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Old 06-05-2002, 08:28 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
Question What should a pre purchase inspection cover?

In talking to the Mercedes dealer yesterday, I didn't ask him what the pre purchase inspection covers. He did say, he wouldn't be able to verify if a new evaporator had been installed, being behind the dash .

Basic things I would expect for him to check are compression, a/c cooling, engine cooling, suspension, brakes, electrical, transmission (do they check fluid pressure?), etc.

So does the dealer have like a check list they go down or who ever the tech is at that time looks it over in general? He said the inspection takes about two hours.

Please help. Thanks
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Old 06-05-2002, 11:03 AM
nellotare's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 334
I'm going to look at a '93 300E today and since I don't know them like I know my diesel, I'm also interested in hearing what to "ask" for in a PPI.. just in case I like the car enough to pursue purchasing. Thanks.
Nello Tare

1982 300D (266,001 mi.) looking and running great

Previously owned:
1976 450 SLC
1983 300D
1976 300D
1982 Jaguar XJ6 (loved, but gone)
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Old 06-05-2002, 01:15 PM
Posts: n/a
I don't know if all MB dealers are the same. The one I last used had a "24-point" PPI, which was bumper to bumper but a lot of superficial stuff (like looking for rust, checking to see if the radio worked, checking to see if the AC worked, torn upholstery, etc.). Didn't include compression, leak-down, etc. Had to order that separate.
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Old 06-05-2002, 02:03 PM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Location: Liberty City, FL
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If that is all the check, then its a rip off not worth pursueing at the dealer. I can check all that, including the compression. I just wanted a more extensive MB exclusive pre check (for example, typical stuff that might be wrong, that I am not aware of, etc.).
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Old 06-05-2002, 02:12 PM
Posts: n/a
I had a pre-purchase inspection done on a 420SEL at a local MB dealership eight years ago. Split the cost with the seller. Glad I had it done. It covered almost everything from compression test to brakes to wiper blades. It cost about $250. They gave me an estimate cost to fix the problems. To make the story short, I did not buy this car.
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Old 06-05-2002, 04:41 PM
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Location: Fl
Posts: 140

yosshimura- When we sold the SDL the buyer had it checked by a trusted mechanic who checked all the things you listed before (compression, a/c cooling, engine cooling, suspension, brakes, electrical, transmission), the guy even drove it for a while. The mechanic gave the buyer a list of things that coud be in better shape and an estimate. From there we arrived at a fair price and our baby was on its way to a new loving home .

Try and see if the shop doing the inspection will give you a credit if you bring the car back to them.
'02 C240
'00 LR Discovery
'72 280SE
'67 280SL


'79 280E sold (RIP)
'86 300E sold
'87 300SDL sold
'90 Laforza sold
'95 320SE sold
'98 ML 320 (sold)
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Old 06-05-2002, 09:15 PM
it leaks, its german
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
Posts: 1,111
We do things a little differently. Our base PPi is free and takes about 1 hour.

visual body inspection, tool kit, spare and condition, battery test, cooling system inspection, Belts, AC, basic safety stuff(srs light, tensioners etc.)AC funtion and flap test, horn, lights, steering, suspension, brakes, subframe mounts, flex discs, oil leaks, water leaks, look under carpet in front for flood damage, trans fluid level and condition, state of service (yeah, this is a wild ass guess but, you can get a clue if the last 30 was done or not)all interior accesorys, door checks, windows, ATA if equipped, CA if equipped, CF if equipped, OBDll codes (on obdll cars of course :-) ) wipers, tires and sunroof. Other things such as rear headrest release, first aid kit, audio systems, rear sunshades, convertable tops, hardtops and so on vary by model.

The idea here is more or less a PDI just to be sure the car you are looking at is not a dud, further diagnosis can be approved for compression tests, a/c diagnosis, drivabilty etc.... Face it, even the finest PPI will not unearth everything, however just getting the PO to allow you to take it for a PPI is a part of the battle.

Just for a example, I looked at 126 body 300sd today for a client, free of course and found about $1200.00 that needed attention now and one openended deal with the a/c, (works but not cooling) most of it was little stuff but, there was about $600.00 that was noted as future needs in 20 to 30k with the suspension. He bought it and got a little better deal as the car needed some attention. (you oughtta try and sell a car with no a/c here this time of year, can't give it away) There again, he now knows that most of the car is worth having, however the motor could blow the next time he cranks it.

No PPI will assure you a car that has no suprises in store for you, but at least some of the issues will be know prior to you writing that check.

Project Smoker, '87 603 powered wagon
Hauler, 96 CTD can you say torque?
Toy 73 Cougar xr7 convertible
Acme Automotive Inc.
Raleigh NC
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Old 06-05-2002, 09:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
FWIW, I don't think dealers do a good job of doing a PPI.

I think their sole objective is to find reasons to scare you away from buying the car so that you'll buy a used or new car from them.

On a car 10 years old or older, there may be things that are broken or on their last leg, like a/c, struts, etc., but if you think about it, every component on the car will have a different amount of wear. This is the subjective part. At what rate of wear on a particular item will the technician recommend replacement? 50%? 60%? 75%?

My car had been maintained at a particular MB dealer for the first 128,000 miles of its life. At 120,000 miles, I did the 120,000 mile maintenance service, and a whole list of items were recommended to replace, which I did, and the bill was about $1,200. At the 127,500 mile service, I got a different service advisor, and was given another list of over $3,000 worth of items to fix.

My instincts took over, I realized I was being taken advantage of, and I decided to find a good, local MB independent. I gave him the list, and he inspected the items on the car and only 2 or 3 items needed replacement in his opinion. Cost less than $400.

Sooooo, my advice is to find several MB independents in your area, talk to the owners or technicians, and chose one that you feel comfortable with.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 06-06-2002, 12:22 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
A while back our MBCA chapter did a tech session on PPI's through one of our local dealers. They charge a flat $200, and it was VERY comprehensive. If they truly do what they showed us, then it was a good deal.

My indie charges about the same, and includes both a wet/dry compression test and leak-down test.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 06-06-2002, 08:58 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
Thanks for all the advice on the ppi.

JOE---> Extensive information. I printed your post and see what the dealer follows and also will contact an independent I have seen in the area.....

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