Our 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has officially crossed the 20,000-mile mark! I feel like a proud parent who has just successfully steered a child through the potholed roads of life into adulthood. There are still many more miles left in it, and, as good parents do, it was time to take the big guy for a checkup. There is a Benz dealer fairly close to my house, but the nearest one that is certified to work on the Sprinter is down in Long Beach. Yes, the most annoying thing about living with this van is that I have to take it down to Long Beach for servicing. Nothing against Long Beach -- it's just far away enough that it can take half a day in our Southern California traffic to drop off the van and pick it up.,

At just over $600, the 20,000-mile service put a nice little dent in my wallet. While I was in there, it seemed like a good time to refill the Adblue diesel exhaust fluid, which added another $71.75 to the bill, bringing the total to $707.48. For this price, the Sprinter received a topping-off of essential fluids, including the power steering, coolant, brake, and windshield wiper fluid. The cabin had been getting a bit musty, so the air filter was replaced along with the fuel and oil filters, and, of course, the oil itself with synthetic 5W40. Finally, the brakes were inspected and found to be in working order with the front/rear pads at 10mm each. A few minor items such as hose clamps and a loom tie -- whatever that is -- rounded out the service.

The second most annoying thing about the Sprinter is getting it cleaned. Obviously, it doesn't fit in a regular car wash, so it needs to be hand-washed. This leaves me with two choices: paying $40 a pop to get it washed or spending half my Saturday down at the do-it-yourself wash. Neither of these options is ideal, so I always take the dealer up on the offer of a free wash, which I guess makes driving to Long Beach a little less annoying.

While a $707 service in under a year may seem a bit excessive, we have put the Sprinter through the ringer during that time and, honestly, I was expecting a bit more work needed to be done and a lot more money out of my pocket. But factoring in the price of a car wash and the cost of driving 20,000 miles, the price is a bit more palatable.


2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Crew Van
Service life: 13 mo/20,328 mi
Avg CO2: 1.05 lb/mi
Energy cons: 182 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $1168.07 (2-oil change, ad-blue top-off, inspection; 1-fuel filter; )
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: N/A
Average Fuel Econ: 18.6 mpg