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Premium vs. Regular gas

Maybe a mistake, but just bought a 2000 Mercedes ML320. The book says I’m to use premium gas. Can I use mid-grade or regular without harming the engine? Also, the automatic door locks do not work. How can I get them repaired without going bankrupt?

it wont harm the engine if you did it on accident once in a while. Mid grade is the better of the two because it is half premuim/half regular. But if you put regular or mid grade you will probably turn the check engine light on.

This has been a topic of controversy on this forum, as well as with Tom and Ray. I suggest taking the wording of the owner’s manual as it states. Some cars with high compression engines say to use only premium and nothing else. Others say you can use lower octane fuels, but will experience less power out of the engine. I would say only use lower octane fuels if the manual says you can. If it doesn’t say you can, don’t do it. It’s only a couple dollars a fill-up to prevent serious engine damage due to preignition if the manual says you have to run premium. It’s worth it.

You MUST use premium if premium is specified.

You should find an independent mechanic who works on Mercedes cars. He will no doubt figure out what the problem is and be able to fix it. As with any luxury car, count on all work costing at least twice as much as work on a normal car.

If the fix scares you, it’s probably time to trade the car for something more reliable and less expensive to operate. This model was relatively new and built in the US. It is worse or much worse than average in alll areas except the cooling system.

You need to budget at least $2500 per year for maintenance and repairs (and maybe more) from here on in.

I agree. High end cars have high end ownership costs regardless of the age of the car. It’s part of the deal. If you find an independent mechanic who specializes in your make of car, you can save a fair amount of money Vs. using the dealership, but even still maintenance costs will still be higher than a more ordinary car’s would be.

Read your owner’s manual carefully.

  • Use Premium; means just that. Failure could cause damage. It will not happen every time, but it does happen.

  • Premium recommended Means just that. Not using it will likely cost you more overall in fuel cost (lower mileage and you will loose some power. You will not cause damage.

They key to less expensive MB ownership is not going to the dealer and performing maintenance.

Already it looks like it is not going to be a good relationship as you cannot afford the proper fuel that at best costs about $200-$300 extra per year.

There are decent independents who work well on MB’s.

Premium Fuel only in the Mercedes

You bought a high end car and you wanna skimp on what, 20 cents per gallon? Next you’ll be wanting to know if you can use regular oil in it when the manual calls for synthetic only. Also, if you’re worried about going bankrupt fixing just the door locks, imagine when something bad actually happens. From the sounds of it, you bought a champagne car with a beer budget

Since it appears your goal is to save money, you should use premium gasoline (to save money in the long run)and don’t repair the automatic door locks.

Lock the doors manually.

If you hear a clacking noise from your engine while climbing steeps hills, you need a higher octane. Otherwise don’t bother.

The cost of gasoline is way down on the list of expenses in owning an automobile. Interest charges if the car is financed, insurance costs, depreciation, etc. often beat the cost of gasoline. As far as owning a Mercedes Benz is concerned, the late Tom McCahill said it best: “For some people, riding behind the three point star is more thrilling than winning a Nobel Prize for caterpillar raising”. Let’s face it-- you bought the Mercedes because you liked the car. Put in the premium gas and enjoy the ride.

Anybody can buy a Mercedes. Not everybody can afford one.