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I have been searching for a 1999-2001 Mercedes Sl500 which auction at the 16k to 23k range depending on mileage(normally 40 to 75k). So far it looks like they all need new brakes and tires but at that age car what other major problems should I anticipate? I know to get an independent exam by a competent mechanic.

If you get it at auction, it may have anything wrong with it. No maintenance since 1999 and driven hard.

You will not know until you get that mechanic to take a look at it and even then there will be no warranty.

Can you get an “auction car” inspected by a mechanic before the auction?

I’d make sure to get a compression check and do whatever you can to learn the internal health of the engine. The status of the transmission is critical too. These parts on a MB can be hugely expensive. At 10 years old all the hoses, belts, vacuum lines, fuel lines, and brake lines made of rubber need to be checked out.

It will be an expensive car to own as a “daily driver”. If it is a hobby car and you can work on it yourself you can keep some costs down if it is a solid car to start.

It is possible to check it out during auction. I have friends who hired a “national” outfit that will do a very comphrensive analysis. Also there are some firms that offer an extended warranty for $12-1500. However,I don’t have a good feeling they will deliver.
That aside how would you check out the transmission status? Thanks for your comments

You will be in for very large maintenance costs on this car. This is not like buying a $23k Honda. Folks dump expensive cars (to auction) when the big maintenance costs are coming due, or have been ignored, sometimes for years. Regardless of what your mechanic can see during a short inspection, I would never buy a used SL without a complete maintenance record. Do these cars come with that? I’d be surprised if they did.