The switch for the vanity mirror light above the sun visor fail; there is an updated switch for some models. On the remaining models, due to a redesign, the mirror "cassette" will need replacement.
Car problem reports
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Most reported 1996 Mercedes-Benz E300 problems
Irregular and premature tire wear can be caused by the lower control arm bushings cracking, resulting excessive movement at the control arm pivot point. Ball joints can also wear out prematurely, causing similar tire wear symptoms. I some cases it may be necessary to replace the lower control arm, including bushings & ball joint to correct this concern.
PSE system, voice control module, or Tele Aid module failure can cause a lack of audio. These same modules can also cause dead battery conditions when they fail to "time out." Many electronic control modules are active even when the engine is off. If these modules stay active, they will drain the battery, which is why they have a timer built into the modules. The timer shuts down the modules after a preset amount of time (timing out). If a module does not time out, it will stay active and drain the battery.
Brake lamp housings can melt, resulting in a loss of contact for the brake light bulb holder. If this happens, the brake light will not work. Replacement of the damaged lamp housing should correct this problem.