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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am a newbie, as is probably apparent by some marking near my username.

I own a small, family run, Luxury Car Service for airport transportation in Florida.

We have, in the past, used Cadillac's and Town Cars. With the Town Cars we've enjoyed dependability and relatively inexpensive repair/maintenance costs.

The issue is I really fell in love with the 2003 Mercedes S Class, but am not sure if it is worth using as a transport vehicle.

From what I gather, MB are expensive to own and maintain.

I spoke with a MB specialist about the prospect and he advised that is may be a gamble, in the sense that many things can go wrong (Air shocks etc) and can be VERY expensive to repair, however if the car (2003 S430) was well maintained it could be very dependable.

My clients would appreciate being picked up in a black Mercedes rather than the Town Car or Cadillac, and I would love some opinions.

Do you think it is wise to buy a 2003 MB S430 for use in 'taxi' service?

I would be doing many trips every day of the week.

Thanks in advance, I really enjoy reading this forum-keep up the good work!
:thumbsup:
 

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I think you would be fine, but some things to think about:

-In Germany, they do use W220's as taxis. I have also seen many W221's used as town cars in Zurich.
-Mileage is not a problem for these cars. I know of one with 500,000km+ and it runs great. Owned by a realtor who drives all day.
-The accessories (electronics) and air suspension will be the biggest problem. But if you already have a competent shop that does your fleet repairs, you can order struts from Arnott for $400 and most parts are now getting cheaper for these cars. Won't be anywhere as cheap as Town Car parts, but will be much more reasonable than they used to (the struts originally cost close to $2k each!)
-Look into Arnott's spring kit they are developing.. it will replace the air suspension. I'm not a fan of replacing the great air suspension, but for the commercial use you are looking at (lots of miles, heavy luggage, etc.) it will be much better for you in the end.
-Rust will be an issue on a 2003. So buy one that has already been painted, or find a rusty one and have it repainted before you start using it.

A W220 still looks really expensive and nice compared to a Town Car, and you might be able to raise your rates a bit or add a surcharge. Even a $20/trip surcharge (assuming your trips are $80-100 airport runs, not local short trips) could end up paying for the difference in maintenance cost.

Nothing at all will beat a Town Car for cost.. just keep that in mind and you'll be fine.
 

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GET the VMI

The Vehicle Master Inquiry has all the information about the cars life from mile #1

I love being driven around in my S500 (on special occasions) and with the remote
I can operate the comand system from the back seat.

There are few vehicles that look better to be driven around in.

As was mentioned these cars are used as taxis in europe because they are so reliable. The engines can go 200,000 miles easy & properly maintained transmissions can also.

The air suspension from the '03 are fine as they worked out the defects by 2003.

The only car nicer would be Rolls or Bentley and you can forget about maintaining them.

Good Luck
 

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Yes, the new S430's have had problems with some of the things you have mentioned, but every time I drove someone in my S-class, they ALWAYS commented on how unbelievably SMOOTH it was!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the great info guys, now as it is a family business-I must relay all the thoughts to my Wife.


Have you heard of extended Warranties covering electrical problems/air struts?
 

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There are some; you are better off with a warranty that names specific exclusions and covers everything NOT named, than one that covers only what is named.

You could have problems obtaining an extended warranty for a vehicle in commercial use; you'd have to check that. Also, getting a warranty on a car beyond 100K miles will be nearly impossible.

Please search the forum for the names of companies that members have used with success - there is a lot of commentary. Search with the term, "extended warranty."
 
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