Saturday, September 30, 2023


What does ‘Passive’ mean on my Mercedes Sprinter dashboard?

Dear Dave,
I’ve tried the owner’s manual, Google, Mercedes-Benz website and my MB dealer’s shop foreman. No one or nothing can tell me what this message means. I have a 2021 Sprinter chassis Delano motorhome. While in cruise, if you press the accelerator for a little more speed this message appears. What does it mean? Any help? —Ken, 2021 Delano Mercedes Sprinter

Dear Ken,
You have a couple of safety features going on in the photo. First is the lower illustration that is a car with white lines on each side. This is the Lane Keeping Assist, which monitors the white line on the passenger side and center markings. White means you are centered correctly, and yellow then red is a warning you have drifted out of center.

Cruise control icon

The car with a clock-like icon is actually a speedometer and the cruise control icon. When it is illuminated, it indicates the cruise is on and the small dot is an indication a speed is set. Your vehicle is equipped with Active Distance Assist, which is called Distronic. This is the description from page 154 of your owner’s manual.

Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC maintains the set speed on free-flowing roads. If vehicles ahead are detected, the set distance is maintained, if necessary, until the vehicle comes to a halt. The vehicle accelerates or brakes depending on the distance to the vehicle in front and the set speed. Speed and distance are set and stored on the steering wheel. The speed can be set in the range between 15 mph (20 km/h) and 99 mph (160 km/h) or between 15 mph (20 km/h) and the vehicle’s maximum speed.

Other features of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC: Depending on the preselected distance, DISTRONIC intervenes either dynamically (short distance) or to save fuel (long distance). Depending on the vehicle mass detected, the dynamics of the DISTRONIC intervention are reduced. Rapid acceleration to the stored speed is initiated if the turn signal indicator is switched on to change to the overtaking lane.

When you increase the speed by pressing the accelerator, it puts the Distronic in passive mode, which means it is not active.

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


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2 months ago

On my Jeep Grand Cherokee the notice is much more informative. It says “Override”

2 months ago

You turned speed control off when you accelerated…🎉🥳✨👌👍

2 months ago

Great information Dave, wonder how you found the information when no one else could, even Mercedes-Benz? Perhaps in the drivers manual but you had to read the last line about Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC!

John S
2 months ago

Funny, Ken thought HE was driving the vehicle…

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