After a bad experience with my first car and nearly 3 decades of subsequent care ownership, my motto has been to sell my cars before the warranty period is expired. That is, until we bought our Mercedes GL 450 in July 2013. After all, the Mercedes brand is distinguished for its quality and service, and the Westminster dealer was rated among the top in the country when we bought the car from a superb sales person who has since left the dealer, alas.
In the interim, the dealer has generally been accommodating, considering we live in the mountains. They offer to pickup and deliver cars, a service we used once. As responsible owners, we have driven and maintained the car in accordance with Mercedes standards, and have generally been satisfied with its performance. But with 55k miles on the car and the 4-year warranty expired, we were starting to think -- and had even contacted a Westminster salesman -- about selling our 4 1/2 year old Mercedes and buying a new Mercedes.
However, our recent experience with our Mercedes and with this dealer in particular is so damning, I can't see ever owning a Mercedes again, and I'm eager to dump the one we have.
As many reviewers have complained, the check engine light is an enigma. Ours has gone on and off over the years, requiring us to bring the car in to Westminster for evaluation, from four hours deep in mountains. Though an inconvenience to bring the car in, every time prior, it was an easy to resolve matter....until yesterday when we were told that their computer shows the source of the engine light is a faulty turbo, whose replacement -- not under warranty anymore! -- costs $6500 and will require a week of service!
It's as if there's a designed obsolescence plot at play here, like Apple, who is contending with allegations that they conspired to make their older iPhone batteries go bad after software updates. We're not even sure we can trust the Westminster service people since the engine light actually turned off prior to getting our car into to the service department.
Now that we're in this difficult situation, with a car that needs expensive, unwarranted repairs prior to driving it, we were told by the Westminster salesman -- whose eagerness and accommodation pales in comparison to the original Westminster salesperson we worked with -- that the trade-in value of our car is shockingly low, and we can't get a call back from the General Manager at the dealer, Kevin Stuart.
The bottom line is that though we thought we were buying a car that was far superior in quality to any we'd owned before, we find the opposite is true. For the first time in my car owning experience, not only do I have to invest an enormous amount before I can sell the car, the disclosures related to the car will hamper my ability to sell it at a reasonable value.
I'm posting this here, and intend to shine a light on our situation elsewhere, including nationally, so other unsuspecting, trusting Mercedes customers know our story. Caveat Emptor -- buyer beware!