College Student Looking for Inexpensive Yet Reliable Mercedes - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 12:30 PM
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If I were in your situation, I would get a cheap 94-97 Honda Accord. I had a '95 Accord DX with a 5 speed and it was the most reliable car I've had yet (I'm 16). My 420 and my CE are no where as reliable as that Honda was.

It was a good car, but it wasn't a Benz and the suspension sucked.

Nice low mileage examples can be had for $2k.

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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 01:01 PM
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haha oh and like others have mentioned. keep in mind the reliability.

you dont want to have to spend hella time out of your school day to be workin on your car. get a reliable car for now. oh and not to mention if you end up fixing your car, its probably gonna be you working on it rather than a pro mechanic especially if your on a budget.
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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I know nothing about fixing cars as of now so any issues would have to be done by something else unless it is something I can learn and easily do myself. But all used cars will likely at least have some issues.

The base price for a 1998 BMW 318 is $4000 from a private seller according to Kelly Blue Book. I don't like bidding on cars off Ebay because you are obligated to buy if you win and you don't get a chance to inspect and test drive the car first.

I am a college student in Illinois, not California. I attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Go Illini!

I have more than $1,800 but that is about all I'm willing to spend on a used car.
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 07:56 PM
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Absolutely DO NOT get a Mercedes-Benz. And this is coming from a guy who's handle is "Benz Prodigy". Most every model that is in your price range has a strict maintenance routine that must be adhered to no matter how ludicris the cost will become.

I agree 100% with those who have suggested Honda's or Toyota's. Check your local Kijiji, AutoTrader etc. You will find, from time to time, something like a 2003 Honda Accord that the owner went to a dealership to trade in, found they could only get $2000 on trade and will then sell it privately for $2000. Nothing wrong with the car, just an uninformed seller basing value off what the dealer said they'd take for a trade.

I'm in college as well, and it's really worth repeating: You do not want a Benz, and you most certainly do not want a BMW. Get a Honda; they're cheap, reliable and every mechanic knows them this way from Sunday. In your price range, and being in the north, the biggest factor will be rust. Check the underbody of any potential issues; if not so inclined, it is well worth it to hire an independant mechanic (entirely separate from wherever you're buying the car from, of course...find one across town, so the two aren't associated AT ALL) to check the underbody, or bring someone you know who is so inclined.

You're not obligated to buy a car if you "win" an auction off Ebay. You're not obligated to buy anything off Ebay. Ebay is not and never will be a legally binding contract. Period. Tell them to go suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

Last edited by Benz Prodigy; 03-15-2009 at 08:00 PM.
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz Prodigy View Post
Absolutely DO NOT get a Mercedes-Benz. And this is coming from a guy who's handle is "Benz Prodigy". Most every model that is in your price range has a strict maintenance routine that must be adhered to no matter how ludicrous the cost will become.

I agree 100% with those who have suggested Honda's or Toyota's. Check your local Kijiji, AutoTrader etc. You will find, from time to time, something like a 2003 Honda Accord that the owner went to a dealership to trade in, found they could only get $2000 on trade and will then sell it privately for $2000. Nothing wrong with the car, just an uninformed seller basing value off what the dealer said they'd take for a trade.

I'm in college as well, and it's really worth repeating: You do not want a Benz, and you most certainly do not want a BMW. Get a Honda; they're cheap, reliable and every mechanic knows them this way from Sunday. In your price range, and being in the north, the biggest factor will be rust. Check the underbody of any potential issues; if not so inclined, it is well worth it to hire an independant mechanic (entirely separate from wherever you're buying the car from, of course...find one across town, so the two aren't associated AT ALL) to check the underbody, or bring someone you know who is so inclined.

You're not obligated to buy a car if you "win" an auction off Ebay. You're not obligated to buy anything off Ebay. Ebay is not and never will be a legally binding contract. Period. Tell them to go suck a golf ball through a garden hose.
What is this strict routine you speak of and how much will it cost per maintenance routine?

I might consider getting a Honda or Acura, but is a $2,000 Honda really that much better than a $2,000 Mercedes in terms of reliability and maintenance costs?

And hilarious comment "tell them to go suck a golf ball through a hose" LOL
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post #16 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 08:43 PM
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I might consider getting a Honda or Acura, but is a $2,000 Honda really that much better than a $2,000 Mercedes in terms of reliability and maintenance costs?
Why yes, yes it is. You have to remember the original price of many Mercs in that price range (W123, W126, W140) were made to be a higher-priced car, with bells a whistles to suit, and an even larger buget assumed for maintenance. As an example, the transmission filter for my car was $51. A trans filter for a Honda is considerably less, and the price does not dictate quality in any case.

It's general knowledge that Honda's typically have lower running costs then a Mercedes car. They're very simple to work on, and parts, even from the dealer, are very attractively priced. Ever replace the waterpump on a Civic? It's right there, and straight forward.

This is where your lower labour rates come into play when having work done at an independant mechanic. An indie has the ability to make you thier b*tch, for lack of a more illustrious term, as soon as you bring them an old, malfunctioning Mercedes and say "It's not running right."

Try to compare that fact with taking into account the parts prices for an older Mercedes. Your buget will allow you to get a newer Honda, rather than an old Merc. I'm not trying to settle an arguement about which car is more reliable, rather, am illustrating that the Honda will be cheaper over the span of your ownership.

When I was in the market for my first car, I was considering more "upscale" marques as well (which is an oxymoron in this context condering the age of vehicle my bank account allowed for). I then found out that

1) old BMW 740's had electrical systems so terrible the car was totalled as soon as one's "tweaking" for a new CD player released the magic blue smoke,

2)Audi's parts prices were through the roof and thier dismal rust-proofing did nothing to ease the pain,

3) 70's-80's Mercedes 300D's did 0-60 in 28 seconds, and thier rediculous 27MPG was beat by a Civic any day of the week, all the while accelerating 3 times faster, and

4) Jaguar XJ6's were the worst of all worlds, with fuel injection systems and gas mileage that made you yearn for an Escort.

Purchase a Honda Accord or Civic (please, not one of those 500lb early 90's hatch-backs though) and enjoy efficient, reliable transportation.

Last edited by Benz Prodigy; 03-15-2009 at 08:46 PM.
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post #17 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 08:47 PM
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Just go online and check how much an oil filter, air filter fuel filter cost for Mercedes compare to Honda or Toyota. That is if you know how to change it yourself. Then there is the Mercedes Benz coolants and brake fluids etc. Not to mention what a MB mechanic charges (as you can't take it to the corner gas station for any serious works).
Also check the price of simple spare parts like water pump, windshield wiper motor etc.

Last edited by RKH; 03-15-2009 at 09:07 PM.
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post #18 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 09:07 PM
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^ Absolutely.

For further proof, check out my avatar. That's a part off my steering linkage being bored out. It's fastened in a lathe chuck off the lathe I bought, clamped to the table of the milling machine I purchased, because buying the machinery + all related tooling and manufacturing parts/machining original parts/doing all work myself was cheaper than paying someone to do any medium-sized job on the entire car.

There's a point when you say to yourself "I can buy the whole machine and make that part for less than the price they're selling it for".

Like the $800 chrome bumper strip on the front bumper of the 420. I could take a course in metal forming, buy a planishing hammer + materials, pay someone to chrome it and still come out on top.

Last edited by Benz Prodigy; 03-15-2009 at 09:11 PM.
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post #19 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 09:15 PM
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Dont let these guys give you the "Buy a Honda". Not that there is anything wrong with a Honda.

Even if you dont know anything about cars. You have to start somewhere. And its usually your own car you first work on.

Everyone was a newbie at some time in their lives. I did a complete engine swap a year after I bought my first car.

Get yourself a car with a good body and running gear. Electronics and Misc can always be sorted as and when you have the money. Get yourself a Haynes workshop manual, jack stands, floor jack and some basic tools (socket set, multimeter etc...) . Oh and you better have a garage, dont expect to do all the maintenance on your drive way, that can get really really painful.

If this car is going to be your daily driver. Try to get one that was a daily driver with service records. Stay away from "maxed out benzs", and be patient.

Good Luck
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post #20 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-15-2009, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiseoveride View Post

Everyone was a newbie at some time in their lives. I did a complete engine swap a year after I bought my first car.

Get yourself a car with a good body and running gear. Electronics and Misc can always be sorted as and when you have the money. Get yourself a Haynes workshop manual, ........
Good Luck
I'll bet the first car that you did the engine swap was not a Mercedes or Jaguar. Haynes may not even have the manual for most Mercedes. (I had a Haynes manual for my Porsche and some of the information like torque spec were incorrect).

It is best to learn by fixing simple cars first and Mercedes is far from simple. A lot of mechanics wouldn't even touch Mercedes as they don't know much about it, definitely not a car to learn on. So for a college student with limited budget, forget it.

Last edited by RKH; 03-15-2009 at 09:46 PM.
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