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Should I buy a Mercedes

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2012 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
A member in Serbia

First time financing a car. I'm still in college and have limited resources for repairs but need to replace my really old first car. I'm looking at the 2012 C300 Mercedes. I need dependability more than anything but would also like style of a Mercedes. Listing price is 21,000 and I have saved a third of the price as a down payment.

I've done a lot of research and still feel like I don't know enough. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Response from Member1642

12:31 pm June 4, 2016

I've had my 2009 since new in mid-2008 and from my experience and that of others (obviously, there are always vocal outliers), it's pretty solid and reliable. That said, and this is me personally, it'd make me nervous having limited money and financing something where you'll be losing so much at an early age to depreciation, not to mention the (proper) upkeep. Yes, it's possible to do some of it yourself, on this and any 'expensive' German car, but you're going to have to be really into it and have the time and desire to learn how (such as the complicated transmission fluid changes every approx. 40K miles (around $4-500 at my dealer). The history of mine (at 85K now) is that you'll need a new serpentine belt every 30K miles or so, and maybe a new pulley / tensioner (figure $300). I also needed new motor & transmission mounts at 65K (fairly normal and was $1,200 at the dealer) All this said, I've never been stranded or had a fault that required me to take it in before it was due for its service every 10K miles. If you find a good independent mechanic you'll be able to save some, but in my experience it's not been enough to counter the dealer's loan cars and expertiese.

My humble advice, that others will give, is to not get into debt for this at such an early age before you're out of school. It doesn't mean that you need to get a Corolla, I love cars and style and all is important and probably worth spending some money on, but you might be able to achieve that by getting cool more-used car. Even a 2008/2009 C Class that's been looked after will save you maybe $8-10K off the top and put you in a lot better situation. Maintenance could be a bit higher, but financing that much less will make life eaiser and you'll still end up with a reliable car, and the money that'd gone to the higher payments you can set aside for repairs and maintenance.

Again, there are exceptions (like the Benz camshaft issues of the mid 2000s that you need to be aware of, and always stay from the air suspensions...), but if it's been looked-after and you're cool with the 'vintage' style of an older Benz, I've found mine to be great and reliable cars.

Good luck!

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Response from abqhudson

1:11 pm June 4, 2016

" I need dependability more than anything"
The c300 is a very nice car, but, Mercedes cars are expensive to repair.
If Dependability is top concern, you should look elsewhere. Buy a Toyota or Honda to tide you over for a year or two until you are better able to keep up with a luxury car. The get a Mercedes with CPO warranty to cover the gremlins - a year will give you enough time to sort the car out. Then you should be good to go.
My - 1 year old to me - 2009 Mercedes CLK 550 with only 26,000 miles needed about $3000 of repair over it's first year - not uncommon. Don't get me wrong, I really like my 2009 CLK and my 2014 C300 - they are great cars - but, not cheap.
Good luck with your search.

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Response from Rudeney

11:45 am June 5, 2016

An old saying goes, "There's nothing more expensive to own than a cheap Mercedes-Benz." I love these cars and they are the only ones I will drive, but that's because I know a lot of about them and do all my own work. In fact, these cars are very easy to work on, but they require the right tools and access to good information. This is all readily available, but is a consideration for the total cost of ownership. If you have to rely on a mechanic to do your work, then it's best that you have a warranty to cover it. Otherwise, expect to pay at least $100/hour for labor. Parts are usually not terribly expensive, but there are some things that can fail that may require the dealership to repair due to it needing special electronic coding only available through their license with the manufacturer.

Even if the car is covered under warranty, it requires regular maintenance that can still be expensive. An oil change, even as a DIY job, will cost $75 or more in parts alone. A transmission fluid and filter change is over $100 in parts, and most people won't have the facility to do this as the car has to be lifted with the engine running. Most shops charge well over $100 for an oil change and $300 or more for a transmission service. Another consideration is that even simple things like a front-end alignment can be hard to get and expensive. Most tire shops either won't touch it, or they can only do a toe alignment because it requires special bolts for camber/caster. Some of these high costs are due to the advanced electronic systems used in the cars and certain aspects that are the result of their engineering designed to improve performance and reduce weight. Mercedes-Benz is a leader and on the bleeding edge of these advances. Just like other things they introduced like airbags, ABS, keyless start, CAN bus systems, etc., these technological and engineering advances will trickle down to mainstream automobiles and then will become less expensive to maintain. But until then, these cars will always be more expensive to own. My advice is that unless you have the facilities, skills, and desire to do your own work, either buy something else or make sure you have a good warranty.

An old saying goes, "There's nothing more expensive to own than a cheap Mercedes-Benz." I love these cars and they are the only ones I will drive, but that's because I know a lot of about them and do all my own work. In fact, these cars are very easy to work on, but they require the right tools and access to good information. This is all readily available, but is a consideration for the total cost of ownership. If you have to rely on a mechanic to do your work, then it's best that you have a warranty to cover it. Otherwise, expect to pay at least $100/hour for labor. Parts are usually not terribly expensive, but there are some things that can fail that may require the dealership to repair due to it needing special electronic coding only available through their license with the manufacturer.

Even if the car is covered under warranty, it requires regular maintenance that can still be expensive. An oil change, even as a DIY job, will cost $75 or more in parts alone. A transmission fluid and filter change is over $100 in parts, and most people won't have the facility to do this as the car has to be lifted with the engine running. Most shops charge well over $100 for an oil change and $300 or more for a transmission service. Another consideration is that even simple things like a front-end alignment can be hard to get and expensive. Most tire shops either won't touch it, or they can only do a toe alignment because it requires special bolts for camber/caster.

Some of these high costs are due to the advanced electronic systems used in the cars and certain aspects that are the result of their engineering designed to improve performance and reduce weight. Mercedes-Benz is a leader and on the bleeding edge of these advances. Just like other things they introduced like airbags, ABS, keyless start, CAN bus systems, etc., these technological and engineering advances will trickle down to mainstream automobiles and then will become less expensive to maintain. But until then, these cars will always be more expensive to own. My advice is that unless you have the facilities, skills, and desire to do your own work, either buy something else or make sure you have a good warranty.

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Response from ElCid

5:06 pm June 9, 2016

Don't do it. MB's are very expensive to maintain and repair, whether you use a dealer or an independent or DIY. If you want dependability and reliability, get something made in Asia.
When you are in a more secure financial situation, splurge on an MB. The E class is most reliable of MB's.
One thing that gives the impression of reliability in MB's is the required (expensive) replacement of so many parts, fluids and so forth that other cars do not require.

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Response from realboston

9:50 am September 1, 2016

I'm sure you've made a decision by now, but being the contrarian that I am, I have to at least say 'buy it!'. I've had three, and they are great, no issues worth mentioning.

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