Worth Buying A 10 Year Old Mercedes? (Read this first)


Merc GL

I bought a new Mercedes about 22 years ago, and I still have it. I don’t use it every day, but it starts every turn of the key and still looks as good as when I got it.

A 10-year-old Mercedes is capable of giving many years of great service, easily in excess of twenty years if well maintained. The reliability of Mercedes is determined more by the condition than age.

In this post, you’ll learn what you can expect from a ten year old Mercedes, the repairs that will be needed in the near future. We’ll also look at the average cost of a 10-year-old Mercedes and some buying tips.

How much life is left in a 10 year old Mercedes?

Mercedes e class

Mercedes are built to last, or at least the earlier models were. I bought a new c class Mercedes about the year 2000, and I still have her. She was one of the first of the w0000 to roll off the assembly line.

While my car wasn’t without problems and at the time I was a little disappointed, overall I’d say it was a good car.

My C Class was the first of a new model, and although I’ve been in the motor industry all my life, I should have listened to my advice.

I often say to those that ask me about buying a new car, don’t buy the first production year of any new model. Buy it in year two or later when all the bugs are ironed out.

So when considering a 10-year-old Mercedes, be mindful of the production year of your chosen model. That advice still stands.

Mechanical:

A 10-year-old Mercedes will likely have a few miles on the clock, about 100 thousand miles isn’t usual. That’s the kind of mileage that initially causes you to pause when seeing the kind of dollars they ask for these old-timers. But quality cost money and turns out quality holds its value too.

An old Merc is easily capable of giving fantastic service well into the 300 thousand mile range without major mechanical issues.

Most Merc’s are fitted with big six-cylinder engines, and that helps with durability. Mercedes do fit smaller four-cylinder engines, but mainly in Europe. Small engines have to work harder and so wear out more quickly.

When it comes to an engine, more is, well.

Accessorises and extra’s:

Amg seats

Mercedes are known for their luxury, and so no doubt your car will have as you’d expect all the usual Mercedes refinements – Metallic paint, alloy wheels, full electric pack, parking sensors, air-condition, rear camera, navigation, infotainment system, you know, the usual.

Mercedes buyers are very particular and often opt for add on’s so your car could have some very nice extra features.

Mercedes equipment is durable and at ten years old and should all still be in great shape.

Mercedes are world leader in car technology. They’ll typically have technology years ahead of mainstream cars. It’s possible your future 10-year-old merc will have technology that hasn’t ever made it mainstream.

Even a 10-year-old Mercedes scores highly in the safety tests. It’s got a ton of safety features, including auto-braking and steering technology.

All Merc’s will have the usual array of goodies, but look out for the fully loaded Merc’s packing all the extras, the Moon roof, key-less entry, message seats, head-up display, all-wheel drive, night vision, lane assist, blind-spot detection, air-con seats, park assist, etc.

These are all very nice features to have but be mindful everything comes with a price. As they age, they’ll likely cause problems and will be expensive to fix.

Body & Interior Condition:

Merc interior

The condition of your future Mercedes will likely be excellent. Mainly due to the quality design, build, and materials, but also because Mercedes owners appreciate a quality motor.

It’s more likely than not that your future Mercedes was well cared for. Maintained at great expense and probably at a Mercedes dealership where it was loved within an inch of its life.

I would expect a long service history with lots of money spent.

Interior trim:

Most high-end Merc’s are finished in the finest of Napa leather. The steering wheel and gear knob also. The trim wears well and, if cared for, should look as new. Only intergalactic mileage Merc’s will show signs of a saggy driver’s seat bolster and worn pedal rubbers.

Paintwork:

Mercedes paintwork and trim are top drawer. Obviously, stone chips, scratches, curb rash are common to all cars, but corrosion isn’t a concern, and at only ten years old, you wouldn’t expect it to be.

10 year Old Mercedes Maintenance

Mercedes steering wheel

Let’s assume you buy that ten-year-old Mercedes. We’ll also assume your new to you Merc has about 100 thousand on the clock, was well cared for, and the dealer completed a full service before you took delivery.

So, what sort of maintenance are we looking at here? As a Merc owner, you’ll want to keep her in the manner to which she’s accustomed. And that means not skimping on the care. It means doing the proper maintenance in a timely manner.

The usual maintenance items will be needed at regular intervals, of course:

Less common maintenance items, include:

Car coolant
  • Brake fluid change every 3 years
  • Coolant replacement every 3 years
  • Coolant system flush
  • Water pump replacement (if not already replaced)
  • Brake pads replaced
  • Rotors replaced
  • Software update
  • Transmission oil and filter change
  • Struts and shocks replaced
  • Tires replaced
  • Four wheel alignment

These cars are heavy, and that means they are hard on. Brakes, pads, and rotors will wear out surprisingly quickly, so too will the tires. Expect to replace the tires every 10 to 12,000 miles.

Mercedes are fitted with long-life plugs. They only become due to a change at 100 thousand miles and are expensive to replace. Worth checking with your dealer if he’ll change them with the pre-delivery service.

Control module software upgrades are usually included in the price of the service unless it’s part of a particular customer complaint repair procedure.

What about the unforeseen failures? Ignition system coils, cats, EGR valves, air suspension faults, wiper motor failure, engine mount premature wear.

Don’t let these put you off owning a Mercedes. I could write a list for every car ever made. It’s normal for parts to fail as the car ages.

Main Dealer Or Indy

First, I should point out the obvious, having an authorized Mercedes main dealer take care of your new wheels will be expensive relative to an independent shop.

The reason is simple. The main dealer can charge more because they have a higher level of equipment, knowledge and you’re paying a premium for the sizzle.

In addition, the franchise network usually dictates pricing to discourage a race to the bottom by its dealers.

The independent shops will have no problem servicing your Mercedes. While these cars are unique and high-tech, mechanically, they are pretty conventional.

Where an Indy shop may come unstuck is when troubleshooting some of the high technology accessorizes. Mercedes, as per all manufacturers, employs their fault-finding diagnostic equipment (Star diagnostic). It was designed around the communication architecture of the car.

While after-market non-Mercedes diagnostic equipment will communicate with the system, it won’t have full functionality.

ECU

So what? The problem is, this often leads the (Mercedes inexperienced) independent tech to take a gamble at the root cause of the problem. Parts are ordered and fitted in the hope of solving the problem. Very often, it doesn’t, and the customer ends up footing a much larger bill.

There’s a happy middle ground, seek out and build a rapport with a Mercedes independent garage. These shops are often owned and staffed by very experienced and talented ex-Mercedes technicians. They offer dealer-level diagnostic equipment, knowledge, skills, and quality replacement parts.

Values

Mercedes
10 Yr Old Mercedes ModelPrice Range US$EngineDrive
C Class (W204)6 to 8,000300RWD
E Class (W212)11 to 14,000350RWD
S Class (W221)15 to 18,000550RWD
ML Class (W164)10 to 12,000350AWD
GL Class (X164)13 to 15,000350AWD
GLK Class (X204)11 to 13,000350AWD
Average Mileage 100,000 and condition excellent

Buying Advice

C class merc
  • My best advice for buying a used Mercedes, is buy from a reputable dealer (preferably a Mercedes dealer). A dealer who cares about their reputation won’t sell a bad car, or short change you on warranty issues, should they arise.
  • Run a check on the Vin number using a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit.com) For a few dollars you can pre check a vehicle for Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuild, Title washing and Vin cloning.
  • Know what model Mercedes you want before arriving at the dealership, that way you’ll be knowledgeable about value, accessories, service intervals, known problems, etc.
  • Model chosen, check out safecar.gov data base for recalls and known safety issues.
  • Ask the dealer if the sales car in question has had its recalls.
  • Only buy a Mercedes with a full main dealer service history.
  • Condition trumps mileage, I rather have a higher mile car if the overall condition is better.
  • Be mindful the more accessories these cars have the more likely they’ll need attention into the future when they’ll be off warranty.
  • Seek out a good Mercedes independent mechanic in your area and build a relationship. Ask at a Mercedes owners club, they usually have a ton of great information.

Check the Edmunds.com Mercedes link below to see what Hot Mercedes deals are on offer right now, but be warned, I sometimes lose an hour or more to all the eye candy on offer.

Mercedes

I wish you many years of happy Mercedes ownership.

You may find the following posts useful:

Are old Mercedes reliable?

Are Mercedes expensive to maintain?

Are Mercedes good cars?

Related Question

Should I buy a Mercedes with over 100,000 miles? A Mercedes Benz is a quality motor car. A Mercedes with an excellent service record is capable of covering well over 250,000 miles without issue.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of classic car ownership, from tires to roof aerials and everything in between.

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