I recently acquired my fathers 1987 Mercedes 420 SEL and was wondering is it necessary to take any routine maintenance or repair issues to a Mercedes dealer or can most independent repair shops handle a car of this type and age.
I would feel comfortable with “most Mercedes independants” but not a “general” independant.
It is simply your choice. Some on here will tell you you are committing a grave sin if you go to a dealer and others will never darken the door of an independent shop. Neither shop is any worse or better than the other. The difference is the competence/wisdom/ honesty of all involved.
Personally, independent shops have treated me the worse but when I go to the dealer I set the ground rules and will not give them any wiggle room to sink a hook in my wallet unless the reasons are rock solid and the price is fair. I do have an advantage in that I have been in the industry for years and know what the guys are talking about.
You need to search your locale to find a “German Car” specialty shop. MB’s even old ones use unique technology and special knowledge of MB cars and systems is needed for competent repairs. Expect parts and labor to be relatively high, and you will need to spend some money every year on repairs. Even a free MB can be expensive to keep in the road.
I believe in the following. You cannot make general statements about the quality of work for your money between any independent and any MB dealer. I’ve found that parts are in general, much more expensive from dealer and occasionally, may be worth it to pay extra. I’ve found that cost per hour is usually less at an independent, but some times, some jobs can be done quicker with make specific equipment and experience with a dealer. It happen to me with manual hub maintenance in my 4wd and may happen to you with different repairs. I usually inquire about part availability of each, specifics of the job and total labor cost with my estimates, but still take a chance til I’ve experienced each. No one can give you a blanket…which is better for every job. It’s always job specific and dependent upon quality of dealer v local independent…
I took my 1972 280 SEL 4.5 only to independent MB specialists. Your car is older than most dealer mechanics. I’d only use dealerships (any make) for warranty repairs and recalls. Find someone who specializes in older MBs.