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1999 S 320 -- is it okay to buy one?

1088 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  bdonkersgoed
Hi everybody,

I took a look today at a used 1999 S 320. It's in fantastic condition, and has some very desirable options. The dealer is asking CDN $43,800 for it, with 53,000 km on the clock. The dealer is required by law to notify the purchaser if the car was a lease vehicle, and this one was not.

The engine sounds good, and the car drives very nicely. I noticed some "squeaking" from the door frame, but I think that's where the (vinyl?) inner cladding makes contact with the door frame. I expect there's a way to stop that sound.

I found the driver's seat to be comfortable and supportive, but Mercedes's seats always feel to me like they're sagging a little. This one wasn't nearly as bad as some cars I've looked at; I think it was pretty normal. And the pneumatic lumbar support appeared to work fine.

The car has the Flexible Service System, and appears to have been serviced once every two years, or approximately every 15,000 kilometres.

The interior is in very good shape, with no dirty marks or anything like that. However, I think the dealer has detailed the car, because the engine has also been washed (I'm wondering why -- do these engines leak oil?).

I did notice that with the ignition off, the lights of the vanity mirrors above the rear seats weren't coming on. Do they come on only when the ignition is on?

I checked the rear sunshade and it works perfectly. I didn't have a chance to check the sunroof, though, but will do so.

The car drives nicely. The transmission shifts well, and the engine pulls smoothly to the red line.

The car has Parktronic, which appears to work, although I haven't yet tried to use it to park the car. The car also has a pneumatically-assisted trunk closing system, which works. The electric seats work, but I'll check again to see if the seat heaters work. Electric windows and climate control appear to be working fine too.

The car is eligible for a Star Mark warranty for roughly $3500.

I didn't check things like the wipers or auto-dimming rear-view mirror, but I assume those would be covered by the warranty.

I have only ever bought new cars before. I'm wondering whether this car is okay to buy used, or whether it's likely to be a money pit, for example, like S 350 Diesels were.

Any advice for a newbie?

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· Registered
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Some info for others who may be interested

I had another look at the car today, and have an update to provide if others are interested.

The vanity mirrors above the rear seat do illuminate only when the ignition is on. This is a bit odd because the front ones do whether the ignition is on or off, but I suppose Mercedes thought of children playing with them, not locking them back in their stowed position, and then draining the battery. Clever!

· Registered
1995 MB S320V: 2006 kawasaki vulcan 900 lt
414 Posts
to buy or not to buy, that is the question...?

Apologies to the Bard.

I would worry if I heard squeeking from the door frame. Is there a misalignment from an accident? Don't take the dealers word for anything!

Check carfax on line to see if there are any adverse reports, better to spend a small amount now than "Mucho dinero" later.

· Registered
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To clarify

(I'm sure the Bard is grateful for your apology! Don't ever do that again! :)

The squeaking is not from the door frame per se, but rather from the (let's be generous: MB-Tex) covering on the door. As the car moves over bumps in the road, there's a faint squeak, as if the covering were rubbing against something. A friend of mine suggested that some leather conditioner applied to the (ahem!) vinyl might stop the sound. It's just that the interior is so quiet, that you hear every small thing.

I did run an ICBC check on the car, and it seems there was an accident in July 2002, which ICBC did not pay for, so we don't know the dollar value of the damage. I'm having the car checked by BCAA to find out whether the damage was serious. If so, I walk away, no matter how gorgeous the car's condition otherwise.

· Registered
93 300SE, 07 BMW 328i Coupe, 01 GSX-R1000
940 Posts
Re: to buy or not to buy, that is the question...?

Check carfax on line to see if there are any adverse reports, better to spend a small amount now than "Mucho dinero" later.
CarFax is useless . . . I purchased the Unlimited Reports for $30 or so, and ran a bunch of reports on cars that I know with certainty have been salvaged. Out of the six salvage vehicles that I checked, carfax only knew that one had even been in an accident!

Also, CarFax's so-called "warranty" only covers you for like 10% of what you paid for the vehicle . . .

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