Resolved-Buy older model used Mercedes?

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JBTX
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Resolved-Buy older model used Mercedes?

Post by JBTX »

Edit- decided not to purchase 2005 Mercedes, largely due to feedback here. Handing down DW car to daughter instead. Thanks for all of your feedback!

Original post:
Looking for replacement vehicle for daughter. Found 2005 Mercedes c320 4 matic with 75000 miles for less than $6000. Individual owner. Best I can tell only 2 owners. Amazing condition internal and external. Test drove it and was fine.

It is by far the nicest and best car in the area for that price range and mileage. I would never think of buying a Mercedes but everything else in that price range are subcompacts or older cars, higher miles or much less nice cars for the same price.

Biggest concerns:

- oil pressure sensor is showing as malfunctioning. Owner works around it by checking oil monthly. He even bought a dipstick. Dealer said it would probably be $500-$1000 to replace sensor, if it were just a faulty sensor.

- I am sure a Mercedes Benz is more expensive to maintain, all else equal

-for routine service, can you go to regular auto service places

Any thoughts are appreciated. For the price and use, I'm not expecting perfection.
Last edited by JBTX on Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
hicabob
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by hicabob »

Used Mercedes are known for being more expensive than new ones. Listen to Scotty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV9rJwE ... ottyKilmer
koozie
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by koozie »

My understanding of the early to mid 2000s MB cars is that there is potential for many electrical issues. For example, MB finally transitioned from pneumatic actuators for things like door locks in the early 2000s and it took them a few years to get all the electrical parts right. This car could be very reliable for a while, or it could have many small electrical items that fail. If you are not someone who likes to work on your own cars, I would keep shopping as paying for labor to repair any MB will quickly make this car seem like less of a deal.
lazydavid
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by lazydavid »

The facelifted W203 (2005+) C-class is generally regarded as fairly reliable by MB standards. You will have to replace the timing chain by 100k, and can expect to need to have some suspension work and possibly a head gasket done at some point. But if you set aside a couple of grand for "expected surprises", I think you'll be happy with your choice. It does not appear to be one of the horror show models where you can expect some new expensive failure every other week.

Also if you're not a DIYer, find an independent mechanic in your area that specializes in Mercedes, or at least in European models in general. Will save you a lot of money vs. going to the MB dealer for all of your service.
onourway
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by onourway »

Even as someone who does not shy away from older, expensive to maintain used cars including a Mercedes, I would not buy this car unless you specifically want this model and you have a trusted independent mechanic who can work on it. I would not want to take it for things other than tires/oil/brakes/exhaust to a general shop - you'll want someone other than the dealer who knows Mercedes.

You might get lucky and it doesn't have much trouble for quite a while, but it could also end up an expensive headache.
sycamore
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by sycamore »

What qualifies as "late model" anyway? I would've guess something less than 5-10 years but maybe it depends on the make & model?
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by jabberwockOG »

Oil Pressure sensor is a red flag. The actual cause of warning might be a lot more serious then a sensor issue. Only way to agree to a purchase is to require the owner pay for whatever repairs are necessary as a condition for purchase. How this works is you agree on a price for example $10,000, but before money changes hands, seller takes it to a repair shop and pays what ever is required to fix it, then hands you the receipt so you can confirm repair, before you hand over the money and take title.
MarkerFM
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by MarkerFM »

You don't provide any details about your daughter and her driving habits/auto needs, but overall I would say don't do it. I have owned several Mercedes-Benz autos bought new (have one on order right now) and once they go out of warranty they are very expensive to repair if something goes wrong, even if you take it to an independent mechanic. This is a 15-year old car that while it has been driven little is still 15 years old. And the oil sensor issue is a bit of a red flag.
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JBTX
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by JBTX »

Thanks for the responses.

Additional info

- Daughter is college age. Not a great driver. Car would be primarily be used for commuting to work.
- I looked at carfax. 2 owners over 15 years. Overall pretty clean. No major issues. 7 Years ago a gasket was replaced due to oil leak. Looks like accident during that span.

The only reason I'm looking at it is that it is light years nicer than anything else in its price range. Mostly what you are looking at is nissan versas and small kias and Mitsubishis, all of which have among the highest fatality ratings as car.

Owner has agreed to take it for full examination if desired,,and even drive it to a local mechanic I have used. We did not discuss who would pay for that.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Buy a first generation 4 cylinder Ford Fusion with half the miles for that price from a dealer or half that from a private party. This is a grandma car and they're pretty easy to find with very low miles. They are essentially a Mazda 6, so are more reliable than a run of the mill Ford. The V6 is less reliable. It won't drive like a Mercedes but any mechanic can work on them, parts are cheap. I have an 09 and there are plenty in my pull-a-part junkyard to get parts dirt cheap.
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MarkerFM
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by MarkerFM »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:28 am Thanks for the responses.

Additional info

- Daughter is college age. Not a great driver. Car would be primarily be used for commuting to work.
- I looked at carfax. 2 owners over 15 years. Overall pretty clean. No major issues. 7 Years ago a gasket was replaced due to oil leak. Looks like accident during that span.

The only reason I'm looking at it is that it is light years nicer than anything else in its price range. Mostly what you are looking at is nissan versas and small kias and Mitsubishis, all of which have among the highest fatality ratings as car.

Owner has agreed to take it for full examination if desired,,and even drive it to a local mechanic I have used. We did not discuss who would pay for that.
You mention what's available in that price range, but most of the people here are trying to tell you that you really need to consider that the total cost of keeping that car running over the next several years could be substantial.

Look at something like a 2005 Lexus RX 330. Safe and durable.
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JBTX
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by JBTX »

MarkerFM wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:56 am
JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:28 am Thanks for the responses.

Additional info

- Daughter is college age. Not a great driver. Car would be primarily be used for commuting to work.
- I looked at carfax. 2 owners over 15 years. Overall pretty clean. No major issues. 7 Years ago a gasket was replaced due to oil leak. Looks like accident during that span.

The only reason I'm looking at it is that it is light years nicer than anything else in its price range. Mostly what you are looking at is nissan versas and small kias and Mitsubishis, all of which have among the highest fatality ratings as car.

Owner has agreed to take it for full examination if desired,,and even drive it to a local mechanic I have used. We did not discuss who would pay for that.
You mention what's available in that price range, but most of the people here are trying to tell you that you really need to consider that the total cost of keeping that car running over the next several years could be substantial.

Look at something like a 2005 Lexus RX 330. Safe and durable.
Used cars have gone up considerably over the last two years. Based upon some comments here people are underestimating the prices.

I found a 2005 Lexus rx 330.. $6100, but 160,000 miles. A 2007 camry with 94k miles is $7000.

But your point re maintenance is well taken.
smackboy1
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by smackboy1 »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:26 amLooking for replacement vehicle for daughter. Found 2005 Mercedes c320 4 matic with 75000 miles for less than $6000.
Biggest concerns:

- oil pressure sensor is showing as malfunctioning. Owner works around it by checking oil monthly. He even bought a dipstick. Dealer said it would probably be $500-$1000 to replace sensor, if it were just a faulty sensor.

- I am sure a Mercedes Benz is more expensive to maintain, all else equal

-for routine service, can you go to regular auto service places
I have not owned this particular MB model but I have owned many luxury European cars including MB.

What ownership experience is your daughter looking for? MB can be great pre-owned cars, BUT:

- MBs can be unreliable compared to makes like Toyota and Honda. Especially when they get up to 75K miles.

- Repairs can be expensive. Parts are expensive. They sometimes require specialized knowledge or service equipment. Not all repair shops can perform a major repair. Sometimes the only repair option is the dealership.

- 100K for a European car is when costly parts start wearing out and have to be replaced as part of routine maintenance. The philosophy of European cars is parts have to be replaced to keep the car running.

- Before buying this car I would recommend: 1) Check the VIN against recalls, TSB, and major warranty repairs; 2) Take it to an independent garage that regularly services MB and pay them to do a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) and find any problems and what repairs/replacements they anticipate. They should do a compression test. If it's a direct injection engine they should scope the valves for carbon build up.

- A 15 years old car is not going to have the latest crash mitigation technology compared to a more recent model. New base level Toyotas have better electronic accident avoidence technology than this car.
Last edited by smackboy1 on Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Topic Author
JBTX
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by JBTX »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:42 am Buy a first generation 4 cylinder Ford Fusion with half the miles for that price from a dealer or half that from a private party. This is a grandma car and they're pretty easy to find with very low miles. They are essentially a Mazda 6, so are more reliable than a run of the mill Ford. The V6 is less reliable. It won't drive like a Mercedes but any mechanic can work on them, parts are cheap. I have an 09 and there are plenty in my pull-a-part junkyard to get parts dirt cheap.
I could find nothing even close to that criteria for a Ford fusion. The lowest price with less than 100k miles was $7500.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Could be local supply. A couple near me under 70k miles, under $7k. Try both car gurus and auto tempest.
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sport
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by sport »

Can you give her your car and buy a better one for yourself?
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JBTX
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by JBTX »

sport wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:17 pm Can you give her your car and buy a better one for yourself?
Mine is too big but perhaps DWs. But I'd be losing $8k to $10k trade, and the car has about 150k miles. It is still a possibility though.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by wfrobinette »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:26 am Looking for replacement vehicle for daughter. Found 2005 Mercedes c320 4 matic with 75000 miles for less than $6000. Individual owner. Best I can tell only 2 owners. Amazing condition internal and external. Test drove it and was fine.

It is by far the nicest and best car in the area for that price range and mileage. I would never think of buying a Mercedes but everything else in that price range are subcompacts or older cars, higher miles or much less nice cars for the same price.

Biggest concerns:

- oil pressure sensor is showing as malfunctioning. Owner works around it by checking oil monthly. He even bought a dipstick. Dealer said it would probably be $500-$1000 to replace sensor, if it were just a faulty sensor.

- I am sure a Mercedes Benz is more expensive to maintain, all else equal

-for routine service, can you go to regular auto service places

Any thoughts are appreciated. For the price and use, I'm not expecting perfection.
Don't start her on the Mercedes/BMW/Lexus/Audi route. She'll want a newer one before she can really afford it.

Toyota/Honda/Subaru/Mazda is a much better place to be cost wise.
delamer
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by delamer »

Consumer Reports has recommendations for good cars for teen drivers. They suggest a Mazda3 (2011-13) or Subaru Legacy (2011-12) in your price range. If you go up a couple thousand dollars, you’ll have even more options.

In no way is a 2005 vehicle a “late model.” Nor is it optimal for safety features for a not-very-good driver (by your statement).
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msi
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by msi »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:56 pm
MarkerFM wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:56 am
JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:28 am Thanks for the responses.

Additional info

- Daughter is college age. Not a great driver. Car would be primarily be used for commuting to work.
- I looked at carfax. 2 owners over 15 years. Overall pretty clean. No major issues. 7 Years ago a gasket was replaced due to oil leak. Looks like accident during that span.

The only reason I'm looking at it is that it is light years nicer than anything else in its price range. Mostly what you are looking at is nissan versas and small kias and Mitsubishis, all of which have among the highest fatality ratings as car.

Owner has agreed to take it for full examination if desired,,and even drive it to a local mechanic I have used. We did not discuss who would pay for that.
You mention what's available in that price range, but most of the people here are trying to tell you that you really need to consider that the total cost of keeping that car running over the next several years could be substantial.

Look at something like a 2005 Lexus RX 330. Safe and durable.
Used cars have gone up considerably over the last two years. Based upon some comments here people are underestimating the prices.

I found a 2005 Lexus rx 330.. $6100, but 160,000 miles. A 2007 camry with 94k miles is $7000.

But your point re maintenance is well taken.
Of the cars you've mentioned, the Camry is the best bet unless there's something else wrong with it.
NichtKlein
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by NichtKlein »

My wife's car is a 2006 Mercedes R500. It is an amazing car, but it is expensive in the maintenance category. First, it requires PREMIUM. Also the MPGs are pretty bad (15-16MPG). The 4matic air bags will almost certainly develop an air leak around 80-100k (if not already). Mine was @110k, and most likely it had been leaking for a while. That caused the 4matic air compressor to work harder than it should, and ultimately it also failed. So the compressor was about $500 and the air bags were $1200, but I DIY'd it with aftermarket parts. It would have been nearly 4k @ the dealer.

Another thing to think about is that cars before 2008-9 ish don't generally have Bluetooth. So if that is important to you, then you will need an aftermarket stereo to get that feature. This is often harder to incorporate into a Mercedes or other European car due to the fiber optics they use.

Hope that offers some insight.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by new2bogle »

A 2007 Camry with only 94k miles is barely broken in.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by ralph124cf »

Late model (2-3 years old) Toyota Camry and Honda Accord vehicles are almost exclusively lease returns. When the dealer takes them back, he turns them into Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, and offers them for sale at insanely high prices.

A base model Camry or Accord is right at $25K, MSRP. The dealers are offering 2-3 year old cars for $20K plus. Might as well buy new and get the full warranty and zero % financing. I would usually suggest the Camry, but the nose on that thing is just plain ugly.

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JBTX
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by JBTX »

Thanks for all the replies. They were helpful, and a good part of the reason I am steering in a different direction (as suggested by another poster in the thread). DW is ready for a replacement car, so going to move her ES 350 with 150k miles (and a couple of dings and fraying leather seats) to daughter and get my wife another low mileage ES 350.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by atikovi »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:26 am - oil pressure sensor is showing as malfunctioning. Owner works around it by checking oil monthly. He even bought a dipstick. Dealer said it would probably be $500-$1000 to replace sensor, if it were just a faulty sensor.
You sure it's not the oil LEVEL sensor? Why else would he buy a dipstick for checking the level if it wasn't that? If so, not a big deal, you can live with it. A new sensor is $200 + labor.
JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:28 am Owner has agreed to take it for full examination if desired,,and even drive it to a local mechanic I have used. We did not discuss who would pay for that.

I hope you don't expect to seller to foot the bill as it's for your benefit. That generation of c-class is pretty trouble-free as Mercedes goes. No complicated suspension or electronic control systems that the E and S class has and would cost a lot to repair. Most routine service items, like brakes, suspension, fluid changes, etc. cost no more to service than a Toyota or Chevy. Gas mileage isn't bad but depends on how it's driven. It's a solid feeling car and certainly safer than comparable years of other small cars. If you could get it for around $5,000 it would be a good deal. A solid good looking car for the price of a beater Camry.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by atikovi »

dup post
tdmp
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by tdmp »

hicabob wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:34 am Used Mercedes are known for being more expensive than new ones. Listen to Scotty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV9rJwE ... ottyKilmer
I totally agree with this comment (and Scotty Kilmer) .
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by 123 »

Frankly you' might be much better off with a Toyota that has twice those miles.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by anoop »

A used BMW/Audi/MB/Porsche is worth it only if you plan to work on the car yourself or if driving is a hobby and you budget for it as such.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by humbledinvestor »

hicabob wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:34 am Used Mercedes are known for being more expensive than new ones. Listen to Scotty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV9rJwE ... ottyKilmer
+ 1 for listen to Scotty.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by Trader Joe »

"Any thoughts are appreciated."

This would be a very, very bad decision on your part.

Look for a reasonably priced, used, Toyota or Honda instead.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by bi0hazard »

Cheap, old Merc is a terrible idea ! especially for you kid.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by DukeGordon »

Do you happen to be located in the north-east?
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by jodhpur »

You should spend some time on the MB forums. They will talk about specific serial numbers to look out for in all models....for things that might not be under official recall....but maybe should be. I had a 2007 Cseries....some of those cars had a balance shaft issue (about $4K worth)...you'd never know unless you owned one at 90k miles. I'm a believer in the safety of a Mercedes and think they can last many years under proper care (and no design flaws). But it's tough to beat a Honda or Toyota. If you want a "safer" Civic-- you can just buy an Accord.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by Cubicle »

"you can pay me now or you can pay me later"

Sarcastic but the point it is that others cars are more extensive because statistically they will have less maintenance requirements, time & money wise.

I'm not saying don't do it, but I am saying all being equal it's not a deal. It's just a lower upfront payment.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by BolderBoy »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:26 am - I am sure a Mercedes Benz is more expensive to maintain, all else equal
Long time MB owner here. Had two E320s that were essentially junk. Presently 2006 ML350 which has been a very good auto but not cheap to maintain.

Budget and save at least $1000/yr for annual MB auto maintenance. $1500 would be better.

Cheapest annual maintenance I've had was under $100. Most expensive was yesterday at $2500 (air intake manifold was broken - a known issue with this particular engine design & the 8 y/o main battery and dead, 15 y/o smaller battery needed to be replaced.) Average annual maintenance has been $500-$800 over the life of the car. I use an independent, MB-only auto shop.
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by ClevrChico »

A friend had one of these, and I agree these are very nice cars. Theirs was a first year production model, and the electrical issues it had were shocking. If it weren't for being under warranty, it would have been thousands of dollars to repair. It was in the dealer's shop a lot.

It's likely those bugs were worked out in later years. I'd consider buying one too, but know cost of ownership will probably not be cheap!
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Watty
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Re: Buy late model used Mercedes?

Post by Watty »

JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:28 am .... late model ....

2005 Mercedes c320 4 matic with 75000 miles
16 years old is not a "late mode" by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing to check on is the age of the tire since even if they have a lot of tread left they will still need to be replaced when they are ten years old. There is a code on the side of the tires that will tell you how old they are.
JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:28 am Not a great driver.
Be sure to get an insurance quote on the Mercedes before you decide to buy it especially if she would be getting more than liability insurance. Even if it she would just be getting liability it would still be good to get an insurance quote. If she hits someone when driving a Mercedes that pretty much screams "sue me".

If she is not a great driver then getting a safe car would be especially important.

ESC is a very good safety feature to have and it became required as standard equipment in 2012. The Mercedes could have it but it would be good to check on that. They also started doing a new side offset crash test in 2012 and a lot of cars did not do well in that so a lot of manufactures improved their designs.

They have really improved the car safety a lot in the last 16 years.
JBTX wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:26 am Dealer said it would probably be $500-$1000 to replace sensor, if it were just a faulty sensor.
Never ever have a car that age serviced by a dealership, especially a Mercedes, since they will charge you many times what it would cost at an independent mechanic.

The only way that I can see that an old Mercedes like that would not be a money pit would be if you can do most of the repairs on it yourself.
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