Good Deal '96 C280? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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Good Deal '96 C280?

Hello Everyone,

I am looking to buy a used '96 C280 as a daily driver. This particular vehicle is extremely clean. The dealer put in a new power steering pump and new winter tires, which alone are worth $500. I am wondering what, if anything, I should be concerned about if I buy this car? I am not looking for a perfect car by any means, just something I can drive around town to get groceries, go to the gym, etc. So I really do not mind whether any lights on the dash are on (though there are none on). I am only concerned about being stranded somewhere if the transmission or motor go out. Any thoughts are appreciated! The dealer wants $3,100 out the door.

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1996 Mercedes C280 SO CLEAN~WARM INDOOR SHOWROOM | Saint Louis Park, MN | Auto Motion Parent
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 02:26 PM
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It looks really nice! Must have been well cared for. Might be worth spending a couple of hundred bucks on a pre purchase inspection from an outside technician, to make sure that all is good. Hey, what else can you get these days for that kind of money? Not much! Good luck!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 04:14 PM
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If this is your first Mercedes, starting with 20 years old is a gamble.
Those cars can be really rewarding when you know how to deal with them, or turn into very costly nightmare when you start taking problems to mechanics.
I don't see close up on driver seat leather and that would be my first concern.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm used to driving BMW and have an '09 329i xdrive. However, I've always wanted a Mercedes. The car is really nice, extremely clean and only two-owner. The first owner had it for 18 years and the second owner for 2 years. The car went into a shop last year for a "check engine light," and then it was sold 12,000 miles later. The dealer replaced the power steering pump. Again, the car drives really nice and I don't expect anything perfect. I wouldn't even mind if all the dash lights were on, which they're not, but I'm only concerned about the transmission and engine being solid.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 04:36 PM
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PPI is the key
if you cant get one, go through the car systemically
check for
Rust and undercarriage
color and smell of all the fluids
look for signs of hacking.
Inspecting a Used Car | Used Car Buying Guide - Consumer Reports


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92 300ce and others
"Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night
because rough men stand ready
to do violence on their behalf."

Si vis pacem, para bellum
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 07:04 PM
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Read up on biodegradable wiring harness issues on 94-97 MBs and then ask yourself whether you are willing to face the possibility. Unless the harness has been replaced already, of course.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all of the feedback - everything makes perfect sense. As many of you said, even the possibility of paying such repair costs sends shivers up my spine. And there is really no way of knowing whether it was replaced unless I get it looked at by an independent mechanic. I'll go take a look at the car again tomorrow.
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