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Vergnugungspark

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I'm new here as I am deciding whether to become a new Mercedes driver or not.

I've used the search, and have to say that the level of reliability worries, mixed feedback about dealers etc is making me think twice, after running Subarus and Audis with generally very high levels of reliablility. The family owns a Skoda Octavia and that has been superb also - in line with the Top Gear survey.

I'd be grateful if you can help with the following, assuming we're looking at a new/ low miles C Class:-

1) Is it just electrical problems - what are the main issues ?
2) Have you had to speak to Merc HQ/Customer service - good?
3) If you have used Mobilo Life followed by a warranty repair ?

The bottom line :-
In terms of reliability and customer service am I better spending £25-30k on a C Class, or £15k on another Skoda where everything has been first rate ? (SERIOUS question)

1
 

Dieselman

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Originally posted by Vergnugungspark

The family owns aSkoda Octavia and that has been superb also- in line with the Top Gear survey.


That makes two cars in one; Octavia and superb. was that a pun.


The bottom line :-
In terms of reliability and customer service am I better spending £25-30k on a C Class, or £15k on another Skoda where everything has been first rate ? (SERIOUS question)

1


In reality the cars do seem to have a fair number of niggles and glitches, however they are generally ultimately reliable.
They do suffer with electrical problems but this is no worse than any other European manufacturer using Bosh or Delphi electronics. The VW Golf and Passat are cases in point.

Dealers vary and can be vey good or very bad depending on where you live.

The Skodas are very well built cars but will not hold their value as well as a Merc.
To be honest I am pleased with my current Merc, but you have a known quantity with the Skoda and are happy. Only you can really decide.
 
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Robbo

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Vergnugungspark,

Go for a test drive in a Merc, you'll then understand why we own them and for the most part are delighted with them. I have had mine for over 6 months now and apart from one issue with the electric windows (which was sorted under warranty) it has been perfect.

MBs do seem to be taking a dip in reliability though with electrical faults being the main problem, but a later model C class should have most of the glitches ironed out.
 
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Aswall

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As has been suggested, get extensive test drives before deciding. The quality that Mercedes Benz used to mean is now a myth and the build quality of the VW group cars, such as the Skoda, is streets ahead so go on how you feel about driving the car and not on some image of the Merc being "hewn from granite" - cos they aint, they use chipboard now!

My dealer has been reasonably good at fixing my faults but it is now getting exasperating how many times it has had to go back. My previous Merc was almost as bad.

The trouble is that while people keep buying them there is no incentive for MB to improve quality. I for one will not buy another one after this until I see them achieving the same dramatic improvement in build quality and owner satisfaction as Jaguar have pulled off in the last decade.
 

Robbo

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TBH, I think that MB are already getting the message, what with the JD power surveys in the US, the Top Gear survey and Clarkson constantly going on about it on the show.

It doesnt take much of this kid of thing to change customer's brand perceptions. I expect they are crapping themselves about it!
 

mayoga

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I've had a couple of MBs and over 150K miles I can honestly say I've never had a single problem.

Also as most engine electrical components come from the same manufacturers, i.e. Bosch etc, then they should be as reliable as any other car.

You also say Audi are reliable. If you look at a recent survey the Audi TT finished bottom (100 out of 100).

Finally if MB were worried about reliability then why would they give every car 30 years breakdown cover?

Try it and see.

Gav.
 

aspire

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Interesting advice being given out. Hope it's OK to widen the thread a little.

Like Vergnugungspark, I am looking at becoming a MB owner.

Unlike Vergnugungspark, I have been aiming towards slightly older cars, specifically an SL320 from about 1996.

Do people think this is a vintage that does give that "hewn from granite" quality feel that I'd like? Or is it just that the bills for an SL are more expensive?

(This is long-term planning, perhaps next year, but I'm aiming to be as informed as possible when the time comes.)

Derek
 

Guy

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Originally posted by Vergnugungspark

1) Is it just electrical problems - what are the main issues ?
2) Have you had to speak to Merc HQ/Customer service - good?
3) If you have used Mobilo Life followed by a warranty repair ?

The bottom line :-
In terms of reliability and customer service am I better spending £25-30k on a C Class, or £15k on another Skoda where everything has been first rate ? (SERIOUS question)

I bought my C in January 2002; it's now done 16k and has been fault free...the E in Jan 98; it's done 66k and there have been no problems apart from a mirror that wouldn't reset properly.

So my experiences (dealer included - Macclesfield Garages) have been entirely good.

I can understand your feelings after reading some of the posts, but IMHO people tend to post when they've got something to get off their chest.

As for whether you save yourself £10-15k and stay in a Skoda - I agree with what others have said. Go and tell a dealer about your experience, and that you want more than 15 minutes in a Merc to help make your mind up.

Hope you enjoy it!
 

Kinky

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I think you have to be careful what you read in forums such as this (any car-related forum in fact).

The majority of postings will be related to problems that specific owners have had. Now that in itself is not the issue. The fact is if you read through the forums, it's problem after problem after problem. This might imply that the cars are unreliable, frequent visitors to the dealer for repairs, etc, etc ....

An extreme example would be to have a read on a TVR forum anywhere and you'd probably never ever buy one.

It would be a pretty dull site if we all said how wonderful the cars were and that was that.

Bottom line - the content will be skewed towards issues as this is the ideal forum to discuss them.

And you can be rest assured that when you buy that MB we'll all be here for you.

I myself have found this site invaluable and as a new MB owner I've honestly not looked back, with not too many issues (certainly no major ones).

K
 

Shude

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Originally posted by Kinky
It would be a pretty dull site if we all said how wonderful the cars were and that was that.
New forum section needed for that I think :)
 
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Vergnugungspark

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Thanks for the replies so far, guys.

I consider myself to be a car enthusiast (like most people on here, I suspect) , and buy cars on how they drive and what they offer me rather than on image or perception.

- My Subarus (6 so far) were all great handling and some were very fast - but raw and subjectively, unrefined and uncomfortable.

- My Audis were all A4 Quattros, were solidly built - especially inside - were very safe in all weathers, and for me, reliable.

- The family Skoda Octavia has a 1.8T engine like most of the C Class, is 70% Audi/VAG, cheap to run and buy, is solidly constructed (seriously) and the dealers have been brilliant.
How about labour at £45/hour instead of £86 in my last A4 ?!

SO, back to MERCEDES:
- What is it about a C Class ownership (230K or 270CDI) that I will enjoy to make up for my concerns on reliability and dealers ?

Thanks again.
:)
 

Kinky

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I'd get the Skoda.

And with the money left over get a nice tidy TVR Chimera, for the weekend sir.

:illgetmecoat:
 

se97mlm

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I can give my tuppence worth if it's any use....

I work for Delphi as a product development Engineer and I think it would be fair to say that DaimlerChrysler are really on the ball about improving quality for the Mercedes brand. They have much tighter and more stringent requirements for components fitted to their products than any of our other customers. I won't say who, however. Sadly I have had no experience of VAG in this area, but you can bet they will be pretty hot on it too. Must be a German thing...
 

Flip

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Originally posted by Vergnugungspark

- The family Skoda Octavia has a 1.8T engine like most of the C Class, is 70% Audi/VAG, cheap to run and buy, is solidly constructed (seriously) and the dealers have been brilliant.
How about labour at £45/hour instead of £86 in my last A4 ?!
:)

Have you seen the depreciation on the Octavia?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheap to buy, cheap to run, worth nothing when it comes to sell, so overall the running costs are awful!

If you are spending you own money, residual value is a real factor in the TOTAL running costs.

Autocar did an article comparing a £19k Mondeo with a £21k C Class - taking into account ALL costs ie extra interest on financing the Merc, service, fuel and resale, the Merc was cheaper by far (over 24 months).

Buy the Merc!:rock:
 

John Peerce

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You will get varying replies here from people who had zero problems to those who think their mercedes is the least reliable car ever.

I am afraid i am in the later group, as i have posted on this forum before. My C-class AMG (1999 C43 AMG) has been a disaster. It came with full main dealer service history and 58k miles, but i have spent more than £3500 on repairs in the last year + more than £1500 for main dealer B service, and over £500 on servcing/repairs by a specialist- all this within 13 months of ownership. The problems that i have had are not a case of the "indicator light blub is blown", but more like the car refusing to start, and the engine cuts out, and the car stalls while i am doing 70mph, and air-condition condensor rusted, compressor leaking etc..

Would i buy another mercedes ? actually that is a more tricky question than it appears. Most people here who have read my posts probably assume i will not touch another mercedes.... but i am more like 50:50 about an answer to such a question for the following reason: i cannot belive that the severe problems that i had are typical of mercedes cars. Maybe i am in denial, but i can only assume that i simply bought a one-off lemon. This car was my first mercedes, so i might be willing to give mercedes the benefit of the doubt and maybe at some point buy another.

As for my car? well, i am keeping it for now. I dont really want to sell it because having spent so much on it - and the car now has new air-con system, and other new parts + labour totaling nearly £4000, I dont want to give the benefit of all my spending to the next person who buys it. At the same time, i live in constant worry about what next part might fail.. could it be the Cat convertor ? (more than £1500 to fix), or could it be the transmission (could be up to £3000) etc..

Once you lose trust in a car its difficult to regain it, and you become very pessmistic person, expecting things to go wrong all the time. But i am keeping the car in the hope of getting back the benefit of some of the money that i spent on it, while gambling that nothing more will go wrong with it.

On the occasions when the car has been driving fine with no problems, i can honestly say that driving my mercedes has been a very enjoyable experience. Its just that this pleasure seems to come with constant pain to my wallet. Its like having a glamorous, but high maintainance girlfriend !

Good Luck with whatever you decide.
 
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Ian B Walker

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Originally posted by Kinky

I myself have found this site invaluable and as a new MB owner I've honestly not looked back, with not too many issues (certainly no major ones).

K

I will second that, 100% This is the place to discuss any niggles that you have and members here are so knowledgable, helpfull and generally good guys. Ok my cars are pre 1992, love em to bits, niggles and all.
 

OGiii

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Originally posted by Ian B Walker
I will second that, 100% This is the place to discuss any niggles that you have and members here are so knowledgable, helpfull and generally good guys. Ok my cars are pre 1992, love em to bits, niggles and all.

Here, here..............
 

mrober

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MB quality motor - my a**e!

After waiting 22 weeks for my C180K + Sports Kit to arrive I have had the car 6 weeks and it's back in the dealers because the linkage between the (manual) gear lever and the gearbox has come adrift. Obviously well fitted & checked at the factory - not!

Even better is the news that MB can't give me a fix date as the part can't be obtained in the UK - it comes as part of the clutch replacement kit, but not on it's own apparently. The car has now been in the dealers for 4 days with no apparent return in sight!

How I wish I had stayed with Audi - no probs in 4 years & service a dream!
 

OGiii

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Re: MB quality motor - my a**e!

Originally posted by mrober
How I wish I had stayed with Audi - no probs in 4 years & service a dream!

Nightmare, situation. But this is the point - I know a guy who shelled out nearly £40k on a new Audi S4 which had no end of problems resulting in a new engine and him driving loaners for weeks.

You get bad cars in any make.

I don't have an extensive history with Mercs, I have two now but didn't have any prior to this summer and I have to say I am absolutley delighted with both. My boss has had Merces for the past 20 years and wouldn't buy anything else.

I have to agree that dealer service isn't as good as I expected but again, there are people here who have great service.

You pays your money............
 
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Vergnugungspark

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Re: MB quality motor - my a**e!

Originally posted by mrober
How I wish I had stayed with Audi - no probs in 4 years & service a dream!

This is the nub(?) that I'm really trying to get to.

(1) I've owned new Audis and had very few problems, but enjoyed the solidity inside & out, and the quattro total grip in all weather.

(2) The point with Skoda is that its an honest car - we knew that depreciation from new would be an issue, so bought a year old one with low miles and saved 35% - but still have the extremely low running costs and really good build, kit and practicality.
And total reliability - it has Climate, cruise, ESP, traction control, EDL, AWD and all the electrics remember.

So, the point I need your help on is:-

(?) What do I get from a (2002/3) C Class Mercedes assuming that I take a risk on not getting one with electrical/build faults ?

- Is the Head Office / Customer Service backup any good ?
AND
- Do they fall over themselves to help if the dealers are no good?
 

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