Tips Maintenance, Service intervals , oil change, Mercedes Sprinter 4x4

Maintenance Tips and Service Intervals for Mercedes Sprinter 4x4! Everything you need to know!

The Sprinter has been around since 1995 under different manufacturers; and many individuals have successfully covered hundreds of thousands of miles, thanks to its half a million miles Mercedes diesel engine! However, since 2008, diesel engines have been subject every year to more emission regulations which include some prone to failure components. As such, some small routine maintenance can prevent costly repair. Also, these vans weren't intended as off road camper conversion with permanent loads; therefore, it will affect the maintenance schedule recommendations. Here's how most Sprinter experts take care of their beloved adventure vehicle. Please read below for some tips and research regarding ideal maintenance requirements for Sprinters. 

Gear For Experiences SPrinter 4x4 Overland off road Service intervals oil change

Tips for preventing emission system related issues: 

1. Prevent idling for more than 30 minutes and promote highway over urban travel to extend EGR valve maintenance and DPF saturation. When idling, the lower rpm prevents the gases from burning hot enough and residues build up from burning away. The only exception is after having exerted a lot of stress on the vehicle (hot engine bay), let it idle for a couple of minutes after parking to let the turbo cool down prior to turning it off; doing so will prevent cast wheel failure.

2. Avoid turning off the engine while DPF is doing a regeneration cycle. You can go into setting on your dash and display the DPF regen cycle %. At 100%, the cycle will begin, and go down until it is back at 0%, do not interrupt the ongoing process by turning off your engine. Note: 2019+ Sprinters can regen while idling, even though it is not ideal, it is a useful feature. Prior models will need to keep driving for the process to occur.

3. Refill your DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) tank as often as possible. I always store my Sprinter with a full tank, refill it after every long trip, ideally before it falls below 3/4. When the tank is kept empty for too long the sensor will crystalize. Sometimes the sensor is so crystallize that even after refill, the computer will still show empty causing the vehicle to go into limp mode. For 2019+ Sprinter, you can go into setting on your dash and permanently show your DEF tank level. 

Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Particle Filter DPF Dashh Vehicle load DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid gauge

4. Always run 15ppm ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) aka. Highway fuel also used on semi trucks. Do not put Biodiesel! Note: 2023+ AWD models are more compliant. Often referred as diesel #2, it is actually unrelated since the #2 refers to summer diesel vs #1 that contains paraffin and is better to prevent fuel gel in winter. As such, it is possible to find #2 Biodiesel fuel also called Renewable Diesel, so look for the little green and white 15 ppm ULSD label instead. Biodiesel is the reason why we are asked to replace fuel filter so often by Mercedes. I recommend filling your tank prior to leaving the highway and preferably go to a highway truck stop gas station such as Shell, Sinclair, Love's, Pilot, ... Also, try keeping your fuel tank above 1/4 at all times, and if you need to add Biodiesel, only add as much as needed until you can reach next gas station with ULSD. The manual state that B5 (biodiesel 5%) is the max allowed before damage occurs. 

Gear For Experiences ULSD 15pp, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Sprinter 4x4 Tips Maintenance

Tips when working on the van:

1. Wait 15 minutes after engine stop as recommended by the Owner's Manual prior to unplugging the battery. The system is still cycling through some components for a couple of minutes after stop. 

2. Always unplug the factory starting battery prior to touching any factory electrical system. For example, disconnecting the airbag cable below seat to add a swivel without disconnecting the battery first will cause an error signal light on the dash which can only be reset with a Mercedes dealer computer. 

3. Do not lift the van from the rear differential, unless you have a Van Compass Skid Plate. The oem rear cover is thin and extends below the differential. As such, lifting the vehicle from it will bend and create a leak of rear diff fluid. This is particularly a problem when going to a tire shop with technicians who aren't familiar with those vehicles. 

Agile Offroad Van Compass Skid Plate Rear Differential Sprinter Van 4X4

4. Replace engine air filter often if you off road, particularly in convoy. The air filter will get dirty very quick from the vehicle's dust in front of you. When replacing air filter, make sure you remove all the screws and bolts, don't be lazy with the air intake hose by twisting it, it can break. A solution is to install a Terrawagen snorkel with a Cyclone pre-filter to keep the filter clean longer. Only install oem air filters which have 144 ribs filtration capacity. 

OEM Maintenance and Service Schedule: 

Before discussing the maintenance intervals Sprinter owners recommend, here's the official maintenance schedule from Mercedes’ website for unmodified Sprinters with regular usage. Note: surprisingly the Operating Instructions & Service Information Manual does not mention intervals. The information below primarily applies to the 6 cylinder diesel VS30 & 2009+ NCV3 models. Mercedes has gone back and forth between 10k and 20k miles maintenance intervals, which has caused much confusion as to the legitimacy of the science. Mercedes website also has a different definition of service B than most dealerships.

Mercedes sprinter Dash 20,000 intervals mnaintenace

Currently, MBUSA updated intervals to every 10k miles and dash computer no longer shows 20,000 miles as shown above between intervals but still shows every two year.
MBUSA Mercedes Benz USA Sprinter offical Service intervals A and B
For more information, you can contact Mercedes Benz Van Center - Warner, who is a dealer specializing in Sprinter models and who I trust most with my van. Their knowledge is superior to other dealers because they specialize only in those types of vehicles and they're also an aftermarket up-fitter through their Warner Van Center (includes Acorn and VanBuilders). As such, they understand that those vans are used in a variety of ways, and the needs from one customer to the next may vary. They also sell or rent Storyteller Overland vans and are the main distributor for Evictus suspension upgrade. 

Warner Van Center Mercedes VanBuilders Acorn Vans Evictus suspension SprinterWarner Van Center Mercedes VanBuilders Acorn Vans Evictus suspension Sprinter Storyteller

Service A (~$819) is officially performed after the first 10,000 miles or 1 year of ownership, then every 10,000 miles according to new changes. (Used to be every 20,000 miles or 2 years after the initial visit). Service A at Mercedes includes: 

- Oil and Oil Filter Change

- Fuel Filter and Water Separator Change

- Engine Air Filter 

- Cabin Air FIlter

- Multipoint Inspection

Service B (~$1,599 + ~$279 for 4x4) is after Service A, it gets confusing during first Service B (20k miles) because according to Mercedes, it is technically just a Service A + Brake Flush. Again, service B has a different meaning from corporate than dealers. The second Service B, which includes everything below, is recommended at 40,000 miles. Once your second 40k miles Service B visit is completed, you’ll return to an authorized center for A service at 50K, then B again at 60K miles, etc, for the rest of your Sprinter van’s life. Other than the first visit, Service B covers all the repairs and maintenances listed under Service A but with some additional fluid changes as shown below.

- Everything from Service A 

- Transmission Service

- Brake Fluid Flush 

- (4x4) Front Differential 

- (4x4) Transfer Case

Additional considerations: 

- (100K miles) Rear Differential

- (100k miles) Coolant Flush

- (100k miles) V-Belt and Pulley / Tensioner

- (50K miles) EGR Valve Cleaning

*Services performed during Service A/Service B may vary due to your driving habits, mileage, and local environmental conditions. Please refer to your maintenance booklet for additional details and general guidelines for your vehicle’s year and model. 

Multipoint inspection includes but is not limited to:

- Check tire pressure

- Inspect brake pads

- Check V-belt

- Check Fluid Levels: Coolant , Transmission Fluid, Brake fluid, Power Steering Fluid, Windshield Washer Fluid, DEF Fluid (models 2009+)  

Visual checks for paint damage/corrosion, lights, wipers, seat belts, hoses and lines, reservoirs, driveline, steering and suspension.

Recommended Maintenance & Service Schedule for Heavy (+9,000lbs) Camper Conversions, including Off Road, Towing & Urban Driven Sprinters: 

Throughout the years, Sprinter owner's have realized that the factory recommendations for service intervals seemed longer than they should be. Originally the same v6 diesel engine always had 10k miles or 1 year oil changes which created doubt as to the legitimacy of the change to 20k miles then back to 10k. Also the lack of intervals (miles) mentioned in the Operating Manual or Service Information booklet has made many skeptical. Another reason is that Mercedes didn't expect those vans to be converted into campers with a permanent load, often times beyond GVWR recommendations, and then driven off road. As such, maintenance should be done sooner than Mercedes dealers originally recommend. Here's the consensus for most Sprinter owners:

Service A as mentioned above but every 10,000 miles throughout the life of the vehicle. If your van is above 9,000 lbs, it should be done every 7,000 miles. Note: to save on cost (~$450), you do not need Fuel Filter replacement that early, you can keep factory recommendations which is every 20,000 miles, unless you used Biodiesel. My camper van is 8,500 lbs and I tend to travel just over 10,000 miles a year (Highway, Urban, and Off Road mixture), so I do Service A every year and Fuel Filter with Brake Flush every other year.

Service B Since service A every 10k or less miles for heavy duty Sprinters, the first service B should be no later than the first 30,000 miles (every 20-30k miles). If it appears arbitrary, you are correct, this is an estimation relative to the oem recommendations and various Sprinter owners' experiences. Based on my usage, I do my Service A every 10,000 miles and Service B every 30,000 miles.

Mercedes sprinter overland offroad oil change intervals A and B

Additional Consideration, would be rear differential oil change, coolant replacement, and V-Belt at 70k miles instead of recommended 100k. If you installed an ARB / Agile Offroad rear differential locker, then the oil change was replaced during installation and after 1,000 miles break-in period.

Extra Sprinter Owners Multipoint Check

After talking to many people who use their Sprinter as an off road camper, I recommend also checking: 

- Checking CV axle boot up front for grease leak (particularly the driver side)

- Checking wheel speed sensor near CV axle. It can get ripped off without the AO guard, mine did after winter off roading. 

- Adding a dip stick or checking computer for engine oil level. If below “Minimum” add 1.1Qt (1l). 

- Make sure there's no apparent oil leak under the van, particularly in front of transfer case.

- A recall was issued regarding power steering hose, but it can hurt to carry an extra one such as the one from Agile just in case. 

- Check oem starting battery voltage (all these additional accessories can sometimes have residual draws when storing your van).  

- Check DPF bracket for cracks 

- Listen for any clanking sound while accelerating which can be caused by EGR due to back pressure from valve sticking (not an emergency). Another cause could be form loose ome of the problems mentioned by Chad from Living The Van Life (LTVL). 


As always, this article is written to the best of our knowledge and is continuously updated. Feel free to comment or message us for questions or if you think some additional information is needed. 

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Hi Rick, Glad it was helpful! I totally agree, the switch from 4×4 to AWD on 2023+ also suggest that you are probably right. Cheers!


Thanks for the summary! I was confused because some people said 20,000 miles and others 10,000 miles… I think Mercedes corporate isn’t aware or doesn’t know how to handle the way their Sprinter vans are being used for 4×4 camper.


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