The new car warranty covers the first 4 years and can be extended for
some extra cost. I bought a new E320 in '97; it now has done 38K miles -
about 4K miles annually and cost about $2,500 in maintenance, smog
inspections and repairs. It will soon need a second replacement battery
and a set of tires; so in another two years, by 45K, that figure will
rise to $3,500.
The heavy cost has been the depreciation - it cost about $45K new and
may fetch $15K if sold now; that's about $.79/mile.
If you want a M-B for such modest use, a M-B dealer sold Certified Pre
owned car which has a warranty that can be extended may be something to
consider as the very heavy depreciation has already been taken - by
someone else - and its starting mileage isn't all that important given
the relatively modest miles that you'll add to the car. Buy it if used,
don't lease it for MB Credit's used car rates are high vs. its new car
(help move the product) rates.
If you buy a M-B, new or used, the dealer should be forsaken for an
independent M-B shop once the car's warranty expires.
I bought our E320, when it had done 48k KM and when it had about 1/2 yr of
original warranty left. I extended that for 3 years at cost of about C$2200.
Car was bought privately, but transacted through an MB dealer, so as to get
The car cost me C$44,000 including the warranty plus taxes for a total of
about $47,000. The car has now done about 88,000 km - so we have put on 40k
km (25k miles), or about 5500 miles per year. Market value would now be
about C$18,000 for a private sale, but perhaps $15,000 for trade. Lets say a
loss of C$30k or US$26k. - Over $1.00 per mile!
The problem here, is that we don't drive the car enough!
Regarding other costs - We had some small things fixed under the warranty -
an idler bearing and a small problem with the gear shift plus some rust
repairs! Since then, we have had a problem with the Mass air flowmeter. I
was able to fix this myself, but it could have cost $1000 plus at MB
service. Tires were new when we got car so will last a while yet. Had to buy
a new battery.
The new MB,s are complex. They are unlikely to last 15 years without some
expensive problems. If I bought one, I would buy the extended warranty just
before the 4 yr warranty expires. That will give 6-7 years of coverage for
most items. We are beyond that point now but because the car runs and looks
like new, we have not thought about replacing it. Hopefully any repairs will
be less expensive than buying another car, which would probably be a new VW
BTW, our other two MB,s are an '85 and a '72 - both in great shape still!
A real life example of buying a certified pre owned car when one doesn't
rack up a lot of miles.
As cars get more complicated - like computers - one is chained to the
manufacturer (or dealer for the mfgr) to maintain these complicated
systems. So an extended warranty is needed to contain the costs.
We low mileage drivers don't wear out the car but when something breaks
we want some support - MB extended warranty.
Go to WWW.MBUSA.COM and look at pre owned cars in your area. One can
select cars that carry the Certified Warranty.
There's a section of that site called "prior years" that provides the
specifications of earlier models.
I'd select the model that's sold in volume - most reliable - and has a
recognized "market value" - remember as with any car deal everything is
The C class and E class are MB's "meat and potatoes" products and I'd
stay with them. IMHO and experience the E class is a comfortable and
efficient package that holds its value quite well. I don't know the C
class cars so I have no informed opinion about them.
But remember, owning a M-B is a bit like having a "trophy wife"
glamorous but expensive. These aren't Hondas or Toyotas.
Take your time, meanwhile the world won't run out of cars, and figure
out what exactly you want and why - then buy in confidence.
Pre-owned 3 years old, with 35,000 miles cost $10,000 less than same or
similar current model. The question is: If I drive a maximum of 5000
miles per year and I intend to keep the car 10 or 15 years will the
repairs on the pre-owned be greater than $10,000 over this period? At
what milage do expensive repairs (over $1000) start?
Cars go through "repair cycles" during which lots of things break.
Finally, when the owner is ready to scream it stops and all is quiet for
several years. Years ago this used to happen (with US cars) between 40K
and 60K miles. Nobody can tell you when it will occur on a particular
car. That's why new cars are sold - in the belief that repairs can be
avoided whereas only their EXPENSE can be absorbed by a warranty but not
the bother of taking it to a shop.
The more complicated the car the higher the probability of problems
simply because there's MORE stuff to break!
After ten years "your" car would have done 85K miles and be 13 years old
- time to sell, not because its worn out but because newer cars have
better features. I'm going to sell my '97 next year only for that
reason, not because its worn out. It still looks new!
You want to save $10K front end, plus tax thereon, but are bothered by a
few thousand of potential repair costs?
That doesn't compute, put the $10K in a money market fund and consider
it "spent" and use it for the repairs.
The same applies to any car - MB or Honda. There's no free lunch.
A new car will have a 4 year warranty that can be extended to 6 full plus
one power train for about $2200 (payable in 4th yr) or so up here in
A 3 yr old car will probably have 3 full plus one power train if the
extended warranty is bought. That 3 year difference, is probably worth about
$3000+. (But may never be needed)
In the case of the new car, you will have to pay for the repairs for about 8
years and for the used car 11 years if you keep both for 15 years.
The A/C will likely fail before 15 years but after the warranties run out.
The fuel management system/on board computer will likely give problems both
during and after the warranty runs out.
Mechanical failures will happen - how much is unknown.
Rust will appear - amount depends on location.
By way of example, I also own an '85 300D. Bought when it was 5 years old
and it is now 20 years old. I have kept rust at bay by spending a lot on
body work, but we live in a rust prone area. The engine was replaced at 330k
km, but only due to something being dropped into the air intake (another
story) - It would probably still be OK, but did need various work along the
way - timing chain, valves etc. No problems with drive train. But, even
when 15 years old, this was an OLD car and maybe not suitable as an only
For just two people, I would look at the lowest cost new MB - up here, they
re-introduced the C230 in a 2door and 4 door model and priced it to compete
with BMW,s - I think a new one of those may be a good choice - you get a
slightly stripped, but competitively priced car with few frills. In other
words buy a new smaller Benz for $10k less instead of a used Benz for 410
less. We also have the new B class coming out that will sell for $30k
Canadian, but it may not be available in the USA?
You could also buy a Honda or Toyota and not get much less of a car ;(
I would highly recommend a used 1998 or 99 E300 Turbo diesel. I bought one
two years back with ~75K miles and have driven 25K miles since. I did
replace the tires and changed the mass meter also. Otherwise the car has
been very reliable and extremely comfortable. I average 26 mpg in city and
32 on highway. Car has excellent power and is a pleasure to drive. I paid
$24K for it and did not get any extended warranty. If you look around you
can still get one of these with 50K miles or so for about $20-22K. Great
15-20k mi for rear window mechanisms; 55-60k mi. for suspension,
bushings and cooling system; 75-80k mi. for other drive train components
and electrical. Its not just miles but you are fighting corrosion and
time as well.
You can extend this by religiously oiling, lubing and flushing, as well
as treating the car gently and sticking to the dealer visit schedule.
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