There are three MB dealers in Atlanta
I was wrong, there are five MB dealers in Atlanta. Sheesh.
Anyway, just got back from MB Buckhead. I had a very pleasant 30 minute meeting with their warranty rep. Here's a summary:
To have a "real" MB warranty, you must have purchased the car from an MB dealer while the car is under the original factory warranty. A CPO car gets re-set and an MB warranty is added and can be extended. I purchased my car from an independent dealer (saving several thousand dollars I might add) and even though I am still under the original factory warranty, I can't extend the MB warranty. I am sure that other dealers around the world might be persuaded to bend the rules or offer different deals, that's that way it stands here.
So: I can buy a third party warranty. I checked with four of the five local dealers, as well as my bank, and some independent agents. Prices varied from $2k for a couple more years and 20k more miles to <drum roll> $8500 for a comprehensive EasyCare warranty marketed by RBM of Atlanta, giving me 85k total miles and another 4 years.
My new-to-me sedan has 47k miles, and is just over three years off delivery, giving me a couple thousand miles and about 8 months of the original factory coverage. I've has the car inspected three times: by the seller, an independent mechanic, and by MB Buckhead with no faults or issues found.
I manged to get two different MB service techs to give me a "private and confidential" summary of good warranty companies. Initially, neither was eager to do so, as their own dealerships sell third-party products, but after some gentle persuasion, they both told me their views. Both agreed that Warrantech, Mercury, EasyCare, and Safe-Guard are good companies. Both also listed several others that were worthless in their view.
I can get the Warrantech plan from the independent dealer from whom I purchased the car for about $3k for 48 mos and 85k total miles. Safe-Guard (from MB Buckhead) runs $4k for 4 years/100k miles....
Everything has both a cost and a value. Those are not always the same amount, and typically vary from person to person. Peace of mind has a value. But that even varies from person to person. For example, someone whose SLK is their only car could put great value in having ready pre-paid maintenance and a waiting loaner. Someone with a garage full of cars might not place as high a value on those things and be completely willing to have the car out of service for a time or perform repair work at home.
For me, just having the Star on the hood provides some peace of mind. My 550 has gone over 47k miles without a hitch (I have the complete service records...). As I sit contemplating both the cost and the value of the above warranties, I have considered several different things:
1. $3k out of pocket is just that, out of pocket. Should I never need the warranty, I'm ahead $3k forever.
2. If I buy the warranty, it really adds to my bottom-line cost of the car. I only spent $28.5k for it, and the NADA retail value is shown at $36.9, with average trade-in at $29.8. If I decide to trade the car for an SL in a couple of years, I can probably get everything I have in the car. If I add another 3-4k to the cost, maybe not.
3. If I get hit with a $5k repair sometime in the next few years, in my warped view, I'm only out $2k. I still have the $3k I'd have spent on the warranty, so I'd only have to cough up the difference. And I really don't expect to need a repair. I still have been unable to find anyone needing any extensive repairs on late model E Class sedans. The 2007 has a superb reputation for reliability. Consumer Reports lists it as a "most-desired" car.
4. If I do run into a problem, the costs of repairs quoted by warranty sales is usually the cost for OEM parts and work done by dealer-employed factory-trained service techs. My local indy mechanic is a retired MB tech, and he has all the proper diagnostic machines and tools. His labor rate is a bit less than the dealers, and he can buy parts from multiple sources, for lower prices. Even OEM parts can be had for less money on the internet that that charged by local dealers. I can have my routine and preventative maintenance performed by MB Buckhead, but if I need a new strut, I can have that installed by the local guy. I figure that should keep my repair costs considerably lower than quoted...
5. I can do quite a few things myself. My labor rate is VERY low!
As you can see, I'm leaning towards self-insuring. I still have 2000 miles and 6 months to decide.
I respect both those of you who like having the warranty and those of you who do not.
I'd still like suggestions or considerations that I may have missed or omitted. Should I buy a warranty, I'm leaning towards Warrantech.
And I'm still looking for some first-hand reports of warranty claims.