No More Saintly Patience with Mercedes-Benz; I’m Pissed

“Diane Nilan has the patience of a saint. Her followers and supporters do not.”

Diane Nilan
6 min readMar 11, 2022


(friend’s email message to Mercedes-Benz corporate executives)

My van outside Albuquerque Mercedes-Benz Photo Diane Nilan

My “saintly patience” has been exhausted by my ongoing saga with Mercedes-Benz over the dangerous deterioration of my Sprinter van. My ire, however, has skyrocketed.


Back in February 2020 on my Medium blog, I described my frustrating Sprinter saga, pushing for a solution to the chronic mechanical crises that have plagued me since I purchased this new camper-van back in September 2014. At the time, MB was touted as “the” van for campers. I fell for the hype, counting on it to be reliable and efficient.

Back in the days — 2014 — when my van and I were fresh
Back in the days — 2014 — when my van and I were fresh. Photo courtesy HEAR US Inc.

I live full-time in the van, traveling cross-country to chronicle family homelessness for my one-woman HEAR US Inc. nonprofit. I purchased the van with my own money. This is my 2nd van; I’ve lived on the road since 2005 when I sold my home and belongings to pursue my unique, essential mission of raising visibility of family homelessness.

Current Mechanical Issue

My latest Sprinter conundrum — the damn CHECK ENGINE light showed up as I was making my way across the New Mexico countryside at the end of February.

The warning display frequently seen in my van.
The warning display frequently seen in my van. Photo Diane Nilan

I’ve become immune to the possibilities of the CE light, having seen it far too many times. But this time, my van demonstrated some concerning “behavior,” e.g., slowing down from the 75 mph speed limit on I-25 to 40 mph as I was driving uphill into Santa Fe.

Fortunately, I was near a Mercedes-Benz dealership, so I pulled in. Amazingly, they connected the scanner and determined that yes, I had a mechanical problem.

Reverse to November — December ’21 MB Failure



Diane Nilan

Founder/pres. HEAR US Inc., gives voice & visibility to homeless families & youth, ran shelters, advocate, filmmaker, author, 18 yrs. on US backroads.