Each time I take my car to the dealer for service, the service advisor
pushes for more work. For example, last week my service rep said that my
glow plug indicator stayed on too long - he drove it from the driveway into
the service bay. He wanted me to authorize an electrical checkout of the
system. My car is 1999 E300 with only 32,000 miles. But I told him my car
has never done that before and that I'll watch for anything abnormal.
After the oil change was completed, he said the glow plug indicator looks
Pretty normal retail service upselling. All auto brands market & sell like
any other business, unfortunately most don't deliver much value along the
A good check on this at the dealer you patronize is to see if he prices
service work to the local marketplace. If they quote you a price on a
maintenance service, check with any other dealers and a few independents to
see what they'd charge. It can be an eye-opener.
Excessive cost of ownership experiences is why most high-line auto mfrs are
now including free scheduled maintenance in the warranty. MB used to be the
home of the $500 oil change, no longer the case.
Speak on brother!
Before I bought my 2001 ML 320, I spoke to a friend who had a C class. He
told me that he routinely paid $200 for what amounted to nothing but an oil
change and an inspection.
Luckily, my vehicle was purchased with the free maintenance schedule. When
he heard this, he traded in and bought a new one.
With his annual mileage he probably saved close to $1000 a year (A and B
Since my '00 E430 is a leased vehicle, I've really enjoyed watching the
Flexible Service System indicator run past 12,000 miles between oil changes,
then getting it serviced at MBs' expense. Best part, their dealers
routinely screw up the car while it's in for service, thereby costing MB
more in warranty than if I'd just taken it to Jiffy Lube and sent them a
I had an automotive design engineer explain to me about 15 years ago that
with modern computerized machine tools, modern metallurgy and modern
lubricant technology an engine in normal service could easily go 15,000
miles without an oil & filter change. My response was "Ok, you first!"
Remarkably, even though it will go 12k between changes this car's never used
a drop of oil or any other fluid for that matter. Pretty cool technology in
I was taught that oil never breaks down. That is the reason it is not
necessary to change the transmission oil frequently and the differential
never. Of course, it may be necessary to add due to lossage. That, the
main reason to change oil is that it gets contaminated - metal wear, blow by
gases, and condensation. With the manufactures going to longer intervals,
it suggests that engines are built better, i.e better metals, tighter
tolerances, and better oil filters. The fact that oils, such as synthetics,
are better lubricants minimizes the wear factor. For these reasons, I've
ignored the FSS and changed my oil every 10,000 (on previous two diesels,
changed oil every 5,000. I used these intervals because the multiple are
easy to remember). Over the past 15 years and more than 300,00 miles, none
of my cars "used oil". Thoughts... comments?
Toyota and several other mfrs have recommended 10k oil change intervals for
years even with conventional oils. No reason to suspect this would cause any
WRT FSS and free scheduled maintenance, the dealers tell me MB will onlypay
for the service if the vehicle has gone at least one year or 10k miles since
it's last service. 10k is the default lowest mileage the system calculates.
Dealers cringe at all this long mileage interval stuff. They, the oil &
filter mfrs really like 3k mile oil changes! The last mfr to have this as a
standard interval was VW back in the early 70's. (Frankly, you had to
service an air cooled VW every 3k just to be sure either the oil hadn't all
leaked out, the cyl heads hadn't popped loose, the clutch cable hadn't
Hve you been able to reset the FSS to -0-? There are instructions in the
manual (1998 C320), but I've never gotten it to work. Similarly, suggestions
on this board in the past have not helped me reset the FSS.
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