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MISSION STATEMENT

What is an automobile? Is it a mode of transportation, or is it an object that defines our personality and who we are? For most of us, it is a combination of both. However, there are variables that influence the decision about which make and model we will drive. The cost of acquisition and maintenance, in most cases, is the limiting factor. Often times, the maintenance consideration is neglected. Our objective is to educate and provide a facility which makes owning a high calibre vehicle, such as Mercedes, possible.

 Blog 
Friday, August 31 2012

Even for the well educated, shopping online and simultaneously being an informed consumer can prove quite difficult.  Recently while surveying a Mercedes part's website for air mass meters, I was presented with three different choices.  I assumed one was rebuilt (not a great idea), one was OE (since it was more expensive), and I believed the third to be an aftermarket part.  Bosch of course is the OE manufacturer Air Mass Meters (AMM), and over the years I have bought them in factory boxes, Bosch Boxes, and by purchasing the inserts.  I have also purchased aftermarket AMM with limited success, so buyers beware if you are so inclined...

Recently I received a sales catalogue from the Far East with different electronic components, one of which was an air mass insert.  My cost--$9.00!  The point is, to get a quality product you must trust the vendor, you must be somewhat informed, and you must realize that there is a vast difference between quality and price among parts.  Obviously a part in a Mercedes box is the best, but oftentimes the same quality can be realized from the OE manufacturer.  Today most parts are being manufactured where costs are lower for labor; China (of course), Mexico (large percentage of ML parts), Turkey, Brazil, India, along with others.  We see a lot of suspension components from China and the quality will never be as good as the OE, even though the OE is manufactured to a lesser degree in the Far East.  Among Mercedes parts you generally want to look for manufacturers such as: Bosch, Behr, Bilstein, Lemforder, Siemens, Ate, Girling, Zimmerman, Jurid, Pagid, Hella, and Beru.  There are others, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment.  SO--what can you take away from this discourse?  In short: price is not the main factor in buying your parts.  Trade with someone who is reliable, service oriented, and has knowledge of the parts.  Make sure you provide your VIN # and deal with a reliable vendor, preferably one you can talk to in person. 

Posted by: Lauren AT 04:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 31 2012
We have a lost generation of people who want to work in this country.  That generation, my son's generation, encompasses the last 25-30 years.  It is a generation of Nintendo, MTV, and doting parents who have spoiled them.  There is no work ethic here.  This was a generation of easy money, instant gratification, and a focus upon whatever "feels good."  We have no workers who want to do the dirty, hot, backbreaking jobs held by previous cohorts and consequently, this void is being filled by individuals who have no training or aptitude for the task at hand.  We live in an era where all decisions are price driven.  The lowest price wins, no matter the qualifications, competence, or experience that is available.  I am astounded at the people who entrust their Mercedes to incompetent individuals based solely on price considerations.  People, not mechanics, are doing repairs now and they have absolutely no qualifications to be doing so.  At The Benz Store we consistently see situations that have been exacerbated due to the incompetence of unqualified "mechanics."  To work on a newer Mercedes Benz, one must have access to the latest diagnostic software along with mechanics who are trained and have experience to correctly utilize and interpret diagnostic information.  These cars are not "tuned up," they are maintained and repaired as necessary.  For every Mercedes Benz owner whose vehicle is out of warranty, it is incumbent that they find a good MB independent who is qualified, honest, and charges a fair price.  If price is not a factor, then take your Benz to the dealer, otherwise find a good, independent repair facility. 

 

Posted by: Lauren AT 09:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 30 2012

How many times over the years have we heard these wonderful words: “Of course everything works”!  Until of course, it doesn’t…and when it comes to vehicles that are 15 years old and not well serviced; things are particularly prone to quit working.  It seems to happen oftentimes when the car is brought in for service and ironically when the car is picked up.  I don’t know how much of this is contrived or coincidence, but I would be willing to bet on the former.  The last instance occurred when a 1993 Benz was brought in for an erratic high idle.  An air mass meter solved the problem, but when the customer picked the car up, he complained that the oil pressure gauge was not working. We quickly pointed out that a defective starter harness was noted on the repair order and was most likely the cause of the gauge malfunction.  Regardless, the customer was adamant that the gauge had been working and that the performed repair had somehow fried the gauge.  The burden of proof is always on the repair facility and it is therefore incumbent that a shop notes all possible defects (although the customer may not be paying for the extra time) and brings these concerns to the owner’s attention to avoid any problems or issues of liability. This portrays the customer in a somewhat negative light, but it unfortunately happens more often than not.  I contend that there is a direct relationship between the socialization of this country and what the customer believes they are entitled to for free.  Today, for example, a customer for whom we had recently replaced a blower regulator called the shop because her check engine light came on 2 days after the repair.  Despite having noted that this light was on when her vehicle came in originally, she continued to insist that it must have been a result of the work we had done!  I tried to convey that these two events were unconnected; however, I may as well have been beating my head against a wall.  I suppose you have to be tough to survive—keep the good customers and cut your losses with the dysfunctional ones.  I’d rather count inventory…

Posted by: Lauren AT 03:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 20 2012
Mercedes had wiring harness problems from 1993-1995 on ALL models.  If you own or are considering the purchase of a model that falls within this time frame, please be advised to do your due diligence.  Exactly why these problems were present and why Mercedes would not acknowledge them in a recall is still a mystery to me.  I have heard rumors, but none seem to make sense.  The insulation on the wiring of the engine harness, the starter harness, and the wiring for the throttle actuators seem to be the most affected.  It appears this problem is catalyzed by heat since we do not see the same problem occur on the chassis harnesses.  However we do see this problem in mirrors and headlight assemblies for later year models.  Obviously Mercedes Benz of North America realized this was an issue early on from the large number of harness and throttle actuators being replaced prematurely as a potential warranty issue (i.e. a car with less than 60K and/or less than 3 years old).  I bought a salvage 1995 Mercedes Benz wagon with 10K and these harnesses were defective.  In my opinion, this poses a major safety issue, one necessitating a manufacturer’s recall, but one was never issued.  If you own one of these cars and the harness is original, be prepared to buy a new one in the near future—a purchase that is not cheap by any means! Most cars from this generation have already had these harnesses replaced, but do not assume so.  Get a good, independent shop to perform an analysis as part of a pre-purchase inspection.  Sometimes the insulation, especially on the ETA, must be cut through in order to inspect the wiring.  
Posted by: AT 04:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 20 2012
If you are buying or considering purchasing a used Mercedes Benz, it cannot be stressed enough to do your due diligence regarding the car you are buying in order to reveal all potential problems beforehand.  It is amazing how many people want their car inspected after it has been purchased, oftentimes forcing us to break the bad news.  Especially given the current economic environment, I am a firm believer that if an individual owns a good car that has been properly maintained and has very little needed repairs then he (or she) will keep it!  If you are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, please get a CARFAX report and get a reputable, non-biased Mercedes repair facility to do a pre-purchase inspection.  As a repair facility we will perform an inspection for $80, which includes a test drive, full visual and short test via the Mercedes Benz diagnostic system.  Mercedes specialists know what to look for, so you must take it to them!  This can be the best money you will spend, so make arrangements with the seller to do so.  Individual shops want to do the PPO because they have the potential to acquire a new customer.  With the knowledge acquired by you, the potential buyer, a pre-purchase inspection can prove an excellent bargaining chip in negotiating price with the seller.   

 

Posted by: AT 03:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 20 2012
Just as the apparel industry has left this country and most manufacturing jobs are gone, because we can no longer compete against cheap offshore labor, the position of the good independent mechanic is soon to go by the wayside. Technicians who are competent and conscientious and who want to do a good job are slowly, but surely, disappearing from the automotive scene. They are being replaced by individuals who do not have the training, the tools, or the desire to do a professional job. Their main objective is a quick buck, no matter the outcome.  Day after day, we see the results of incompetence, malfeasance and just wanting to rip off the customer.  Most of the blame can be directly placed on the shoulders of the individual consumer, those who take their vehicle to a shop without performing due diligence.  All jobs are price driven (i.e. how much), but there must be a positive outcome from their experience, or money is simply being thrown away.  My advice: develop a positive relationship with a good independent shop, one that will stand behind their repairs, and trust them. By developing a relationship of trust there will be no need to haggle with estimates, especially since good shops will not negotiate fair prices.  Don’t ask to use parts you have purchased online or on eBay, because good shops will not do it as they have no legitimate means to ensure these parts!  If you do not feel you are being treated fairly or that you have been overcharged, I suggest speaking to the service writer and getting an explanation.  If you are still unsatisfied, then you may want to look for another repair facility that you feel confident in both their technical competence and fair pricing. 
Posted by: AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 20 2012
It is often perplexing why customers would ask this question.  Being able to discern the reason for a particular problem with a car is arguably the most important ability a technician possesses.  To do this accurately, he (or she) must rely upon years of experience, deductive reasoning, the correct diagnostic software, and intuition.  The diagnostic equipment alone costs thousands of dollars rather than the $100 scanners used by most automotive chains.  The technician must be able to retrieve the fault codes, interpret them, and run the appropriate diagnostic tests in order to confirm the validity of the fault.  We have seen numerous attempts by mechanics to throw parts and labor at a particular problem in an effort to quickly solve it, but to no avail.  I guess these mechanic diagnostic charges were free...and after all, you get what you pay for. 

I am amused by people who think computers fix cars and expect that simply hooking it up to the vehicle will indicate exactly what is wrong and how to proceed.  Computers do not fix cars, qualified technicians do.  Being a good technician is not easy; if it were, anyone could do it, but it seems that does not deter everyone from trying!

  

Posted by: AT 02:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

The Benz Store specializes in the early mechanical speedometers, and early electronic S-Class 1981 and newer and SL Models starting in 1981 thru 1995 on most models. 

 Mechanical repair $75.00/Exchange.

Electronic $95.00/Exchange and the correct mileage it provides.

2 Day Turnaround. Email any questions.

The Benz-Store
4321-C Buford HWY | Chamblee, GA 30341 | Phone: 800.631.4170 | Email: Ken@Benz-Store.com
 
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