Approximately 3 years ago MB of North America initiated its “TRP” program. To the uniformed, “TRP” is an acronym for “Theft Related Parts.” This is arguably the death knell for all independent MB repair facilities, because it takes away the incentive and the ability for the independent to repair the customer’s car on a timely and cost effective basis. So what is a “theft related part?” I suppose this is a part that an individual who has the intention of misappropriating someone else’s car should not have the ability or the right to obtain. From what I can understand, this program was initiated with keys, and then with electronics. This was completely understandable for obvious reasons. These are items for which Mercedes has a completely captive market—the dealers are the only ones who can supply these if you need another. So bend over if you need one. If you are an individual who needs a replacement key, you must provide proof of ownership and identification – and the two must match. However, the key must be picked up by you in the car, or it must be delivered by MB to the car for an additional charge. If you are a repair facility getting the key for a customer, there is another layer of documentation from signed repair orders, with shop documentation, etc., et al.
Ok, I can understand the key thing, but this has morphed, at least in my mind, to other items, for which I cannot understand the theft relationship. Virtually all control units that need to be version code, from some trans shifters, transmission control units, engine control units, and alarm and central locking units. The last trans control unit we purchased had to be version coded by the dealer even though we clearly had the ability to do so! If you need a transmission for a newer MB (722.9) Mercedes has virtually made it so that only a Mercedes dealer can do the repair because of the coding that must take place after the transmission is installed. The end result is that the repair environment will be less competitive, TRP will be whatever MB says it is regardless of application, and it will not make sense for the consumer to own a newer Mercedes once it is out of warranty. The heritage of Mercedes has always been longevity at a reasonable cost. The independent repair facility has always had its role in realizing this concept, but this is no longer the case. If you want reliable economical transportation in the future, you will have to place your trust in another manufacturer.