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Old 03-24-2003, 10:04 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
Starmark Warranties

could someone explain these to me?

i have heard from some folks advising me that they are a con.

i have heard from others that they are better than 3rd party[non M-B] warranties.

i have heard from others that 3rd party[non M-B] warranties are as good.

the way i am viewing it, a M-B dealer has offered a car to me for sale and has obviated my putting a mechanic at his store to do a mechanical inspection by offering the vehicle as fully warranted. AS IF IT IS A NEW VEHICLE.

and what purchaser would conduct an indpendent mechanical inspection on a new car?

however, an intelligent purchaser would do such an inspection as part of the procedure of buying a house[new as well as old].

so, should we purchasers conduct such an inspection when buying a car that costs as much as lots of houses? even when the vehicle is sold with a warranty that may be intended to vacate that desire to conduct pre-purchase mechanical inspection.

though the benz that has provoked this thread has low miles[20k] after 6 years of ownership, that does not mean as much as some might think insofar as engine conditions are concerned.

though low mileage cars have some virtues, engine condition might not be one of them.

for instance, my 560sec. it was not driven very frequently. since acquisition, until 2000, no more than 4k per year. and only to the market. etc. when i took it over, and started driving it at the 52k mark, i was astounded by its lube oil consumption when subjected to my style of driving. most educational was the billows of white smoke when i throttled down and then got back on the throttle.

a borescope would have revealed this.

most of you probably know the causes. in my hard-driven 560sel, this kind of oil consumption did not occur for over 220,000 miles.

and even there, there was no carbon gunk on the pistoncrowns. they were clean.

on the 560sec, crowns were covered with carbonized gunk and excessive leakage was occurring down the valve stems.

i attribute all of this to a lack of high speed running.

so, here is this s500c that has had no running in its 20k life. M-B dealer offers it as a starmark car with a 100k warranty included in the purchase price and offers more warranty coverage for a nominal price.

trying to make this a new car.

but i ask, if this engine is going to need top end renovation, will the starmark warranty cover the damage imposed by an owner who failed to drive the car sufficiently to make all of the engine work properly?

all ears.

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Old 03-25-2003, 12:26 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
My 1998 C230 has the Signature Class warranty, which is called StarMark in the US.

I bought it because:

1. Priced the same as or lower than the 3rd party warranties.

2. No hassles on warranty claims. The dealer says it needs fixing, it gets fixed. Take my final drive seals for instance. One side was sweating VERY slighly. The dealer replaced all three seals right away, no questions asked.

3. Honoured at ALL Mercedes dealers.

4. Nothing but OEM parts used in your car.

5. If you resell the car, you can advertise "factory warranty" remaining. BIG bonus.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 03-26-2003, 06:01 PM
DR.DIESEL's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Puget Sound, Washington St.
Posts: 522
I have seen a starmark warranty pay for itself on the first visit to the shop. Granted, dumb things like radios and cd changers are not covered but very expensive problems like oil consumption
and vehicle body harnesses are covered, no sweat.
The dealer does not pay for the repairs, so when we see "Starmark" coverage, we look for anything that needs attention or updating. With most aftermarket contracts, you need
deductibles and an inspection to be satisfied before a repair can be completed. Sometimes it takes several days for an inspector
to show up and see your complaint. "Acceptable Leakage"
is a common term with some insurance contract companies.
Last month, I replaced a complete engine in a 1997 E420 with an "intermittant piston knock". No problem, MB paid the bill and the client paid nothing. Over $30,000 in warranty repairs for him at no cost. I also replaced both front seat heaters, engine harness, shocks, control arms, transmission, instrument cluster,
a/c head unit, injectors, MAF sensor, ect ect ect... all covered!

I would recommend a Starmark to anyone. It really is a great deal.
and it gives the technicians the ability to repair your car as needed without cost to clients.

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Old 04-28-2003, 08:09 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321

if you are reading this, i would appreciate your response.

about a month ago, you gave me a very straightforward answer to the starmark program.

as a result, when i purchased this very low mileage s500c in virtually as-new condition, i bought 2 years of starmark coverage.

after concluding the purchase paperwork, the sales rep and i went to get the car and to conduct the pre-flight[since the car has considerably more features than any of my other benzes]. while conducting the pre-flight, i adjusted the rear vision mirror. and in doing so, i discovered that it would not hold its position. the sales rep grimaced upon seeing this, but said that he would look into its repair. i had to go along with that because i had flown into san antonio to pick up the coupe on a friday afternoon and wanted to get on the road so as to avoid san antonio rush hour traffic and to catch dinner at a bbq joint outside of brenham texas.

it was my feeling that the m-b dealer had failed to catch this mirror glitch in in its starmark inspection and that the starmark warranty would cover the problem. but now i am not so sure that starmark covers this. i went back to the dealer, they were reluctant to respond to the problem. eventually, i got an oral commitment from the sales rep that i could get this repaired and that they would reimburse me. i asked for that in writing and have yet to see such a formal acknowledgment.

just for the my education, i stopped by my houston m-b dealership today to ask them about remedying the floppy mirror. they told me that the entire mirror would have to be replaced. about $900.

i did not bring up the starmark issue, but i wasn't asked about it either. making me think that the rearview mirror is not covered by the starmark program. this is fortified by the san antonio dealer offering to reimburse me for the repair.

have i understood this situation accurately?

yes or no. and if it requires more detail, i am all ears.
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Old 04-28-2003, 10:15 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Read your warranty paperwork carefully. Items that are covered are listed. Mercedes is quite specific about this. Things not on the list are not covered.

Sometimes, things are covered under a blanket like "power accessories" or other similar language. On my car the coverage says things like "engine accessories" instead of listing water pump, alternator, etc. It also says "electrical motors" which might cover your rearview mirror. On my car it would cover the sunroof motor, window motors, blower motor, and so on...

The most important thing for you to do is sit down and read that booklet VERY carefully, and understand it.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:49 AM
haasman's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097
Yes, I agree: Read the Starmark warranty very carefully.

This is my favorite example: The driver's seat back on the wagon rocked. Not the seat bottom, the seat back. When the armrest is down and one puts their right arm on it the seat back would flop forward. Weird. I took it to two dealerships for Starmark work and was told repeatedly it was not covered. I needed to pay: $800 for labor to remove the seat, remove the seat frames (both) and replace all the seating materials $1,450. This for a car that was "inspected" PRIOR to being Starmarked. When I protested saying the seat was both a safety and comfort item I was told sorry. I simply could not believe it. I felt burned.

Disregard what your sales person tells you as far as what will be covered. Understand it your self.

Another good example is the period of "adjustment". I didn't find out about this until the warranty expired that Mercedes will "consider" adjustments to the car both during the warranty period and after, not covered under the warranty. I wish I had known that......

When I said the vehicle had been inspected I got wry smiles from the service staff. They indicated that they simply push the cars through, some more inspected than others.

IF, I ever buy another Starmarked car again, I will take hours to carefully comb through the car and check off the status of all working parts. I will then determine what is covered and what is not. For the items that are not covered, I will use them to negotiate a final purchase price.

READ THE STARMARK WARRANTY BOOKLET VERY CAREFULLY. Take any component and do a determination on your own as to whether it will be covered.

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 04-29-2003, 07:52 AM
it leaks, its german
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
Posts: 1,111
a borescope would have revealed this.>>

Not nessasarly. Borescoping will reveal gouged walls, bent valves, excessive carbon or galled walled but not guide/seal issues or gummed up oil control rings.

On to Starmark, good solid warrenty. Personally I think it was introduced as a answer to aftermarket warrenty providers running from 140's due to the evap issues. 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other, both factory sponsered and aftermarket warrentys have their merits and drawbacks. I like aftermarket ones myself, I can administer them, cant touch a starmark.

The plain and simple reality of ANY warrenty is understanding just what it covers..... this is the consumers responsibilty..... period. Same deal with reading and understanding the owners manual of your car. Doing so is wonderful, eliminates the stress of both the client and service facility being PO'd explaining how features work, explaining coverage and so on. (trust me I have many examples of this in action) The other responsibilty of the consumer is to make sure every feature of their purchase is in working order to their satisfaction. Dont listen to your salesman, he is just that, a salesman. I know of a dealer in FLA who actually has delivery specialists who do nothing but demonstrate the workings of all features to the new owners. Damn good idea.

I also recomend anyone who is looking at a "preowned" car to get a indy to check it over very throughly (use one who knows the cars) You'd be amazed at what will slide through a preinspection or a starmark certification, afterall these are handled by people and we all know people in general will make bad jugdement calls. This is not however a end all to gatting a "flawed" product, you simply cant check everything.

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 04-29-2003, 10:05 AM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
So True Joe P!

>" simply can't check everything" (in life! & stuff happens in an imperfect world- set your expectations accordingly)

> know your Starmark coverages (for yourself)

>a used car will not be perfect and you will need to spend some of your own $ (warranty or not)

> a new car will not be perfect and you will need to spend some of your $ (warranty or not)

>all cars represent an additional financial risk over and above the cost of acquisition

> after all is said it is up to you to maintain the car to your own comfort and standards regardless of warranty non-coverarages or what not

I've had great experiences with Starmark.

'94 E500 Starmark
'94 E320 Coupe Starmark
'92 300e (too old for Starmark)
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Old 04-29-2003, 03:25 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
When we bought our 1998 E300, we were the second owners. The car had Signature Class (Canada) warranty that the original owner had bought when the car was new. It was the seven year (from del. date) warranty to 160K kilometers.

Despite the car having lots of warranty left, we had the car checked VERY carefully prior to purchase. It was only a couple hundred bucks, which to me is cheap insurance.

Many people don't have under warranty used cars checked carefully, thinking the warranty will cover everything. It often won't. Our Subaru Outback is under factory warranty, but I wanted to know how much life was left in things like brakes and other wear and tear items not covered by warranty. The dealer was surprised when we brought it in for a PPI, as it was under warranty. They did a decent job, and it was less than $200.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 04-29-2003, 08:12 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
ah, what the borescope would have shown me was the heavy accumulation of lube oil gum on the piston crowns.

when we pulled the heads, i saw piston crown deposits that bore no relation to the cleanliness of the piston crowns of my 560sel[86], that i acquired new, when i pulled the heads at 220,000 miles when its lube oil consumption began to to suddenly increase radically.

the 560sec was the first used car that i ever acquired. the interior was immaculate. [only evidence that anyone had ever been in it was the antique cell phone that had been installed]. as was the body. no rust. for the first 10,000 miles that i owned it, no evidence of excessive lube oil consumption. and then one day, i exited an interstate at 80 and was braking for a light. when i had decelerated to about 10mph, the light went green. i had a clear frontage road in front of me and i put my boot into it. what a cloud of white smoke. i was able to do this at will under similar conditions throughout the day.

i pulled the heads the following day.

now, had i borescoped the engine, i probably still would have acquired the car, it just might have enabled me to negotiate a lower price.

i knew that the m117 engine was prone to valve guide leakage, i just did not expect to see it at such a low mileage level. taught me a lesson that lack of use can sometimes be a problem in and of itself.

lastly, concerning this rear view mirror. candidly, when i encountered this flaw, i did not expect it be one that could only be corrected by replacing the mirror. i have an oral commmitment from the selling dealer that they will pick up the cost of this repair. but i have been troubled that i cannot get them to put that in writing.

my independent mechanic deals with this dealer and considers them straight folks. his opinion is that they will live up to their word.

and i trust that he is correct. i am probably naive, but i live up to mine and accordingly, i expect others to live up to theirs. i am adult enough to tell you that my expectations have often been short-changed.

i can afford a new mirror if it comes to that.
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Old 05-01-2003, 09:13 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
my guess is that there is a malfunctioning computer.

this morning, before starting the car...neither seat back could be tilted forward. both were locked. pushing the side button did nothing.

at my first stop, the post office, i tried to tilt the seatbacks when i arrived. and before i departed. they were locked and would not move.

i then went to my local garage to discuss the situation. after parking, i tried to move the seatbacks again. would not move.

after getting my mechanic, who has worked on my cars for years, i attempted to show him how the seatbacks could not be tilted. i started this display with the front passenger seat. as you might imagine, it worked perfectly.

the driver's seat remained locked, however.

throughout the day, during my rounds, i tried the seats everytime i parked the car. the passenger seat continued to work. the driver's side did not.

at the end of the day, before leaving my office, i tried the driver's side seatback again. worked perfectly.

and did so at my next 3 stops.

i once encountered similar perversity with my e320 cab that all of a sudden began to do nothing the same way twice.

so, i figure that the seatback locking mechanism is probably electro-mechanical and governed by a computer convenience module[as was the case with the e320] which will have to be replaced for routine, predictable operation to be achieved.

will this be a starmark-covered repair?

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