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Today has been the best of days and today has...

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Dear Tom and Ray:



Today has been the best of days and today has been the worst of days. I got a
call from my husband that announced we were new owners of a 1975 Mercedes 240d.
I was elated, because I've always wanted a cool, old car.

Three hours later, he called again. He had taken our new baby to our local
mechanics to have it inspected. It failed. My husband told me I was married to a
total loser. He was so depressed. The car needs a new stabilizer bar, and our
mechanic can't do it for us. He suggested that we go to the local Mercedes
dealer. Now, this car only cost us $1,800. I don't want to go spending $1,800 on
a stabilizer bar. Should we sell the car for parts, or should we fix it and keep
it? -- Kristen

TOM: Well, Kristen, this is the best of answers, and this is the worst of
answers.

RAY: The good news is that the stabilizer bar won't cost you anywhere near
$1,800. It's a couple of hundred bucks. Less if you can find a used one.

TOM: The bad news is that the stabilizer bar is just the tip of the iceberg.
What makes these cars special is that they're very well engineered. They're
designed to last a good, long time. And because their parts are engineered to
last a good long time, they're also good and expensive!

RAY: I've had customers who thought they got the deal of a lifetime on a used
Mercedes, only to be shocked when they found out they needed a $1,200 exhaust
system, or a $950 brake job. Expensive cars are expensive to maintain, Kristen.

TOM: And the other thing to remember next time is that your husband did things
in the wrong order. When buying a used car, you should go to your mechanic
first, and have the car inspected before you buy it.

RAY: Then, if things don't go well, the car becomes the loser, not the husband.
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