Mercedes ‘PRE-SAFE Functions limited’ or ‘Inoperative’ Fix

Mercedes ‘PRE-SAFE Functions limited’ or ‘Inoperative’ Fix

If you’ve landed here, you probably see a ‘PRE-SAFE Functions Limited’ or ‘PRE-SAFE Inoperative’ message on your Mercedes-Benz dashboard.

Our goal with this article is to explain the meaning of these messages and how you might be able to fix them!

Quick Answer:

A ‘PRE-SAFE Functions Limited’ message is often caused by dirty sensors. It can be fixed by cleaning the sensors in the front of the vehicle.

A ‘PRE-SAFE Inoperative’ message can have various causes, including weak batteries, wrongly positioned sensors, and defective seat belt switches. It should be fixed by using a diagnostics tool that can help identify the exact cause.

What is Mercedes PRE-SAFE?

Mercedes PRE-SAFE is a safety system that activates when it senses an imminent accident. The system uses sensors, radars, and sometimes cameras to monitor driving conditions. If it detects a potential collision or rollover, it is activated.

Here is an overview of what Mercedes PRE-SAFE does:

  • Tightening seatbelts: It automatically tightens front seatbelts to secure passengers in place, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Adjusting seats: If your car has electrically adjustable seats, PRE-SAFE positions them to maximize safety, especially during a frontal collision.
  • Adjusting front head restraints: The front head restraints are automatically positioned so they provide maximum protection in an accident.
  • Closing windows and sunroof: It swiftly closes open windows and the sunroof to prevent debris from entering the vehicle.
  • PRE-SAFE Brake: If the system detects an unavoidable frontal collision, the brakes are automatically applied at 40% braking power. The hazard lights turn on to alert oncoming drivers. An audible alert will also be emitted from the speakers.
  • PRE-SAFE Sound: In some models, PRE-SAFE will emit pink noise from the speakers to protect your ears from loud noises.
  • Activating preventive measures: In some models, PRE-SAFE even adjusts the suspension settings for better stability.
Mercedes PRE-SAFE Brake illustration

Meaning & fix: PRE-SAFE Functions limited See Owner’s manual

Mercedes PRE-SAFE Functions Limited - See Operator's Manual message

A Mercedes ‘PRE-SAFE Functions limited – See Owner’s Manual’ message means that the PRE-SAFE system has detected a minor fault or limitation in its functionality.

Here is what the Mercedes owner’s manual says about it:

Mercedes PRE-SAFE Functions Limited - Owner's manual guidelines

The most common cause of this message is dirty sensors.

If you see the ‘PRE-SAFE Functions limited’ message after driving through torrential rains or snowy or dusty roads, then you can be almost certain that the sensors are dirty.

You may even see the “Radar Sensors Dirty” message on your dashboard in severe cases.

So, the first thing you should do to eliminate the ‘PRE-SAFE Functions limited’ message is to clean all the sensors and cameras in front of your Mercedes.

Here are all the sensor and camera locations:

  • Windshield-mounted sensor.
  • Grill-mounted camera.
  • Emblem sensor.
  • Bumper-mounted sensors.
  • Side mirror-mounted sensor/camera.

Here are some images that make it clear where you can find all the sensors and cameras:

Mercedes windshield mounted sensor location
Windshield-mounted sensor location
Mercedes grill-mounted camera location
Grill-mounted camera location
Mercedes emblem sensor location
Emblem sensor location
Mercedes bumper-mounted sensor locations
Bumper-mounted sensor locations
Mercedes side-mirror camera sensors location
Side-mirror camera sensor location

After cleaning the sensors, you can reset the ‘PRE-SAFE Functions limited’ message by turning off your car, waiting for a minute, and then starting it again.

If the message does not disappear, you can try to perform a more thorough reset by locating your Mercedes battery, disconnecting the negative side, waiting 30 seconds, and re-connecting it.

Are you still seeing the message? In that case, it might be caused by something different than dirty sensors (unfortunately!)

Another possible cause of the ‘PRE-SAFE Functions Limited’ message is a weak battery.

A Mercedes battery should measure at least 12.0V when the car is not running. If your battery is starting to go bad, it might upset electrical systems like PRE-SAFE in your car.

You can learn how to replace a Mercedes-Benz battery in our article here.

If these steps don’t clear the message, or if it keeps coming back, it’s wise to consult a professional. A certified Mercedes-Benz technician can run a diagnostic test to pinpoint the exact issue and resolve it.

Meaning & fix: PRE-SAFE Inoperative

Mercedes PRE-SAFE Inoperative message

When your Mercedes-Benz displays the message ‘PRE-SAFE Inoperative,’ it’s more serious than the ‘Functions Limited’ alert.

The ‘PRE-SAFE Inoperative’ message means that the PRE-SAFE system has encountered an issue that prevents it from operating entirely. Essentially, your car is letting you know that its pre-collision safety features are malfunctioning.

Here are a few possible causes for the ‘PRE-SAFE Inoperative’ message:

  • Wrongly positioned sensor in the bumper.
  • Defective PRE-SAFE unit.
  • Faulty pin in the accelerator.
  • Weak main or auxiliary batteries.
  • Defective seat belt module.
  • Defective seat belt switch.
  • After-market modifications.

Unlike the ‘Functions limited’ warning, where DIY fixes might suffice, the ‘Inoperative’ message usually calls for professional intervention:

Mercedes PRE-SAFE Inoperative See Operator's Manual

A Mercedes-Benz dealer or a qualified mechanic can use diagnostic tools to find any Mercedes fault codes and identify the root cause.

While it doesn’t mean your car is unsafe to drive, this message does indicate that some of its advanced safety features aren’t working.


If you see ‘PRE-SAFE Functions Limited,’ it’s usually a small hiccup, something you might be able to fix yourself. ‘PRE-SAFE Inoperative,’ though, is a warning about a bigger issue, and it’s best to get professional help for this one.

We hope this guide has helped you to understand and fix any potential errors with your Mercedes’ PRE-SAFE system.

Let us know in the comments below which fix worked for you or if we missed anything!

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