Recently, in June 2023, due to scheduling differences, we drove separately to a family event 400 miles from home. After the event, Susan returned home and I, with our van (a 2016 MB Sprinter NCV3 / 2017 Winnebago Era), would follow a couple of days later…or so I thought.
As I prepped the van for my not-so-imminent departure, planned for the next day, I noticed the van’s key fob was no where to be found. In a moment of desperation, which I assumed was for not, I called Susan and asked that she check her purse. And there it was. A couple of days earlier, I had thrown a few things, in her purse, later retrieving all the items, except for the most important one. My van key had remained in the bottom of her purse. Did I say she was 400 miles away?
So, remembering that I once needed a car key replicated during the last century, over 40 years ago, how much could the process have changed? Just call the dealer, or even a hardware store, and have a duplicate cut (if you had an existing key already in hand). Assuming some differences with the advent of electronic key fobs, I expected some changes, but not what I ultimately discovered. So I called the local MB dealer, parts department. It could not be more difficult to obtain a new key.
Here we go:
I was given essentially the same story by two MB dealerships approximately 600 miles apart. For MB Sprinter vans with the 906 key fob (2012 – 2020), Mercedes corporate has restricted key fob replacements.
– BOTH keys must be lost.
– Van MUST be towed to the dealer with proof of towing – $$$.
– THEN, a new fob is ordered from Mercedes ~ $216.
– Upon arrival, the new fob is programmed ~ $120.
When I further enquired as to why all the hoops to jump through, I was told that Mercedes issued these requirements in 2020 as a result of an electronic chip shortage effecting the vans with the 906 key fob, being the approximate years of 2012 – 2020. Further, there are 49 different MB vehicles with this type fob. Finally, there is no perceivable end in sight for this restriction.
We hadn’t actually lost any key fob, luckily. Rather than pay in both, many hundreds of dollars and many days lost, we opted for the much less expensive UPS overnight delivery at $54, with no insurance, or $72 for $500 worth of insurance (my estimated cost to get a duplicate). At any rate, problem solved with next day fob arrival.