Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can anyone comment on the various inspection services such as "Certified Vehicle Inspections" to get a pre-purchase inspection (PPI)? I am looking at a car at an authorized MB dealer. It is a 2002 E320, so it is too old to be a "CPO" car. It is oofered with "no warranty, as is." The sales guy says the dealer policy is that they do not allow the car to be taken off premises for a PPI. This dealer is in the NYC area and the sales guy referred to the inspection services that will come to the dealer, which I had never heard of. The dealership will give the inspector a bay to work in. I did a little web searching and found a listing for Certified Vehicle Inspections, based in Inwood, NY.
Since then I have learned there are many such outfits, which makes sense with eBay car sales and so on. But I have not seen any direct mention of such companies in this site. I always assumed most inspections were done in a mechanic's shop, even if you were buying remotely.
So what I would like to know if there are any particula services to use or to avoid.
How could these outfits know enough about the thousands of car modesl to more than a very general inspection? Sure they can find leaks and check the tires and brake, but would they know enough to check the condition of something specific to one model, such as the V6 harmonic balancer?
 

·
Registered
90 300 SE ,85 300 GD
Joined
·
1,574 Posts
If the vehicle is "CPO" certified pre-owned, by the dealer, they have done the checks. If not, you can ask for the CARFAX report to begin with and the service records in their computer system. If any recall repairs were done they will show up. The harmonic balancer was a recall item on several models. If you can find any paperwork from the previous owner, call him up and ask him about the vehicle. Most times they are honest about their experience with the car.
 

·
Premium Member
2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
Joined
·
17,193 Posts
...How could these outfits know enough about the thousands of car modesl to more than a very general inspection? Sure they can find leaks and check the tires and brake, but would they know enough to check the condition of something specific to one model, such as the V6 harmonic balancer?
I think you hit the nail on the head right here. As mentioned the CPO inspection if done by the book is as good as it gets. Second to that are the MB specialist shops. They should be willing to go the that dealer and give it a thorough once over.
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
PPI inspection services in NYC area

Unfortunately, the car is too old to be certified.
So I need a PPI.
As far as finding out the previous owner's name, I will ask. In the past, dealers have said they do not disclose that in most cases. In one case, the dealer gave me the guy's name after I bought the car, and after getting the previous owner's agreement. Sometimes you can find it in the owner's manual or other documents if those are left in the vehicle. But I have not yet been down there to see it. Trying to avoid wasting an entire day to go down and back if the car is not a good one.
 

·
Registered
w204 (C350ELE)
Joined
·
1,262 Posts
David,
Hi. Going to pick up a used car to another state without having an expert rep on site to examine, select, purchase, and ship the unit, is like going to Vegas with a one way ticket and money solely for a starting bet. In other words, it is a difficult, hazardous, risky, expensive gamble.
To top it off, thinking of going from the State with better consumer law protection to NYC gives me a vision of going to purchase a floor at Rockefeller Center and coming back penniless with only a deed for a 2-room apartment at the Bronx.
I love New York, but a used car salesman earned his repute for a reason and NYC has, among them all, the best. So, my opinion, save your dough and buy local (or maybe in Rhode Island or New Hampshire).

Cheers, JV.
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Good advice, no doubt. I will try to keep my wits and make a rational decision!
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Plunging ahead

Despite Joe Val's wise advice, i am continuing to plow ahead. i engaged the inspectors, and put a deposit on the car to hold it until i can see it in person. The inpsector claims to have an MB tech for another shop in the area who will do the inspection. He already had a list of past maintenance, recalls, options on the car, etc.
So we shall see....
Now if the snow will only stop long enough for me to get there and test drive it on Saturday, i will be all set.
 

·
Registered
'07 GL320CDI
Joined
·
5,092 Posts
A preowned Mercedes being sold by a Mercedes dealer will have had some inspection performed by that dealer.

You really haven't stated that you've asked the dealer what they've done to prepare the car for sale.

It's really not in a Mercedes dealer's best interest to foist a poorly inspected Mercedes off on anybody, and I suggest you're overthinking this.
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
pre-purchase inspection

You could be right. And i hope you are!
It is interesting, and maybe amusing, to see the range of opinions. JoeVal is at one end -- too risky to do this, and you (Ikchris) are at the other.
I appreciate everyone's inputs!
 

·
Registered
w204 (C350ELE)
Joined
·
1,262 Posts
Though it will seem as an oxymoron to my earlier reply, what Ikchris states is right. But when placed in perspective it is not a positive certainty that something which might be in the dealer's best interest be a priority at the dealership. Compartmentalizing profit centers (such as between new car sales, used car sales, service, parts, etc.) does strange things to an organization, as compared to a mom 'n pop run type operation.

So what I'm stressing is be careful, make sure you know who to trust, and believe what's in writing. I wish you the best.

JV.
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Well, the inspection has been done. I have not yet gotten a written report, but the telephone report indicates two bent front wheels, oil leaks on both valve covers, a transmission seal "just starting to leak," couple dents, rust spots on the fenders that were painted over but are visible (these are worrisome), scratches on the two outside mirrors, and a faulty line in the instrument cluster display. The test drive (somehow he managed to get one) revealed bad transmission mounts and "possibly motor mounts." On the positive side, the tires are new, and there were no trouble codes in the computer. At first the inspection guy said, these are points to negotiate with, and it is not a bad car for the price. Then he said, "i would walk."
The other interesting detail is that I noticed a discrepancy between the last reported mileage in CarFax and the advertised mileage. It turns out the car has 60,900 miles on it, versus the advertised amount of 56,530. The four thousand mile difference may not be that significant in the price or in the actual desirability of the car, but the difference is unsettling. Probably just an honest error.
So, i have not spoken with the salesman yet. Who knows, they may offer to fix everything, or to knock something off the price. But I am inclined to give it up and look elsewhere.
Still, the combination of mileage, features, and that designo interior are very tempting....
If i still wanted to at least consider the car, the logistics remain daunting. it is supposed to snow again this Saturday when i was planning to go see it. I would not want to spend several hours battling a snow storm only to get there and be told they would not let me drive the car (which seems likely with the predicted weather).
Stay tuned....
But to go back to the start of this thread, I am happy with the inspection service, particularly because they were able to send an MB technician to see the car. At least, they say they did.
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I declined the car and got my deposit refunded.
The salesman never tried to negotiate. He did not offer to fix anything, either at my cost or at theirs.
The car disappeared from the ads a day or two after I told them I was no longer interested.
Now, two weeks later, it has reappeared on AutoTrader, with a price $4000 above what it was before! Apparently they have done some repairs. Be interesting to know how much they invested versus how much the price went up.
Maybe I should have bought it when it was cheap and had the repairs done...
 

·
Premium Member
2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
Joined
·
17,193 Posts
Based on your inspection (especially the rust) I think you were right to walk. At a dealer the repairs would be worth at least $4000 and maybe much more. Using an Indy they would be close to that. I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut they didn't put $4000 into the car. It sounds like the salesman gave up on you too. Thanks for the update.

p.s. I just went to AT and saw a 2002 Designo Silver E320 at Silver Star Motors in NYC for $14,995. The photos they used makes it look very good. If that's the one I would have been more than tempted.
 

·
Registered
E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
Joined
·
35,999 Posts
I agree with MM on walking. Being DIY I don't worry about small leaks here and there on vehicle I purchase, but I put very high value on original MB paint.
Our 13 years old Mercedes is still making the impression of new one (when I wash it for my wife).
Even if you get the car repainted -it will never be the same.
 

·
Registered
2002 E320 4Matic
Joined
·
89 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Yup, that's the one.
the designo silver is a strange color. I have never seen one in person. But it looks different in each photo and seems to depend a lot on what is around it. Sometimes looks greenish, sometimes more like gold, or a creamy white.
As for the delaer's investment, I found out today that they only fixed a few things, and not the big ones. the sales guy tells me they fixed the valve cover leak on one side, not both. As you can see from the photos they cleaned the engine, too. they supposedly fixed the dents in the passenger side door (do not know if that required paint), and scratches on the outside mirrors. So just the things that are noticeable to the potential buyer. They did not fix the fender rust, the transmission mounts or engine mounts. He says they did not find the transmission seal leak. Possible I suppose. So the $4000 price hike is way out of line for the work done. But I will speak with him anyway. It is still a unique car. (I dislike havng a car that looks like everyone else's, and so many of this vintage are silver over gray, which I do not particularly care for. No offense intended, as I see that Musikmann has the silver over ash gray!)
 

·
Premium Member
2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
Joined
·
17,193 Posts
No offense taken David and btw my name is David too. My car came with nearly every option available (no sports package, parktronic or contour seats) and I am happy with what I have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I know I'm new here, but I was looking for a PPI and stumbled across this post. My reason for wanting a PPI from an indy was because I felt like the dealer doing the inspection is like the fox watching the hen house. Maybe I'm wrong, but the dealer has everything to gain by telling me the car is great. He plans to sell me a warranty (which they make money on) and the car only has to make it through the 1st 30 days before it becomes the warranty company's problem (and mine). I'm opting for the inspection so I have peace of mind about not getting hosed.
 

·
Registered
E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
Joined
·
35,999 Posts
Since we had the topic started over a year ago I gained one more experience on another forum.
A truck before purchase was inspected by 2 mechanics. I believe they were not certified inspector, but still they took the job to do PPI.
So based on those inspections the guy bought the truck and few days later, while changing the oil he noticed engine flange cracks with advanced corrosion on them already. 2 broken off pieces from engine block made the transmission hanging on 3 bolts instead of 6. The truck drive fine for now, but is not giving good prediction.
What I am trying to point, that we are all humans and make honest errors even when we are highly experienced. That is why warranted inspection might be crucial issue.
I am DIY and never had any Mercedes inspected by others. Frankly it is hard to kill a Mercedes, so if it runs fine when I nail on test drive -it will last.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top