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Old 02-01-2001, 11:42 PM
gdaley gdaley is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SE PA
Posts: 63
If this is somewhat off topic, I apologize in advance. I'm posing the question here because, as a hard-core DIY'er, it's the input of others that mostly sort out their own problems that I'm interested in. I am considering the purchase of a relatively high mileage (109K mi) 1996 S320 SWB sedan. It's a two owner car in excellent condition with about 60K put on by the current owner over the last 20 mos. The price is at the wholesale end of the range. The current owner is clearly a "drop it at the dealership and pay the bill" type, as was, I believe, the original owner. All records are at the dealership and all services are current.

I'm curious, and concerned, as to the owner servicability of the car. Is this a vehicle that will drive me nuts with warning lights for oil changes or other services that can only be reset by the dealer and things like that? I've always owned Saabs and Volvos, all of which have been from the late 80's. I know later models by my favored manufacturers have such things (airbag lights etc) so, obviously, it's an unavoidable trend. But I am also aware that some manufacturers have gone to such extremes with these things that life can be difficult for DIY'ers. I'm hesitant to buy a vehicle if the manufacturer actively discourages owner maintenance.

I'm also interested in input regarding particular problem areas I might inspect or inquire about on this year and model and the quality and thoroughness of the service materials (manuals/CD ROMs) available. I have always done any work that doesn't require a large capital investment in equipment (e.g. alignment) and would like to continue doing so.

Finally, can anyone provide input as to what likely repairs I will face over the 100K to 150K interval? I recognize that no one has a crystal ball but those of you familiar with the mechanicals of these cars, I'm sure, can make a few good guesstimates as to what I might be looking at. It sure doesn't take a crystal ball to predict a transmission failure in a Saab over the same timeframe.

The car is just so gorgeous that I don't know if I can resist it. I learned to drive in a 1975 200 sedan that my father's company had at it's headquarters in Brussels. I put the first 5000 miles on the car driving my father all over Europe. It was an 18 year old's fantasy. I've always wanted a Benz of my own since. I guess I'm afraid of disappoinment.

Thanks in advance.
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