

As it is a unit that operates every time when ignition is switched on and off it does wear out and become inoperative, causing the vehicle to be unable to start.

Call us today for more information on how we can solve this issue for you at a minimal expense and get you back on the road soon.