MERCEDES....Are they expensive to maintain?

jpancerellajpancerella Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Mercedes-Benz
Been checking out a the new Mercedes SUV's. I
love them, but what are the maintenance costs on
Mercedes (any of them). My wife had a BMW at it
seemed like we were paying alot everytime we took
it in for "routine" maintenance. I've been driving
GM care since. Gotta love $14.95 oil changes.
Anyway, considering a foreign car again. Has this



  • scwangscwang Member Posts: 1
    Found out about a 4-yr regular maintenance contract from a local dealer for $2,470. Hope this helps.
  • mike52mike52 Member Posts: 4
    As long as u want a luxury vehicle and can buy one the dealer will always charge u a lot of $$ 4 routine maintance.I had my M-B for 3 yrs. and spend $170 for 2 oil changes and that all the routine maintance I needed so far.
  • htnelsonhtnelson Member Posts: 1
    My 1972 S class V8 has 200K miles and is the least expensive car I have owned. When parts are needed it can be pricey (after all it is a 72) but it needs parts so seldom.
    My bottom line
    If you keep the car less than 5 years then yes the MBZ is expensive.
    If you keep the car 10-15 years it probably will cost less than any other brand.
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    I don't know if you your own maintenance or not, but my 1980 S class twin-cam six is a pleasure to work on. The manuals are clear and concise. Parts can be expensive. Sometimes a little digging at the parts counter helps. MB assemblies are usually servicable, meaning that small components can be replaced instead of completely changing an entire assembly. This is especially true of vacuum controls, which are the most problematic things on this car.
  • tomcivilettitomciviletti Member Posts: 207
    Do bears.... Oh, nevermind
  • bobmannebobmanne Member Posts: 1
    We own a '89 300 SEL w/197K miles on it.We drive it between 30-35K / year. I spend approx $350.00 yearly for a tuneup plus $27 / oil change (6 / year). I agree that if you plan to hold the car for 5 years or longer, the MB is a VERY reasonable car to maintain (as inexpensive as my last Maxima). As a result of our experience with the 300 SEL, we are picking up a '95 E320 on Monday. As the saying goes..."Try them,,you'll like them".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think the wisdom of the purchase of an old Benz depends on the wisdom of the buyer regarding how closely the car is examined.

    It is essential that you only consider a car that has a full record of service from an MB specialist. Five oil change receipts from a Chevron station doesn't cut it. Also, I would reject extremely high mileage cars (over 150,000).

    The Mercedes of today is a lot better car than the older ones, which were very well built but had any number of deficiencies. Typically, early 70s Benz's will have virtually worthless a/c systems, troublesome climate controls and a propensity to rust and eating lots of fuel (the V-8s). You may also have problems with vapor lock in hot weather, very rough shifting automatic transmissions and a truck-like feel in steering and handling.

    Still, if you find a clean, well-cared for car and you don't overpay for it, you could hardly do better in driving around in luxury for cheap, especially if you're willing to overlook some of the car's less admirable characteristics. They can be made reliable and are a pleasure on long trips.

    The mechanical inspection is *everything* in determining success or failure.
  • jscottkjscottk Member Posts: 13
    I am looking for a used Mercedes. What is the best year/model for between 10K-13K and what would my maintenance, (on a well-maintained auto) run me per year?

    Thanks very much,

  • jscottkjscottk Member Posts: 13
    I am looking for a used Mercedes. What is the best year/model for between 10K-13K and what would my maintenance, (on a well-maintained auto) run me per year?
    Thanks very much,jscottk
  • gchernya1gchernya1 Member Posts: 43
    Chevy Cavalier(just kidding)
  • alw999alw999 Member Posts: 1
    I am thinking about buying a 2000 MB roadster. Can anyone provide feedback on the SLK?
  • wrighttwrightt Member Posts: 4
    I have found out that MOST Benz are not any more expensive to repair than other cars. However they do have some unusual parts which can be pricy. The key is to do, as with any car, good maintenance
    only on Benz it is imperative to do so.

    My wife has a 87 300 TD with 135000 miles on it and get 28 miles to the Gal., expences have been normal repair items brakes, water pump, benz engine mounts (hydraulic), AC still working yet some repairs, etc. The Benz after almost 12 years it runs like a top still looks classy and and gets comments like that is an 87.

    Worth repairing for the long haul
  • teng15teng15 Member Posts: 1
    Funny how one of the first things you hear about German cars (or luxury cars in general) is : "Great car, but maintenance is expensive !"

    Parts are, indeed, a bit more expensive than, say, a Toyota or Honda. But from my experience, they do last longer. Example: I used to do the minor tune-ups on my Toyota and Honda. The cost for plugs are almost the same. The spark plug wires for the Toyota ran to about $40.00 a set (this was a few years ago). The MB ? $149.00 (for the steel-braided ones)! But then, the forty dollar wires lasted about a year. The MB wires : 4 years, and still going !

    Labor is also more expensive, depending on your mechanic. So, I only go to the mechanic for major repairs, of which there hasn't been much of (new exhaust system) or when I feel lazy !

    Changing the oil, oil filter, and air filter is a snap. You don't even have to lift the car. Takes me about 30 minutes, tops. It's so easy and cheap that I change my oil every month (I drive about 90 miles everyday.) Cost: about 99 cents per quart of Castrol GTX Oil, $5.00 for a Purolator Oil filter (or a bit more for the German-made Mann Filters), about $10.00 for the air filter. To go to a Jiffy Lube or similar would cost me $49.00, as they do charge more for these cars than they do for a Toyota or Honda.

    I've owned a Mitsubishi Galant, Toyota Celica, Volvo 240D, Honda Accord, a Saab 2000 over the past 15 years. We leased a 1998 Subaru Outback Limited, which we'll be returning in September 2000 Limited . I still take my '88 MB over all of them. Don't get me wrong. All those cars were pretty good and reliable. But the MB is just more satisfying to drive everyday.

    To emphasize my point, my 11 year old MB, rides and drives better than my wife's 2-3 year old Subaru. It's faster, handles better, sounds better and is generally more satisfying than the Subaru. Of course, it is a bit unfair to compare these two cars, since they're in a totally different car class. And the Subaru would probably beat the MB in Winter driving hands down. But since we haven't had any bad winters in NJ in the last few years, this hasn't become an issue. Besides, if the weather's really that bad, I stay home and play with my son.

    If there's one negative thing to say against the MB (and the BMW, for that matter), is that the electrical system (power locks and power windows) is not as good as on the Japanese makes. I NEVER had an electrical problem with my Japanese cars but I've had my power windows and doorlocks go out in my MB. Easily repaired by the mechanic. But a nuisance, nonetheless. All my close friends have either an MB or a BMW, so we get together on some weekends to service our cars.

    By the way, for anyone thinking of buying a used MB, my mechanic (as he loves to say: he's a REAL German, trained in Germany too! Well hoop-dee-doo) says that as far as cost of parts and labor, the most expensive to maintain among the three brands are: Audi, BMW then the Mercedes, in that order. He just told me to keep this in mind cause I am currently looking to get another MB or maybe a BMW for my wife.
  • delddeld Member Posts: 8
    I have a '97 C-280 that has to go in every 4 or 5 months because the "check engine" light comes on. Numerous items have to be replaced each time. The dealership says that it's an abnormalty and I want to believe them because they never seem to have the parts in stock. Still, for a car of this caliber, I'd expect to get a vehicle that doesn't force me to become acquainted with everyone in the dealership. The cashier reminded me how safe they are and I informed her that not many people are injured in an accident while sitting on their butts in the waiting area.

    If this continues, I will sell this thing and get another Honda or Toyota. They may not be as fancy but you get to enjoy their lack of problems very much. To say the least, I find my Mercedes to be a mechanical pain in the neck. I've also had a couple oil leaks develope that have been fixed under warranty, but, hey, what gives?
  • ahenriquesahenriques Member Posts: 3
    So far I can't say MB maintenance is more expensive. I have a 78 MB 300 CD. Bought it used. It has now 160,000 miles. Had to do some underbody work on it since we use a lot of salt on the roads up here in Ontario. As for maintenance I had to replace the battery, bought a generic one, the regulator/ brush assembly, again bought an after market brand, and two rear wheel suspension links. This I bought from Mercedes, genuine, at $10 each. I could not believe how cheap they were; I thought I was going to have to dish out 30 or 40 bucks each!

    Engine is doing fine, still lots of power and just a bit of oil consumption. Transmission is still great and suspension is simply the best. Brakes are great too. These cars already had 4 wheel disk
    brakes over twenty years ago. Climate control is the only problem; A Japanese servo-control unit that just decided was time to go.
  • zwee500zwee500 Member Posts: 1
    my 95 s500 w/53k has a engine knock. the sound of light knocking occurs when i start the engine "cold"-often in the mornings. this sound has only recently began during the winter season especially when the temp dips below the 50s. but after the engine warms up, the knocking "goes away". fyi, my current independent mechanic used castrol 10w-40 and an oem oil filter for 52,500 maintenance service. previously at the 50,000 service, the benz dealer used mobil 15w-30. [though i don't know if these facts are relevant]

    i haven't taken the car to a mechanic for a professional diagnosis, but plan to soon. any comments are appreciated.
  • sooncoolchicksooncoolchick Member Posts: 6
    I've got a friend with a '77 450SL. He loves the car but, unfortunately, there's a leak between the ragtop and the windshield because the weatherstripping/gasket/doojiggey has worn out. I want to surprise him with a new one so he can really enjoy the car this spring and summer, but I don't know (1) what it's called; or, (2) where to get one.

    Thanks for any/all help!
  • pantarottopantarotto Member Posts: 1
    I started having the same problem with my 95 C-280(80K).My engine light started coming on. I took the car to a mechanic friend of mine. He hooked the car to his computer and the machine did not pull any code, but after he reset the codes the light stayed off for a week. I have done this procedure three times already. My friend told me he was going to call a friend from Mercedes and see if he can give him more info. about it. My ABS light also stays on for 1-2 minutes and then it turns itself off. My anti-lock bakes light also goes on and off. I feel that the last one is related to heat. Can anyone help me?
  • mbzvtmbzvt Member Posts: 5
    I'm a factory trained MBZ tech.As for your check
    engine light coming on,welcome to the wonderful
    world of German electronics !!!! (I'm sorry,I just
    had to tease.)The c-class for some reason does
    seem susceptible to repeat check engine light
    probs,along with the e-class. #1,make sure after
    you fill your gas tank that you put the gas cap
    back on correctly,and tight.The emission control system does a self check to make sure that the fuel vapor control doesn't leak vapor to the atmosphere.If the cap is loose,you just turned on
    your own check engine light. And what really sucks
    is that I don't get paid to get your car from the
    customer parking lot,bring it all the way into the
    shop and check codes,just to find out that you left your cap off.And yes,we can tell if you did.
    #2-If you are gas-cap "smart",the codes set could
    be for other leaks in the evap system,the mass air
    flow sensor, the up-shift delay system, the rear
    oxygen sensor, or,if the transmission is having a
    slippage problem,it may set a check engine light
    on,too. Make sure whoever is working on your car
    is doing the right repair for the particular code
    stored. These suggestions may help.
  • carriefcarrief Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 1995 C220, has very low miles.
    I used to drive a Mustang convertible with 3.8 liter engine and going to a 2.2 liter is hard but I expect good gas mileage. Does anyone the expected mechanical problems on a 95 C220? I am wondering what kind of repairs to watch out for.
    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  • garthgarth Member Posts: 66
    if you can't get a service history on the vehicle, and you still want to roll the dice - make sure you have it checked out thoroughly by a mechanic you trust
  • pita2000pita2000 Member Posts: 12
    Always look for genuine mbz parts and never purchase after market.
  • jacitajacita Member Posts: 2
    I looked at two 300 SD recently at two different MB dealerships. One was a 92 300SD with 49,000 miles and the other a 93 300SD with 83,000. According to service records issued with the cars, both had their engines rebuilt recently due to problems with oil consumption. The work was done at the dealerships but the repairs and parts were paid for by Mercedes. Is there a problem with the engines in these cars? Should I stay away from them?
  • jacitajacita Member Posts: 2
    I understand the problems had to do with compression and not oil consumption.
  • pita2000pita2000 Member Posts: 12
    I would stay away from both these cars. When Mercedes built diesel in the 70's they were good cars. I heard the engine is hard to maintain especially the ones in the 80's and 90's. Unless you have a small fortune to spend on, I would abandon it and get one of the gas engines in the S-Class group.
  • mtsangmtsang Member Posts: 70
    I have a '97 C230 that I want to start doing my own oil changes for.

    1. Has anyone been able to purchase the shop manual for this (and like) models?

    2. This is my first MB, how ez or difficult is it to domy own oil change?

  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Member Posts: 227
    Okay, after 6 hours of haggling at a Lamborghini (!) dealership I now own a 1996 E320 that actually spent most of it's life at Honda R&D and only has 22K miles on it. Going through the service records, I saw receipts where the mechanic changed the oil, changed one spark plug and charged $300. I've always maintained my own vehicles and never had any problems.
    Does anybody have any input on:
    a) How self-servicing the vehicle would affect it's value.
    b) Where to get a decent service manual. (I'm thinking about buying a German one...but I'd hate to explain what 'Treibstoffschauglas' means when ordering parts in Ohio.)
    Any input would be greatly appreciated...
  • groth1groth1 Member Posts: 2
    had a similar problem with a 95 E320. The ASC (traction control) trouble light (Yellow Triangle with !) went on and stayed on when the car was started. Took it back to dealer (just purchased as exec car with 7,000mi) and they reset. Trouble repeated, back to dealer and they replaced wiring harness. Occurred again and MBUSA sent a mechanic to disassemble the electrical system (so they say). To make a long story short they replaced the battery because it wasn't putting out sufficient voltage. Problem fixed. Never had another problem - even when the battery went dead 40 months later. Good luck
  • mrroniusmrronius Member Posts: 1
    My wife and I just purchased a '93 Mercedes 300 TE wagon w/ 92,000 miles on it. We bought this from a used car dealer for a wholesale price, or slightly less ($14,500), w/o service records, and like idiots, bought it after driving it and doing a visual inspection, but didn't insist on having a mechanic check it out first. It looked clean inside and out, and drove wonderfully.

    After getting it home, I took it to a local mechanic who sees a lot of MBs to have it checked out, thinking even if I had to spend a few thousand on it, I'd still be ahead of the game at the price I paid. So here's what I found out. The first thing he told us is that the engine wiring is very corroded from battery acid having spilled out all over the engine, and it needs a new engine harness (about $1500, maybe more). He said it also needs front struts, front brakes, and new tires, and the front spoiler had been cut off by the previous owner below the bumper, probably because of some cosmetic damage. I was so thrilled w/ the thought of owning a Mercedes that I didn't even see that!

    The brakes, struts and tires don't really concern me because these are routine maintenance issues, and I'd expect some of that. But the mechanic insisted that we get the car in there immediately for the engine harness job because he said there are exposed wires touching each other, and it's very dangerous to drive because of the possibility of an engine fire.

    I was out of town the day he looked at it, so he was telling this to my wife, and showed her places in the engine where this was a problem and consequently, scared the heck out of her, and created an urgency to get the car right in there to take care of it. When she showed me what the mechanic showed her, she pointed out 2 connectors near the front of the engine that had a little bit of the insulation peeled back at the connector, showing maybe 1/4 of an inch of exposed wiring. Frankly, this didn't look too alarming to me, and actually looked as though the connectors could be replaced easily enough, without a complete $1500 wiring job.

    I also started thinking about his explanation that these were corroded by battery acid, and I noticed that the battery is mounted at the back left hand corner of the engine, while these connectors he used as examples were located at the front of the engine. Consequently, I started wondering how this battery acid could leak out and travel all the way to the front of the engine without corroding other parts of the engine. The engine to me actually looks quite clean, and other connectors in the engine look normal w/ fully insulated wiring leading to the connector. And frankly, the insulation at the questionable connectors looked like it had receded more from heat and tension, rather than corrosion.

    Am I making any sense at all? I'm not a car expert whatsoever, but I like to think I have a little bit of common sense (despite the fact that I was foolish enough to buy this car before having it check out!). This thing is just sounding to me like a classic case of a mechanic trying to take advantage of a woman and creating an urgency to get the car into the garage for an expensive repair.

    Next week, we're taking the car to a mechanic near the house who has worked on my cars for years, and is absolutely honest. The only reason I didn't have him check it out to begin with is that I wanted to take the car to a place that specializes in eurpoean cars, and MBs in particular.

    I'm curious if any other MB owners have ever had to replace an engine harness on a 7 year old Mercedes, due to wire corrosion from battery acid, or if this sounds, as I suspect, like a complete crock. We're really looking forward to several years of safe and pleasurable driving from this car. We just have to get over this initial hump, and I really believe it'll be a great car. Even the mechanic I'm questioning told me it appears to have never been in an accident, the transmission is in good shape, and aside from the wiring issue, he agreed it drives very nicely. I'm just wondering if he's on the level w/ the wiring thing.
  • ataieataie Member Posts: 84
    classic scare tactics...... always remember if they say it needs to be done right now, just move on to the next shop.... if 2 or 3 places say this, then you know it maybe right, but other than that nothing but B.S.

    these are good cars. I've had about 10 different Mercedes in the past 20 years, and from any price range of $1500 to $15.000, and some with as high as 250,000 miles on them.

    it takes a lot to kill a Benz, and not a single of of these cars were inspected before purchase. if it looked good, drove straight, and engine and transmission sounded and shifted right, and there were no fluid leaks, then I bought it.

    to this point have done no major repair outside of 'normal' maintenance except one transmission over haul, which happened about 3 months after I bought the car (you can't hide tranny problems for 3 months).

    don't know about the wagon model, but you should enjoy the 300 engine for many many miles and years to come. spend a little and go with top notch oil and filter and change no later than 5000 miles.

    as for wiring, I've seen cracked insulation on my old Benz as well. a little electrical tape will take care of that.......
  • ataieataie Member Posts: 84
    folks I just added a 'General Mercedes question' to this section. it should be a nice place to discuss any and all Mercedes models and years....
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Since this topic has a rather specific name, I think ataie had a great idea in creating a more generically named place for dealing with Mercedes issues.

    Let's continue our discussion on any Mercedes maintenance or repair issues (including whether they are expensive to maintain!) in this new place: General Mercedes questions (Topic #1295).

    Thanks again, ataie. See you there!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
This discussion has been closed.