Date registered: Aug 2005
Vehicle: Red 1987 560SL, Silver 2002 ML320
Location: Birmingham, AL
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Mercedes Benz Reliability
Here's my observations on this question:
I, too, have been puzzled by the 'reliability' ratings of new MB cars. The annual auto issue of Consumer Reports came in the mail yesterday and it - once again - lists MB cars as below average in reliability. Consumer Reports bases its rating on repairs reported by MB owners.
When I had the transmission rebuilt on my MB two years ago, the owner of the tranny shop said that MB transmissions don't last as long as they used too. He went further to say that only two automobile manufacturers make 'quality' transmissions these days. Most cars today use lighter materials, including parts for transmission. Of course the lighter materials are going to wear faster. He told me he regularly services Mercedes autos with 70k - 80k on the odometers.
This is the same for BMW, he said. As he was talking I looked past him and, sure enough, there were two late-model BMW's in his shop, up on the lifts.
He went on to say that MB cars like mine have transmissions that regularly last 150k - 200k. I was proud to tell him that my car had easily over 300k - how many miles, I don't know since the odometer quit working at the 250k mark (VDO gauges are notorious for failing after several years).
So, to my car - I have a 1987, 560SL that is my daily driver (I'm typing this at work and the car is sitting in the parking lot). As I said earlier, it has over 300k on the car. The only major work has been to replace the head gasket and rebuild the transmission. The other maintenance/repairs have been to replace parts that 'normally' wear-out.
There is no such thing as a "maintenance-free" car, and my SL is no exception. The fluids have to be changed at regular intervals. Spark plugs wear out. Hoses need to be replaced periodically. Electrical parts blow or burn-out. I could go on, but if you own an older car, you know what I'm talking about.
Years back when I bought my SL, an auto-mechanic friend of my dad's told me that my car "will last forever. That steel-block engine will last forever". So far, he is right.