Are you planning on buying used Mercedes-Benz? Knowledge is your best defense against buying a money pit machine. Finding the right Mercedes that will last “forever” takes time and research. Don’t just buy a Mercedes-Benz because the seller is letting it go very cheap. You need to decide if the car has been maintained, check vehicle history report and do a good inspection on the car.
Is it worth buying a 5, 10, 15-year-old Mercedes-Benz?
Luxury vehicles depreciate at a higher rate than economy cars. This fact makes them very appealing in the used car market. That’s why the initial purchase price of a used Mercedes-Benz is not your primary problem. Mercedes-Benz cars had a reputation of being able to run forever! The truth is that certain Mercedes-Benz engines and transmissions can still run “forever”. While others models and trims don’t live up to the Mercedes-Benz motto: “The best or nothing” Mercedes-Benz by no means are trouble-free cars like they used to be in the 80s and 90s. Well, even then they weren’t quite trouble free but they were the cars that set the bar higher. In the recent years, Mercedes-Benz cars have advanced even more with sophisticated and cutting-edge technology.
Before you buy a Mercedes, consider this.
Who will maintain and service your Mercedes?
- Mercedes-Benz dealer,
- independent auto repair shop,
- Yourself. Yes, you can!
- Built Quality & Features
A used Mercedes-Benz even if it is older will most likely have a lot more features and options than the other used cars. The interior quality and materials of a Mercedes-Benz will be much better than that of a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. On a used Mercedes-Benz you will most likely find walnut wood trim, illuminated buttons, leather, sunroof, power windows and seats and more. Other options such as cruise control, traction control, anti-lock-brakes, adjustable seats and steering wheel, and multiple airbags are likely to come standard on your Mercedes-Benz.
This may sound strange but the luxury cars take their biggest hit in the first 5 years. After that the used Mercedes-Benz depreciates at nearly the same rate as Honda, Toyota, Lexus and Hyundai depreciate.
Older Mercedes-Benz cars still look sharp and get attention even when they are five or ten years old. No other cars can make a statement about your success like a Mercedes-Benz does.
- Ride and Comfort
Even older Mercedes-Benz cars provide a comfortable, safe and luxurious ride quality. Have you ever ridden on a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or S-Class with air suspension? It’s an experience you may never forget. Mercedes-Benz were built to impress and even when they are old they do that task very well. A used Mercedes-Benz is still more comfortable, provides superb ride quality and is more luxurious than a brand new Toyota, Honda or Hyundai and in our opinion better than BMW, Audi or Lexus.
- Maintenance Cost
The maintenance cost on a used Mercedes-Benz can be much higher than that of a non-luxury brand. Especially if you depend on the dealer to do all your repairs. If you have an older used Mercedes-Benz you should find a local repair shop that specializes on Mercedes-Benz or german cars. Maintenance cost on a Mercedes-Benz don’t have to be ridiculous. If you plan on doing your own troubleshooting, maintenace and repairs, then owning a Mercedes-Benz is as expensive as owning a Toyota or Honda. Just make sure to purchase your parts online. You can use Amazon Parts finder to find almost anything for your Mercedes-Benz. You will even find OEM Mercedes-Benz genuine parts or aftermarket alternatives that cost a lot less.
- No warranty
This can be a problem if you are buying a car from a private seller. You will not get any warranty from the private seller, and the manufacturer warranty most likely has expired. If you are buying the car from a used car dealer, you can ask if they sell warranty. Warranty may not be an issue if you are buying the car from an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealership. Their certified pre-owned (CPO) Mercedes-Benz cars are thoroughly inspected and come with warranty that you can also extend.
While it is nice that the used Mercedes-Benz has so many features and gadgets, that is also a negative factor you should consider. These sophisticated automobiles loaded with features have more things can go wrong. Not only that but some of them may be obsolete. For example the Navigation on a 10 year old Mercedes-Benz may be useless if the maps aren’t updated. The GPS on your phone is light years ahead compared to the Mercedes-Benz navigation. The Motorola build-in phone system on the Mercedes-Benz was useless until they moved to Bluetooth.
- Fuel Economy
This really depends if you live in United States or not. If you live in the States this is a concern for you because Mercedes-Benz cars sold in US were equipped with thirsty engines. Not only that, but they require that you to use premium gasoline. Therefore these cars will cost you more to operate over 5 years than their japanese counterpart. If you live outside US than you may not have to worry about this. Mercedes-Benz sells the gas guzzlers in US only, and sells some extremely fuel efficient engines around the world. If you live in Europe for example, you will find a E220 CDI or C200 CDI and other variations. These diesel cars get excellent gas mileage and can last easily pull over 300,000 thousand miles.
3Things you MUST DO before you buy a used Mercedes
1. Get a Pre-purchase Inspection
We recommend that you always perform a pre-sale inspection on any Mercedes-Benz that you are serious about purchasing. It may be money well spent if you get the car inspected at a Mercedes-Benz dealer but you don’t have too. Ask the auto repair shop that inspects your car to give you quotes on the items that need to be fixed. A honest seller should not have a problem with you taking the car in for an inspection. A seller that may be lying or is trying to hide some problems may tell you that they will not let you take the car in for an inspection. With that said, don’t expect the car to be like new and perfect. The mechanic will find a few issues but use your judgment to decide if those items are critical and need repairing right away. Or if you could wait and find an independent auto mechanic that will fix them for cheap.
Always select the shop where you take the car, don’t let the seller select the auto repair shop. If you are not familiar with the area take the car to an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer or find a good independent mechanic that specializes in European cars. You will be paying the inspection fee and not the seller.
Make it clear to the seller that you want to buy the car as long as it gets a reasonable inspection report from your mechanic. Don’t expect a used car to be flawless.
2. Scan the Mercedes-Benz for fault codes
The second thing that you should do is to perform a complete system scan on the Mercedes-Benz that you want to drive. See if you can get a hold of a scanner such as iCarsoft MB II or Launch Creader VIII. Ask the seller if you can plug this into the OBD II port to check the systems on the car. You can use the scanner to scan all of the control units on the car and see if there are any issues or malfunctions that you could not see otherwise. The iCarsoft will read all the fault codes from but the Launch Creader can read the main systems such as transmission, engine, ABS, airbag, ETS.
3. Run Vehicle History Report
Don’t try to save pennies when you are spending thousands. Get a car history report. It will tell you if the car was in any accidents. How many owners it had. It may also show maintenace records but not always. It will show flood, salvage, mileage history. Don’t buy a lemon. It will also tell you if it was a lemon, meaning manufacturer buyback.
Make sure to verify the VIN number on the car with the VIN number on the title. Also ensure that you are running history reports for the correct car.
A Vehicle History Report can tell you a lot about a car, including.
- Title History (Clear, Salvage, Restored, Rebuilt, Flood)
- If the car was a lease or rental car
- Maintenance History if it was reported by the facility
- Frame Damage
Allways run a history report to find out major title problems. But keep in mind that issues can be missed by these services.