First I'll apologize for the length of this message but my wife is fuming. She took her 2001 E320 4-Matic Wagon in for its A Service this past week. The FSS was telling her it was due in about 200 miles. The vehicle has a shade over 56,500 miles. It was a CPO purchased in January 2005 with a bit over 20,500 miles. She purchased the Extended Warranty. Although I have previously taken it for both A and B Services to another dealer closer to home (Mercedes-Benz of Hagerstown, Maryland), she took it to the dealer she purchased it from - American Service Center in Arlington, Virginia - closer to where she works.
The previous A and B Services at Hagerstown, although not cheap, included no surprises. Remember, I took it. This time, the dealer (ASC) tells my wife that in addition to the A Service ($327.82), she needs the following:
1.) Brake fluid flush and renewal - $97.56. This hasn't been done since we purchased the vehicle and I know it is supposed to be done every two years so I told her not to sweat this.
2.) Coolant flush and renewal - $89.95. This hasn't been done since we purchased the vehicle and I know it is supposed to be done every three years so I told her not to sweat this.
3.) Replace fuel filters - $267.17. I checked the Service Booklet and it indicates that this is recommended to maintain peak performance at 60,000 miles (the car probably won't be in for service before it hits 60,000 miles) although it is not required to maintian the emissions warranty. This really seems steep for a fuel filter change and I question the necessity.
4.) Fuel induction service - $163.09. Labor was $108.90 and she was charged $54.19 for something called "Inject-A-Clean." I can't find anything in the Service Booklet or Owner's Manual that makes any mention of any recommended service for the fuel induction system. What the @#$% is this? According to her, they told her she needed this to "clear (clean?) the rails."
5.) Transmission flush - $218.93. There is no mention in the Service Booklet of any required transmission service at any interval. In fact, page 269 of the Owner's Manual advises that "The transmission has a permanent fill of automatic transmission fluid. Regular automatic transmission fluid level chacks and changes are not required." The service ticket notes that this was needed "due to time or mileage." Did they see her coming or what?
6.) Replace spark plugs - $524.43. My Service Booklet says this is required every 100,000 miles or 5 years. It has significantly less than 100,000 miles. I know it is over 5 years since the date of manufacture (2/14/2001) but I thought the CPO program inspected/replaced things like this when the car was re-conditioned for resale less than three years ago. Was this really necessary?
They did do a few things under warranty (replaced driver's side headrest motor (it had quit working); re-sealed the rear differential and replaced side seals; replaced right rear differential seal). They told my wife that this was over $900.00 of warranty repairs. I think they were trying to make her feel better about the $1,800.00 in repairs and service they were charging her for.
She was so upset she waved them off from doing a few other cosmetic and nuisance things she wanted them to repair: driver's side flip down visor mirror door hinge is broken (they estimated $235 for parts plus labor); the rubber cap on the roof antenna has come off and disappeared (they estmated $310 to repair, including $85 for body shop painting - what for I don't know. It is just the rubber boot, not the painted piece.); one of the lights in the dash is out (they estimated $283 to fix but said that would include replacment of all 20 bulbs while they had the dash apart); the black trim on the right front passenger window frame is peeling/chipping and the exposed metal is showing some rust (they estimated $112 to repair).
Needless to say, she is fuming. She feels they took advantage of her because she is a woman and that she let them get away with it. I must say I think some of what they did and charged her for seems just a little beyond the pale and I'm glad she told them to forget about some of the cosmetic issues. I think they were really out to skin her on those. I told her I would post something out here on the forum and see if she had any real reason to be upset and, if so, what you folks would recommend she say/do. What say you? Anyone want to help me soothe the savage beast or, in the alternative, give me some gasoline to throw on the fire?
By-the-by, this is not the only MB we own. I have a 1985 300D TurboDiesel with well over 300,000 miles on it and a 1987 560SL with about 68,000 miles on it. Other than a transmission repair to the 560SL that cost be about $3,000 a few years ago (pump failure), I have never had a repair bill on either of these vehicles that is comparable to what the dealer got her for. Granted, they normally go to a trusted indie. She wanted to go to the dealer because she liked the salesman (he called her to schedule her service) and it is still under the extended warranty and she felt obligated to go to a dealer for the service.
Thanks in advance for whatever insight you might want to offer.