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Mercedes E430 Climate Control
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

Mercedes Climate Control

Mercedes Climate Control Panel

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Potent Air Conditioning

The air conditioning on the powerful V8 E430 is like leaving the door open at an antarctic research station in the middle of a winter storm. It cools the E430 immediately!

E430 Air Conditioning

Cool comfort at 116F! (Woodland Hills, CA, 21 July, 2006, 3:50PM)

I wasn't believing my thermometer, which read up to 117 degrees F as we drove through Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley this July on our way to Santa Barbara. This was during a scorching heat wave, but we didn't think that scorching. Later we confirmed that these insane temperatures were for real. Our E430 kept us cool, and had plenty of more cold air in reserve if it got hotter. It had to work a little harder than usual, but our E430's automatic climate control was still only blowing at about 50% capacity at 117F outside, and I set the A/C to 66F. Bravo! Likewise, the engine's coolant temperature was the same as always.

It also continuously dumps loads of freshly made distilled water. This is the humidity removed by the air conditioning system.

You will see not one, but two streams of water. Park your E430 and you'll see two puddles. Pull it into your garage and you'd see two trails of drips. This is normal and means your A/C system is working great.

I think the E320 lacks the capacity of the E430. My V8 BMW 540 also had incredible air conditioning capacity. With big engines the makers can use much bigger A/C compressors without worrying about loading the smaller engines. My Diesels had nowhere near this capacity. EPA MPG numbers aren't measured with the A/C, so makers have never had to skimp. Unfortunately the EPA is proposing new measurements with the A/C on, and that might encourage lesser makers to get skimpy on the A/C of future cars to get better MPG ratings.

Mercedes E430 Air Conditioning Drips

Normal drips from the air conditioning system.

Fully Automatic Climate Control

Press "AUTO," select your preferred personal temperature and forget it. Regardless of how hot or cold, day or night, it keeps me comfortable.

Tell the E430 your personal temperature and forget it. I set all my Mercedes to 66F. I like it cool. I never need to adjust it.

Tip: Press the Up and Down temperature buttons at the same time to reset instantly to 72F.

It even has a bidirectional sun sensor and adjusts driver and passenger separately based on how strong and from what direction the sun is shining!

Set it and forget it. I have no idea how this can confuse the good people of Consumer Reports, unless of course all they understand are manual "hot - cold" controls. You don't have to trouble yourself with fan speeds or vents or temperatures. You can if you want to, but unless you just hopped out of the jungle and can't comprehend anything other than rental car heater controls, set it and forget it!

This means when you get in a hot or cold car that the fan first blows very fast to get the E430 as you like it, and automatically slows the fan down when it gets comfortable. If it gets warmer or cooler outside you won't know because the E430 regulates everything automatically.

The sun sensor really works! Pull into a garage or stop under a bridge in the summer and the air conditioning slows down almost immediately!

Mercedes have had automatic climate control since at least the early 1980s.

Tip: The inside temperature sensor is in the roof near the rear view mirror. If you point any of the dash vents up you may send too much air to that sensor and confuse it. If you do this in warm weather it will blow cool air on it. That will make the E430 think it's cooler inside than it is, and it won't cool properly. Point the vents normally and it's never a problem. This one bit me the first time it happened! I tapped the passenger vent all the way up and had no idea why my car was suddenly warmer than before, even if set to 57F!

Smog, Odor and Poison Gas Filter

The E430 has an activated charcoal filter. Press the top center button with the two arrows pointing right to activate it.

It really works!

When passing sewage plants and smelly smoking cars it removed the odors immediately.

I don't drive in smog, and if I did, the E430 is supposed to recognize high levels and kick in this filter automatically.

It also removes the smell from following tar trucks and Diesel vehicles.

It works great!

Dust and Pollen Filter

The E430 also has an electrostatic filter to remove dust and pollen. This always is on.

Works Even with the E430 Turned Off!

Press "REST." This lets the climate control keep working even if you've turned off the E430.

It blows cold air in the summer, and keeps heating the E430 in the winter.

I use this to keep the E430 comfy if I have a short errand.

It doesn't blow as hard as when the E430 is running. It's mostly to keep the E430 warm in winter, not cool in summer as I use it.

The REST mode turns itself off after about half an hour off to save the battery.


When I've been in poorly maintained E430s their A/C was often weak. It should blow out tons of frigid air just a few seconds after starting the engine. It should be frigid, not merely cool. It should cool the E430 down in a few moments of driving. If the air is anything other than frigid or it doesn't get comfortable until you've driven for miles then something's wrong.

I've been in defective cars that required several miles of driving to get the A/C to start making cold air. That's a defective car. If they need recharging they also need repair to fix the leak. No big deal, just probably about $1,000 of work. Don't buy a car that doesn't cool like crazy right from the start. This was a very common defect I found when shopping. Any real problems would probably be covered if you bought Mercedes' extended limited warranty, or got your E430 from an individual who had.

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