i"m thinking to purchase s430 2000 has 130k

consumerreports does not recommands this car

but i like the ride and the look of the car

what things i should be aware of before spending that much on this car, does it break down more often than other cars

need you advise


It’s all about condition and maintenance with these cars. The condition and value have a large amount of variation for a given model/year, and you do not want to buy one that has been neglected. You do want to see lots of maintenance records and you want to have the condition verified for yourself. It will definitely cost much more to maintain than a toyota/honda (big surprise), but you do not want to have to make up for 5 years of neglect (many $1000). The CR nonsense deals in averages, not specific cars, which is why it’s pretty much worthless for anything that’s not a commodity.

Find a good independent benz shop or a dealer and have a good pre-purchase inspection performed (plan on spending a couple $100 for the inspection). Find out exactly what it needs and how much it will cost to bring it to correct condition (there will always be things that need to be corrected), Use that information to decide if you want to make an offer and/or to justify a lower offer. Don’t be afraid to walk away and find a better example if it’s not the best car for you. Buying the right one of these used can be a project, the last benz that I bought was 2000 miles from home. This one has relatively low mileage, which is encouraging, buy you still need to do your homework. The least expensive car is not usually going to be the best deal in the long run.

Adding to the good suggestions that you have here, I have what I think is a good general suggestion when it comes to luxury cars:

Be prepared to spend money. If you buy something that’s more than a few years old and is out of warranty, have a pretty substantial sum of money standing ready to pay for maintenance or small repairs. I think it’s everyone’s dream to own a luxury car, or at least, everyone would like to have the means, but they are more expensive to maintain and repair, and just because you spend a higher initial amount does not mean that you will have less maintenance to do.

“… and just because you spend a higher initial amount does not mean that you will have less maintenance to do.”

Agreed, the opposite is general true. You are buying a more expensive piece of hardware with more complexity (especially an s-class) that will require more maintenance, and will have much larger consequences if you neglect the maintenance. These cars last a long time if properly cared for, but do not confuse longevity with low cost operation or a tolerance for abuse. If you take care of these, they will give you great service, if you “drive it until it breaks” you will experience a whole new level of “sticker shock” when you have it repaired.

Edit: As an example, if this s-class has automatic level control, the rear shocks cost about $800 each.

You might check MB forums to see what current owners are concerned about. I wanted to buy a 2000-2002 CLK430 coupe. I looked into issues with the CLKs on a couple of MB forums, and most of the problems dealt with front seat rattles. Noisy seats would bother me too much, so I decided to forgo the CLK430. I still think that the CLK is the best looking coupe available today. FWIW, the mileage is so high that you should reduce the price for an average 2000 S430 by about $1900. There are only 2 cars that I’d put in the same class: BMW 740i and Audi A8. None of them will be particularly reliable. You could get a 2001 740i or A8 for about the same price as the 2000 S430. Equivalent Lexus or Infiniti models are equivalent in luxury appointments only. They will not be as satisfying to drive if that is part of what you re looking for.

The Mercedes Benz S-class cars are meant for rich people. If you were a rich person you’d be buying a new one, not a used one with 130K miles. This vehicle has the potential to bankrupt you. I’m NOT kidding. Think very carefully before you buy this car.

EVERYTHING it needs, from oil filters to catalytic converters, will probably cost twice, if not three times, what similar parts for “normal” cars cost. If you don’t believe me, go to an auto parts store and ask. Better yet, go to a MB dealer and price some parts. Alternator, shock absorbers, exhaust system parts. Ask what a muffler costs.

This car requires premium gasoline. Are you willing to pay for that, NO MATTER how high gas prices go? You don’t have a choice. Using regular in this car is asking for trouble. Expensive trouble.

If you are willing to spend whatever it takes to own an S-class, then go for it. But don’t expect it to be like owning a Camry.

Well, I don’t know about “rich” (unless we are using the democrats’ definition of rich); most of the real rich folks are spending a lot more than $100K on their new cars (think Maybach). There are plenty of folks who buy a used benz simply because they are a better value than a new one (not because they couldn’t afford a new one, but still a long way from being rich by any reasonable definition). As for mileage, I would consider 130K miles fairly low for this car (less than 20K per year). Here is an entire forum of folks who drive these cars; most are certainly not rich (but some might be), but most do have enough disposable cash to maintain them properly (although some probably don’t). Collecting these cars is not a cheap hobby, but you don’t have to be Bill Gates either:


I’m guessing that this car is selling in the $20K range (am I close?) which would be OK if it’s well maintained. If you compare that to $80-100K for a new one, it’s a pretty good deal even if it occasionally costs a few $1000 for some glitch that you wouldn’t have with a new car.

The estimate of 2 to 3 times the parts cost is probably about right (depending on the part and what you are comparing it to). That is more expensive than a civic, but it’s unlikely to bankrupt anyone. I agree that no-one should buy this car if the cost of routine (or unexpected) auto repair is going to make a noticeable dent in their budget. Realistically, this car shouldn’t average more than a couple $1000 per year for routine maintenance and the occasional glitch. You could drive this car for a long time for a lot less cash than buying/leasing a new one (comparing it to a “normal car” is silly). There is always the possibility that something will break and you will have to write a $5000 check, if that (or the price of premium gas) is a major concern you really should not buy this car.

Just trying to be realistic, without being alarmist.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of the CLK’s looks, but if you like them you should drive some higher mileage examples and judge the “seat rattle” issue for yourself. Most of the folks in the benz forums (myself included) are borderline fanatics that will complain endlessly about some “flaw” that a normal human would probably never notice. Any rattle/squeak at all in my 400K mile car will drive me nuts until I track it down and kill it off. I don’t know if the CLK “seat rattle” thing is significant of not (I really don’t know much about their later model cars), but I would check for myself before ruling out the car. Also, if it is a problem, how much can it possibly cost to have a custom interior shop tear into the seats and make a rattle go away (probably less than a set of tires for that car)?

Which is why CR is almost useless in the case of MB, Porsche, and the other high end vehicles. I dunno anyone that would NOT complain about every little thing if they paid over $100k for a vehicle. So, in the surveys they send out or fill in online, yes they are going to look very unreliable

A friend of mine, who owned an aging Jaguar 12 cyl, came close to buying one of thes S class cars. In the final analysis, the suspension scared him off, and he bought a Lexus 400 series. He did this after pricing out all the major likely repairs the S class would incur. His wife drives an Acura Legend, which never seems to have problems. With the Lexus she is going to see more of him in the future.

Agreed, one should not buy one of these if cost is a primary concern. Personally, I don’t like the complexity of the s-class, especially the new ones. But, if that’s what you want and you understand what your getting into, go for it.

“almost useless”?

It keeps the “little people” from leasing one. :stuck_out_tongue:


If safety is big with you, this is a car you can crash at 100 mph into a concrete tunnel abuttment in Paris France, and survive, provided you wear your seatbelt!

I visited this tragic Princess Diana crash site shortly after the infamous accident, an concluded that is was a dumb accident that should not have happened, espcially with such a roadworthy vehicle.

As a past and present owner of an S (past) and an M (present) and an SL (long past), and a Lexus LS for the last 14 years, here are my experiences and suggestions.

Our LS400 has had about half the rate of problems as we’ve had with the S and M. The LS has 215,000 miles on it, our M has 125,000 miles. The most major repair we’ve faced on both of these cars is the AC at about $1,200. Things that tend to break on cheaper cars like exhaust systems, suspension parts, switches, window motors, etc., tend not to break on these higher end cars.

Depending on your preferences, the S will be more fun to drive than an LS, although the LS is a very quiet and comfortable car; just not so exciting as an S.

I suggest going to edmunds and research used cars and read what owners are saying about the year S you want and decide on that. Also check out the S bulletin board at that site. Then, have a deal run the VIN to get a mostly complete repair history on the specific vehicle. Then run a CarFax report on the VIN.
Much of your happiness depends on your mechanic’s abilities and honesty.

I have little faith in any sort of Consumer Reports or Powers resources. They try but fail.

I have a feeling it was NOT the road worthiness of the MB that caused that fatal crash.

I know if I was going to buy one(most likely it’d be an MB if any euro brand), the first place I’d stop is the service counter and ask how much it would cost for oil changes, suspension parts, etc. before I signed my name on the dotted lines. I don’t really know of any shop around town here that specializes in euro brands, so I’d be taking it to the dealership.

Dealer service on these cars does tend to be expensive, and the dealers are not always the best folks to work on older cars (they don’t see very many that are past the warrantee period). Unless you live in the middle of no-place, there are usually a couple of independent benz shops around. These shops tend to be owned buy ex-dealer service manger types who got tired of working for other people. The guys I use in denver are great and they really know old cars (it’s worth going there just to see what they have in the shop). They do seem to spend a lot of time chain smoking and yelling at each other in various european languages and they are not cheap, but they do very good work.

There’s considerable truth in that old adage of, “If you have to ask, “How much?”, you can’t afford it.”. Generally, people who come to this forum are people who have to ask, “How much?”.