Owning a luxury car is both a pleasure and a responsibility. The superior feel and performance of a car like a Mercedes Benz comes largely from the fine tuning and careful engineering that went into its creation. Those finely tuned systems need regular maintenance, though, if they’re going to keep performing at top efficiency.
Are Mercedes expensive to maintain? That depends largely on what you consider expensive, and to what you’re comparing your maintenance costs.
Compared to an average midsize sedan, Mercedes service and maintenance might seem high. Plus, the older your car, the more maintenance is going to be required as things wear out and need repair or replacement.
On the other hand, independent studies have shown that Mercedes vehicles last longer than similar luxury brands before needing serious maintenance. When comparing Mercedes with other brands in its class, Mercedes Benz maintenance doesn’t look unreasonable at all...and maintenance costs are almost always far lower than the price of neglect.
If you’re considering upgrading to a Mercedes or similar luxury vehicles, you can expect maintenance and upkeep costs to increase accordingly.
Mercedes Benz Maintenance
Mercedes Benz service recommendations follow a regular schedule. The dealership will ask you to return at 2,000 miles for your first oil change, and at every 10,000 miles for service. Those 10,000 mile checkups alternate between Service A (minor service) and Service B (major service) depending on total mileage and the last maintenance you had completed.
Service A mostly covers oil and a basic inspection. Service B includes an inspection, your oil, your filters, and checks and updates for your car’s computer systems. Of course, additional service is performed as needed.
Going in for that regular service is more important than you might think.
Most people don’t realize how much modern cars rely on computers, and those computers need updates to continue functioning properly. Software updates are part of your Mercedes service schedule, and that’s one part of your car’s maintenance that you can’t do at home.
At the same time, taking your Mercedes for service at the dealership is often the most expensive way to maintain your car. Dealerships make more profits from servicing vehicles than they do from selling them, and when you go to a Mercedes dealership for Service A or Service B, they’ll perform all tasks on that schedule whether they’re needed immediately or not.
By taking your vehicle to a certified 3rd party specializing in German cars, you’ll save money and only get the maintenance that you need. Check your warranty and make sure that the shop you choose is certified - using some independent shops may void your warranty.
Your Other Maintenance Expenses
Proper upkeep involves more than an annual trip to a trusted mechanic for service.
The way you care for your car at home and on the road affects your vehicle’s lifespan and continued performance. If a check engine light comes on or you feel that your Mercedes isn’t running as well as it should, take it in for service whether the maintenance schedule says it’s time or not. Letting potential problems go can create much more expensive headaches later.
Regular upkeep for a luxury car like a Mercedes is going to be slightly higher than something like a popular midsize sedan.
Luxury vehicles are designed to run on premium fuel, while commuter cars are generally made for regular gas. Your Mercedes engine is tuned to perform with that higher octane, so while regular fuel will technically work, it can cause problems over time. In many cases, your luxury vehicle will also get slightly poorer gas mileage than the family sedan, so fuel costs are higher and you need to fill up more often.
Insurance is higher for luxury vehicles, too. If you’re unsure about how much your insurance costs will change, get insurance quotes before you make a purchasing decision. Even an older, entry-level luxury vehicle will raise your rates.
Perhaps the biggest expense involved in Mercedes upkeep is the cost of repairs and parts.
You’ll save a significant amount of money by using a certified independent shop to perform repairs instead of going to a dealership, and it’s far easier to find parts for modern vehicles than it used to be. Some components still might have to come from Germany, though, and since it takes more skill and time to work on a Mercedes, parts and labor costs are generally going to be higher for a Mercedes Benz than they are for lower priced, domestic vehicles.
The Bottom Line
Luxury vehicles in general are the most expensive to own and maintain, and the costs might be more visible because owners of luxury vehicles are less likely to be lax about upkeep.
Whether you own a luxury vehicle or not, though, the costs of regular maintenance are far lower than the cost of neglect. Maintenance is part of the total cost of ownership for any vehicle, and it should be factored in before you decide to make a purchase.