Date registered: Jan 2011
Vehicle: 2000 E430 4matic
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
As I looked around for used Mercedes, I found that two types generally dominate the market. One is a Mercedes that was owned by someone who likes Mercedes Benz vehicles and takes good care of them. This is generally your older owners. They may have high miles, but they were well cared for, with only proper replacement parts being used, and most likely garage kept. My 2000 E430 belonged to an older doctor, and his wife. In 15 years, they racked up 126,000 miles. If something squeaked or didn't work, they took it to the dealer and said "fix it". They didn't hack up the interior to fit wrong size alpine stereo speakers. They didn't cut up the wiring harness to install an amp and subwoofer. These are the cars you want to buy.
The other type you see a lot of are the cars bought often by a younger buyer, who don't know or care about the brand of car. They just wanted a cheap car that looks expensive. Unaware of the maintenance needs of their Mercedes, they drive the heck out of it, beat the heck out of it, often fit tacky after market crap from Walmart then try to sell it when there's a problem and they find out the price of good parts. You'll see Jensen head units mounted with electrical taped wiring. Missing jack covers and tow hook covers, badly curb rashed wheels. This is the car to avoid buying.
Sometimes it hard to tell which is which if a seller is clever. I have a guideline I follow, it's probably not fool proof, but it's worked well for me so far. Look at the tires. A careful owner, who truly cares about the ride quality of their car will usually have good quality tires mounted, and they'll have tread. An owner who just needs to keep the car running as cheaply as possible will often be using the cheapest tires available at Pep Boys and run them (without rotating) until cords are showing. Run from this car!