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2004 Toyota Avalon XLS
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Discussion Starter #1
94 C220's & C280's (goes for 95 and 96 model as well) blue book at around 2200-2500 in excellent condition, depending... yet, people are asking well into the 4500 dollar range for a nice one.

Why is this?

I know the obvious answer, because they can ask whatever they want. It's just annoying that most are asking well over blue book (roughly double) ... I want a C220, but only want to spend blue book dollars.

So, what gives? What should I do? I feel like I'd be insulting someone if I ask them to sell a car for blue book when they want nearly DOUBLE...
 

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2010 E350, 2005 Tundra Sold the 1998 C230
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Couple of thoughts. I see lots of mercedes on the local CL, and they are usually over bluebook. And they sit there for a while. Question is what they really sell for. That number you don't usually find out about.

I think anything (not just Mercedes) that is in decent shape and runs is going to get over 2 grand, maybe closer to 3. Anything advertised for less probably needs lots of work and cash just to get roadworthy. So I would look at all three car sites, Edmunds, Nada and Kbb and then take an average of the values there as my baseline. Also keep in mind that most folks overestimate the condition of their car and of the three web sites, Kbb is going to be the highest. So if I was selling, I would quote Kbb, but buying go by Edmunds. Nada is in the middle.

If I were to find a car I liked, I would offer a price based on the above, minus any needed repairs. If the seller thinks it's worth more, then let him get it from somebody else. But it the car is a creampuff, I wouldn't let a couple hundred difference lock me out, in the long run it's chump change compared to the overall cost of the car.
 

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The price guides are really a crapshoot for cars older than a few years IMO. Values vary so much and there are so many factors in play that each car needs to be taken on a case by case basis. My general rule is take a look at what others are asking,(for comparable condition cars,) and take at least 1/3rd of that off.. and that's probably what they're going for. But of course, a car's value is as much or as little as you're willing to pay. Wait until you find one that you feel confident it is well worth your money.
 

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2004 Toyota Avalon XLS
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Discussion Starter #4
I will take that into factor (when it comes to edmunds, etc) ... I'm sure I can find something, but my budget is a little tight. I really really miss my 202 and want one terribly, and I think I should be able to find one for my ~3k range somewhere.. we'll see. I just wish they were all listed in mint condition for only a little over 2k asking price! Wouldn't that be nice? hah.

I am going to be in the market for another 220 in October, but I'll be in Phoenix.
 

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1999 C280
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mgill, if you are moving to PHX in a few months why dont you just wait til you get there and buy a car there? If will definitely have lived a more pampered life that the cars in WI do. No salt, no rusty undercarriage,etc...

I am in Albuquerque and while there is not a big MB market here (we only have 1 MB dealer in ABQ) I lived in PHX for 10 years and there are NICE MB cars everywhere there!

Good luck.

Mark


I bought my 99 C280 a few months ago in Santa Fe from a senior couple that owner the car since 2004. I paid 3600. 145k on the clock, trans fully rebuild at 129k (with 3k rcpt) and in really nice shape.
 

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Sorry to say this, but if your budget is tight, why in the world do you want an old Merecedes!

Get a Ford, get a Chevy, get a Toyota, or get a Honda.

That said, make sure the car at least has a new wiring harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I will not be buying a vehicle in Wisconsin.. I'll be shopping in PHX when I arrive.
 

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How online sites come up with a price is beyond me. For instance on KBB my 1998 C230 is supposed to be worth $4320 with 100,000 miles, $3095 with 200,000 miles and $3070 with 1,000,000 miles in excellent condition. A $25 dollar difference with an 800,000 mile difference and a $1225 difference with a 100,000 mile difference. Witchcraft.
 

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Sorry to say this, but if your budget is tight, why in the world do you want an old Merecedes!

Get a Ford, get a Chevy, get a Toyota, or get a Honda.
Unless he finds a disposable $300 car at an auction, any of the above with age and miles are all prone to a catastrophic failure as well and really won't cost any less for parts or initial investment for something decent.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Unless he finds a disposable $300 car at an auction, any of the above with age and miles are all prone to a catastrophic failure as well and really won't cost any less for parts or initial investment for something decent.
I agree. Crap cars in the same budget will also have high miles. I would rather have a well-built Mercedes-Benz that was well maintained, and they can be found for under 3 thousand dollars quite easily, especially in the Phoenix area.
 

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I don't know about other parts of the country, but we have a lot of Mercedes in SoCAL and I just realized that the older (w202) C-class cars are a great bargain. They are cheaper than Japanese or other German cars (including VW), and they are solidly built with no timing belt issues. They are my new favorite cheap car now.

I just picked up a 97 230 with 120 some k miles for 2200. The car does need some attention to make it perfect, but mechanically it is sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah! I'm excited. I'll be able to travel up to SoCal no problem to pick up a car. There are a TON of cars in that area... Phoenix is slim pickings compared to SoCal. I'd like to find a deal like that!
 

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If you intend on buying an older Mercedes, and from the tone of your posts, you're not a 'car guy', make sure you get a pre-purchase inspection and the Carfax for the car.

Also, to those who think taking care of an older Mercedes is as cheap as taking care of a Honda, give me a break.

I take care of my cars and I've owned Fords, Chevy's, Saabs, Chryslers, BMW, and Mercedes. I've even owned a Toyota, Honda, and an Alfa Guiletta.

All German cars cost more to repair and maintain, especially if you can't do the work yourself and have to take the car to a shop. They are trouble prone, complicated cars.

Also, for those who think the W202 is a 'safe' and rock solid car, see:

HOME | Euro NCAP - For safer cars crash test safety rating

Please think twice before you buy an old W202.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I am a car guy. Anything that wouldn't require me to remove an engine or transmission I could pretty much do on my own with the right book, unless it involves replacing entire fuel lines or something like that.

When I had the other two Benzes I was not quite as apt to tackle repairs on my own, so I did things as stupid as take my S320 in to have the brakes done on it, amongst other repairs. (The damn caliper bolt was loose for crying out loud)..

I actually considered getting a Corolla, but the crash tests indicates that you'll probably end up with broken legs. I think I'd just rather have a Mercedes. I honestly don't care if it does end up costing me a bit more... maybe certain parts may cost a few dollars more or something like that, but I should be able to perform just about all the work on it myself, again, unless it's something more complex like having to replace a transmission.

Edit: I was thinking I'd likely get a PPI done, but honestly after thinking about it, what are they going to do that I don't know how to do? I know how to pull dipsticks, check fluids, run the car and get it hot, check fluids again, jack up the front end and wiggle parts around to find whats loose, push down on all the suspension components, put a load on the electric system, check the harness... etc etc... so I think paying 100 dollars for a PPI is probably a waste of money for somebody that at least knows what to look for. Obviously a carfax is a no-brainer, I will absolutely do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

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If you intend on buying an older Mercedes, and from the tone of your posts, you're not a 'car guy', make sure you get a pre-purchase inspection and the Carfax for the car.

Also, to those who think taking care of an older Mercedes is as cheap as taking care of a Honda, give me a break.

I take care of my cars and I've owned Fords, Chevy's, Saabs, Chryslers, BMW, and Mercedes. I've even owned a Toyota, Honda, and an Alfa Guiletta.

All German cars cost more to repair and maintain, especially if you can't do the work yourself and have to take the car to a shop. They are trouble prone, complicated cars.

Also, for those who think the W202 is a 'safe' and rock solid car, see:

HOME | Euro NCAP - For safer cars crash test safety rating

Please think twice before you buy an old W202.
Sorry about your German car experience, especially the high dollar maintenance you've paid to own your Mercedes. My Mercedes experience has been much different than many of my other cars. My SAABS hands down were the most expensive cars to maintain and failed the most, next would be my VWs MK1 to MK4s, then my Jeep. These cars, many bought brand new, had major failures after 3 years of ownership. Not the case with any of the MBs I've owned. By far the cheapest cars to maintain (yes I do most of the work myself). I've owned 27 cars in the 22 years I've had the privilege to drive, 6 of them have been M-Bs. My '90 2.6 was the only one that teetered on being a nuisance with repairs, and that was a walk in the park compared to my SAABS.

As for that ENCAP video that keeps surfacing... Look at the competition from the same period, all the same or worse. I would hope that older cars would fail new standards. Means the standards are high! Keep in mind in 1997 that was a good performing car... have you seen this today? IIHS launching first new frontal crash test since 1995 [w/video] The new C Class was rated poor, I'd still have one though... it's a new test, like the ENCAP test was new at one time and showed where manufactures can improve.

If you think 202s are such unsafe, unreliable cars that will nickel and dime you to no end why are you here and why do you own one?
 

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Well rjb190e, you certainly told me, but what did I really say:

1. Get a Carfax - really bad advice

2. Get a PPI - really, really bad advice

3. If you can't fix it yourself, service is expensive - really, really, really bad advice.

4. Check the wiring harness - really, really, really, really bad advice.

5. If you're on a budget, an old Mercedes may not be the best choice. I've run out of really's!

6. The W202 is not the safe bank vault people think it is, and the Euroncap is not some fly-by-night organization.
 

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Well rjb190e, you certainly told me, but what did I really say:

1. Get a Carfax - really bad advice

2. Get a PPI - really, really bad advice

3. If you can't fix it yourself, service is expensive - really, really, really bad advice.

4. Check the wiring harness - really, really, really, really bad advice.

5. If you're on a budget, an old Mercedes may not be the best choice. I've run out of really's!

6. The W202 is not the safe bank vault people think it is, and the Euroncap is not some fly-by-night organization.
Ten reallys. Post record?
So are you a plant here from the Korean auto industry, trying to sway us away from older German cars and into new KIAs by saying they are all unreliable, unsafe and will give us cancer?

So what are you doing here if these cars are so bad... If you practiced what you preached you wouldn't touch one of these cars, let alone ride in one. Curiosity is going to send this cat into traffic!

"All German cars cost more to repair and maintain, especially if you can't do the work yourself and have to take the car to a shop. They are trouble prone, complicated cars."

If the above is your experience, that's too bad. My experience with Mercedes has been pleasurable. Even when I have to take it to a professional for service, it still costs less than my SAABs or VWs did and even the Fords I'm issued for work. It's true, people get taken advantage of and pay more because its got a "star" but that happens everywhere because of ignorance, not because of German-ness.

Most people go to forums when they have a problem, some like the community and others to see what a make is all about. If someone who is interested and never owned one these cars only sees the bad side of them why would they consider it? I'll share my good experience every time and challenge a generalized statement that says "All German cars cost more to repair and maintain" just for the sake of argument knowing it's something that can't be proven.

Your PPI, Carfax, wiring harness advice is all good. The ENCAP video shows how a 1997 car performs judged by newer standards. The same will ring true when a 2012 car is judged by 2024 standards, the results will look dismal as they should. I'd hope vehicles would be safer in 12 years.

You stated "Please think twice before you buy an old W202." What's your suggestion?
 
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