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  #1  
Old 01-06-2014, 07:52 PM
65aircooled's Avatar
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Location: The Free Republic of New Joisey
Posts: 139
CAR FAX REPORT ADVICE

I have pretty much chucked the idea of buying a w210 and am pursuing a w211 instead. Found a very nice 05 specimen with relatively low miles for the age and it seems very, very clean. Car is modest as far as options go, but has basically what I need minus bluetooth.
Anyway, I see on the carfax a couple of "computer checks and reprograms" that are making me a bit nervous. First owner had it for 4.5 years and put 80K+ miles on it. Second owner has had it for 4.6 years and barely put 11K miles on it. Allegedly driven mostly by the wife, second car to the family yadda yadda. Second owner never had it at dealership so there is no records available on carfax report.

Are these computer reprogramming things a good or a bad sign or somewhat normal for the model?
I really have no reason to doubt the low mileage history, as I just sold my wife's Nissan Sentra which I bought her two years ago and didn't pile more than 5K (if that) miles on it. When we go to the beach we usually bring my truck because we also bring the kayack and my fishing boat, and during the winter months we use the truck more as well due to 4x4 capability.
So if I buy this car, it will not see a whole lot of miles from us per year. My hope is to buy a good car that I can keep for many, many years to come.

Again, my concern is that of the apparent computer issues and the wiring repair that shows as well. Any advise on this mater will be greatly appreciated.



Date: Mileage: Source: Comments:
09/29/2004 Delaware
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Bethany Beach, DE Titled or registered as
corporate vehicle

10/27/2004 12 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE

302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Pre-delivery inspection completed

10/27/2004 15 Dealer Inventory
Delaware Vehicle sold

10/28/2004 I. G. Burton Chrysler
Milford, DE
302-424-3041
igburtoncdjmilford.c
om Washed/detailed

11/19/2004 Delaware
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Bethany Beach, DE
Title #00000880 Title or registration issued
First owner reported

12/09/2004 2,540 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Recommended maintenance performed

01/14/2005 4,632 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Engine/powertrain computer/module reprogrammed

04/08/2005 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Recommended maintenance performed
Horn contact replaced
Steering wheel replaced
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Engine/powertrain computer/module reprogrammed
Tires rotated

10/04/2005 New Jersey
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Monroe Township, NJ Registration issued or renewed
Vehicle color noted as White

01/16/2006 I.G. Burton
Milford, DE
302-422-3041
igburton.com Vehicle serviced

01/17/2006 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Vehicle serviced

03/24/2006 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Computer reprogrammed

08/24/2006 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Hydraulic control unit replaced
Electrical system checked
Computer(s) checked
Computer reprogrammed
Automatic transmission checked
Glow plug(s) replaced
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Seat(s) checked

01/05/2007 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Front seat cushion replaced
Power seat switch replaced

03/20/2007 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Recommended maintenance performed
Trim repaired

07/10/2007 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Vehicle serviced

08/22/2007 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Light bulb(s) replaced

12/31/2007 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Recommended maintenance performed

02/28/2008 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Intake manifold gasket(s) replaced
Computer(s) checked
Fuel line/hose replaced
Tires rotated and balanced
06/25/2008 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE

302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Brakes serviced
Alternator/Generator replaced

08/04/2008 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Vehicle serviced

11/18/2008 77,853 I.G. Burton Imports
Milford, DE
302-424-3042
IGBurton.com Wiring repaired
Battery/charging system checked

11/19/2008 I.G. Burton
Milford, DE
302-422-3041
igburton.com Vehicle serviced

03/09/2009 Auto Auction
Pennsylvania Listed as a dealer vehicle
Sold at auction


Millions of used vehicles are bought and sold at auction every year.
03/31/2009 82,013 Pennsylvania
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Manheim, PA
Title #66979096R 01 Title issued or updated
Dealer took title of this vehicle
while it was in inventory


Owner 2
Purchased: 2009
Type: Personal
Where: New Jersey
Est. length owned: 4/3/09 - present
(4 yrs. 9 mo.)


Date: Mileage: Source: Comments:
04/03/2009 82,115 New Jersey
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Monroe Township, NJ
Title #EB20090930454 Title issued or updated
New owner reported


Hmm, we haven't received any information on this car since April 2009. Before you buy, ask the seller for recent service or repair records.
I'm here to help! Print and bring my SmartBuyer Checklist when you go to test drive this 2005 Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI.
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2014, 07:56 PM
compu_85's Avatar
Waiting for his Model 3..
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Springfield VA
Posts: 5,174
Think of reprogramming like software updates for your PC. Be glad it was done.

-J
__________________
1991 350SDL. 230,000 miles (new motor @ 150,000).

2013 Fiat 500E. 20,000 miles, 80 miles at a time.
2012 Passat TDI. 95,000 miles. More space, power, and fuel economy than the Benz
2004 Touareg V10 TDI. 150,000 miles. One of 450.
1999 Jetta TDI. 310,000 miles.
1992 Jetta ECOdiesel. 156,000 miles. 1 of 48. Sold.
1991 Jetta ECOdiesel. 430,000 miles. 1 of 700. Sold to VeeDubTDI, totaled in front of our house
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2014, 09:04 PM
65aircooled's Avatar
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Location: The Free Republic of New Joisey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compu_85 View Post
Think of reprogramming like software updates for your PC. Be glad it was done.

-J
AWESOME, Is that common for these cars?
Thanks
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  #4  
Old 01-06-2014, 11:21 PM
compu_85's Avatar
Waiting for his Model 3..
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Springfield VA
Posts: 5,174
It's common for all cars in the last 12 years or so. Generally before that computers were not "field programmable", they had to be replaced to fix a software bug.

-J
__________________
1991 350SDL. 230,000 miles (new motor @ 150,000).

2013 Fiat 500E. 20,000 miles, 80 miles at a time.
2012 Passat TDI. 95,000 miles. More space, power, and fuel economy than the Benz
2004 Touareg V10 TDI. 150,000 miles. One of 450.
1999 Jetta TDI. 310,000 miles.
1992 Jetta ECOdiesel. 156,000 miles. 1 of 48. Sold.
1991 Jetta ECOdiesel. 430,000 miles. 1 of 700. Sold to VeeDubTDI, totaled in front of our house
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2014, 11:33 PM
Skid Row Joe's Avatar
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Posts: 6,799
Car sounds legite to me. I relied heavily on the Carfax and the MB VMI when making my 06 E320 CDI purchase last year.

The re-programming at the Mercedes-Benz dealers is expected on these W211s. If the second owner only drove it 11K miles, there may have been no need to take it back to the dealer.
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06 E320 CDI - PEWTER/CHARCOAL

Last edited by Skid Row Joe; 01-07-2014 at 12:56 AM. Reason: W211.....NOT W221......
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  #6  
Old 01-07-2014, 12:13 AM
65aircooled's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
Car sounds legite to me. I relied heavily on the Carfax and the MB VMI when making my 06 E320 CDI purchase last year.

The re-programming at the Mercedes-Benz dealers is expected on these W221s. If the second owner only drove it 11K miles, there may have been no need to take it back to the dealer.
Agreed, I hope to buy this one. I wil be doing most of the maintenence myself so hopefully it won't be seing the dealear under my watch either.
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  #7  
Old 01-07-2014, 06:48 AM
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Posts: 5,887
CF is OK for a mileage trail but it won't uncover out of pocket body repairs or if the owner left the sun roof open in a rain storm. _ALWAYS_have a pre purchase inspection done and buy the car for what _it is_ not for what _the Internet says_.

Some CF junkies blindly rely on a report that is sometimes inaccurate. CF also has questionable marketing stating that if a car lot isn't using _their _ service, they are sub standard and making an effort to hide something.

My 97 SL320 was tagged on CF as having " Moderate rear damage ". It had the rear bumper cover replaced and a shallow dent pushed out of the spare tire well pretty much by hand. No welding and no paint work besides the bumper cover it self. A non car person would have no idea that any work had been performed.

I'd hardly call the damage " Moderate", but a CF addict would hammer the owner for a price reduction or run away from the car claiming the owner was passing off a damaged car.
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  #8  
Old 01-07-2014, 07:44 AM
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"Moderate" is a subjective word. I would consider the repair you described as moderate. Obviously you consider it to be minor. To me, whether CF describes the damage as minor or moderate or severe it tells me to investigate what happened. Once I know the story I can make an informed decision. Like yourself, I wouldn't let a replaced bumper cover sway me from buying an otherwise desireable car.
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  #9  
Old 01-07-2014, 11:26 AM
65aircooled's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
CF is OK for a mileage trail but it won't uncover out of pocket body repairs or if the owner left the sun roof open in a rain storm. _ALWAYS_have a pre purchase inspection done and buy the car for what _it is_ not for what _the Internet says_.

Some CF junkies blindly rely on a report that is sometimes inaccurate. CF also has questionable marketing stating that if a car lot isn't using _their _ service, they are sub standard and making an effort to hide something.

My 97 SL320 was tagged on CF as having " Moderate rear damage ". It had the rear bumper cover replaced and a shallow dent pushed out of the spare tire well pretty much by hand. No welding and no paint work besides the bumper cover it self. A non car person would have no idea that any work had been performed.

I'd hardly call the damage " Moderate", but a CF addict would hammer the owner for a price reduction or run away from the car claiming the owner was passing off a damaged car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkenvol View Post
"Moderate" is a subjective word. I would consider the repair you described as moderate. Obviously you consider it to be minor. To me, whether CF describes the damage as minor or moderate or severe it tells me to investigate what happened. Once I know the story I can make an informed decision. Like yourself, I wouldn't let a replaced bumper cover sway me from buying an otherwise desireable car.
Agreed, CF is just a guide to use as a starting point. I do not solely rely on CF to make a purchase but it is a good start IMO. The reason for my question is based solely on brand specifics which I am not familiar with. This would be my first MB which I wanted since I was a young kid, both my uncles had a few MB as I was growing up and I always admired them.
As far as accidents go, I think a lot can be hidden, true and that some claims may deter potential buyers. I went to see a very nice 99 w210 that i really wanted, I asked the owner numerous times about accidents and he was always evasive about it. When I got the CF, the car showed to have been totaled and repaired to a clean title. That's when I think a CF is handy. i would never buy a totaled car I don''t care how good it was repaired, but that is just me. BTW he ended up selling the car on eBay for asking price ($6,500)
I too wouldn't let a fender bender stop me from buying an otherwise good car.
A CF void, like the one on this particular car I am looking at may not be at all bad, however, it is also a heads up and a reason to put everything under the microscope and ask as many questions as I can, what has been done and by whom. In this case that led me to know that the owner has gotten newt tires, ball joints, brakes and tires on all 4 corners in the last year and has the receipts to show which to me is good enough.
Like him, I know my way around tools so I will be doing most of my maintenance so if I ever sell the car, the CF will just show no accidents like the car I just sold yesterday.
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  #10  
Old 01-07-2014, 11:39 AM
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There were some software updates released for these cars. However, I'd bet most of those are simply the dealership checking OBDII (and the MB extensions) for error codes during routine servicing. It's a way to find problems early, keep the customer happy, and maybe sell some more work as well.

The carfax entries look entirely typical and normal to my eye.
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  #11  
Old 01-07-2014, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65aircooled View Post
Agreed, CF is just a guide to use as a starting point. I do not solely rely on CF to make a purchase but it is a good start IMO.
Good to hear you are using the reports as a jumping off point and looking at the actual car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 65aircooled View Post
As far as accidents go, I think a lot can be hidden, true and that some claims may deter potential buyers. I went to see a very nice 99 w210 that i really wanted, I asked the owner numerous times about accidents and he was always evasive about it. When I got the CF, the car showed to have been totaled and repaired to a clean title. That's when I think a CF is handy. i would never buy a totaled car I don''t care how good it was repaired, but that is just me.
A good pre purchase inspection will uncover _all_ previous body repairs worth any mention, there are always subtle signs if one knows where to look. Also, signs of previous repairs does not equate shoddy repairs.

Insurance companies make the total / repair decision on repair costs so don't put a blanket statement that you would never buy a total. If a car was 1 year old, the threshold of repairs is much higher than an older car. So, 2 cars with the same damage , same repairs, one is tagged as good title and the other "total" only because they were repaired at different times.

I've seen older cars that would _still pass state safety inspection_ totaled by the insurance company because cost of repairs exceeded the cars value. ( A then 20 year old full size Pontiac in very nice retired guy condition that had a parking lot scrape in the quarter panel. )




Quote:
Originally Posted by 65aircooled View Post
I too wouldn't let a fender bender stop me from buying an otherwise good car.

Good to hear you are being realistic, however a fender bender on an older car could trigger a total title brand.
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2014, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkenvol View Post
"Moderate" is a subjective word. I would consider the repair you described as moderate. Obviously you consider it to be minor. To me, whether CF describes the damage as minor or moderate or severe it tells me to investigate what happened. Once I know the story I can make an informed decision. Like yourself, I wouldn't let a replaced bumper cover sway me from buying an otherwise desireable car.

I'm guessing CF uses $ value rather than actual damage to determine slight , moderate . . . . My car is a Sport version so the AMG bumper cover and repairs probably cost as much as I paid the the car some years later.
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