We’ve all heard it, “I can’t wait to bring my car in for service at the dealership!” Oh wait, literally no one has ever said that. Dealership service departments get a bad name mainly due to the high costs and people not trusting their recommendations. The often used nickname, “stealership” kind of says it all. The reality is that it’s kind of a crap shoot whether or not you will have a good experience, because it all comes down to the service writer and the technician, there are good ones and there are horrible ones.
Find yourself someone you trust and you will have a lifetime of great service, no matter if it’s an independent shop, dealership or Billy Bob down the alley that’s missing an eye from doing way too many coil springs the wrong way.
The latest from on my YouTube channel, LegitStreetCars, I perform a little experiment. I brought in a 402,000 mile 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG to a random Mercedes dealership for a pre purchase inspection. This is an inspection you normally get when you are serious about buying a used car and want to make sure you don’t buy a huge money sucking lemon. I paid $125 for this inspection with the expectation of getting a list of everything wrong with it and the cost to repair. Keep in mind, this car spent almost its entire life in California and was serviced only at a Mercedes dealer. It’s in nice shape regardless of its miles and I only had two complaints. The rear end was bouncy and I asked for a price on a electric coolant pump as I knew it was bad.
What I found will unfortunately reinforce the idea that dealerships are a rip off, because not only was the estimate insanely high, but they missed some very important items during the inspection. Items that not only effect the safety of the car, but that you would definitely want to know about before buying the car.
You can see 6 of the big ticket items that the dealer recommended I replace. I show if they were even bad in the first place, how much they wanted to fix the issues and the important stuff they missed. It shows first hand how valuable it is to form that relationship with a service department early as it can literally save you thousands.
Dealerships have some of the smartest technicians in the world, so don’t be afraid to ask about the person working on your car. If you can ask for the same barber all the time then there is no reason why you can’t get to know the tech and request him/her every time.
Below you will find a complete list of the items I cover in the video. I list their prices and links to where to buy them. Some are aftermarket and some are factory Mercedes parts that can really save you some cash especially if you do the work yourself. Before you watch the video take a guess at the total estimate, whoever gets closest gets a pat on the back by whoever is sitting next to you at that moment. Don’t do this on the subway or you will have some weirdo touching you, good luck.
Genuine Mercedes front lower ball joint–$200 for both sides
Lemfoerder Front driver side control arm or “trust arm”-$137
Lemfoerder Front passenger side control arm or “trust arm”-$167
Genuine Mercedes Front upper ball joint–$140 for both sides
Genuine Mercedes fog light assemblies–$196 for both sides.
Bilstein rear adjustable shocks–$385 each