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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • michhalamichhala Posts: 375
    Very painful to see your C320 in such condition. I hope you were not injured. What does it take to have an insurance company declare a total loss, I wonder?

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    BEWARE. I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but I can tell you from at least three cars experience where I was in an accident within the first 12 months of ownership (all the other guys fault). A REPAIRED CAR IS NEVER THE SAME AS NEW.

    I heard the same thing time and time again from friends and colleagues, but it seemed like useless information. What was I to do? Well, a friend who had the same thing happen to his BMW 528 a couple of years ago insisted that the other guys insurance company complete the repairs ($12,000) and then pay the difference for him to trade it in for a brand new car (additional $8,000, since the car was only 4 months old with 3,500 miles). It took a fair amount of persistance, and I think he even paid a small amount for the pre-crash milage, but he prevailed. One thing he used to substantiate his position was the difference in resale value between a car tha is in mint condition and one that has been in a serious accident. IT'S HUGE!, especially for high-end cars like Mercedes and BMW.

    I didn't do it on my cars and I always regretted it. Noises popped up, alignment was never exact, paint didn't match perfectly after 2-3 years....

    If there is any way you can get a new car out of this DO IT. It's not trying to take advantage of the other guy. It's getting back to what you had before the crash. And there is no way the repairs alone will do it. Trust me, I've learned the hard way.

    Good luck.
  • cecconceccon Posts: 22
    I want a Mercedes but you guys are scaring the hell out of me. I am considering a C240 or Lexus es 300. I have ben driving an es for 9 years and really want to change to a MBZ. Yet, all these posts about keys, trunks, transmissions, etc. make one pause.

    I note that I haven't seen even one post over at the es 300 post about a problem with a new Lexus.

    I don't want to start a debate concerning Lexus v. MBZ. I just want to hear some comforing words from people happy with their cars.


    P.S. If you are leasing, could you post the terms of your lease? (payment, residual, etc.)
  • ktanktan Posts: 9
    Body work should be done by the dealer or a dealer recommended shop. Mine came back and you couldn't tell the difference before I had the accident. That's why it cost $19,000. Half was parts cost and the other half labor.

    8 years ago I had a Porsche 911 that was hit in the front left wheel and caused $11,000 in body work. Had the car for 7 years after that, drove perfect and the paint matched up even after 7 years! I think it depends on who you send it to.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I agree with ktan that "who" does the repairs and their methods have a big impact on the long term quality. However, I also agree that it is the extremely rare exception that the car comes back truly as good as new, especially if there has been even slight frame damage. Perhaps ktan's $12k Porsche damage was mostly cosmetic, but from the pictures it looks like the Mercedes took quite a hit.

    I have been fortuante to avoid accidents. However, I had an M6 back in the 80s' that was damaged by acid in an underground parking garage (don't ask - industrial accident). The range of prices I got on the repainting were $2,000 to $9,000. Even though the company responsible paid for the $9,000 job out of pocket, I still had a lot of explaining to do when I sold the car two years later. Guesstimate that I took another $5k+ hit on what I really should have got for the car. I still see the car around occassionally and it looks perfect! The quality of the paint job has proven superb over 13 years later, but the fact that the car had been repainted still "hurt" me on resale.

    In this wonderful e-world we live in, every one considering buying a used car can easily find out if it's been in an accident. In my case, I volunteered that my M6 had been repainted, but any good investigator could find evidence from knowing where to look.

    Get what's coming to you for compensation on loss of resale value, if you can.
  • ktanktan Posts: 9
    Most expensive new cars are designed to absorb the shock of the accident and protect the driver and passengers. That's why the repairs are so expensive and bodywork so extensive even you rear end someone at 20 mph.

    The picture shown is actually typical for any front end C320 body repairs. They drop your engine and strip eveything off before they try to do anything with the frame.

    Yes, I agree, it will utimately cost you when you sell your car since the dealer has all the repair records on computer and will definately lower your trade-in or re-sell value.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    I would not have the slightest concern about the quality of the structural repair being done on the C320 that crashed. As I wrote earlier, the photo shows the bodyshell on a Celette body bench. For those that don't know, the Celette has special attachments that connect to the bodyshell at key structrual points (such as the upper spring mounts, rocker panels, rear suspension, etc.) and the bodyshell's geometric conformity is GUARANTEED if the repaired car lines up in all the right places.

    I suspect that any body shop that uses a Celette will also do an amazing job of the cosmetic body repair. So we can put that concern to bed.

    However, it is true that with 19K in damage, the used value of the vehicle will be affected, even if there is no objective reason for it. subjectivity is everything I guess. Anyway, if the owner wants to get another new car, that's fine, but I doubt that the long-term owner would see any economic advantage from switching vehicles at this point. So if the car was going to be traded in in 2 or 3 years, by all means get compensated for the loss of used value or get a new one. If not, still go for some additional case compensation, but keep the car in the knowledge that it should be 100% after the repair.

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I've been buying German, including 13 Mercedes, since 1963; I've had at least 15 Toyotas and Honda products [including Acuras] since 1981. Most recent cars are '94 C220, '96 Acura RL, '98 E320, '01 Accord EX V6. Just for background...

    So when I say there are no comforting words for you, try not to overreact, and that applies to everyone else, as well. If you want to buy a Mercedes for what it is [solidly built for the long haul, above average ride/handling combo, good brakes, excellent safety record] then do. But you also need to know what it isn't: Japanese.

    What that means is that over the life of the car [say 10-15 years and 120-180k miles] you will LIKELY have to spend many more dollars and many more hours at your friendly dealer to keep the car on the road. Again, everybody please remain calm at your keyboards...I'm talking about the statistical probabilities. This doesn't mean you won't find a trouble-free MB that goes the distance without major repairs and just means you are far more likely to have that happen with Toyota/Lexus or Honda/Acura. And in the case of the W203 C, it seems to have taken an inordinate amount of time for the initial teething problems to settle down. As a contrast, my '96 RL was number 1350 off the production line as a brand-new design, and was close enough to flawless to qualify for the term.

    There are good reasons why, after all these years, the Germans are getting better but still haven't caught up. Most of it has to do with the way the Japanese manage their supplier relationships, and how they jump quickly on supplier problems and COOPERATE to help them solve them quickly. They truly become lifetime partners with many of their subcontractors, and are obsessive about testing and problem-solving. The Germans care, too...they just don't have the same management culture, and at DB in particular, there is also the problem of management being thinned by the twin distractions of Chrysler and Mitsu. Dieter Z. would sure be helping Mercedes a lot more in his old job than the Mission Impossible he has been handed in Detroit.

    I keep saying, buy what you want for whatever reasons you want. I love Mercedes and their heritage and engineering culture...but don't look for the kind of ownership experience you will get from Lexus. It is a mistake to go in up front with the wrong colored glasses perched on your have to be prepared to open your wallet and exercise more patience to be a happy MB owner. If you have both, then plunge ahead...
  • I declined purchasing the C320 mainly because I prefer the CLK320 (sportier look) or the E320 (larger car). I have shopped several dealers and I am VERY impressed by the professionalism of EuroMotors (and they have best pricing in the DC area). The sales consultant can be reached at I have gathered alot of useful information from this TownHall, and in return I recommend this salesperson (trying not to sound solicitous, but sincerely believe he will get you the best prices.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Excellent articulation of the whole German vs Japanese thing.
  • bjmanbjman Posts: 11
    Ok..I took some pictures of the car after I got it back from the shop--you can see them in the same album as before:

    I have to say that before getting the car and driving it, I also thought that it would never be the same as new. But, I have to tell you, it absolutely is. First of all, I can't see ANY difference at all. It's really incredible--inside or outside. The car definitely drives and feels the same. I took it to a body shop run by the Mercedes dealer and the mechanic there has been fixing Mercedes (and BMW) cars for 20 yrs. He told me that they really do fix them just like new.

    In any case, I am happy with the repair. I understand the problems that may occur with trading it in, but this car is fully paid for, and I don't plan on trading it in. I would probably just give it to a relative if I needed another car in the future.

    You guys want to know what I did while waiting for this car? I went test driving other cars. That's right, I took my rental Dodge Intrepid and went to car dealerships and test drove the following cars:

     Lexus ES 300 (2002 model), LS 430 (2002), GS 300, IS 300, BMW 330i, Nissan Altima (2002)

    What did I think? To summarize briefly, I would not take a SINGLE one of those cars (including the LS 430) over my C320. Really, I could notice the difference in the cars right away. The only one that came close to the feel of the C320 was the BMW 330i, but the inside didn't feel the same as the MBZ and the engine and wind noise were just too loud.

    So, after having missed my car for the last 5 weeks, I am happy to have it back ! Total cost of the repair--$16,400.


  • Well, after ordering my Orion Blue C240 sport 6spd on Sept 9 and patiently waiting for delivery this week, I was told that the dealer mistakenly ordered a C230 Coupe.

    But it worked out well, since I've joined the ranks of the unemployed and I was able to cancel the contract.

    But it was soooo close.

    John W.
  • I was visiting my local Borders book store last night, cruising the car magazines. And there it was!! "The Mercedes Enthusiast". It's a UK publication, so you have to hold the car interior shots in the mirror to have them look natural. LOL.

    It has some great shots of the new SL.

    It's their first issue at November 2001.

    John W.
  • "In any case, I am happy with the repair. I understand the problems that may occur with trading it in, but this car is fully paid for, and I don't plan on trading it in. I would probably just give it to a relative if I needed another car in the future."

    Can I join your family???
  • limanliman Posts: 32
    for the great pictures. The repair pictures are amazing. Also thanks for your takes on the test drives. I own a MY2000 C230K and love the vehicle. Good luck with your C320.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Your post 4749 was great and right on the money, especially the next to the last paragraph.
    It's really refreshing to read something so satisfyingly correct. Thanks.

  • Outstanding repair job. You know it's a good body shop when they can match brilliant silver metallic paint the way they did on your C.
  • cecconceccon Posts: 22
    Thanks for your post.

    I test drove the es300 and the C240 yesterday. the Lexus was pure luxury. A good commuter car --you can't feel the road, and you can barely hear the engine. The MBZ was pure fun, you feel the road and hear the engine while you zip around corners.

    I thought I was getting an es300 until I drove the MBZ. Now I'm totally confused. I really like driving that C240.

    As someone who drive 15,000 miles a year, the reliability issue is a serious one. jrct9454, I appreciate your analysis of the Lexus v. MBZ comparsion. However, I am amazed at how MBZ owners have become willing to accept small nagging problems with their cars, and that concerns me because I am used to driving a Lexus which is problem free.

    I had lunch with a friend on Friday who bought an S430 about 6 months ago. Taking an informal survey, I asked how his car was running. He stated his automatic key did not work all the time, and his CD player sometimes went out in hot weather. I had another friend with an S500 who had his transmission replaced at 40,000 miles. I have a friend with a C280 with a sunroof which would not open. I also have friend with a C230 and an E 320 who have had no problems.

    Despite these problems, all of them love their cars. Having driven one, I can see why.
  • Hi,

    I have been unsuccessful in getting good sound quality out of an FM modulator in my C240. I even installed a line driver (Phoenix Gold PLD1) between my music source (MP3 player) and the JVC Modulator. This improved quality and volume but is still not acceptable. I believe that the C240 head unit is designed to work with boosted FM signals, and that the FM Modulator is just not capable of providing output at that level without unacceptable distortion. What I want to do is to install the FM modulator between the rear windshield antenna and the antenna booster, so that the FM modulator's output is boosted as well. I would appreciate any pointers on where to locate the booster and on how to intercept the connection between the antenna and the booster. Thanks.

  • ceccon - I can totally relate to your experience. I too came close to purchasing a Mystic Gold ES300. However when I test drove the C240 it was as you said pure fun.

    Spoke to my friends who own MBZ cars and only one person had a major problem with an 1986 E class sedan. Apparently some seals in the engine went bad and it cost $2000 to repair. In the 15 years she has owned that car she that was the only significant problem that she had.

    On this discusion some C class owners have no problems, whereas others seem to have numerous problems. I placed an order for a C240 in October and it should arrive in December.

    All I can say is my friends appear to be happy with their MBZ cars and they hardly experienced any problems. I hope my experience will be the same.
  • I was reading an article on the new SL500 in the current "Mercedes Enthusiast" magazine.
    It states "Since 1995, the previously over-engineered cars from Stuttgart have fallen victim to the accountant's sword. The first generation W210 E-Class was the first of the of the "new" cars to be found wanting, and even the new C-Class falls short of traditional Mercedes quality standards by a small margin. While overall build quality is still high by industry standards, the problem for Mercedes is simply that their new cars were meeting the tangibly improving quality from Audi and BMW on the way down. A tidal wave of customer feedback has provoked a sea of change, and the construction, fit and finish of the new SL are worthy of traditional Mercedes-Benz levels."

    Interesting, however they don't mention the quality of Toyota/Lexus. But it's a UK publication where Lexus is unknown.

    John W.
  • I'm happy to hear your C320 has been properly repaired. You owe it to yourself, however, to call the insurance company responsible for the accident and ask them to compensate you for the car's loss in value due to the accident.
  • "Since 1995, the previously over-engineered cars from Stuttgart have fallen victim to the accountant's sword."

    I disagree with this statement by the UK publication. Accountants may have affected the quality of materials used, but these cars are still 'over-engineered'. Problems with keys are an engineering problem, not build quality.

    I love Toyota and I think the Lexus brand is the most reliable out there, but Mercedes seems to take the lead in introducing new technologies to effect 'Die Zukunft des Automobils' (the future of automobiles). As long as Mercedes is at the forefront of automotive engineering there will always be issues to overcome. In a few years, the key problem will only be a memory and we will be talking about other new features like Distronic and Parktronic on the C-Class. ;-)
  • ktanktan Posts: 9
    My C320 that had the same bodywork done is brilliant silver, just like yours. The only complaint I had was that my car was only 2 months old when it got into the accident. When it came back, the interior was not as clean as I would have liked, but, hey, nick picking on my part.

    Good luck and hopefully no more accidents!
  • bjmanbjman Posts: 11
    I understand exactly what you are saying, but is this something that can actually be done? How do I go about it? Write a letter myself? Hire a lawyer? How do I determine what the loss of value is? Take it to a dealer and ask how much they would give me for trading it in if it had been in an accident vs. if it had not?

    Has anyone here done anything like this before?

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    In the case of my friend with the BMW 528, he negotiated his deal before the car was repaired. He indicated the other guy's insurance company paid $6,500 of the $8,500 difference between trade-in of the repaired car and the cost of a new one (including taxes). The $2,000 they did not pay was negotiated on the basis of $500 per month for the four months that my friend had owned the car prior to the crash. They also paid his lawyers fees (under $1,000).

    As soon as the repair estimate came in, he refused to authorize the work and had his lawyer write a letter demanding a brand new car. The demand was based upon the extent of the damages and the uncertainty of being able to restore the car to "as-new" condition. It probably didn't hurt the negotiations that the other guy ran a red light and he was slightly injured in the crash (although he never asked for or received injury compensation).

    In your case, given that the car has already been repaired and you intend to keep it, it may be a tougher case. I would start by going to the Mercedes dealership and getting their quotes on trade in pre- and post-accident. If the difference is significant, I would both talk to a lawyer in your state as well as your own insurance company about what you may be entitiled to.
  • oyeeoyee Posts: 3
    Where is the best place to buy parts and accessories for MBZ?

  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    What are you looking for? A good source of aftermarket products that cover a wide range is:

    I like their hard-copy catalogues much better then their web site though.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    MBs are great cars to drive, but the costs do add up.

    Your point about new technology is a good one, but unfortunately MB is suffering from more than new technology. On the last 3 MBs we have owned, we have replaced the shocks and struts on all 3 of them before 70K miles and brake discs on 2 of them by 50K miles. The head gasket failed on my E-class at 40K miles, and the radiator and water pump at 60K. This is not rocket science and these systems have not changed much in 20 or more years. I noticed in your bio that you are looking to buy a used S-class. I will admit there is considerable appeal to driving one of those big cruisers for somewhere around $30K +/-, but be prepared to spend on average $3K/year, in parts and labor to keep it running.
  • w2p2w2p2 Posts: 63
    I'm going to trade my C-320 in for a convertible! Never carry more than one other person, so why not. Hope I can find a board as good as this one has been. You guys are great as far as posting info about problems and suggestions. See ya on the road.
This discussion has been closed.