Buying a Used Mercedes-Benz: What Should You Know

Giancarlo Perlas May 24, 2019

So you have finally decided that it’s time to replace your current car with a more appealing model. If you have had your eye on a Mercedes-Benz for as long as you can remember, you might be tempted to go for one of the models available. However, if you can’t afford to purchase the car brand new, a pre-owned, used Mercedes-Benz model is always a great alternative.

While buying a used Mercedes-Benz vehicle means saving quite a lot of money, it’s also more stressful, considering you don’t get any guarantees on its performance–it’s simply a bit riskier. You are recommended to hire your own independent professional, and not leave this task up to the seller. Well, as long as you are properly informed, and pursue the right purchase approach, you’ll manage to make a safe buy.

What exactly should you know on the topic? What are the most important aspects to pay attention to? The following tips will provide you with a bit of support on the matter:

Check reviews, Forums, and Recommendations

Before you actually start visiting dealerships or browsing auto sale site, you will need to first decide on a specific Benz model. Because there are several options available, and each one might have its own particular appeal, you’ll need to make a choice, which isn’t easy if you don’t know much about the brand in general.

Reading reviews, asking for recommendations, and checking what other Mercedes owners have to say about their vehicle on auto forums will certainly help you go in a direction or another.

Use online resources to your advantage, compare your options with care, and choose a model that suits your particular needs and wants, don’t make popularity or aesthetical appeal your main considerations. While an E-class might cover another driver’s needs, an A-class might suit you better – this is just an example, you have to assess your demands carefully, and not make rushed choices. Some models might also last in a better condition longer, and may make a more appropriate option, considering you are buying second-hand.

Check the Vehicle’s History–Don’t Trust the Information You are Given by the Seller

You probably know by now that some unreliable sellers aren’t exactly transparent in regards to the car’s condition, so you need to do a bit more research before closing the deal on a model or another. A car history report will give you the chance to figure out if there are any red flags you should be aware of, preventing you from being misinformed, spending a lot of money on a car that has been stolen or illegally modified. To get a full report, you’ll need the auto’s VIN number.

Nowadays, it’s quite easy to do a full vehicle search. There are websites where you can simply insert the number and do a proper VIN check. The report received usually includes details such as the following:

  • Maintenance history
  • Number of owners – title history
  • Mileage
  • Accident history
  • Past sale listings
  • Active and past thefts

Get a Pre-purchase Vehicle Inspection

While the car might seem in impeccable condition at first glance, and your first test drive was great, there might be hidden issues that cannot be easily spotted. A pre-purchase inspection is required regardless of what type of car you are buying, as long as the vehicle is pre-owned. You probably don’t want to invest money in a vehicle that needs serious repairs or has issues that will cost you time and money.

You might expect quality and durability from your Mercedes, which means, paying a mechanic should be a priority here, and in comparison to how much money you are paying for the car itself, this expense will be insignificant. You are recommended to hire your own independent professional, and not leave this task up to the seller. Find someone you can actually trust to tell you everything you need know, someone who has the experience and abilities necessary to spot even the slightest issue. Based on the information your mechanic gives you, you can decide whether to go through with the purchase, negotiate the price further or look for another alternative.

Remember, if the seller isn’t willing for you to bring your own mechanic, it might mean they have something to hide, and you should probably start searching for another offer.

Scan the Model for Fault Codes

A complete system scan is just as important as the mechanical inspection. You need to have accurate details on transmission, airbags, ABS and so on, to see if there are any system concerns involved. A malfunction with the control units might determine you to give up on the said offer, so this isn’t a step to overlook. Get hold of an appropriate scanner, and plug it into the OBD II port when you are checking out the Mercedes in person. See what system errors exist and if they can be easily solved or not. 

Buy from a Reliable Dealership

One last aspect you should keep in mind is that it’s often safer and more convenient to make the purchase from a car dealership, instead of dealing with a private seller. Dealerships that have built a certain reputation locally will be less likely to sell you a car that has severe issues, considering you can easily make a complaint or bring them bad publicity, which will affect their business. Trusting a private seller is riskier – this might be the first auto they actually sell, and you can never know if they are truly trustworthy or not. Start with dealership offers first, and keep private sellers as a backup plan.

While the prospect of upgrading to a Mercedes Benz model is exciting, but considering you are getting a pre-owned version of your desired vehicle, this purchase will demand a bit more attention from your part. You can easily end up buying a car that doesn’t exactly benefit from the performance characteristics you were expecting. This is why you need to be fully prepared, and follow a few essential purchase tips before actually making a final decision. These are the aspects you need to be aware of when you are checking out different offers.

About Author

Giancarlo Perlas

Giancarlo is an economist by profession with a career spanning nearly two decades. His professional journey has seen him assume vital roles in various government and private organizations. Alongside his civic and corporate pursuits though is his love for cars, particularly those made by Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, he found himself with like-minded individuals within BenzInsider. From then on, he used the platform as a way to share his passion with the automotive community. Follow his Facebook page at, X (formerly Twitter) @giancarloperlas, and IG @benzinsider. View all posts by Giancarlo Perlas →

Leave a Comment

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!