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Last November we changed our status from a one-car-family to a two-car-family. We purchased a 3 year old gently used (or so they told us) German engineered "luxury car". It was our first experience purchasing a used car.

Since November we have put approximately 7,000 km on the car. The first month we had it the front speakers stopped working. It was a wiring issue and was fixed by the dealership at no cost. The folllowing month an interior light went - also fixed at no cost. Then this spring when I took the car to a car wash, my young son got soaked in the back seat because a seal on one of the back windows was compromised. Cost to us = $284 (the dealership split the cost when I had a fit). Last week the engine light was on. The charcoal emissions canister was replaced at a cost of $531. (the original cost was $694, but the dealership issued another discount when I had another fit). The dealership has made it clear that they will not be subsidizing any future repairs for us.

The reason we bought the car was because of the excellent safety features and excellent insurance rating. Now I am thinking that if this first year is any indication of what we can expect to pay on maintenance, we have bought a lemon.

We have priced out a 2011 Ford Focus. With all the same features as our current car + a couple extra. The Focus also has an impressive safety rating. Ideally we would keep the Focus for 10 years. The purchase price for the Focus (all-in) is $7200 (including trade-in).

Would you buy the Focus or keep the Benz and hope that it doesn't require
$7k worth of maintenance over the next 9 years? I am still waiting to hear back from my insurance broker, so for the purposes of this discussion we'll assume insurance costs are the same. Gas for the Focus would be cheaper because it does not require premium gas - the Benz does.

Thoughts?
 

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I thought once you bought a car that you generally have a grace period if it was inspected properly (i.e. similar to the Lemon Law in the US).

Anyway, I'd be getting rid of my Benz for another car. It's obvious that it isn't worth to keep any more.
 

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Hi Dana

Sounds like you have been hit with bad luck on the Benz. That car is going to be expensive to maintain. Parts are also expensive. You are paying a premium because it's a German luxury car.

If you were to sell the Benz, consider selling it privately. The dealer will give you a low-ball, trade in offer. Do a search on Autotrader and Kijiji, to see approximately what your car is worth on the private sale market. Then compare it to the dealer. I bet it's a huge difference in price.

I can guess the insurance will be higher in the Focus, because it's more of a common vehicle than the Benz. It appears that the more popular the car is, the higher the insurance premium, because there is more claims filed on insurance history.

Don't buy a new car. You will loose so much money. Buy a reliable car that's 2-3 years old. Why give 20-30% loses to the dealer's profit and to taxes ? Heck, even a car that's 1-2 years old will save you $$$. By then it's already lost 10-30% of it's value.

If you want something that's rock solid reliable, good safety features, etc. check out a 1-2 years old, 4 door Accord or Camery. Some of them are quite nice with premium packages. They can make it feel like a higher end, luxury car. Insurance is expensive. Everyone drives one, they have more claims on history.
 

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I suspect the insurance on the new Ford will be lower than the Bents.
Bents is supposedly "premium", it's imported, maintenance/repair is expensive and so is the current value (blue/black book, whatever they use).
You didn't say how much you purchase the Bents for.
These days, American cars are offering a lot of value in terms of features vs. price.
In my opinion, the allure and snob factor of a Bents is much diminished these days.
Consumers are demanding value, not snob effect.
Doesn't help you, I realize, but I say cut your losses and move on.
You may get hit with more serious repairs next time.
 

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I had a Ford Focus for a few years and I thought it was a good car. But during the two years I owned it there were 13 recalls. You might want to check Consumer Reports and look over their ratings for reliability of different models and years. Ford is much better than it used to be, but as a general rule the reliability ratings for Honda and Toyota are higher.
 

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It appears my guess about the insurance rates were wrong. The focus tends to show an under average, pay-out claim history and there seems to an above average, pay-out claim history with the Benz models:

http://www.ibc.ca/en/Car_Insurance/documents/hcmu/2009/HCMU_E_2009.pdf

"The insurance industry gathers and analyzes statistics on the number and cost of Collision and Comprehensive claims for the most popular Canadian models of cars, passenger vans, SUVs and pickup trucks. It also tracks theft claims for these same vehicles – the cost of these claims and how often these cars are stolen. The results give consumers an accurate picture of how theft, collision and other claims affect the cost of auto insurance for particular makes and models of cars.

This year’s edition of “How Cars Measure Up” presents the results for 1996 through 2008 models where at least 1,500 of each of the models were insured between 2004 and 2008. The information comes entirely from actual insurance claims data, collected from most of the car insurance companies in Canada."


I would be interested in knowing your model name, year and yearly insurance cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It appears my guess about the insurance rates were wrong. The focus tends to show an under average, pay-out claim history and there seems to an above average, pay-out claim history with the Benz models:

http://www.ibc.ca/en/Car_Insurance/documents/hcmu/2009/HCMU_E_2009.pdf

"The insurance industry gathers and analyzes statistics on the number and cost of Collision and Comprehensive claims for the most popular Canadian models of cars, passenger vans, SUVs and pickup trucks. It also tracks theft claims for these same vehicles – the cost of these claims and how often these cars are stolen. The results give consumers an accurate picture of how theft, collision and other claims affect the cost of auto insurance for particular makes and models of cars.

This year’s edition of “How Cars Measure Up” presents the results for 1996 through 2008 models where at least 1,500 of each of the models were insured between 2004 and 2008. The information comes entirely from actual insurance claims data, collected from most of the car insurance companies in Canada."


I would be interested in knowing your model name, year and yearly insurance cost.
I just got off the phone with my insurance broker. It would cost us $60 more per year to insure the Focus. This would be easily offset by the savings in gas from switching to regular unleaded from premium.

This is because the medical portion of the insurance premium is higher for the Focus. I.e. if I were in an accident in the Focus it is more likely that I would be injured than if I were in an accident in the Benz.

That being said, the safety rating of the Focus is one whole point better than the Benz - though that is likely because the Focus is 5 years newer and therefore has safety technology that is 5 years newer than the Benz.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you were to sell the Benz, consider selling it privately. The dealer will give you a low-ball, trade in offer. Do a search on Autotrader and Kijiji, to see approximately what your car is worth on the private sale market. Then compare it to the dealer. I bet it's a huge difference in price.
I could probably sell my car on Autotrader.ca /Kijiji for about $14k. There are a lot of them available right now. The dealership will give me $11k. This is actually a benefit of $12430 since I won't have to pay tax on the Focus on the amount equal to the trade in value.

I am not inclined to sell the car privately as I am alone with kids much of the time (Husband travels) and I don't want to deal with ads, inquiries and accompanying strangers on test drives.
 

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I just got off the phone with my insurance broker. It would cost us $60 more per year to insure the Focus. This would be easily offset by the savings in gas from switching to regular unleaded from premium.

This is because the medical portion of the insurance premium is higher for the Focus. I.e. if I were in an accident in the Focus it is more likely that I would be injured than if I were in an accident in the Benz.

That being said, the safety rating of the Focus is one whole point better than the Benz - though that is likely because the Focus is 5 years newer and therefore has safety technology that is 5 years newer than the Benz.
Makes sense. Also note that another company could have a cheaper rate on your insurance. Don't believe your broker has found the best rate. My rates are cheaper then any broker could find.
 

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German cars are expensive, even more expensive to fix and not nearly as reliable as they used to be.

In the 80's, 90's the Japanese cars had to prove themselves against the German cars and now that they have... they are starting to follow the Germans

Korean cars (Kia, Hyundai) are the ones trying to prove themselves now

If I was shopping today it would be for a used Japanese car hands down. Personally I won't touch American vehicles but they should have something to prove now as well.
 

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I think you should just keep the Benz. You've had two repairs in almost a year totalling $815. That's not a big deal.

If you want to go with a cheaper/newer car then go with the Ford - but don't do it just because of a few inconvenient repairs.
 

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The charcoal emissions canister was replaced at a cost of $531.
pretty sure factory emissions warranty is 5 years/100,000km by law in Canada- a Mercedes dealer would've replaced that for free

hope that it doesn't require
$7k worth of maintenance over the next 9 years?
that's a gamble....one automatic transmission rebuild or replacement would probably push you over a $7K total for the 9 years

about a 50/50 shot I'd say
 

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Dont buy a used car if you dont want to pay for repairs.
Dont buy a german car luxury or not if you dont want to pay for repairs.
For the love of god dont buy a Ford if you dont want to pay for repairs.
Hyundai is a better product than anything domestic.
Japanese cars are still the most durable.
But forget buying a used japanese car. It is a myth you can buy a 1-3 year old japanese car for 30% less. Go and try and you will see.
Get a civic and drive it until it falls apart, which will most likely be 10+ years.
Heck even a Hyundai accent is less than 10k new, and comes with a 5 year bumper to bumper warranty. Where else can you drive brand new with no repair bills for 5 years all for under 10K?
 

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These have been minor albeit expensive and irritating problems with the Benz. You have to expect higher expenses with a luxury used car. I would keep it and hope that things settle down. It's a much better car than the Ford,IMHO.
 

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Last November we changed our status from a one-car-family to a two-car-family. We purchased a 3 year old gently used (or so they told us) German engineered "luxury car". It was our first experience purchasing a used car.

Since November we have put approximately 7,000 km on the car. The first month we had it the front speakers stopped working. It was a wiring issue and was fixed by the dealership at no cost. The folllowing month an interior light went - also fixed at no cost. Then this spring when I took the car to a car wash, my young son got soaked in the back seat because a seal on one of the back windows was compromised. Cost to us = $284 (the dealership split the cost when I had a fit). Last week the engine light was on. The charcoal emissions canister was replaced at a cost of $531. (the original cost was $694, but the dealership issued another discount when I had another fit). The dealership has made it clear that they will not be subsidizing any future repairs for us.

The reason we bought the car was because of the excellent safety features and excellent insurance rating. Now I am thinking that if this first year is any indication of what we can expect to pay on maintenance, we have bought a lemon.

We have priced out a 2011 Ford Focus. With all the same features as our current car + a couple extra. The Focus also has an impressive safety rating. Ideally we would keep the Focus for 10 years. The purchase price for the Focus (all-in) is $7200 (including trade-in).

Would you buy the Focus or keep the Benz and hope that it doesn't require
$7k worth of maintenance over the next 9 years? I am still waiting to hear back from my insurance broker, so for the purposes of this discussion we'll assume insurance costs are the same. Gas for the Focus would be cheaper because it does not require premium gas - the Benz does.

Thoughts?
My thoughts are easy, learn how to do it yourself, and don't take it to a dealer for repairs.

A window seal is an easy fix, was it the door window or a fixed window. Either way taking it to an auto glass place would have cost half as much. A fixed window can be repaired for like 20 dollars all by yourself.

A charcoal canister isn't an issue either. In fact, many people just disconnect it, or bypass it completely.

And you took it to a dealer for a burnt out light? I hope there was more to it than that.
 

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German's just aren't the best electrical engineers, leave that up to the Japanese. I think it might be more bad luck in your case since the car is still pretty new. But more than likely you will keep getting electrical problems especially since you car has started with them already.

If you want something to match the Benz in the lux get a Hyundai Genesis, not sure what there going for used but when they came out you could not hear a bad thing about them. I also saw it personally at the Auto Show too, very nice looking car, in and out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
pretty sure factory emissions warranty is 5 years/100,000km by law in Canada- a Mercedes dealer would've replaced that for free [\QUOTE]

I can't find any information about emission warranty legislation in Canada. I have found info for the US and BC seems to have their own law. Would you be able to provide a website or other reference?
 

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Japanese cars are still the most durable.
But forget buying a used japanese car. It is a myth you can buy a 1-3 year old japanese car for 30% less. Go and try and you will see.
Get a civic and drive it until it falls apart, which will most likely be 10+ years.
Heck even a Hyundai accent is less than 10k new, and comes with a 5 year bumper to bumper warranty. Where else can you drive brand new with no repair bills for 5 years all for under 10K?
Yea that's the thing, the reputation has made them expensive and they are mostly Americanized now too. Love my 90's Honda built in Japan, not a fan of any new Honda's at all. If I had to buy now I'd still get used Japanese because I prefer to work on them (certainly compared to Germans) and parts are readily available. Someone said $7000 for a tranny above? That's more than I paid for my car and I paid $500 for a JDM tranny just because I wanted sportier gears, so heck I grabbed a JDM engine for $500 while I'm at it (in Japan they don't drive passed 100k) And then I sold my old tranny/engine for about the same price since they are rock solid and fit into about any Honda


New Korean cars are the best all around today imo (warranty, looks, price etc) The resale value and parts availability is coming


OP I can't imagine how you would go from a Benz to a Focus. The cost of buying and selling alone will keep the Benz running for awhile now, and it would be a much more enjoyable ride. Just sell before it needs serious maint
 
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