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Old 06-03-2003, 11:04 AM
Joseph_H's Avatar
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How do you confirm mileage on used MBs?

I am helping a friend buy a car. She found a 1995 E320 with 30K miles. What are the best ways to confirm the mileage is accurate on the car, other than carfax and dealer invoices? I mean is there something in the car, other than odometer, that can tell you what is the true mileage? something like a chip in the computer etc..?
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Old 06-03-2003, 12:17 PM
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No, there's no "secret odometer." I look at three things - service booklet, service/repair receipts, and carfax. The service booklet should note the date & milage of all routine servicing. This car should have a bunch of extra service - it requires an oil change once per year regardless of how few miles were driven. Inspect the repair invoices for date & milage. Lastly use carfax to insure the history aligns with what the seller is telling you. From all these sources you can put together something of a chonology of how many miles the car had on it at certain points in time. Most people use their car in a very predicatable manner - driving back and forth to work, to school, whatever. They may drive 5K miles, 10K miles, or 30K miles a year - but it's usually consistent. So I look for consistent usage during the life of the car. With enough records you can determine whether the milage is accurate. Without records, well, you gotta guess at the milage and the maintenance history.

- JimY
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Old 06-03-2003, 12:30 PM
I told you so!
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
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Other clues include wear of the driver pedals and the tires. Barring replacement from road damage, I expect with 30,000 miles the tires would be all the same and show the same amount of wear.
95 E320 Cabriolet, 131K
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Old 06-03-2003, 12:38 PM
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The pedal wear check is an excellent idea. It varies from car to car, but with 30K miles it should be very slight, and at that mileage I can imagine that it might even have the OEM tires though they would be well worn, and a replacement set should look near new.

If records are available, they is the best way to verify logical mileage accumulation, but in the absense of records, wear and tear are the only way to verify. Well kept, low mileage cars are out there, and the overall condition of the car should match the low the mileage.

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Old 06-03-2003, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for all of your good advice

That'll give me few more ideas...
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Old 06-03-2003, 02:36 PM
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Look under the bottom of the car. People can wax and detail the body and interior, but check the underside of the car. Look at the suspension components. Examine the rubber mounts and bushings.Look for heavy chunks of dirt that might be hidden in the suspension.Give the car a thorough lookdown, A 30k mile car will look almost brand new.
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Old 06-03-2003, 02:38 PM
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A bouncing speedometer needle on decceleration can sometimes indicate tampering. However, there are other causes for this as well.

'85 380 SL (sold)
'85 Carrera Flatnose
'71 280 SL Signal Red/Cognac
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Old 06-03-2003, 04:14 PM
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Location: Mass
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Tough question.

Look for any service stickers under the hood, on the door frames, or wherever that might betray the odo.

In my area, I would expect the level of pitting on the headlamps to be fairly linear with mileage, and they may be too expensive to replace just to pull off a scam.

Look carefully for signs of accident damage. It may have low mileage because it spent time going the 'rebuildable' route.

Otherwise, enjoy! Great find!
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 06-03-2003, 05:46 PM
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My 1989 300E's odometer stopped at around 90,000 miles and I get the boucing speedometer although no tampering.

On a 30,000 mile car, I would expect a very clean engine bay. Perhaps it still has the wax on the water pump. Wheels should look brand new, with a high amount of sheen and silver hue. After 90k + X miles on my 300E, you can tell which wheels have been in the front and which ones in the rear. HVAC decals should look new. Underhood stickers shouldnt look new nor destroyed. The interior seat leather shouldnt have a single crack or tear.
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