Date registered: Feb 2008
Vehicle: 2004 W220 (S430) ; 2001 R129 (SL500) Sport
Location: Alabama Gulf Coast--formerly Charlottesville, VA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
So there you have it.
Kajtek is right about the DIY possibilities if you're reasonably handy AND you take the time to learn how to do the work and what the required fluids and replacement bits are.
You absolutely cannot buy a quart of Pennzoil 10W-30 at your local Circle K and stick it in the crankcase. You can't buy Wal-Mart $1.99 a gallon coolant and put in the radiator. You can't buy much at any chain parts store that will work on a Mercedes--don't even THINK about universal replacement parts (like fuel filters and the other crap that "fits all cars.") There are a number of vendors that support this site who sell OEM and OEM-equivalent parts at a substantial discount off dealer prices if you want to DIY things other than routine maintenance.
The other universal advice you have is NEVER, NEVER take your car to a bulk oil change place like Jiffy Lube or to a chain repair place like Midas because they are not equipped to handle the very specific repair requirements of Mercedes. They lack the STAR diagnostic software as well as the experience and expertise to successfully repair the car. The scary thing is that doesn't seem to matter, so they will TRY to repair your car. Then you're really screwed because it will cost a multiple of the original repair cost to undo all the mess they'll make of your car.
There are good independent shops who charge lower labor rates than the dealership if you don't want to do any work yourself. Ask particularly if they are familiar with and have a substantial work history on Mercedes. A BMW shop that does a little Benz work on the side is not the same as a shop that does a lot of Benz work all the time.
You bought a high-end car. It is exceptionally complex. The price of the pleasure of driving it is the necessity that you treat it well. Otherwise, it will be a nightmarish ownership experience. This ain't your mother's Chevy.
Enjoy your ride!
"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you."--John Steinbeck