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Euro Specialist
Euro Specialist, Mercedes Technician
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 628
Experience:  Master Certified Mercedes Benz Technician - ASE Certified
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Mercedes: smart key wont turn my ignition...its like its not

Resolved Question:

my mercedes smart key wont turn my ignition...its like its not readding the sensor...none of the remotes that the car came with work
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mercedes
Expert:  Euro Specialist replied 2 years ago.

HighwayRepair :

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer

HighwayRepair :

to clarify neither of the keys will turn when inserted into the ignition AND neither of the remotes will lock or unlock the doors?

Customer:

yes thats correct

HighwayRepair :

unfortunately, this is not great news. You are most likely in need of replacing a component called an "EIS" or electronic ignition switch, it is a black box that sits behind your dash panel that the keys plug into.

HighwayRepair :

do you hear a slight "clicking" or actuating noise when you insert a key into the ignition?

HighwayRepair :

you'll have to be fairly quiet to attempt to hear it

HighwayRepair :

it will just be one click/actuation, not like a racheting or repeating noise

Customer:

no nothing happens

HighwayRepair :

the EIS is most likely electronically faulty, you will need an advanced mercedes diagnostic computer to verify, and even if you tested it yourself, you would also need to order the part from the dealer and use the same computer to code the component after replacement

HighwayRepair :

the other likely option would be a part called a "steering lock", but a faulty steering lock would usually not diasable the lock/unlock feature

HighwayRepair :

and also the noise is more likely to still be present with a failed steering lock

Customer:

this morning i tried to turn it on and on the dash it said abs and also it said somrthing about S.O.S and it turned off right away so i couldnt read what it said

HighwayRepair :

interesting, AND a goos sign

HighwayRepair :

*good

Customer:

after that it just died

HighwayRepair :

the combination of sos ( on-star type system) and abs light leads to a low voltage issue

HighwayRepair :

MUCH better than having a faulty EIS

Customer:

i pressed the sos button and nothing

HighwayRepair :

do you have access to a second vehicle and a set of jumper cables? we are more likely dealing with a faulty battery or alternator at this point

HighwayRepair :

the sos button is probably not activated on your car and that is not a huge concern, they changed formats on the system, and if you werent paying for the subscription, and didnt install the modification kit, your system will no longer function

Customer:

the light on the car work

HighwayRepair :

very bright, or slightly dim? check horn function WHILE the lights are on, check for either to seem weak

Customer:

the radio also turns on

HighwayRepair :

that is odd. both of these issues started at same time? the abs/sos light and the not starting?

HighwayRepair :

the EIS requires very little power to engage the steering lock and allow you to turn the key in the ignition, if the radio turns on, you can usually turn the key, but just wont be able to actuate the starter

HighwayRepair :

i highly recommend installing jumper cables and rechecking operation. computers can act very erratically with low power voltages

Customer:

yes

Customer:

even if all the lights work?

HighwayRepair :

that would allow us to rule out electrical power supply

Customer:

they are not dim or anything like that

HighwayRepair :

without it, we are guesing at either electrical power supply, or faulty eis

HighwayRepair :

if the vehicle operates exactly the same after installing jumper cables, we know we have an issue with the EIS or a key, and since we have two keys, it is much more likely to be a faulty EIS, than two faulty keys at the same time

Customer:

how much does that kind of repair cost? do you know?

HighwayRepair :

i can get you an estimate for a replacement EIS, it will vary by a few hundred dollars depending on your dealer location

Customer:

im located in san jose california

Customer:

do you think you can get an estimate around here?

HighwayRepair :

I would expect to pay about $580 for the EIS replacement, some dealers will require you to purchase a new key with the EIS. a replacement key would run an additional $190. There will also be a "green key" charge that is used to code your EIS, this green key charge will be refunded after the repair is completed, and some dealers wont even put it on the invoice.

HighwayRepair :

you may expect to pay an additional hour or so of diagnosis ( usually at about $130/hr) depending on how nice the dealer feels

Customer:

do you know if labor is included in that price?

Customer:

on the $580

HighwayRepair :

that price should include labor, the EIS itself costs around $300, depending on dealer markup

HighwayRepair :

dealers have 100% control over their own pricing, they can technically charge whatever they want

HighwayRepair :

at the san diego dealer i worked in our parts department had a 200% markup across the board, because they could due to location

Customer:

wow

HighwayRepair :

eis _ diag _ key, i would be expecting to pay in the $800-$1000 range.

Customer:

so do you think i should try the jumper cables first?

HighwayRepair :

thats kind of why we want to be REALLY sure your problem isnt a simple charging system problem

HighwayRepair :

definitely, try the jumper cables and let me know what happened here and i will continue to help you out

Customer:

and if that doesnt work then its going to be the EIS?

HighwayRepair :

most likely an EIS, much less likely a faulty key ( and you have two keys that arent working, making it even less likely), and unlikely but possibly a steering lock

HighwayRepair :

a diagnostic scanner would need to be installed on the vehicle to check for input and output signals going into and coming out of the EIS before condeming it 100%

HighwayRepair :

a dealer quality scanner, not a cheapy from autozone or similart

Customer:

I'll try the jumper cables right now and I'll get back to you in about 30-40 min

HighwayRepair :

ok, ill be eating dinner soon, if i dont respond immediately please be patient and I will hurry back as soon as I can

Customer:

sounds good

HighwayRepair :

talk to you soon, good luck

Customer:

thanks

HighwayRepair :

im going to reply again, so that I get e-mailed after you reply again.

Customer:

hello!

HighwayRepair :

hello again

Customer:

so as soon as i turned the key it turned but on the dash the message said "teleaid sos visit workshop" and all the lights where on

HighwayRepair :

did the vehicle start?

Customer:

no

HighwayRepair :

this is fairly inconclusive, but leads us back towards the problem being a battery or an alternator, seeing as how the vehicle gained operation with jumper cables installed

HighwayRepair :

did you have the other vehicle running for a few minutes while attempting to start the mercedes?

Customer:

no this was before i connected the cables

HighwayRepair :

and what happened AFTER you put the cables on?

Customer:

nothing at all

HighwayRepair :

key would not turn in the ignition again?

HighwayRepair :

do you have access to a volt meter?

Customer:

yea it wouldnt go again

Customer:

no

Customer:

the windows came down but didnt go back up

Customer:

like when you open the door

HighwayRepair :

i recommend having the battery and charging system checked, it is likely you have a faulty battery/alternator/or wiring issue that can be repaired for much cheaper than an EIS issue

HighwayRepair :

we're getting inconsistent results

HighwayRepair :

do you get your vehicle serviced by the dealer? if so you have coverage from MBUSA roadside assistance

HighwayRepair :

or, were you the original owner of the vehicle

Customer:

so what does the tele aid message mean? if i dont have the sos service?

HighwayRepair :

more than likely it is just triggered by low voltage in the system

Customer:

no there was one previous

HighwayRepair :

"tele aid" and your "sos" system cannot prevent the vehicle from starting

HighwayRepair :

but they store faults whenever the system is low on voltage and the instrument cluster will cycle through displaying those faults to you until the low voltage issue is repaired and the codes are cleared.

Customer:

alright so im just going to take it to the dealer tomorrow and have them check it out

Customer:

thank you for your advice

HighwayRepair :

ask them to check the battery and alternator for low voltage issues

HighwayRepair :

and then if voltage is found to be good with a meter, ask them to inspect your eis

Customer:

ok will do

HighwayRepair :

you are very welcome, if any other questions pop up feel free to return to here and let me know

HighwayRepair :

also

HighwayRepair :

bring both of your keys with you, they will want both

Customer:

ok do you know if there is an extra charge for them to inspect the eis?

HighwayRepair :

more than likely you could get them to inspect your battery in the service drive for free, but they will almost guaranteed charge you diagnosis to inspect the EIS

HighwayRepair :

does your dealer have a section up front by the service advisors where they will top off fluids and put air in your tires?

Customer:

yes they do

HighwayRepair :

that is where you will want to start to try to get them to look at your battery for no charge, the techs in that area are unlikely to be willing to look at your EIS for you though

Customer:

oh ok thank you

HighwayRepair :

you are very welcome

Euro Specialist, Mercedes Technician
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 628
Experience: Master Certified Mercedes Benz Technician - ASE Certified
Euro Specialist and 6 other Mercedes Specialists are ready to help you

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