Age of car

I amconsidering buying a 2002 merceddes SL500 but am concerned about the age and what maintenance and repair problems I might have with a car this old.

2002 old? 2002 is not old. The maintenance and repair problems you really need to worry about are any that were not done. A SL500 will not be cheap to keep up, but it should not be really bad.

Have your mechanic take a look at it, if possible and have him see if it appears that maintenance has not been kept up.

They are excellent cars, and reliable overall, but, like any expensive older German car, will be fairly expensive to maintain. Does the car you’re looking at have a full, documented repair and maintenance history that follows MB’s recommendations? Many cars like this are on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th owner, with minimal maintenance. Those are to be avoided!

thank you

As was either stated or implied by others, the age of the car is not nearly as important as how well it was maintained. While a Mercedes-Benz will never be a cheap car to operate, if this car has not been maintained in strict accordance with MB’s maintenance schedule, then it will become a financial time-bomb that will detonate on your wallet.

If you can confirm with documentation that it has been properly maintained, then it is worth considering. Do not accept anyone’s verbal assurances that it has been “well-maintained” as this is just as likely to be a lie as it is to be a truthful statement. Without hard copies of its maintenance (as well as a copy of the MB maintenance schedule to refer to for comparison), this is not something that you should consider for even a moment.

I drive an 89 Mercedes as a daily driver. Most of the parts are 21 yrs old and going strong. The more work you can do on this car yourself, the less expensive it will be to own. Going to the dealer will cost you $1,000 every time you leave it with them - so don’t do it.

The concern I would have with an '02 SL500 over an '89 is that MB added lots of features and equipment by '02, especially the near-top-of-the-line SL500, that didn’t exist in '89. More stuff = more stuff to break.

Yes, plus mine is an inline 6, not a V8 crammed into a small space.

Would I be able to rely on a carfax


All too often, we have heard in this forum about cars that had a “clean” Carfax report, but were subequently found to have been (pick one or more):

Wrecked and rebuilt
In a flood (think “Katrina”)
Never maintained
Owned by an unusually large number of people previously

I suppose that Carfax is better than nothing, but it is absolutely NOT a substitute for actual maintenance records. And, even with verification of good maintenance, it is very important to have a potential used car purchase vetted by your mechanic, prior to purchase.

However, you need a specialized Mercedes mechanic for this task, so if your regular mechanic is not a Mercedes specialist, you will need to find another one for a pre-purchase inspection.

does the fact that they offer a warranty help me at all

Only in addition to a complete by-the-book maintenance history in writing. No history, no purchase.

ps-who is offering the warranty? Who backs it up? I assume it’s not MB. It may not cover much.

okay, thank you for all your input