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Old 05-09-2001, 10:24 AM
CD_NY's Avatar
Extreme Mercedes Fan
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: NY, NY USA
Posts: 104
Iím thinking about purchasing a 92 400SE and Iíd like to get the service history from Mercedes. I called Mercedes Benz of Manhattan and was told that unless I am the owner and can verify ownership by showing the title, there was no way I could obtain the records. Is this true? The reason I want the records in the first place is to see them BEFORE I buy the car. Can anyone out there help? Iíve got the VIN number and would be more than happy to e-mail it.

1997 C36 Designo Red
1999 SLK230 Sport
1999 Honda CRV 5-spd

1990 Acura Integra (given away!)
1995 Mazda Miata Merlot SE (sold)
2003 Honda Element EX 4WD (sold)
1994 C280 - (sold)
1985 190e 2.3 5spd (sold)
1991 Yamaha FZR1000 (sold)
1994 MB S420 (sold)
1994 BMW 318ica (sold)
1991 Mazda Miata BRG SE (sold)
1989 Fiat Spyder (Died!)
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Old 05-11-2001, 10:23 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Near Omaha Nebraska
Posts: 19
My MB dealer...

was not going to let me look at the info either. I said, that I had just bought it, and wanted to know some of the details about when it had been serviced, so that I would not have to repeat what was done, or what should have been done, by someone else.

I was told that such and such was done at this time, ect, but I was not allowed to find out anything other than that.
There was not much info on my car, as it had been cared for either by independant garages, or by the owner themselves.

I can see where they would not want to give away information that would affect previous owners right to privacy, but THAT should not prevent them from letting someone know if the timing chain had been changed or if it was due..

I suppose that one could inspect things and find out if it was needed, but if you are thinking of buying the car, that would be difficult, and the owner should want to help with any information that could come from the dealer service records..

Anyway, I wish you luck on your quest for info!
1985 300D - 190K Miles - 26 MPG on first trip home - getting rust fixed and repainted.
1987 MB 300 SDL - 238K miles - Sold
2003 DC Ram 2500 QuadCab 6 speed, 4x4 Cummins - 82K miles - 20+ MPG
1999 VW A4 Jetta TDI 5 speed - 83K miles - 50+ MPG is easy!
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Old 05-11-2001, 10:39 PM
Lebenz's Avatar
backwoods member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862
I got the same line from MB recently. What I did was to find out the dealer that originally sold the car, and call and ask to talk with a service advisor at that shop. Told them that I wanted to buy and would they be kind enough to send me the service history, and that Iíd pay him for his efforts. Gave him the VIN and received a several page fax shortly thereafter. The advisor declined payment.

To find the dealer that sold the car, contact your local MB dealer and give them the VIN and ask who sold it. Take it from there. You might also ask them about the service history also, but not before you find out who the selling dealer was

Oh, MB said that the vehicle history is between the owner and MB. I think this a bit lacking in forthcomingness, but well within their rights.

Hope this helps

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Old 05-11-2001, 10:51 PM
fz500sel's Avatar
Happy now in paradise!
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Venice, FL - "sharktooth capital of the world"
Posts: 712
When I bought my '85 300D off the P.O. he told me the dealer that he dealt with all the time. I drove to the dealer and they let me inspect the maintenance records for as long as I wanted. The only thing they wouldn't let me do was take them with me. I got some scrap paper from them and just jotted down all the notes I needed. I looked at them for over an hour.

As with the previous post, if the seller doesn't want you to do that then I wold assume he has something to hide. myabe he doesn't want you to see the records or maybe talk with a mechanic about the vehicle. I'd tell the guy "No thanks!"
85 300D 310K (sold)
90 350SDL 184K sold
83 300D 118K (sold)
88 300E 153k (sold)
93 400E 105K (sold)
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Old 05-12-2001, 07:08 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,749
I would say go with the seller to the dealer, and have him get you the records.

I agree that if he refuses to tell you about the car, or let you get access to the history, then look elsewhere. There are plenty of nice clean benze's out there.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - 744 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2002 C320 - 816 - Sport Wagon
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Old 05-12-2001, 08:58 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
A couple of these posts seem to hold MB itself responsible for this problem, this is not the case. The MB dealers are free to do as they see fit with the service records. They are probably just trying to protect the previous owners privacy, as owners names, addresses, phone numbers are on the old records, as well as sometimes credit card numbers, etc. The dealer should be willing to check the VMI and let you see a history of warranty repairs, that info MB does have. It can also give other pertinent info, such as if the vehicle was ever "written off"-totalled-and is now back on the road. One thing I haven't ascertained from the previous posts is if the car is presently privately owned or on a car lot. If it is on a lot, the dealer should be able to help you get your hands on the records. One other thing, is if the car has been serviced at the dealer you mentioned or not. The records will be held where ever the car was serviced, so if it wasn't at that particular dealership, you're barking up the wrong tree. The current owner should be willing to show you the maintenance book, see if it has been kept up to date, also many owners keep receipts of service done, so you could ask to see their copies of work that has been done. I'd walk also if they are uneasy or unwilling to provide details of the cars service history.....Gilly
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Old 05-13-2001, 12:53 AM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
"Blackmercedes" I agree with you 100%. CD-NY has placed this same post, under different headings, at various places in this board and the answers always boil to essentially the same idea: a non-owner has no right to look at a car's service records and the dealer has no right to allow a stranger to look at the services records for a car without the owner's permission. If I found out that the dealer was letting people look at my car's service records. without my prior, written authorization, I'd sue them for invasion of privacy, plain and simple. The services records contain my address, my telephone number and, if I pay by credit card, my credit card number.

I am about to get on my high horse, but one of the biggest problems I see with businesses nowday is how little (if any) they do to protect the privacy of their customers. Hand in hand with that problem is the fact that people nowday think that they are entitled to access all sorts of personal information. That's one of the reaons why identity fraud is becoming such a huge issue for law enforcement.

I am not suggesting that a car's service history records are akin to medical records. Still, we all have a reasonable expectation of privacy and that should include what kind of work I do to my car, how I pay for it, my home address and telephone numbers. That information should be released only when and if I agree to release it.

Another reason why a dealer would not want (or should not want) to release that information is to avoid potential liability. If CD-NY (or any other buyer) claims that he bought the car based upon the dealer's showing that all maintenance work was done on schedule, then when (or if) something goes wrong the buyer may look to the dealer for compensation.

Personally, if I wanted to buy a car and the owner refused to allow me access to the maintenance history, I'd run away as far and as fast as I could. I'd be very concerned as to why he'd not release the information. I'd want to know what he is hiding. As someone else wrote, tehre are plenty of good, used M-Bs out on the road.

I bought my current car because the owner showed me service records that indicated: (a)all scheduled maintenance had been performed on a regular basis and (b)the owner had already performed some major repairs, which meant that I'd not have to deal with those repairs for another 100K or so. I'd think that the owner of the car that CD-NY is looking at would want to do everything possible to assure potential buyers that the car he was selling was in great shape.

OK, I'll get off my high horse, before I get a nosebleed...

Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

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Old 05-13-2001, 01:51 AM
Lebenz's Avatar
backwoods member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862

You make several excellent observations, and I wanted to add that not in all cases can the ďownerĒ you are buying from provide a service history, or permission for the service history. In fact, what I found out was that from the perspective of the MBUSA rep with which I spoke, the privacy issue is between MB and the dealership(s) where the car received service. Not the owner(!) This is a topic onto itself.

Without going into a lot of detail, in the scenario where you buy a used car from a dealer, all you get is whatever the car comes with. This may or may not include the service history book, or any other paperwork the car comes with. Or you may get nothing.

When I called MBUSA the rep respectfully said the carís history was between any dealership(s) the vehicle was taken to and MB. They implied it had nothing to do with any previous owner(s). Funny perspective they have, but probably accurate. While the dealer I called essentially backed them up, once I explained the circumstances they were very reasonable and helpful.

I havenít looked at the paperwork for the car since last December but your comments prompted me to dig them out to see what I got. My previous comment was wrong: In all I received 19 pages of screen dumps from the dealership. It showed only information significant to the carís maintenance and nothing about the owner or any amounts paid or how paid.

All of this is said to simply elaborate that it is possible but not exactly easy to get the carís service history (at least work done at MB dealerships) without violating the privacy of the previous owners. Violating the ďprivacyĒ of MB or the dealerships is another issue.

Anyway, like you, I bought this car in part because I was able to find out the service history of the vehicle. I simply had to work a little more as I like primary documents whenever possible. IMO no one had any potential liability due to the information I received. Iím actually kind of glad the dealership were I bought the car was not able to provide this information. Having independent confirmation of the carís history was important.

The issue of privacy is important, to be sure. And fortunately for me, the service advisor I spoke with understood the difference between the spirit of helpfulness and the necessarily issues of privacy. Just because I didnít have an owner to turn to should not, and did not, make the service history of the car inaccessible. At the end of the day it all went to selling a car, which is part of what MB does. Doing otherwise would essentially be shooting themselves in the footÖ


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Old 05-13-2001, 10:34 AM
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Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
On a privacy issue between the dealer and MB, I believe this is mainly in regards to warranty work only. This info is available and printable by any dealer via the VMI computer. It will all be in "code", so the dealer will need to help translate what work was done. One big problem that I also touched on earlier is that if the car was serviced at a couple dealerships, you may be getting only part of the cars history. If you are buying a one owner car that was always serviced at the same dealer, then you're doing well. But what if the car had a major breakdown while on an extended trip? Or what if the car has been through a couple different owners in different areas of the country. Problems like these are commonplace, so be aware. The best situation is to have the present owner receptive to share the complete history of the car, assuming a one owner car. If they aren't the original owner, they are probably in the dark as much as you are.........Gilly
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Old 05-13-2001, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Having been an independent for over 25 years, these documentations issues have never interested me except for the documentation in the maintenance manual.

I had assumed that MB dealers shared their records with a central computor.

About 7 months ago I purchased a 97 540i from a wholesaler in Houston. I had a good friend there with an independent shop look at it before I bought it (I bought it on ebay). I also checked it out with Carfax and with my friend at a BMW dealer. My dealer friend was able to find out that all the services had been performed by the selling dealer and that the car had been there for 19 job operations including all the maintenances. The were able to tell me that a woman had owned the car and serviced it at the selling dealer. I also found out that she traded it there.

I am a little surprized that BMW might keep better records than MB.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-13-2001, 04:36 PM
Lebenz's Avatar
backwoods member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862

The exploration process for your car was similar to mine. I bought mine in Rochester while living in Seattle. Since I didnít want to add a cross country trip to the purchase price, it was important to get as much information as I could. Thatís why the records were so important. I also had the car taken to a MB dealer in NY. The service manager at the MB dealership cautioned me about the dealer where I bought the car. Without going into that, I had them do a so called Starmark inspection (even though the car didnít qualify for Starmark due to age), look at the service history, and lift a valve cover to see if there was any sludge buildup, and a few other things (rust inspection, inspect the inside, look for body damage and repairs, etc.)

It was the combination of this independent inspection, the MB records of the car, where I found out that the car had had itís oil and filter changed every 3000 KM(!), and that the car was previously a MB Signature (Canadian Starmark) that gave me a good feeling about buying it. Plus I got a great deal on a warranty (4 yr/ 48,000 miles) to cover the usual stuff plus electrical issues. Even after this, the car still had a few minor issues. When your buying long distance you canít be too careful. In fact no matter what, you canít be too careful.

My motivation for being as thorough as possible was a car I found on Ebay. Prior to finding the car in Rochester, I made an phone offer on a car in Houston, and it was accepted. I did a Carfax report, (even though the seller swore that they had done one as well) in the report I did, the report indicated that 2 years prior the car had at least 20,000 more miles on it than the seller stated it currently had. To make a long story short, during my search I found that more than 50% of the cars (all 400E) I saw advertised had had their odometers rolled back.

The only thing that came as a surprise to me was the outright reluctance of MB to disclose the vehicleís history. I understand and agree that privacy is important, but to have a policy to withhold information about a carís history, IMO borders deep in the area of being unnecessarily secretive.

BMW had to have traveled this same path at one time and decided itís better to disclose.

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Old 05-13-2001, 07:21 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: ny
Posts: 119
Some owners cannot produce repair bills.What than?Alot of people service cars themselves.I am a mechanic by trade and would not let anyone else work on my car.I have found carfax a little inacturate.Also if you fight them enough you can make them alter there records i bet.
just my.02
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Old 05-13-2001, 08:07 PM
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Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
James: You can keep some kind of ledger for the work you do on the car, like a journal of sorts. The receipts for the parts and supplies that are used in the repair could be kept in there, as well as dates and mileage at the time. Should hold up pretty well for a future buyer. On Carfax, you can get a basic report for free, so don't look a gift-horse in the mouth. I don't believe their specialty is tracking service records. The basic freebie I think will just tell you about if the car has every had a salvage title attached to it in any US state. They will, for a fee, track and see if there is evidence of odometer tampering (mileage reported at a lower value when retitled in another state). I believe they will also research with insurance companies for claims filed in an excessive amount (more than just fender-benders), also flood or fire damage reports from insurance companies, although this usually results in a salvage title.......Gilly
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Old 05-15-2001, 05:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 709
I would run away from a Benz unless I saw some records...unless I was a tech myself who knew what to look for.....and as the car is a 140 body REALLY want to know about the history of maintenance..because the repairs on 140's will take your breath away.....I bought mu car fron a non MB dealer but thyen contacted the original selliing dealer and we went throught the cars history..the service advisor at the MB dealer had no problem helping me out...I am the type that keeps meticulous records as I feel it has always helped me at resale time...

..just my .002

1992 300SD 115K
Columbus Ohio
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