Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Eastern US
Vehicle: 2005 SLK 350
Other Toys: H20 V-Dubs, MK1s
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 410 Post(s)
Thanked 67 Times in 67 Posts
I would: stick with dealers over individuals over long distance (5-6 hr drive). In any case, obtain VIN. No VIN, no go. Buy and use Carfax to check vehicle history. Ask dealers to provide Carfax. Make them think your decision will be contingent on it. Use AutoTrader.com. Look at Craiglist. BEWARE OF SCAMMERS! Read and follow the "Avoid Scams" sections of those websites. Don't go anywhere alone and try to meet in public places in liue of someone's home. Remove all jewelry and don't take any plastic or cash. Obtain data card from Jeffie so you know what options the car should have, and then verify whether those options are functional. If not-leverage time baby. If buying a 171 use VIN to check whether balance shaft sprocket may be an issue. 172 has other potential issue (cam shaft sprocket??). Ask for service records. Look for evidence of oil change history.
I was fortunate. I found the car on Craiglist. Communicated extensively with owner and to the extent possible and verified he was the actual person he claimed to be. I basically agreed on price sight unseen but took a cashiers check which I was prepared to rip Up. I suppose I could have taken multiple checks for the purpose of haggling but I am not that person. DON'T TAKE CASH! I sent him bank info for the check (with personal info blacked out) which he verified. Luckily I had Found a buyer (Craiglist) for my deer destroyed (total loss) MX5 in the same city. Drove it 4.5 hrs from home, bought the SLK, then sold the Miata later that day. The first (only) owner of the SLK was kind enough to let me use his plates for the drive home, then I mailed them back. It can be done but I stress take every precaution possible. The number of fools is infinite, and the perverse are hard to correct.
Also important: be patient and take your time-get the car you want. If I had it to do over again (which I will), I would be sitting on an 8 cylinder rather than the six. Still I'm very, very happy and thankful that it worked out as well as it did.
God's Speed and good luck! Post your progress please for those of us who enjoy this forum!