Bought this car new. Thought I would keep it for 10 yrs. Or 200,000 miles. It might last but the repair bills after 100,000 miles is way out of line. Had many problems with this car. Front end work, gear selector replaced, auto doors repaired, all items you would not expect to break, could not lock doors, many other items. I made the mistake in keeping this car too long. I have had many Mercedes this was the worst for repair. Do not think I will be buying another one.
I bought a used 2002 S430 in November of 2012. It was $11,000. I immediately had an issue with the air suspension which leaked and I had Peter, a local mechanic (SilverStar Motors) who specialized in Mercedes fix it. He is much more reasonable than the dealership but the repair was $1400. He warned me the car has a history of expensive issues. I replaced the tires with ContiPro fro $600. I did not have any additional issues until recently it was side-swiped on the street and the driver mirror was tore off. The parts alone are over $1000 and I'm looking at 1300-$1,500 with labor and paint. To pile on my check engine light came on and the car has a bit of a shake and rough idle. We will see.
The bargain price of today hides expensive repairs. It has design flaws: cup holders, knee hits seat warmer, ugly center console. It has known leak issues and electrical issues. It has air suspension issues. Auto door locks and trunk flaws. Don't forget the untreated metal that rusts from the inside. Watch for rust around tire wells all up and down sides. Rust quote was $2700. The gorgeous slick design holds water. The car is now 11 so expect collapsed engine mounts, catalytic converter rattles, drive shaft flex disk...So you can plan on buying it for $6-7K and putting 6-8K into it and you will get a beautiful smooth powerful ride that originally cost $80K+ and the engine will go to 200K mi.
The air conditioning had to be replaced 5 months after I bought it. The entire dashboard went out (i.e. no speedometer, no dash lights, no signal indicator lights). The engine kept running AFTER the car was turned off and the key taken out of the ignition. The hydraulic system failed leaving the car sitting 6" from the ground. Replaced battery twice in 30 months. GPS is archaic - not user friendly and half the addresses are not in the system. Have to buy add'l CD-ROMs to go all over the U.S. The mobile phone with the car is not digital and the dealer said it will cost $1,100 to upgrade to a digital phone.
I hear all the stories on this forum in regards to the s class breaking down. well I have two, a 2005 s500 and a 2002 s430. the 02 s430 has 220,000 miles on it and only thing I have replaced on it is the battery and it runs like a champ. and the 05 has 185k on it and only have had to replace the serpentine belt once. rick with dcsinc. euro repair