Advice for buying my first merc

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New Member
Jun 30, 2023
Nothing at the moment
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and was hoping to get some advice on buying my first merc!

I've recently went to view and test drive a 1999 C240 sport and everything seemed okay but I'm not a mechanic or a MB expert so take my words with a pinch of salt.

Details of the car:
~84K miles on the clock
12 month MOT from earlier this month
seller asking for £4000

Like I mentioned before I'm not really an expert and I decided to check the MOT and found it failed on the 6th of June 2023 with the following:

Repair immediately (major defects):
  • Offside Rear Subframe mounting prescribed area excessively corroded significantly reducing structural strength (5.3.6 (a) (i))
  • Nearside Front Road wheel fixing missing (5.2.1 (a) (i))
Monitor and repair if necessary (advisories):
  • Surface corrosion on rear inner sills
  • Rear Fuel Pipe/s corroded
  • Offside Front Play in steering rack inner joint(s)
Approx. a week later it passed the MOT with no major defects and the advisories remaining the same.

I asked the seller about these and he mentioned that the car did have these problems and they were fixed but I didn't really know all the technicalities. He did mention as well that at the higher mileages, the bearings in the alternator start to wear but at that point I may just as well wait a bit and replace the whole alternator.

I looked underneath the car and there was a small bit of surface corrosion but I couldn't get a proper look in some areas.

The seller seemed to be upfront about its problems/potential problems.

I'm wondering if this is even worth considering buying and if so should I be asking for a better price?

Thanks in advance for any advice :)
With the rear subframe corrosion it is effectivelly scrap.....
Thanks for the advice! I was a bit weary of this but it had been fixed on the MOT so I didn't really know what to think. Just for my own knowledge, if a car has had this work done on it should I just stay away?
Thanks for the advice! I was a bit weary of this but it had been fixed on the MOT

The "fix" for a corroded subframe is replacement (if it is as bad as stated on the MOT) , which should be blatantly obvious if it was replaced just two weeks ago.

If it had been replaced then i am sure the seller would have mentioned this as it is an expensive job and i doubt it would have been replaced under MB corrosion warranty.

Repair immediately (major defects):
  • Offside Rear Subframe mounting prescribed area excessively corroded significantly reducing structural strength (5.3.6 (a) (i))

I've bought many sub-£4k cars over the last few years and the sight of that ⬆️ on the MOT history would automatically be a no no.
If you're after a C class W/S203 (1999-2007) avoid pre-2003/4 cars as the early ones used poor quality steel and had no galvanising so are prone to rust. Post 2003 are galvanised and post 2004 also brings nano paint which is better quality. Even better, look at the W/S204 2007->, it'll cost a bit more but the interior of the 204 is much nicer than the 203. My first MB was a 2001 S203 C270Cdi, but after a few years I swopped to a 2008 S204 C220Cdi which we've now owned for about 12 years and have no intention of changing! Also avoid wheels bigger than 17" if you want a comfortable ride, anyhting bigger may look "cool" but ride quality deteriorates markedly.
Or if you don't need 4 doors look at the W209 CLK coupe. I've recently picked up my first Mercedes (a 240) and having not had much luck in the past with older German cars I'm quite impressed. There are also plenty around the £4k mark.

Usual caveat of factoring in up to £1k repairs and maintenance for anything at this price point.
You need to look carefully for serious rust (e.g. on the car and in the MOT history - check online) especially in cars from about 1995-2003 which seems to have been peak low quality. After that they still rust more than Fiats and Renaults (I know: odd) but this tends to be cosmetic and not so serious. Also, if it's an automatic then if it's high mileage and never had a fluid change walk away. roughly every 40-50k would be reasonable, 70k max imho. If its on 100+ k and never been changed it will be black syrup and the internals damaged
One owner from new. Petrol (no DPF or other diesel headaches). Good service history. Only 63k miles (if no AFT change then just get it done at next service). and below budget!

£400 or £4,000?
£4,000 will buy you a really nice 2001/2005 low owner fsh petrol ulez compliant Mercedes c class or BMW e46 325i/330i.
I know which one I would choose.....but as this is a MB forum I'll keep quiet.
"Offside Rear Subframe mounting prescribed area excessively corroded significantly.."

Does this mean an issue with the subframe, or with the chassis mounting points? If the latter, some cutting and welding (and priming and psiny) if the chassis should fix it without having to replace the subframe itself.
This is a 202 model.
The subframe itself may have corrosion, but that's not a problem, it's not like on the 204 or SLK models where they actually rot.

The MOT describes the mounting point (as pointed out above). Now, as long it was repaired properly (which should mean drop the subframe, cut/weld/protect, this really isn't an issue.

None of that would put me off, but 4k for a 202 with a not particularly desirable engine (although it's a great reliable engine) is way too much imo
That particular car is worth 1 to 2k depending on condition. 4k is mental and the seller will be talking about that sale for the rest of his life if you give him anywhere near 4k

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