Mercedes S 500

I am looking at a 1996 Mercedes S500, with 110K miles, looks like its in great shape. Around $10 K dollars. Any inputs about this model would be appreciated. larry

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LARRY M MOSER wrote:

Way too high. This is an expensive machine to maintain. Do the research before buying one of these. They are great cars to drive, but repairs can eat you alive.
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w140-s-class/ would be a good place to start.
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The price is too high. Do your price check at edmunds.com, nadaguides.com or kbb.com.
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I've seen several of my friends with these cars and how much they spend every year to keep these machines running. these cars are very expensive AND UNRELIABLE! I've seen 2 people spend about $10k per year for maintenance on s500's!
I'd never buy a new mercedes, used ones are even worse!
Please look on google for unreliable luxury cars and you'll be surprised how many mercedes cars show up.
Get a lexus!!
Oskar
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I'm not sure about the 1996 model year, but I have had a 1990 560 SEC for 5 years now and other than the usual things that a person would do maintenance wise, such as oil changes, belts, breaks, tires, etc. I have never spent more than $1000 a year on repairs. The most expensive repair being $900 for a rear seal replacement, which was cosmetically neccesary for my garage floor, but not an urgent matter for the car. This year will be doing the timing chain and guides, but again not an urgent repair, but preventative maintenance. Last time I checked that Lexus that you brag about has these issues as well. As far as I am concerned the cost of maintenance of virtually any make of car is determined more by the owner and how he/she looks after it vis a vi regular and preventative maintenance, and less to do with the make. If you are buying a used car of any kind the first thing to consider after the visual inspection, and test drive is the service history, regardless of make. This will tell you if the car has a history of being looked after, or if it has been a victim of neglect and abuse. You look after your benz and while nothing is cheap you don't have the costly catastophic repairs, you abuse a Lexus, and it will blow up in your face, and cost you a fortune. Just my 2 cents worth.

I've seen several of my friends with these cars and how much they spend every year to keep these machines running. these cars are very expensive AND UNRELIABLE! I've seen 2 people spend about $10k per year for maintenance on s500's!
I'd never buy a new mercedes, used ones are even worse!
Please look on google for unreliable luxury cars and you'll be surprised how many mercedes cars show up.
Get a lexus!!
Oskar
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8489200 /
also see consumer reports. Sorry to burst your bubble but mercedes cars are just aweful in the reliability dept. Matter of fact, most german autos are NOT reliable when compared to japanese. Again, look at google....
ps. a little background on Lexus and reliability...notice how mercedes is almost double the amount of problems compared to lexus - it's below industry average.
http://www.autoblog.com/2008/08/07/lexus-leads-j-d-power-dependability-study-14th-year-straight /
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The study relates to 2005 cars.
My understanding (from a Merc workshop here in London) is that the majority of the problems related to specific -- albeit popular -- models and these have been largely fixed.
For example, they advised me against earlier A Class, but said that B Class has been fine ab initio.
My 2001 CLK 320 has never (so far) given me any major problems, even though it does a fairly low mileage (about 33K hitherto). (Cars are not meant to sit and rot.)
However, Japanese brands, at least in the past, have had class-leading reliability, as shown year after year in the statistics published by the ADAC, the biggest motorists' organisation in Germany. I used to get their monthly mag and annually they published their call-out stats. But even there the figures had to be treated with some caution because mileages were not taken into account. Big BMWs and Mercs tended to be very high-mileage vehicles and so showed certain faults to a greater extent. What the ADAC did not do was to normalise the data in distance terms.
DAS
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First of all, I dont understand what Mercedes haters do in this forum. Everyone has the right to their opinion, but there is also at right place for everything.
As said already in this thread, comparing Mercedes with some Japanese cars in magazines come to the favour of these Japanes cars as long as they are relatively young. Highest respect for that.
But try to look at a 15 years old Toyota with some 200k miles on and a similar Mercedes. Then tell which one you prefer. The Mercedes will still have its feeling of luxury whereas the Toyota most probably is usable for scrap only.
The problem with the W140 S-class is that it has a lot of fancy features, which can (and will) break by time. That costs. If they have not been replaced as they broke, some bill may have developed by time. But the basic things like engine etc. are very reliable. My 300SEL 3,2 (1991 W140) has more than 500k miles. The valves and sealings were replaced 100k miles ago, and the engine still spins like a cat. I have now done a complete replacement of control arms, bushings, ball joints, steering rods etc., and yes it has cost something, but I could never by another car with the same pleasure of driving for that kind of money.
I do also have a 1987 Honda Accord, which I still keep alive. But here spare parts prices are more expensive with a factor 3 to 5 compared with Merceces.
The point is, if you can repair things yourself, buing the car in question can be a dream, but if you have to consult a shop everytime, it may turn into a nightmare instead (unresolved problems, troubleshooting by unnecessary replacement of parts etc.).... but still a much less nightmare than buing a Japanese car at the same age.
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Unfortunately certain Merc models did have major issues, which the top management has acknowledged. Examples are earlier A Class and some C Class, first M Class.
Most of the problems also seem to have occurred in cars assembled ouside Germany (USA, South Africa).
Your 1991 car is still from the rock-solid era.
My personal opinion is -- without any external corroboration -- is that the top directors got too egomaniacal and had their attention diverted from the core business -- viz. aerospace, Chrysler...
When they bought AEG some years ago I read that the management of the car division was extremely angry... not surprising really...
DAS
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of rust problems etc. it had. Then I decided for an ealier model.
And to Larry who looks at the 1995 S500: Maybe you can find something cheaper than 10k, but more important is how much work has to be done ("postponed" items due to cost) as referred to in my post.
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Talk about fixing things yourself, here's a good story from recent experience. A good friend of mine that I go snowboarding with has a 2001 Honda CRV. Two summers ago, the AC would just stop working occasionally. He took it to the Honda dealer and they diagnosed it as a bad evaporator. He didn't believe that was what was wrong and didn't like the $$$ for the repair, so he just put up with it.
Next summer, it's out all together. So, he takes it to a local AC shop. They have the car for 2 days. Guy tells him he also took it to another repair place that specializes in electronic fixes and they both think it's the computer.
Being good with fixing cars and electronics, I told him to bring it down to me. I got the repair CD for the car on Ebay for $7. Within 15 mins of him pulling in the driveway, he had cold air blowing. What was wrong? The AC clutch was stuck! Simply pulling out the AC relay and jumpering the clutch directly produced the normal spark, but no clutch pull in. So, I got a hammer and cold chisel and tapped around it. Almost a year later, and it's been working perfectly, which I must admit amazes me, because I would have thought it would seize up again.
I just find it incredible that not only Honda, but 2 independent places, one of which specializes in AC couldn't figure out the compressor clutch wasn't engaging. One would think anyone with a pulse would have started there.
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8489200 /
I love Mercedes-Benz, I threw away my infiniti G35 to my son. Mercedes-Benz mechanic is much better than those made by Japanese. Benz has some problems with electronic and heat above 83C, causing certain sensor to die or lose track, because it uses magnet coil, particularly the Position Cranking Sensor. I solved this problem by using Optimum Fuel Systems tune-up. My Benz now operates below 79 degree C, 72 degree C for I driving normally 65-85mph, not only that my car is hitting 65MPG, that's 3X original performance, more extra horse power at the same time. Check out their web-site here: www.extra150miles.com I haven't had any problem with my 1999 Benz C280 for 2-3 years.
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richard wrote:

Now with SnakeOleum XP21!!! Better than those expensive high performance muffler bearings.
When ordering, don't forget your hip waders. It will get pretty deep when you do.
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By the way, Toyota Prius is a piece of junk, bad designed, it moves like a turtle, it's unsafe like the little Smart car. Mercedes-Benz's are protectors. I have to complain since my Benz is beating all hybrid cars.
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GM wrote:

'96 is a w140 '90 is a w126
Those are very different generation cars.
Regards, Peter
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Wow, the denial is amazing! I posted LEXUS reliability for the past 15 years or so. Lexus is a luxury car! see a 1992 LS400.
The LS460 blows away an S500 and it costs about half!!
luxury car vs luxury car! Toyota is a different division.
See comparisons that put an LS460 vs S500.
Lexus has put german luxury car makers to shame in reliability dept.
As for cars made in Germany I have no idea. I'm talking about cars in USA. I posted data for USA.
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