A Luxury Car, an Expensive Repair, and a Lesson in Checking Sunroof Drains

Before his wife inherited a 2013 Mercedes C300 a number of years back, our columnist hadn’t owned a luxurious motor vehicle. Now he’s figuring out how much it charges to like it. It’s not his car or truck.

Courtesy of Mercedes

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I grew up in a household that took satisfaction in buying low-cost autos. I uncovered how to push a Rambler station wagon in 1963. My father was so frugal that he requested it with no the optional radio or heater. Great matter we lived in Southern California.

Immediately after getting married in 1981, I attempted to stick to in his footsteps. Our first purchase was a new Honda Civic for $ 5,600. I requested it with no air conditioning, even even though I lived in California’s Imperial Valley, wherever the thermometer tops 110 levels in summer time.

Above the several years we started out acquiring bigger, a lot more costly vehicles and sure they experienced air conditioning. But we never ever purchased a luxury vehicle. The past new car we have was a 2014 Toyota Highlander.


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So it was a shock four yrs back when my spouse inherited a Mercedes C300 in 2013. It doesn’t matter that the employed Mercedes wasn’t worthy of far more than the Toyota that sat in our driveway.

A even larger shock: I preferred the Mercedes promptly. It curves a lot superior than any automobile I’ve ever experienced, has a potent V-6 engine, and is a lot more pleasurable than the pragmatic American or Japanese vehicles we’ve owned.

Having said that, there ended up early signals that the Benz would not be a low-cost car. I at the time burned a tire only by driving around a bumpy New Jersey street. I uncovered that the motor vehicle experienced small profile tires that held the street far better but have been much more fragile. Yet another time, a clogged drinking water bottle disabled an electric seat.

Even so, the Mercedes was usually issues-absolutely free. Until finally lately it refused to start a working day. Unusually plenty of, the future early morning.

I drove it to our mechanic and requested him to place in a new battery and test all electrical connections. Did I mention that a new battery in a Mercedes expenditures $ 300?

When I drove household, the car or truck started off acting strange yet again. The dashboard indicator went blank and the high beam and emergency brake indicators began to flash as if possessed.

We ultimately bought it to the dealer. The information wasn’t excellent. Water bought into our electrical method and corroded some cables.

How did drinking water get into the cables? Nicely, the most most likely suspect was clogged sunroof drains. I never use our sunroof – and now it had ruined the electrical system.

Even worse, the supplier did not know how undesirable the problems was and claimed we would have to spend an further $ 2,000 to get aside the inside of the car or truck so the wiring harness can be checked.

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It got even worse. If the auto required a new wiring harness, it experienced to be custom made constructed and price tag close to $ 20,000, twice what the eight-year-aged vehicle was really worth. Perhaps we ended up much better off advertising the auto to a junkyard and lessening our losses.

It was an emotional determination. My wife experienced inherited her Mercedes from a expensive buddy and was not all set to permit go of it. We gave the seller authorization to acquire the interior apart. The dealer uncovered that the challenge could be set with some new sections. The total value of the restore, such as disassembly and reassembly, was $ 5,300. That is not $ 20,000, but that is a whole lot of income.

If we can get a few additional a long time out of the auto, I would take into account it revenue nicely spent. We obtained the car or truck for free of charge and it has been our primary method of transport for 4 many years and this is the first time we have spent a good deal of money on it.

Lesson figured out in any case. From now on, when I acquire it to the mechanic, I am going to inquire him to improve the oil – and verify the sunroof drains.

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