There are plenty of jokes about the high cost of maintenance that comes with used luxury cars, and that can scare many buyers away. While owning a high-end vehicle out of its warranty period isn't quite like owning an economy car, it doesn't have to break your bank. However, getting into one of these top-tier automobiles does arguably require a bit more research and time.
If you're considering buying a used Mercedes, there's no reason to be afraid of potential long-term ownership costs. Instead, keep these three tips in mind so that you can enjoy the many benefits of buying a new ride that will turn heads without making your wallet run for the hills.
1. Weigh Your Engine Options
Luxury car manufacturers often differentiate trim levels within a model line by engine size or power. For example, the W205 C-Class came equipped with everything from a turbocharged 4-cylinder to a twin-turbo 8-cylinder on the AMG model. Depending on the year, there may also be some power output differences even between models with the same engine.
While it's tempting to go for the biggest and most powerful engine, remember that these come with costs. Larger engines aren't necessarily more unreliable, but parts costs can be higher, and they'll typically get lower fuel economy. Don't be afraid to go big if power is your primary concern, but remember that you can still enjoy a smooth, luxurious experience with a smaller engine and lower cost.
2. Pay Attention to Maintenance History
Many reliability complaints with used luxury cars have little to do with the vehicles themselves and everything to do with the owners. High-end cars feature mechanical and electronic components requiring more care, and problems can arise without adequate maintenance. Buying a luxury car whose previous owner neglected it can often mean more trouble down the line.
Fortunately, it's easy to avoid these problems. When shopping for a used Mercedes, always pay attention to its maintenance history. In the best-case scenario, you'll find a car with detailed maintenance records kept by the previous owner. However, you can often find dealership maintenance records even if the last owner wasn't a fan of record-keeping.
3. Schedule a Pre-Purchase Inspection
Most dealerships are happy to allow serious buyers to schedule mobile inspections. These companies will send a mechanic to the dealership, where they'll check the car for signs of trouble. If you're looking to avoid repairs when buying a car out of warranty, a pre-purchase inspection is an excellent way to give yourself some peace of mind.
Although used luxury cars might seem intimidating, there's no reason to avoid purchasing one. By taking the time to research and plan your purchase, you'll be able to drive home in a beautiful used Mercedes Benz car that you can trust to provide you with years of reliable service.