My C230K Sport Coupe just passed 30,000 miles and needed its second "A"
maintenance (according to the FSS). I called the dealer and was able to
get an appointment without difficulty.
On Monday, I dropped the car at the dealer and mentioned that the driver's
seat belt latch occasionally took some convincing to lock, and that the
problem was very intermittent and that I could always eventually get the
belt to latch. I then got a ride to work and at the end of the day, a
ride back to pick up the car. It had rained all weekend (and on Monday
morning on my way into the dealership) and so the car was filthy. They'd
washed and dried the car and replaced the balky seatbelt latch.
This is now the third time I've taken the car in for scheduled maintenance
and had a warranty item fixed without hassle. On my first visit, the
cupholder was difficult to fold back into the console, due to a loose
hinge on a part. It was replaced and has given me no trouble since.
I was also receiving intermittent warnings about BAS and ESP being
disabled. The dealer replaced a faulty sensor transmission wire and that
problem hasn't reappeared.
On my second visit, for the "B" maintenance, I mentioned that I'd recently
begun to see an occasional warning that my cooling system cap was loose
(which it wasn't). That was fixed without question and hasn't recurred
I'm dreading what it'll cost to fix these kinds of problems in the future
once the car is out of warranty, but the "stealership" has been extremely
easy to deal with and has fixed every minor issue without question or
I feel extremely lucky to be dealing with such a competent, pleasant
service department, especially when I read the horror stories in this NG.
** Note "removemunged" in email address and remove to reply. **
It would be interesting to read about this same experience had it happened
after the warranty had expired.
In the old days, when MB wasn't selling the volume it needed to be viable
for the long term, the money went into the design and build of the cars
before the cars went into service. Like so many other modern consumables,
it appears to be more cost-effective (for the companies) to do damage
control after delivery than it is to proactively, preemptively forestall
those problems on the factory and design floors.
Of course, in the old days, when MB wasn't selling the volume it needed to
be viable for the long term, I wouldn't today have had the number of MBs in
my driveway, either.
The fact that they're scary to own without a comprehensive warranty in
place, combined with overpriced, overrated dealer service departments who
are more likely to do $1500 electronic component swaps than genuinely dig
into a problem, further aggravates things when the ownership turns into
I grew up with MBs, from a 1958 300SL my dad suddenly found himself with
when a friend was unable to repay a loan, to a 1959 190D that ran for three
decades without anything but very basic driveway maintenance, to college in
a 20-year-old sedan, to an adult with pretty much anything I wanted. In the
old days, when they needed repairs, they needed those repairs only half as
often, but usually with more expensive repair charges. So in the end, they
were durable, well-built, and ran longer, but on average were less expensive
to own in the long run, thanks to durability and slower long-term
That's no longer true. I begin to hyperventilate when my new MBs reach
end-of-warranty life. I no longer have the confidence that a dealer repair
shop will treat my money with any kind of respect. In many cases, I've been
the one to tell the service department about a TSB on an issue that they
didn't know about, and there is no situation in the world where I would not
lose patience with something that wasn't fixed correctly the first time,
whether covered under warranty or not. There have been times when I've
returned a car or truck to the dealer four different times to get one single
thing repaired; the warranty doesn't cover my time from work, my waning
trust in a brand I used to love, or my peace of mind in wanting to keep the
car for as long I would hope to.
It's all different now. But for me, it's not how good it used to be, it's
more that there's nothing else to choose from, even with things different.
An MB, even today, is still a combination of qualities that can't be touched
by any other company.
With all due respect , those seem like very minor problems that the service
department repaired. After you spend 30K + on a car I don't think the
dealership deserves a pat on the back for fixing a few warranty issues. Back
in the early 80's when I bought my first MB ( 1982 240D ) Mercedes service
was top notch , during the late 90's it went way downhill.and with it ,went
the entire MB ownership experience (IMHO)
I must say i was happy in PA when my 82 240D batt went dead.
was at a motel anyway so i was OK till the next day.
called the 800 in the glove box & they
came over 60 miles to jump start it.
went to the that dealer.
needed an ALT and they did not have one.
they found me a room at a good hotel
<my nickel>took me there & picked me up. they had one before 10 AM the
next day and was on the road by 11 AM.
jump start NC
ALT 350.00 installed !
no bitching here!
i now forget the dealers name <suncoast?> but i did write MB a letter
patting them on the back.
there response we want you for life.
this was 5 years ago
the case, minus a few cans!
I wasn't offering a pat on the back. I simply pointed out that contrary
to many people's experiences as posted in this NG, the dealer where I
bought my car gave me no grief. FSS appointments are always scheduled
within a day or two (not the weeks described by some posters), and if I
don't get an appointment for the next day when I call the dealer, it's
usually because I'm not able to get into the dealer the next day, or I
called at 5:00 pm and all the slots for the next day are already full.
I've heard repeated horror stories by people who had problems with their
cars that never seemed to be completely fixed, or the dealer ended up
telling the owner, "Sorry, but that's the way this model works" or
something similar. I'm not saying that a balky seatbelt latch or a broken
cupholder is on par with a loose seat or annoying rattles. I am saying
that a problem with BAS and ESP was traced quickly and fixed permanently
and that a problem with the car reporting low coolant levels was traced to
a faulty filler cap and solved.
IOW, YMMV, but my problems have been fixed quickly and without repeat
visits. Not all stealership service departments are completely
incompetent or corrupt. Some can fix the small things without trying to
rip you off. That's hardly a ringing endorsement of MB service. It's
simply pointing out that not all dealers are as crooked or incompetent as
the stories often posted here might lead one to believe.
Regardless, it's clear that the sheer number of horror stories told here
paints a bleak picture for MB, whether in the US or elsewhere. If your
customers have to go out of their way to find a dealer that's simply
competent, you've got a problem, especially in the luxury market.
** Note "removemunged" in email address and remove to reply. **
AAAHHH how we get spoiled.....I remember the days when I bought my last New
GM and Chrysler cars.
The last GM car went back to the dealer within several days for issues that
should have been fixed before the car was even delivered. It took 3 trips
back to the dealer to get a faulty ignition switch replaced among other
things that were screwed up because of lousy workmanship.. My last Dodge van
had a transmission problem where it would not upshift into high untill
thoroughly warmed up. Local Dodge dealer in La Mesa Ca. kept telling me that
they checked it out and it was OK. I kept taking it back and got the same
answers. Once the miles were over the Warranty limit they told me I needed a
Trans rebuild for $1200. I wound up giving the car to my father who took it
back to Seattle, where he took it to a reputable transmission shop. It
turned out o be a minor repair to the valve body...$125.00. Subsequent to
this I received an Owner's satisfaction survey from Chrysler. I filled it
out and sent it back.....Guess what... I never got a response. Our last Ford
experience with an 2002 Explorer was not a happy one either. After about
10,000 miles the right rear brake disk and all pads had to be replaced. The
Thermostat and oil pressure sender failed. Aftere this we started getting
the dreaded check engine light. All the dealer ever did was turn the light
off after billing for some repair which was not the root problem since the
light promptly came back on after a few weeks. I even bought a scanner
trying to get to the bottom of this. Never did... we traded it for a 2004
Hyundai Santa Fe. Now at 29,000 miles..with no issues whatever. My 4 WD
Nissan Pathfinder has 84,000 on it now and only needed and Oxygen sensor
replacement in its lifetime.. Even the headlights were aligned correctly
when I got the car.
My Corvette and MB experiences have also been more fortunate and enjoyable
than Standard Detroit Iron..
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