Importance of Service Records ??? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Importance of Service Records ???

Hi all. I'm new to MB's and new to this forum. I've been reading the posts on as many forums as I could find and I like this one best !!
I am considering buying a 1988 300E with 155K miles, unsure of service records at this point.
I understand and completely agree that it would be best to buy a MB with complete or at least partial service records. However, that is not always an option. Can you play "catch up" with the maintenance? What all is done during all that servicing?
For instance, the MB I'm looking at runs great, but I can't see passing up on a car just because of no records(won't be afraid to pass on it either) I guess that is where a PPI would be invaluable.
The dealer let me take it out for an entire day and told me to keep it overnight to test it. I found some things wrong that he's supposedly repaired. He told me to take it all this weekend to test again.
Any comments will be welcome. I'm handy around cars and am able to do much of my own tune ups, general repairs and maintenenace etc...
Thanks much, Bill
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2006, 12:20 AM
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RE: Importance of Service Records ???

If the car has service records - fantastic. Unfortunately, few cars of that vintage will have them (you may fluke on one).

A PPI is without doubt the best thing you can get done before buying a used car - best $100 or so you will spend.

That and reading up on issues on sites like this one.

Cheers and good luck!



beware of fundamentalists

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2006, 01:53 AM
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RE: Importance of Service Records ???

I second what 420 said.

These cars are generally bullet proof. Also keep in mind that it's easy to fall in love with these cars, and there are a lot of them - wait for the right one.

This is a little off topic, but consider this.

Service records are one of your best friends when it comes to an accident - they are you best friends when the insurance company starts to consider the evil "W" word - writing it off. Your second best friend is a professional appraisal that's on file with your insurance company as well as the PPI proving the condition of the car.

Consider properly maintaining the car if it's even remotely preserved (not rusting out for example). For example, I am a big DIYer, but I consider my 560SEL beautiful enough and enough of an investment that I will be maintaining it profesionally according the the strict MB factory specs - down to oil changes - just in case anything happens - but my SEL is collector's quality - and before anyone rings in, I know that 95% of the time "collector" and "SEL" is an oxymoron.

I decided this after my insurance guy told me that if anything happened, the insurance company would push to pay me the blue book price - and the resale value in those books reflect what poor quality examples go for out of Joe Blow's discount dealership of 11th street - not the beautiful ones that sell quickly and quietly through private deals.

All these actions will provide me some sticks and stones to fight with if anything happens.

Good luck and looking forward to seeing your car if you get it,


1990 560SEL - W126
-929 nautical blue metallic & 262 navy blue leather
-58,000 KM (36,200 Miles)
-Euro spec Japanese import (KAT edition)
-Complete service history since new
-5,546cc SOHC 16v V8
-10.0:1 compression
-285 hp@5200 rpm, 324 lb/ft@3750 rpm
-2.65 limited slip diff
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2006, 02:07 AM
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RE: Importance of Service Records ???

I agree, once cars get to a certain age they usually stop being dealer serviced and people start DIYing. People stop using the service books and they start getting lost.

I tend to think a lot of times it's best looking at the overall condition of the vehicle and things like what tyres are fitted. If the tyres are of a good brand and condiotion then it shows the previous owners have not cut costs, and probably treated the rest of the car with the same respect.

- Jason

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'64 Land Rover IIa
'83 Mercedes 500SL
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2006, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Importance of Service Records ???

Thanks for the input. I plan on picking the one up in question in a few hours to keep for the weekend and see how it goes. Then I am going to look at a couple more later today.
I'll keep reading through this great forum.........
Thanks guys, Bill
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2006, 10:51 AM
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RE: Importance of Service Records ???

I bought an 87 300E a few months ago from a software developer out at Microsoft, guy who had trouble finding the title, much less providing a satchel of service receipts. The trunk lid made me worry a little, because there was evidence that the car had a spoiler on it from the factory, and it had been removed, the trunk lid sanded & repainted, and a very bad job at that. This made me wonder about the competence of persons doing prior service. Having had the car for a few months now, I did find a few instances where competence had been an issue: light bulbs changed using wrong replacements and then forced into the sockets, breaking the sockets! I couldn't believe that you could do this! But the third brake light and the right brake light were both broken this way! Also, the fog lights one was a different color than the other! I switched the headlights to Euro and the car looks nicer and the lights are much better for night visibility! I replaced the rear brake pads myself (Easier on this car than any other car I have ever seen) at a cost of less than $25. The only other issue was the driveline flex discs which the rear has been replaced and the front is being replaced this week. Got the 2 discs from a company online for less than $60 each. The engine, trans, everything else is fine. So for having a bozo who couldn't change a light bulb as previous owner, the car did well. I don't fault the guy... computer geeks often don't know much about cars. When looking at a car to buy, just bring with you all that you know about cars, and look at every thing that yuo can on the car, check all the fluids, if you can see thru the wheels, look at the brake pads & rotors, look for things that have been mickey-moused back together. I am happy with my W124 and my neighbors all think it is a 1999 model and not a 1987, so they think I must be a mob capo to afford it! The 300E is my second Mercedes although since I got it I bought and sold another Mercedes too! If you find a car yuo like, then Buy It. Life's too short to be seen in a piece of junk. Ha!

Please don't spill Champagne in the Mercedes.
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