HELP... Considering a 2002 E320 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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HELP... Considering a 2002 E320


I've never owned a MB. I'm a 250,000 mile Taurus sort of guy. I'd like a decent sized sedan that's "classy", ultra-quiet and reliable/low-maintenance when the car is getting older. I love the new C230 and was considering it, but was having trouble justifying the initial cost and the expected long term costs..... So, I've been holding off. Considering a Lincoln MKS or MKZ, perhaps a Cadillac CTS, maybe a Lexus ES350 or perhaps a Toyata Avalon. I thought the lexus was the "best" car and the C230 was the "classiest" and overall the most desirable. I'm not particularly mechanical, but I can change my own oil and install a fan belt and so-forth.

Anywyas, I found this 2002 E320 RWD with 59k miles. It's been babied all its life and seems to be a total powder-puff. I have all the service history. Serviced at a fancy dealership (you know... the one where you can't drive into the servicebay without spending $1000 and a black SLR dominates the showroom.) No issues on the CarFax my Local third-party EuroRepair place is going to check it over. There is 1 month remaining on warranty and owner will fix any outstanding issues. New tires. Drives great. Always garaged. Never in snow. Undercoated when new. The seller is the original owner 70 year old woman who has replaced it with a new E350.

But, I'm scared to death. $2000 ignition keys? $1000 shift-interlock problems causing cars to get stuck in the ATM drive-though? $1200 fuel sensors? $1800 gas caps? Radios asking for codes at random?

The car seems cheap at $11k. What do you think? I want all the glory and none of the pain. Is this a big mistake?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 09:28 PM
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Sure some of the MB part prices are taken from the Mars, but the truth is, that you don't need them that much and there are some ways around it. Read the forum.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 09:59 PM
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Anybody buying a used Mercedes needs to understand that they are expensive to service and maintain, unless you are an accomplished DIYer. The car you are thinking about buying sounds very nice. The 2002 W210 was the last of the series and most if not all of the design defects were corrected from the earlier years, but things will go wrong. If you want a reliable/low maintenance vehicle like you say, Mercedes may not be the car for you. I'm not putting down Mercedes because I think they're fabulous cars, but that fabulosity (is this a word?) comes at a cost.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 10:23 PM
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Tell me where this car is and I will buy it.

Seriously, they are great cars but more expensive to maintain, of the list you mentioned the Lexus probably is the best if that's your main concern.

But there is something about the E-class that I would not trade for any of the cars on your list.

Scroll down to the W210 forum and you'll find a series of DIY stickies, in them you'll find lots of information, including a thread on common issues of the W210.

Like you I came from regular cars, but I can honestly say I have not regretted my purchase.

Take care and enjoy the ride,

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 07:45 AM
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"Low maintenance" is a euphemism or "code word" for not doing any maintenance--despite the fact it's required.

On a car like a Ford, you don't care anyway because it won't be worth much when all is said and done.

If you skip it on a Mercedes it will bite you bad.

There's no such thing as a maintenance-free car--just cars that don't get maintained. You gonna buy a 2002 Camry?

BTW, those keys are $200, not $2000. And, there's no such thing as an $1800 gas cap. If your approach to car ownership is mythology, you have more to learn. You cannot have a mature, successful relationship with any car without dealer support. But, life is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and if you expect to be screwed, you will be.

Kent Christensen
'07 GL320CDI

Last edited by lkchris; 11-03-2008 at 07:48 AM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 01:31 PM
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You are comparing Apples to Oranges. Used to new or older to newer. 07 C230 to 07 ES350? Not even close. The build quality of the C230 is downright horrible when compared the Lexus. The reliability isn't even close either. The ES is slightly bigger too (especially the back seat).

The 02 E320 is older, used and will have more miles then an 07. It is ever so slightly larger then the ES350 and quite a bit larger then the C230. It is a good solid car, but does have its fair share of troubles and the technology simply isn't as advanced as the 07 ES350 or 07 C230 for that matter.

You need to nail down a budget and size class of car.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 06:48 PM
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Compared to other brands no doubt Mercs will give you prestige, but it comes with a price.
Take good care of it, I'm sure you'll minimize expenses.

Last edited by jboymagno; 11-03-2008 at 06:57 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2008, 09:31 PM
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the e320, especially the 2002's are great cars. If you were going to choose a used Mercedes that would cost you the least over the years. Thats the choice.

Regular maintenance and you should get 200k+ out of her. Of course if you drive with a lead foot, the E class trannys tend to go at about 100-150k miles. Thats about 5k to fix right there.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 07:00 PM
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$11,000 is a good price for the car you described, even if it is light on options. As has already been suggested, check the W210 forum stickys for the few problem areas. Also search there for what to look for before you buy one.

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