Last post on Aug 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM
You are in the Mercedes Benz M-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG, SUV
#7883 of 8199 2002 M Class or Toureg '05
Oct 18, 2005 (12:36 pm)
Well my wife's back problems have us buying a luxury SUV ! The higher seating improves her comfort over our Passat 4motion so we are moving on. The local Mercedes dealer has suggested a M-320 with 52000 Km (34000.00) and purchasing the extended warrantee for $2800 giving us 110000 km of warrantee from MB. The 2005 Toureg is being discounted to move and is selling for 52000.00 $Can Now we have a couple of concerns. Firstly the reliability of both vehicles. It seems from the forums that MB reliability is questionable. There are many posts describing problems far fewer than the Toureg. Still the Toureg is a V8 which transdlates to $$$ at the pumps. Is $15000.00 worth the 3 years depreciation? In fact the MB has been depreciated much more than that. Therefore if my wife is satisfied with the MB should I not worry about the reliability?
#7884 of 8199 Re: 2002 M Class or Toureg '05 [otter4]
Oct 18, 2005 (1:13 pm)
One more note. The MB dealer indicates that the pre 2002 M-class vehicles were prone to problems but that many were corrected for the 2002 model year, which apparently has far fewer service issues.. Is that correct? Was 2002 a new model? What were the differences?
#7885 of 8199 Re: Wobbly engine at stop light in ML320 [markjenn]
Oct 18, 2005 (4:48 pm)
Markjenn, I have never seen an independent mechanic post prices 75% cheaper than the Mercedes dealer. I just had my brakes done (rotors and pads) on my 2002 ML500 and the independent mechanic was only about $200 cheaper ($1,300 vs. $1,100).
I went with the independent shop because the Mercedes dealer kept telling me that my brakes were needing replacement when I took it in for oil changes. I had them change the back brakes at 18,000 miles of which now I'm sure it was too early. At 26,000 miles, they said the front needed replacement. I said NO, because the brake sensor light had not come on. I decided that I would wait until the light came on but it never did.
I knew that the light probably would have come on soon at 41,000 miles but I was going on a 1,000 mile trip and didn't want to worry about the brakes. I think the independent shop did a good job as I have used them for other purposes with my antique car.
I did not want to reward the dealer for telling me I needed new front brakes at 26,000 and I went to 41,000 with no problems. What a racket!
#7886 of 8199 Re: Wobbly engine at stop light in ML320 [mark156]
Oct 18, 2005 (10:59 pm)
My "75% cheaper" comment is based on three savings factors on brake maintenance:
1. The dealer generally recommends replacing brake pads when they're about 50%-70% worn, which nearly doubles the service intervals. Just by inspecting the brakes yourself (which takes five minutes with a flashlight) and postponing replacement until they are below spec, you can reduce brake maintenance costs by one third to one half.
2. The dealer recommends replacing rotors along with pads even though the rotors meet spec.
3. The dealer charges above list price for the parts when OEM parts are readily available on the internet at less than half their price.
4. The dealer charges about 40% more for labor than a good ndependent mechanic.
Add it all together, and the cost savings are EASILY 75% or greater.
As an example, I just priced out a complete brake job with all new OEM parts over the internet. The total cost for BRAND NEW OEM PADS AND ROTORS is about $320+shipping. A good independent shop should charge about $200 labor to install the rotors and pads. Even with tax and shipping, the total cost should be well under $600. My dealer, who just did the harmonic balancer replacement and as a "courtesy" inspected my brakes, estimates $1350+tax for them to do the job, WELL OVER DOUBLE THE COST. Absolutely ridiculous.
My particular dealer is generally incompetent as well but that's another story.
#7887 of 8199 Re: 75% brakes
Oct 19, 2005 (12:21 pm)
Markjenn, when you said 75% cheaper in your previous post, I didn't realize you were considering the frequency of the changes and all of the other factors. I've got to read between the lines better!!!! My new glasses are on order!
The Mercedes dealer that I use ( I use two different dealers as I have two homes in different states) and they both are average on diagnosing problems. I really like my service advisors but they are only as good as the mechanics doing the work.
When I had my '91 560SEL, they could not figure out why it would not start. After throwing a few parts at it, they finally said it needed new fuel injectors. I made them take off the parts that were not related. When they installed the new injection system, it failed and they had to do it all over again (at no charge of course). The first time was $2,000.
From 53,000-82,000 miles, I spent $8,000 in repairs and decided I better let it go. They air condition and transmission had never been worked on. I was afraid that they might be next.
#7888 of 8199 Re: 75% brakes [mark156]
Oct 20, 2005 (9:30 am)
No problem Mark.
I really like my ML320, and I think, on average, you can own and drive one without undue hardship, but you've got to be a lot more creative with respect to diagnosing and fixing problems than you would need to be if you owned, say, a Pilot.
In my experience, MB dealers are extremely high overhead operations, with a "let's try and bolt on new parts" mentality towards problems. The dealers also tend to have a very convoluted communication system where you deal with a service advisor who is seldom very strong technically while your car is worked on by someone working remotely. The connection between the two is by computer and work orders, but things get very garbled in translation - it's like they're talking to each other in different languages over two tin cans tied together by string. With an independent mechanic, you can generally talk to the guy who is getting his fingernails dirty.
If you have to rely on the MB dealers, I think extended warrantys and leasing are probably the best way to go to reduce the risk.
My dealer's biggest screw up was in diagnosing a subtle but presistent problem where the vehicle would lose power and stall when climbing over mountain passes. In three lengthly and expensive service visits under warranty they replaced several things, mostly in the ignition system, none of which had any effect whatsoever on the problem. This was despite my strong suggestions that it was fuel-delivery related. On the final visit, with the vehicle now out of warranty, I got a different service advisor and he immediately asked me if the vehicle had had the mandatory update to the fuel filter system designed to reduce high altitude stalling problems. The whole time they were hunting around randomly fixing things, there was a published service bulletin to fix the exact problem I was having! At this ponit, they refused to make the repair on their dime since the vehicle was out of warranty. I finally arm wrestled them into paying for the update while I paid them for a new fuel filter since this was a normal maintenance item.
#7889 of 8199 Re: transmission vs engine management problem [markjenn]
Oct 20, 2005 (10:27 am)
You're gonna love this. The dealer has now told me that it appears that the engine has 3 damaged pistons and rings causing a loss of compression. They now have the engine out (it's taken them 3 weeks to get this far) and have said that they're going to tell me next Tuesday (25th October) if that is the only work that needs doing. I'm away in England next week but will keep you posted on my return with the great ML saga!
#7890 of 8199 Re: transmission vs engine management problem [rickknight1]
Oct 20, 2005 (11:14 am)
rick, you're probably aware of this and I don't know what year your ML is, but there is an extended warranty on the engines due to MB's faulty synthetic vs. non-synthetic oil change recommendations made during 1999-2001.
#7891 of 8199 Re: transmission vs engine management problem [markjenn]
Oct 20, 2005 (1:28 pm)
I wasn't aware of this at all. My ML55 is April 2002. A little bit of history on it: I bought it used. It was originally a German car and the garage that I bought it from imported it from Germany and put it on Spanish plates. How long is the MB warranty for and do you think that I would still be covered due to the re-registration (although I can't see that this should affect the warranty). You seem to know you ML's, do you (or did you) work for MB?
#7892 of 8199 Re: transmission vs engine management problem [rickknight1]
Oct 21, 2005 (7:14 pm)
Rick, no, never worked for MB, just an owner who has been forced to get pretty involved with his car to keep costs under control.
I doubt the extended warranty would apply to your car, although it might be ammunition to use to get MB to cover it under goodwill. I don't think the car being a used car is any problem; the issue would be that the warranty is probably specific to the USA since it came from MBUSA. Also, the warranty covers cars which were serviced with conventional (rather than synthetic) oil. Your car was probably built and serviced after MB started using and recommending synthetic oil exclusively.
The warranty was part of MBUSA's settlement with US owners after a class action lawsuit was filed. Basically, it extends the engine warranty to 150K and 10 years for problems related to sludging and other oil problems attributable to the use of conventional (rather than synthetic) motor oils as MB originally specified and as was commonly used in MB's "free scheduled maintenance" program. In March 2001 MB changed their recommendations to always require synthetic oil.
Good luck with your car,