Mercedes material?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I need some advice on buying a used Mercedes Benz. I need a nice four-door sedan for my job and I do a lot of driving. I would like a used Benz, but I am not sure what to look for. I would like to spend between 10 thousand and 15 thousand. I would appreciate any advice you have.

TOM: Judging from the scrap paper you wrote this on and the handwriting, we'd have to conclude that you're definitely not Mercedes material. If you had sent us a typed letter on fine parchment, preferably written by your secretary, we might point you in the direction of a Benz. Our suggestion to you, however, is that you lower your standards.

RAY: That really is our suggestion, although not because you wrote to us in crayon. What many people don't realize is that a used Mercedes will need repair as often as anything else. And given the cost of parts and service for luxury cars like these, you may find yourself in chapter 11 right after your first exhaust system replacement. When you're budgeting for a car, consider not only the purchase price, but also the cost of maintaining said vehicle. A used car will always cost more to maintain that a new one, and a used foreign luxury car will cost more than just about anything except a condo in New Jersey.

TOM: You should consider looking at new cars. The Ford Taurus, Olds Cutlass, and Honda Accord can all be had with new car warranties for about $15,000. If your neighbor has just come home with a Jaguar and you're absolutely determined to get into the luxury class, consider a two or three year old Acura Legend. They're also expensive to fix, but luckily, they never break.

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