First steps after purchasing an used Mercedes

You may have just purchased your first Mercedes or even your tenth Mercedes. Here are some basic maintenance tips to follow to ensure your Mercedes lives long and happy.

When we buy an used car regardless of the brand we are unaware of the kind of life it has lived. The seller might claim to have done x,y,z, etc. but can we really trust the person trying to get rid of his/her car? You are lucky if the car has a service history from your local MB dealer, but chances of this are slim.

For your peace of mind we recommend you carry out the following basic steps so that you have a base reference point for the future.

On the drive home

As you drive your new pride and joy back home to your friends and family there is a lot you can learn from simple observation. Our recommendation is that you drive with the stereo turned off so you can listen to and feel everything that's going on around you.

  • Keep a constant eye on the vehicle temperature gauge, ensure it stays clear of the red zone to avoid costly damage to your cars engine.

  • Listen to any knocks and hums coming from the suspension/tyres as you drive over uneven road surfaces.

  • Check if the car drives in a straight line when the steering wheel is dead straight. Does it pull to the left? right?

  • Does the car feel sluggish on acceleration?

  • Any vibrations?

  • Turn the key to the ignition position and check the instrument cluster, see if all the warning lights work or if some are burnt. If so note these down and replace at your earliest.

It is important to understand and learn your car as you use it. Listen to it and it will speak back to you as you drive. Gaining this self taught knowledge can save you a lot of money from workshops that force you to do things you don't need.

Visual inspection

Visit your nearest trusted workshop, get the car up on a car lift and take a look at the underside of your car yourself with the help of a technician.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Rust

  • Oil leaks

  • Cracked brake hoses

  • Damaged suspension bushing

  • Leaking shock absorbers

  • The propeller shaft coupling/bush front and back

  • Possible accident damage (hopefully this is something you looked into before purchasing your vehicle)

  • Brake pads and disc thickness - any reputed workshop will have a vernier caliper in hand which can be used to check if the disc is within the minimum recommended thickness tolerance.

  • Check tyre manufacture date - make sure it is within the last five years (don't forget the spare tyre)

  • Check for uneven tyre wear - this is a clear sign of suspension issues or bad wheel alignment.

Other things to inspect

  • Inspect the V-Belt

  • Depending on mileage check the timing belt/chain.

  • Inspect spark plugs

  • Remove and inspect fins of the water pump

  • Make note of any smells, for example fuel

This will give you a great idea as to the kind of love or lack of love the car has received throughout its life and also help you plan out how to sort out any issues your car may have.

Fluid/filter change

Having fresh clean fluids in your cars system is vital to ensuring everything runs and performs as it should. Before we get into what fluids you need to look into and change let's talk about a few things you need to do.

  1. Get online google up your vehicle model and engine, check up on all the oil capacities of the fluids we will be mentioning below.

  2. Purchase genuine MB or OEM filters yourself from a trusted supplier.

  3. Buy the correct grade of oil in the correct quantities yourself according to the information you acquired in step 1.

Note: Buying your own oil and genuine filter is very important because some substandard workshops tend to re use old filters or use non OEM filters to increase their profits. They may even use leftover oil from cans that were opened earlier. Carrying your own stuff ensures you car gets exactly what it deserves.

Now let's get to the point, which fluids and what filters?

  • Engine oil and oil filter (check the air filter too)

  • Brake oil

  • Power steering wheel oil and filter (if applicable)

  • Transmission oil and filter

  • Coolant

  • Hydraulic suspension oil (if your MB is equipped with SLS suspension)

  • Differential oil

  • Fuel filter - drain the fuel tank, replace the old filter and refill with fresh fuel

Now you are all set!

Note down the current mileage and set reminders for when the next oil changes are due according to MB recommended intervals.

There is an useful mobile app that will take care of this for you. We will tell you more about it in our next post.

On a final note

We believe it is best to first drive your used Mercedes in traffic, on short trips to work and back or the supermarket or to run errands for around 200 km or more before you decide to go on that long awaited family trip out of the city. Using the car daily in traffic under extreme hot weather conditions will allow the car to show any issues it may have which you can sort out while you aren't too far from home.

Happy travels!

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