2003 E500 Reliability

I'm tempted to buy a Mercedes E500 - secondhand, probably a 2003 model. However, to my surprise, I read something on Wikipedia about this particular model having a very poor reliability record - problems with
electrics, brakes, engines, etc. Can anyone comment? How to spot a good one from a dud?
Thanks.
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I'm the proud (so far) owner of this exact model. I also purchased mine used last March with 34,000 miles. I now have just over 43,000 on it. I also heard after I purchased it that it is Mercedes most problematic model. Not what I wanted to hear after buying. Mine was and still is under MB new car warranty until the end of this year. That's small consolation for the coming years I intend to keep it. It's a great car with a terrific ride, great handling for a sedan and plenty of power. I am not at all sorry I bought the car. I love it. I have since purchased a so-called "bumper to bumper" extended warranty for 7 years or 100,000 miles for about $2500. I sleep a little easier now. I have had a few electronic gremlins since buying. I've twice experienced an alphabet soup of failure warnings on the computer display. It said I had failures or faults in my ABS, EBC, ESP and maybe one or two other letter combinations I can't remember. None of them were a reason to stop the car. The malfunction codes reset after turning off the car and restarting. The message said to bring car to dealer for inspection. I've also had some problems with the Logic 7 Harmon-Kardon sound system. The electronics (like a computer) would not boot up two different times. Also, once I had a static that would rise until it drowned out all other sound. All of my electronic problems were corrected. A failed driver seat headrest motor and a new console armrest due to a bubble in the leather were replaced under warranty by my local dealer. All of the electronics were repaired with updated and "reflashed" software programs. I had only a good experience with my dealer so far. I'm not aware of any engine reliability problems and I did new new brakes soon after purchasing. The rotors were a little scored so I went ahead and replaced all rotors (MB says you don't cut them) and opted for Greenstuff brake pads which have almost no brake dust dirtying up my new 19" chrome wheels. The stock pads were pouring out brake dust. I have to put up with a little squealing, but shiny wheels! As for spotting a good one you may want to have the VIN checked on any prospective vehicle. Your dealer can do this and give you a complete history of maintenance and repairs. The vehicle condition and the history should give you an idea of the car and also get a Carfax to check as much as possible. Good luck to you, and me too! Howard
...> I'm tempted to buy a Mercedes E500 - secondhand, probably a 2003 model.

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A relatively low mileage recent model won't have much wrong with its mechanicals - unless it's been in a crash, then all bets are off. But the electronics cause owners' unhappiness. And nobody can look at one car and know whether IT will or will not have problems. A fleet yes but not a single sample.
In the USA M-B dealers (only) sell recent vintage cars with a Certified Pre Owned warranty - 12 months to 100K miles. Such CPO cars are also eligible for a purchased M-B Extended Limited Warranty at additional cost - about $2,000 for one year and $2,500 for two years following the CPO.
Gamblers can buy used M-Bs quite cheap and take a chance on their repair cost, others choose to stay within the system, pay extra and know the inevitable repairs will be covered by M-B.
Repair cost apprehension isn't part of owning a luxury product, IMHO.
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On Mon, 13 Nov 2006 18:13:04 -0800, "T.G. Lambach"

about the electronics, if the car is a late year build you'll probably have less issues, you need to get the service records and see what problems the car has had and how the issues were resolved
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It was actually right around this time and laregely because of this car that MB admitted they'd gone too far with the complexity of their electornic systems and vowed to make it 40% less complex.
I took this to mean "c-lan".
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A long-serving employee of Merc London -- currently working in parts dept -- said to me this week that all the issues in the C and E class (many South African-built) have been addressed and all new ones will be fine. I can't recall from which date this applies but it wasn't that long ago. Doesn't help buyers of used ones, though.
But it does explain why my CLK Cabrio hasn't given me any big problems; this range wa snot affected, according to this guy.
Apparently the issues were dealt with with and then the CEO made that announcement in which he acknowledged there was a problem.
Whether it was a factory matter or electronics complexity or both, let's hope there will really be an improvement in the bread-and-butter ranges.
DAS
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