I am a university student considering buying myself a modest
Mercedes-Benz for my daily driver. I am considering a 300E or 190E
(W124) or maybe a 500SEL (W126). My budget is $3,000 to $7,000 for the
car itself, but I am curious as to the cost of maintenance on these
cars. My current daily drivers are a 1981 380SL (R107) and 1996 Jeep
Grand Cherokee Laredo (V8). Does any one have any basis of comparion for
maintaining the W124 or W126, or even any recommendations for another
Benz that might be recommended for an employed student? My alternatives
are a BMW or a nice old Toyota, but I thought a Benz Sedan would be
convenient and nice.
Thank you to all in advance.
Forget about 500SEL, it's a gas hog and hardly a "modest" car,
especially if it needs a significant repair. You don't want a car to
keep you broke.
A 300E is a fine package, good size, comfortable, reasonably fast yet
economical and best of all, it's a model produced in volume so everyone
knows how to fix it and parts are readily available from multiple
sources ensuring reasonable prices.
There's simply not enough cars when family visits. The 380SL will stay,
but another car is a good idea, especially one with four doors.
As for diesel, I know nothing of maintenance and haven't looked very
hard for diesel stations in my area (although I have seen them). Do you
have any general reasoning for why diesel might be better?
"Student" and "Benz" just don't mix. I had a 1993 190E and that car cost me
an arm and a leg to maintain/fix. Not worth it. Get a new Benz or don't
get one at all. You're better off getting a Lexus (second hand one that
Is just the 190E/W124 specifically a bad model, or do you mean Benzs in
general? I know it will cost more than another make probably will to
maintain (especially at 15 years old) but as long as it's no more than
the 380SL it won't be a problem.
Plans B & C:
A mid-90's BMW 318ti, Hatchback 4; Easy to park; handles well.
A 2002 Hyundai Accent. Stick or automatic. Does everything well enough
but no status. 60000 mile, 5 year warranty.
Do searches on eBay to get an idea of prices and how they look.
Hope this helps.
Oh yes, a friend of mine had an 87 190 with automatic and 4 cylinder. It
I saw one the other day in the university parking lot. It looked very
nice, even in red (I generally dislike red cars). I saw it again this
evening and noticed it was a two-door. Ideally I'll be buying a
four-door so I can throw my backpack or passengers in the back easily. I
suppose a backpack could go in the trunk just as easily, though.
How are these for reliability? Or price, for that matter. Ideally, the
initial cost is no more than $5000-$7000 (this doesn't include any
Status isn't too big of a deal, though I do have the urge to buy
something a little classy. Plan B involves a mid-eighties Nissan 200SX
or Toyota Corolla GT-S. I'm even considering a Jeep Cherokee, but that
probably wouldn't be a pleasant daily driver.
I do use eBay for price references, but I never bid. I also use KBB and
Edmunds for price references.
I trust that by now you have seen the following web sites
www.lemonmb.com and www.troublebenz.com ?
These give me concern because I'm going to be interested in getting
another MB in the next year or so.
My old Mercedeses used to be solid, if stodgy, cars.
The VW Corrado VR6 is also a 2dr hatch; relatively rare (imported in
1992-1994 only. 5000 or so units). They go like hell and are classy imho.
Very long warranty, so who cares.
>Or price, for that matter. Ideally, the
Japanese cars tend to look ratty after a couple of years but tend to be
bullet proof. (We have a 92 Corolla with 132k that won't die. Looks like
crap, but is so reliable. We all hate how it looks; but we all drive it,
even on road trips. Dependable.)
I'm even considering a Jeep Cherokee, but that
Bucket o bolts. (We had one as an emergency police cruiser in my small
town in Indiana and had a lot of trouble, mickey mouse generally, with
The Hertz web page is worth a look too. They sell their better condition
cars with 25000 miles on them. Hertz will let you look at specific
maintenance regords. Typical prices: 2003 Mustangs and Taurus $11k;
Corollas, about the same. All cars tend to have small engines,
automatics and power windows and locks.
That may be so, but keep in mind that the "dive" MB applies not only to their
cars but also to their service reputation. Take an MB of any vintage to a
dealer for service and your cherry could easily come back to you a lemon. If
you have a loud mouth and are good at writing letters to corporate offices,
though, you can *sometimes* get them to fix whatever it is they've done wrong.
I've had great experience with the '94 W202 C280 (from new to 110K) and '93
W124 300E 2.8 (from 70K mi to 160+K mi, still going), and not-so-good
experience with the '83 R107 380SL (probably because the car hadn't been
maintained well by previous owners during the 170K mi it went through before I
got hold if it).
Highly recommend the M104 gas engines, available in any 6 cylinder MB
1990-1997/9. The 1986-1990/2 M103 seems to be just as good, if not better, with
some loss of performance, but I don't have any direct experience with those.
I'm not totally sold on the bigger engines, especially in the older cars
(unless you're prepared to tinker or make frequent trips to the mechanic).
I apoligize for not noticing your message sooner.
The 300E is at the top of my list, but ones in good shape in my area
always seem to have lots of miles. I'd prefer 100,000 or under (which I
know is tough for $5,000-$7,000), but I really don't want above 150,000.
I've seen some with 240,000 miles, but I don't know if that's average
for the engines or more of a fluke.
More cylinders isn't too important. Four will be plenty.
Thank you for the engine spec advice. That will help tremendously!
I owned an 1976 W123 (200 gasoline model converted to LPG) all through
my college years, and it was PERFECT! Bought it in '88 for the
countervalue of US$450 and sold it in '94 for the same amount, to an
african who probably exported it to Namibia where it is still running
as a taxi (hopefully)...
It had 370.000 Kms on the clock when I got it, but the odo broke after
a year. Must have passed well over the 500.000 in those years. The car
might have looked like a gipsy car, olive-green with some rust and
holes in the fender, but it ran great and at virtually no cost (LPG
cost US$.015 per liter that time), and it passed safety inspecion
every year without a flaw. Roomy 4 door car, which came in especially
handy en the many trips to the rowing regattas, with the entire team
(4+ coach and cox).
Moral, find a good one, preferably an older one W123 or 124) with not
to much electronics in it, 4 or 6 cylinder, drive it, enjoy it, care
for it and you'll have a true companion for many years...
I keep many warm memories to my first car... Take a look if u like:
if you're a DIY type and want a mercedes, a W123 240D or 300D is great.
if you want a totally idiot proof car, i recommend a late 90s Corolla LE
w/ 5spd manual.
aside from the Jetta TDI i bought, the only other car i was in the
market for was a corolla b/c they last and last and last.
they dont break, need little maintainance, any joe can fix them, and i
did a road trip from boston to pittsburgh in one and it was comfortable
and drove nicely.
Michael J. Astrauskas wrote:
I'll do mild DIY stuff, such as fluid changes, simple parts like the
alternator, belts, brakes pads/rotore/capiers, and so forth. I'm not
planning to do any major engine work, for example, mostly just due to time.
I'm not particularly fond of the Corolla, just because it seems really,
really tiny. Perhaps I should try one out.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.