The Mercedes-Benz M264 engine, introduced in 2017 alongside the M260, is a modern powerplant found in various Mercedes models. Despite its advanced design and technology, the M264 has been plagued by several common problems that affect performance, reliability, and longevity. In this article, we’ll explore the most prevalent Mercedes M264 engine issues, their symptoms, and potential solutions to help you keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Common Mercedes M264 Engine Problems

Cylinder Head Failure

  • Cylinder head failure is a significant issue, particularly in early M264 engines. Mercedes extended the warranty on M260 engines due to this problem, and the M264 is essentially the same engine but for RWD cars.
  • Symptoms include loss of compression, rough running, misfires, and the car grinding to a halt. A new cylinder head is required to fix it, which can cost several thousand dollars if not covered under warranty.
  • The root cause appears to be wear in the valve guides, leading to excessive valve movement and damage to the valve seats. Mercedes requires replacement of the entire cylinder head to address this.

Spark Plug & Ignition Coil Failures

  • Premature wear and failure of spark plugs and ignition coils is reported as a common M264 problem.
  • This can cause misfires, rough running, poor acceleration, and check engine lights.
  • Regular replacement of these ignition system components at the recommended intervals is important to prevent issues. Using high-quality OEM parts is advised.

Oil Leaks

  • Oil leaks from the valve cover gaskets and oil pan seem to be common M264 complaints as the engines age.
  • Leaks can cause oil loss, burning smells, and a mess underneath the vehicle. Low oil levels can lead to engine damage.
  • Regularly inspecting for leaks and promptly replacing the leaking gaskets or seals is important to prevent worse problems. Our guide on fixing engine oil leaks provides more information.

Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

  • There are some reports of timing chain tensioner problems on the M264, similar to issues that plagued earlier Mercedes engines.
  • A failing tensioner can cause rattling sounds and lead to timing chain skips, which may result in major engine damage.
  • Proactive replacement of the timing chain tensioner and related components may be recommended on higher mileage engines. Using quality oil and changing it on schedule also helps.

Carbon Deposits

  • Excessive carbon buildup in the engine is another frequently cited M264 issue.
  • Carbon deposits can cause poor performance, knocking, and emissions problems.
  • Regular oil changes with high-quality oil, using premium fuel, and avoiding lots of short trips that prevent the engine from fully warming up can help minimize carbon accumulation.

Diagnosing Mercedes M264 Engine Problems

To accurately diagnose issues with your M264 engine, it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms and their potential causes. Here are some steps to help identify problems:

  • Check Engine Light: If your check engine light is illuminated, use an OBD-II scanner to retrieve diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Common DTCs associated with the M264 include those related to ignition system issues, camshaft sensors, and variable valve timing.
  • Unusual Noises: Listen for unusual engine noises, such as rattling sounds from the timing chain area or clicking from the camshaft adjusters, as these can indicate potential problems.
  • Visual Inspection: Regularly inspect the engine for visible oil leaks, particularly around the valve cover and oil pan gaskets. Also, check for signs of wear or damage on components like the timing chain tensioner.
  • Engine Performance: Monitor your vehicle’s performance for symptoms like reduced power, poor acceleration, rough idling, or misfires, as these can indicate underlying engine issues.

Preventive Maintenance for M264 Engines

Staying on top of routine maintenance is crucial for minimizing the risk of M264 engine problems. Here are some key preventive measures:

  • Regular Oil Changes: Change the engine oil and filter at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals, using high-quality oil that meets Mercedes specifications.
  • Ignition System Maintenance: Replace spark plugs and ignition coils at the suggested intervals, opting for OEM or high-quality aftermarket parts.
  • Fuel Quality: Use premium fuel to minimize carbon buildup and maintain optimal engine performance.
  • Avoid Short Trips: Try to minimize short trips that don’t allow the engine to fully warm up, as this can contribute to carbon deposit formation.
  • Address Issues Promptly: If you notice any symptoms of engine problems, have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to prevent minor issues from escalating.


While the Mercedes M264 engine boasts advanced technology and impressive performance, it’s not without its share of problems. From potentially premature cylinder head failures to oil leaks and carbon deposits, staying informed about these issues and taking proactive steps to address them can help extend the life of your engine.

Regular maintenance, using high-quality parts and fluids, and promptly addressing any warning signs are key to minimizing the risk of serious M264 engine problems. If you’re experiencing issues or need expert advice, don’t hesitate to consult with a trusted Mercedes specialist or consider a reliable used engine from a reputable supplier like Engine Finder.

For more information on common Mercedes engine issues and their solutions, check out our guides on M278 engine problems and M271 engine troubles.


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Drawing from extensive expertise in the used car parts industry, Craig Sandeman has established himself as a trusted authority in automotive repair. He possesses a deep knowledge of the challenges encountered by individuals seeking reliable car parts, making him a highly sought-after expert in this field.


Potential issues, causes, and solutions have been identified in the above article based on the experiences of car owners and repairers, as well as web materials such as forum blogs and technical support bulletins. This data is supplied exclusively for the purpose of reference. Only appropriately qualified persons should perform repairs and/or changes on your vehicles.

While it’s important to keep in mind, it’s also important to note that the amount of times anything is mentioned here should not be seen as a sign of its reliability or frequency. Various owners, driving in different ways, and caring for their vehicles in distinct ways will cause two identical vehicles to perform differently.

As previously said, this material is supplied primarily for reference reasons; nonetheless, we hope that by doing so, we will be able to supply you with essential knowledge that will allow you to make informed decisions whenever you encounter any of the aforementioned setbacks.

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