I am looking at a 99 E430 with 64k, the dealer is asking $22,5000. The car
is very sharp, with AMG five spoke wheels, but it has a very questionable
history. Has four owners, started life as a lease vehicle in New Jersey and
a year after the original owner leased it, it was in a front collision. Had
three owners after that and now has ended up here in Minnesota. The last
owner that traded it in had it only for six months before he traded it for a
Porsche. When he traded it, he stated on a questionnaire that he was the
original owner and it had not been in an accident, good thing I decided to
have the dealer run a carfax on it for me! Maybe he didn't know, or maybe he
lied. It does have a star mark warranty but that is due to expire in
December. I guess when the previous owner bought it, he did get it from a
Mercedes dealer and the car was star marked. With the car being only 5 years
old, and having four owners, does that seem like a big waving redflag,
considering it has been in a crash? They told me straight out they wanted to
move the car and would give me a good deal, also a weird thing to say. I
have a 95 Camry V6 right now with very low miles in showroom condition, an
offer I was thinking about was $15,000 plus my car. Opinions wanted!
Don't do it. The MOST important thing about buying a used Mercedes is an
excellent service history and an excellent history of care. This car doesn't
have this. Walk away, there will be a much better one somewhere else.
Al Bolton, G4VSQ
1988 Mercedes 260E 155, 000 miles
1990 Mercedes 500SE 129,000 miles
Not really. I have purchased many Mercedes from dealers, with a trunk full of
expensive and timely repairs. But it isn't important. What matters is not how
much money has been spent on the car, but WHAT CONDITION IT IS IN now.
You can screen out must clunkers yourself, but when you like a car and the
price, THEN pay a Mercedes shop to inspect it and give you its actual
425 White Horse Pike
I DID add "and an excellent history of care" to my snipped posting below, so
the piece you quote shouldn't really be examined in isolation. You are in
the motor trade yourself and have a much better idea of repair costs and
what the car might need doing to it compared to someone who may be buying a
Mercedes for the first time and has little mechanical knowledge, so what
they have to go on is a solid service history. Yes indeed, the condition of
the car now is important but the condition of the car now is surely a
function of how it has been maintained.
Having said that, a full mechanical inspection from someone who really knows
Mercedes is very important, I agree. It is difficult though to find a true
expert in my experience.
A full service history from a reputable dealer (whether MB or Independent)
is also important when (if?) you come to sell the car on. However, when I
bought my 2 Mercedes I did so knowing I would probably keep them until
either they or I rust away!
CONDITION IT IS >IN now.
The car looks great, runs great, not a flaw inside or out. I would obviously
have it inspected, but with four owners in five years I am afraid the car
might be a lemon, there must be some reason people keep getting rid of it.
If I bought it, the star mark is going to expire in December, can I extend
that once again or would I have to get ripped off with a high price warranty
from the dealer?
Thanks for all your help!
Yeah, it's pretty obvious this baby has led a troubled life.
Carfax is really ruining things for a lot of scumbag dealers and "curbstone"
425 White Horse Pike
Indeed, I'd check this VIN out with Carfax or any of the other VIN search
web sites. Sounds rather odd to me.
These newer E Class' have had spotty reliability records, seems mostly with
electrics. Regardless, this fact plus the rather poor level of competency of
their dealer service departments would make me very cautious about this
purchase. My particular '00 E430 Sport will go back to MB in a few months
and whoever buys it later will get a low mileage (< 35k mi) well cared for
vehicle who's only faults were caused by incompetent dealers and their
FWIW, even though more expensive than the general used market, the best bets
on used luxury vehicles are the manufacturers "certified" used car
programs. These were created to handle the end-of-lease vehicles and the
vehicles the dealers are selling represent the "best of the best" from the
manufacturers remarketing divisions and auctions. They're "certified"
through an inspection process and resold with manufacturer-backed
warranties. You can get a very good deal on a relatively low mileage car,
backed by a mfr warranty, etc. With these programs available it just doesn't
make sense to try your luck on the open market, particularly with cars like
MB that aren't holding up well to begin with.
We had a saying at the luxury mfr I used to work for: "Bad cars don't
improve with age". I can't imagine the trouble & cost some people must be
having with some of the more recent low-quality MB's, like the ML, C Class,
CLK, SLK, etc. Given their poor reliability records when new and under
warranty they must be a financial nightmare to keep on the road.
Don't buy any second hand bug eyed E-class. A friend of mind told me his
1999 one had too many problems and he finally sold it. The new owner will
pay for fixing it.
His E-class's problems: High pitch noise when engine was hot, electric fan
didn't spin, cylinder heads leaking, Fuel leak from fuel pump, passager's
electric seat head rest could not be adjusted. The driver side door needed
slam to close. Front suspensions had 20mm difference in height.
The car had done only 30k km and had not been involved in any accident. He
sold within the warranty period with a good price. He told me he won't buy
MB any more because it became a torture (keep sending the car back to
dealer). He is now driving a GS300.
E14 4NS Docklands
Your current car's excellent condition bespeaks of your level of
expectations - THIS E430 is NOT the car for YOU.
E Class cars are plentiful, if you want a E430 or E320 there are lots to
choose from and you'll find one with a much longer Starmark warranty.
Unfortunately I feel compelled to advise a new M-B owner to go the
Starmark route as M-B cars are very expensive to have repaired at a
dealer and the cars' quality - especially all the ephemera - is not as
good as it should be - it's NOT a Toyota. Be patient, search MBUSA
site's Preowned inventory.
You bring up a very valid point. Last July I had my sights set on a 97 E420
that was mint, 48,000 miles, all records and lady driven. We had made a deal
on it, $16000 plus my car. I decided to not put a check down to have them
hold the car because I was coming back the next day to complete the deal,
next morning it was sold. I kick myself everyday. Anyway the one point you
mentioned that I want to clarify was the reliability issue. I know you
didn't specifically say they were unreliable but implied it with the repair
coasts. I have talked to a few owners who have told me their cars never
break, are of the highest quality and some research has shown that as well,
including one 5/5 stars from one reputable webpage (forget the name). Could
you please touch a little more on this issue? One thing I do look for in a
vehicle is dependability and quality. Thanks.
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