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Which car to keep?

2932 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Noodles
I (we) need to decide which car to keep and which to sell:

My wife drives a 2004 E320 RWD that she got from her mom about 6 years ago. It has about 55k miles on it. I have done most of the work on it. It is in very good condition. The SBC has not been repaired or replaced but shows no signs of trouble. Online valuation shows this car to be worth between $8,500 - $11,000.

He mom died about a year ago & she inherited a 2009 E350 4matic with about 11k miles. This car also is virtually new except that it had been T-Boned on the right side and repaired to the tune of $16k. We took the car to a local independent shop for an oil change and to look to see if they could determine if the repair was done correctly (based on external viewing only). They did not find anything wrong with the car and it drives just fine. Online valuation of this car is between $18,000 - $24,000 (depending on how one discounts the damage & repair).

Which one would you keep & sell?
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We live near Denver. We can get quite a bit of snow around here. I have never owned an AWD vehicle (FWD & RWD only). I go skiing up into the Rockies many times each winter. I have good winter tires (Bridgestone Blizzaks) on all of our cars. If I get stuck, its because I'm stuck in traffic - not because of the road conditions. The 4Matic might be nice but I would still put winter tires on it.

I have replaced the crank position sensor on the 2004.
I talked to a buddy who ran a body shop for a long time. He says that there is a raging debate about how to discount for major damage reported to Carfax. He contends that with modern repair techniques, correctly repaired cars are "as new". While this is not always true, the bigger concern is for repairs not reported to Carfax. Often owners would write a check for a $10k repair and the eventual buyer is unaware.

Also, depending on the type of repair, the car is likely to be as it is for the rest of its life.

Since our independent shop was not able to see any evidence of the repair I'm leaning toward keeping the newer car. I don't want to be faced with expensive repairs (SBC) on a car worth less than $10k.
This was a repair - not a salvage title.
I think when the repair was done (about 20 months ago) the car was worth over $35k.
I washed the newer car this weekend an looked it over very carefully. It is in near-new condition (cosmetically). I looked over the right pillar (where the brunt of the accident force was taken) and the pillar looks as new.

I'm now more inclined to keep the newer one. A neighbor has been bugging me for some time to sell him the older one. However, ultimately, this is my wife's decision.
In general is the 4Matic pretty trouble free?
Another concern about the 2009 E350: Ever since the accident, when rolling up the driver's window (the car was hit on the passenger side), the window will go to the top & then retract about 1/2". I don't know if the other windows behave this way.

The motion almost seems deliberate. Is this something wrong? Can it be easily fixed?
Thanks for the tip on the windows. I figured there was some way to reset them but I didn't want to pay the stealer to do it.
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