Independent Mercedes specialist or general garage?

LancsNeil

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Hi all, just a bit of general advise really, I am about to take my C200 in for its service, and there are a few things I want looking at on top of the normal service. I am going to ask the mechanic to look at:

The BAS/ASR warning light and ABS lights are on constantly (after a weekend 'interesting' moment where I had what I consider only a very slightly heavy foot in the wet weather when turning right which resulted in a disturbing Jeremy Clarkson car sideways moment) I think this needs sorting out as I quite enjoy my car looking nice and have never seen the attraction of ditches to be honest. (ps I have a very very light right foot normally)

The cruise control doesn't work either, which I would like sorting out also.

My double question is, on a car which because it only cost a thousand pounds, and has done 140k how much benefit is there from using a specialist over a normal garage? my friends think I am mad for considering a Merc specialist over a normal garage but I love my car....but at the end of the day if it is wasted money then I don't want to become impoverished for no reason! and secondly, roughly what do you think the cost would be for the servicing and the work that may need doing to get the two problems sorted out?

I have had my car for a few weeks now and to be honest I love it more every time I get in! I have already told my girlfriend that it has ruined me for cars for life, I would rather walk now than drive something without three stars on the bonnet!!!

thanks for any advice and I apologise in advance if my questions are in any way idiotic!
 

television

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I love what you have said and this is the feeling that many of us get.

Your CC problem will be because of the BAS fault and there is a good chance that the one on the rear axle has failed after you Stig antics.

Do use an indie that knows the cars, and not a normal garage
 

Alex M Grieve

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Hi all, just a bit of general advise really, I am about to take my C200 in for its service, and there are a few things I want looking at on top of the normal service. The cruise control doesn't work either, which I would like sorting out also.

I have had my car for a few weeks now and to be honest I love it more every time I get in! I have already told my girlfriend that it has ruined me for cars for life, I would rather walk now than drive something without three stars on the bonnet!!!

Hi Neil,

The question is very pertinent and sensible. The usual debate is between the MB Dealership and Independent specialists for servicing and other work. Many on the Forum prefer independent specialists because they can talk direct to the engineer who will do the work, and the hourly rates are much more agreeable, although the product knowledge is excellent for both groups. Indies may know more about older models, which could be helpful in your case.

If you move "down the food chain" to a generalist garage, there may not be much of a saving on hourly rate, but there will be a big degradation in product knowledge and experience.

For a car worth £1,000, Indy every time - and you will soon find that your car will be the best £1,000 that you could buy.
 
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LancsNeil

LancsNeil

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lol thanks for the advice, I forgot to mention that the lights were on permanently before my sideways incident (which believe me I will DEFINITELY leave to the Stig from now on!!)

I think Indie is the wa to go for me then, I remember someone mentioning a new Independent in Fleetwood so I think I may try to find those details!

Neil :D
 
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*Thumper

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Right .. here's my theory ............... a general garage, like all the others will charge an hourly rate ................... how long will it take to find an diagnose your problems ? ........... a lot longer than a MB specialist, I would imagine ...... who has probably come across most issues with your model, and will be able to put his hands straight on the problems .................... = less time= less bill !!
 

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Right .. here's my theory ............... a general garage, like all the others will charge an hourly rate ................... how long will it take to find an diagnose your problems ? ........... a lot longer than a MB specialist, I would imagine ...... who has probably come across most issues with your model, and will be able to put his hands straight on the problems .................... = less time= less bill !!

The above post is so true, knowing what it is and how to fix it is money saved plus the job will be correctly carried out
 
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LancsNeil

LancsNeil

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Thanks for the advice, I have definitely decided to go for a small independent specialist and try to build a good long term relationship, I can't see me getting rid of my car for a long long time and have decided to really treat it to the full works and get it back to complete original order!! Am hoping the ABS and ASR problems aren't too expensive though!

ps congratulations on your 50,000th post Television...wow!:)
 

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Thanks for the advice, I have definitely decided to go for a small independent specialist and try to build a good long term relationship, I can't see me getting rid of my car for a long long time and have decided to really treat it to the full works and get it back to complete original order!! Am hoping the ABS and ASR problems aren't too expensive though!

ps congratulations on your 50,000th post Television...wow!:)

Thank you,, you have a OVP relay on a car with ABS the fuse may have blown or there could be a bad connection in it
 

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neil,
it might be worth changing the brake switch,as the can runs through it.Only £10,easy to do and certainly might cause problems such as the criuse control not working.They are very prone to going wrong and it's worth a try before you take it to the garage.
 

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neil,
it might be worth changing the brake switch,as the can runs through it.Only £10,easy to do and certainly might cause problems such as the criuse control not working.They are very prone to going wrong and it's worth a try before you take it to the garage.

For BAS and ESP yes, but not for ABS lamp on
 
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LancsNeil

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Followed all your advice and just booked my pride and joy in for a 'B' service this weekend, can't wait to get it back with hopefully all the warning lights out, all fluids and service parts changed, cruise control back working and hopefully in general running nice and smooth (not that it isn't already!!) There is a slightly strange jingly, metallic noise that I can hear when the engine is running, more pronounced when the engine is cold that sounds maybe like its a belt that needs replacing which I have asked them to look at while it is in, am hoping its something quite simple!

Been browsing for bits and bobs for my car instead of working for a living today lol, amazing what you can pick up (is it sad that I am looking at key fobs and new interior mats??) although the price of a new key seems slightly scary!! I have two with my car but only one works. The working one though isnt perfect, the small black slide on the back of the fob seems to have maybe snapped as there is nothing holding the metal key in place and you have to be careful to make sure it doesn't slide out. The second key has the plastic fob part in perfect condition but doesnt unlock or start the car, it seems to have the metal part broken and doesn't work at all!

When I swap the perfect metal part from key fob one around to slide into the perfect plastic part of key fob two (theoretically making a fully perfect key out of two imperfect ones lol) it doesnt work at all, but the red light flashes so its not the battery...hmmmmm how confusing!
 

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Followed all your advice and just booked my pride and joy in for a 'B' service this weekend, can't wait to get it back with hopefully all the warning lights out, all fluids and service parts changed, cruise control back working and hopefully in general running nice and smooth (not that it isn't already!!) There is a slightly strange jingly, metallic noise that I can hear when the engine is running, more pronounced when the engine is cold that sounds maybe like its a belt that needs replacing which I have asked them to look at while it is in, am hoping its something quite simple!

Been browsing for bits and bobs for my car instead of working for a living today lol, amazing what you can pick up (is it sad that I am looking at key fobs and new interior mats??) although the price of a new key seems slightly scary!! I have two with my car but only one works. The working one though isnt perfect, the small black slide on the back of the fob seems to have maybe snapped as there is nothing holding the metal key in place and you have to be careful to make sure it doesn't slide out. The second key has the plastic fob part in perfect condition but doesnt unlock or start the car, it seems to have the metal part broken and doesn't work at all!

When I swap the perfect metal part from key fob one around to slide into the perfect plastic part of key fob two (theoretically making a fully perfect key out of two imperfect ones lol) it doesnt work at all, but the red light flashes so its not the battery...hmmmmm how confusing!

Just take out the battery carrier from both keys and out the good one into the good key and that will stop the metal blade from falling out, so then you have one good key and one bad,, now pop the bad jey into a jiffy bag and post it to me and I will try and fix it for you
 

Number_Cruncher

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Hi Neil,

If you move "down the food chain" to a generalist garage, there may not be much of a saving on hourly rate, but there will be a big degradation in product knowledge and experience.

I take if not an opposite view, perhaps at least an othogonal one. [Quelle surprise!]

I would argue that it's more important to find an honest garage with staff who really understand how cars work.

Relying purely upon previous experience to guide you to a fault is fine until you're faced with a fault or system which is entirely new to you.

There are some MB independants to whom I would not entrust a wheelbarrow, while there are some general garages who are perfectly fine - it's effectively a matter of attitiude on the behalf of the owner and staff rather than what sign you choose to hang over the door.

As far as I know, there's nothing to stop anyone calling themselves a MB independant specialist - it's no guarantee of quality on its own.

The best garages and the best MB specialists are those who can really think round new problems, invest in new training and equipment, and do not simply rely on repeating their previous work.

I tend not to place too much value on people who go on and on about having X year's of experience - it tends to mean X years of repetition of one year's worth of experience!
 

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There are some MB independants to whom I would not entrust a wheelbarrow, while there are some general garages who are perfectly fine - it's effectively a matter of attitiude on the behalf of the owner and staff rather than what sign you choose to hang over the door.

As far as I know, there's nothing to stop anyone calling themselves a MB independant specialist - it's no guarantee of quality on its own.

I tend not to place too much value on people who go on and on about having X year's of experience - it tends to mean X years of repetition of one year's worth of experience!

124 works is a perfect example,, a postman one day and 124 works the next
 

Alex M Grieve

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I take if not an opposite view, perhaps at least an othogonal one. [Quelle surprise!]

I would argue that it's more important to find an honest garage with staff who really understand how cars work.

Relying purely upon previous experience to guide you to a fault is fine until you're faced with a fault or system which is entirely new to you.

There are some MB independents to whom I would not entrust a wheelbarrow, while there are some general garages who are perfectly fine - it's effectively a matter of attitude on the behalf of the owner and staff rather than what sign you choose to hang over the door.

As far as I know, there's nothing to stop anyone calling themselves a MB independent specialist - it's no guarantee of quality on its own.

The best garages and the best MB specialists are those who can really think round new problems, invest in new training and equipment, and do not simply rely on repeating their previous work.

I tend not to place too much value on people who go on and on about having X year's of experience - it tends to mean X years of repetition of one year's worth of experience!

Heartily agree with each of the points you make NC, but all else being equal, familiarity with one brand has to be advantage compared to trying to master all the vehicles available on the market.

But even if you restrict yourself to MB, the number of models and variants currently on offer is huge, which is perhaps why dealerships are less versed in older model MBs than some of the Indies.

As you say, the bottom line is having a garage you trust and in whom you have confidence.
 
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Number_Cruncher

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>>familiarity with one brand has to be advantage

I think that's definitely true.

For example, a specialist can more easily justify the purchase of special tools. The special tools allow the specialist to both quote a cheaper price for the job than the generalist AND make more profit on the work than the general garage.

One danger, perhaps, is complacency. I suspect there are many specialists who set up in business after having left a dealer's workshop only to technically stagnate thereafter.
 

Mercsmart

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Hi, if you're thinking of using an indie, Mercsmart is in Lower Darwen, nr Blackburn. Speak to Michael, he will be more than happy to assist.
 

television

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Hi, if you're thinking of using an indie, Mercsmart is in Lower Darwen, nr Blackburn. Speak to Michael, he will be more than happy to assist.

And a big welcome to you Sir,,thank you for joining :D
 

Alex Crow

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Number_Cruncher;434033 I suspect there are many specialists who set up in business after having left a dealer's workshop only to technically stagnate thereafter.[/QUOTE said:
this is a fear i have. although i do not currently work at the main dealer, i do see lots of old and new cars - perhaps i will see far fewer from jan 1st as i have handed my notice in!! needless to say, watch this space.

thinking further on with N/C's point, i know colin regularly pops in to his dealership to say hello and see what is the latest fault in the workshop. obviously this forum is also another good place to share new problems, although not necessarily with the same detail or clarity that the dealers are familiar with.

i am not overly worried though, i have always been responsible for all the fault finding and technical know how at my current employ, have learnt almost nothing from those i work with and never been sent on a training course. it has always been up to me to find things out and provide the company with technical advice. the biggest help i have had has been from the wonderful star and wis, really informative and useful. furthermore, the internet is ever mightier with ever more information to discover, but the rule of thumb is reader beware, not all that is written is correct!
 

Cole@MBS

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I am in there everyday Andy, and yes i am lucky that they are all my old work mates and we all still keep in touch,

Also i still have a load of good mates who still work on 24hr side, so training papers and latest fixes etc all end up my way!!

I agree with what Number Cruncher said tho, i bet theres a ton of "old school" techs out there who find it hard with the new stuff!!
 
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