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$4k in warranty work on 2011 E550 92k miles

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E-Class (W212) 2010 - 2016: E 350, E 550

$4k in warranty work on 2011 E550 92k miles

 
Old 01-02-2019, 05:49 PM
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2011 E550 P2 4M Sedan
$4k in warranty work on 2011 E550 92k miles

When I dropped my 2011 E550 off for regular maintenance at 92k miles (A service and brake flush), the SA offered the normal multi-point inspection and asked about any issues since last year. Wanting to be thorough, I told him about some things I had noticed over the last 12 months so that they could be sure to check during their inspection.
  • Rear air springs – after returning from a 4 day trip, I do as I always do after the car sits for a long time and check the height on my wheel wells. Everything seemed normal - about 26.5 inches from garage floor to the top of the wheel wells at all 4 corners on the comfort setting. I didn’t use the car or even open a door that day. The next day I come out and the rear has dropped about 2-3 inches on each side. The fronts were still holding. So the rear springs held for 4 days but dropped on the 5th day. When I started the car, the rear rose up to the normal height and held. Since then, I haven’t seen any drop but the car hasn’t sat for more than a day. I wasn’t very concerned about this now but I know these will eventually go bad and drop more frequently so I wanted an assessment of their current state.
  • Motor and transmission mounts – I had noticed that when cranking the engine you can feel a shift in your seat. Other than that there was no excessive vibration while revving or driving. Given the age and mileage of the car, I expected the mounts would be showing signs of wear and eventually need to be changed, but it didn’t seem urgent to me.
  • Oil level warning – I had gotten a message a couple of times over the last month to check oil at next refueling. I checked both times and the oil level was just above the minimum mark so I didn’t add any. This seemed normal to me as the car eats some oil between changes. There were no signs of leaks.
  • Windshield washer fluid warning – I told him about this to make sure they refill it. I hadn’t noticed any leaking and hadn’t refilled it all year so it was all normal use.

The SA said they would look everything over and asked if I had an extended warranty. I told him about my CarMax extended warranty and he commented they work with them all the time and they would call me with what they found. It was mid-day on Saturday so they ended up keeping my car over the weekend and said they would call Monday with an update.

After not hearing all day Monday (Christmas Eve), I called right before they closed and the SA shared that they already submitted a warranty claim for work on the rear springs, motor and transmission mounts, oil level sensor, and windshield washer. I found it odd that they wouldn’t call me first and go over the items to repair. At any rate, the warranty company was going to send out an inspector and that would happen Wednesday or Thursday. The SA said he would update me after that but he didn’t call. So on Friday, I called and the SA told me all the work was approved the day before and the parts had just come in. On Monday, the cashier called (first time they called me) to let me know the car was done.

When I arrived to get the car the SA was already gone for the day (it was New Year’s Eve). They tried to get someone else to go over the repairs with me but only the service manager was available and he was not familiar with the details. The SA was supposed to call me today but that didn’t happen (big surprise). I just find it odd that they would do this much work and not communicate better.At any rate, here is the breakdown on the $4,136 in work done:
  • ‘Oil level sensor malfunction’, replace sensor $635 - $599 labor and $36 parts.
  • ‘Seals and grommets on washer tank/pump deteriorated and leaking’, remove, replace and reseal $231 - $205 labor and $26 parts
  • ‘Rear air springs collapsed and leaking’, replace both $1,918 - $788 labor and $1,130 parts
  • ‘Motor and transmission mounts collapsed’, replace $1,352 - $898 labor and $454 parts

If/when I get more details on the repairs and what they found I will share the details but all I have are these little snippets on the invoice. Some of this seems like overkill based on the symptoms I detailed earlier but I don’t know what they found when they looked further.

Needless to say this puts me over the top on my CarMax warranty (6 year 100k miles coverage for $3,079 with $300 deductible). I had a previous repair done for the comand knob and headlight assembly that cost $2,550 (not including my deductible). Adding $3,836 ($4,136 less my $300 deductible) for this work brings the total work paid by warranty to $6,386.

On a side note, my dash cam did capture some clips of the repair or at least what I could see under the hood from the angle of the cam. The service tech working on it seemed very professional and thorough.
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raja777m (01-02-2019)
Old 01-02-2019, 05:55 PM
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Warranty scams are more popular than we would know, so I will not even go there.
One of MB technician in other topic spilled that MB repairmen are not allowed to suggest any repair on cars under warranty, so I think you get the inspection offer on their assumption that you don't have warranty and later that become subject to warranty carrier inspection.
But when you might not agree on the principals, what do you care? You have bunch of new parts in the car, needed or not, but since you did not pay for them, who gives?
Only chance is that you next warranty premium will be much higher.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kajtek1 View Post
Warranty scams are more popular than we would know, so I will not even go there.
One of MB technician in other topic spilled that MB repairmen are not allowed to suggest any repair on cars under warranty, so I think you get the inspection offer on their assumption that you don't have warranty and later that become subject to warranty carrier inspection.
But when you might not agree on the principals, what do you care? You have bunch of new parts in the car, needed or not, but since you did not pay for them, who gives?
Only chance is that you next warranty premium will be much higher.
I had read that comment too. Perhaps that mantra only applies when it is the factory warranty. I recall another SA telling me about the faded wood and how they weren't allowed to mention it to customers even if they noticed it when checking in car. My complaint is mostly about the SA - it's still my car no matter who pays and in my opinion I should know what's going on.
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raja777m (01-02-2019)
Old 01-02-2019, 06:15 PM
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Well, you chose well on the warranty. Many more happy miles with all of that new gear in there! Time for a long road trip.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thefisch View Post
I..... it's still my car no matter who pays and in my opinion I should know what's going on.
They still ask you for permission to do inspection, don't they?
When I took my W212 specifically for SCN sensor coding, without asking me they performed courtesy inspection and gladly presented me with about $5300 quote for "recommended work".
I saved the paper for the kicks. The only thing that was really bad were boots on sway links.
Cost me $5 in aftermarket parts to fix.
I read your quote and was tempted to pull calculator. From top of my head they put about $500 of parts, yet they cleaned warranty for over 4 grands.
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:00 PM
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So I finally had a chance to get with the SA to get into the details of the repair. There wasn't much additional info but I thought I'd share the most relevant tidbits.

Rear air springs - they ran a leak test and identified that the driver side rear was leaking. They were able to get the warranty to cover both sides on the rear which we said was unusual - while they recommend both sides get done at the same time, the warranty companies often only fix the side with the failure. The good news is the compressor, front springs and other parts all checked out. Although it will just be a matter of time before the fronts go I suspect.

Oil level sensor - since they found the car had adequate oil despite the 'check oil at next refueling' message, they ran a diagnostic and tried to actuate the switch and it didn't respond properly. So that led to the replacement.

Windshield washer fluid - he said it leaked on them when they filled it but I hadn't noticed a leak previously. Oh well.
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:28 AM
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If you got the new parts like kajtek said...you only paid the $300 for totally new parts, what the dealer does with the warranty company is between them.

Quick funny story,

I had a 2010 Audi A6 that went in for the Takata Airbag recall. Yes it was still not C/W when I purchased but spilled milk now. The work order was 1. Takata recall 2. MMI Software and NAV update. 3. Cut and reprogram a new key...selling dealer only had one or so they say.

Drop off Thursday, they put me in service loaner and move on with my day. The next morning I get a estimate of not $800 for MMI/NAV update and key but $8000 for suspension work. I declined pending further research and by that I mean someone cheaper.

I wait for them to call and they never did until the following Monday and then proceed to tell me that the Key Fob and NAV update memory card has to be shipped from Germany, Again I tell them to keep in their custody until the new parts arrive estimated Wednesday of that week. Thursday comes along still no update so I drive to dealership and ask for update. S/A advises that my $400 key estimate went to $800 just for the key fob plus another $400 for the MMI/NAV update. I ask to speak to service manager and he happened to be working a advisors desk when I cam in for original quote and remembered me. Basically owned up the price misquote so honored the $435 and $400 for MMI/NAV. He asked if they could have a few more hours and would get installed that day. I tell him grab the service loaned and send me back out. A week later it was finally finished and the prices were honored and even managed the %10 military discount.

Moral of the story.... two actually.

When I went to pick up after the recall, MMI/NAV and second key he asked me about the suspension items. He said I needed $8000 worth of suspension work....I replied...NO NO NO...my friend. I probably need about $3000 worth of work that you are charging me $8000 for. I left after that ant no further issues. I am not disputing that the work was not needed, just the dealer price.

Always get at least two estimates preferably three...With a dealer estimate I would get three independent garage estimates in addition to the dealers.


I have also heard that Mercedes dealers will demand to change the entire suspension even if it just one piece. If one Airmatic spring leaks they will insist on replacing all four corners to avoid possibility of coming back for the other one failing soon.

SIDEBAR: I had purchased a 2018 Explorer during the time the Audi was in the shop. The dealer needed for a couple of days to install the Clear Bra and sent me in a loaner Expedition. With the overlapping loaners I was driving one of the loaners around for about a month keeping about 2K of mileage off my Explorer so not a total loss.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 2011E350 View Post
I have also heard that Mercedes dealers will demand to change the entire suspension even if it just one piece. If one Airmatic spring leaks they will insist on replacing all four corners to avoid possibility of coming back for the other one failing soon.
My Best or Nothing dealer found out I need to replace the driver side strut which cracked at 43k under normal usage, they didn't even look at the other side. I had to take it back to them within a month or so to do the other side.
Good thing is, they gave me loaner, waived the part fee and asked me to pay the labor only. which came around 850$ in total for both struts.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 2011E350 View Post
If you got the new parts like kajtek said...you only paid the $300 for totally new parts, what the dealer does with the warranty company is between them.
Yup, $500 in new parts for $300 isn't a bad deal. But considering my limited DIY skills, if it were on my dime and not an extended warranty, I would have not done it. All the symptoms were intermittent at best and I could have lived with them until I sold the car. Just would have meant selling it sooner rather than later.

That is a crazy story about the suspension for $8k and them holding your car hostage while they jack up the prices. That's one of the reasons I am grateful for this forum and the members. Researching repairs and sharing estimates for feedback helps us customers to be better prepared and not get ripped off.

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Old 01-17-2019, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by thefisch View Post
Yup, $500 in new parts for $300 isn't a bad deal. But considering my limited DIY skills, if it were on my dime and not an extended warranty, I would have not done it. All the symptoms were intermittent at best and I could have lived with them until I sold the car. Just would have meant selling it sooner rather than later.

That is a crazy story about the suspension for $8k and them holding your car hostage while they jack up the prices. That's one of the reasons I am grateful for this forum and the members. Researching repairs and sharing estimates for feedback helps us customers to be better prepared and not get ripped off.
Glad you got it fixed.
It looks like these Stealership guys are out for blood, I've never seen more unrealistic labor quotes than in the above posts. I know driving a 3 pointed star (or the 4 circles) vehicle demands a premium but still, 4k+ for labor and 500 for parts sounds like a scam. I will be avoiding them like the plague.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:46 PM
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Warranty for air suspension cost me 0 because I know they fail and that's one of the reasons I specifically went for the 2012+ model WITHOUT air suspension. Not to mention Biturbo engine Easy way to avoid the inevitable $2K repair bill. Interesting that the mounts went that early.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:32 PM
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The Fisch said

[color=left=#333333]That is a crazy story about the suspension for $8k and them holding your car hostage while they jack up the prices. That's one of the reasons I am grateful for this forum and the members. Researching repairs and sharing estimates for feedback helps us customers to be better prepared and not get ripped off.[/color]
To Clarify, I did not take the work. I took the MMI/MAP update, key fob and left. I wound up selling a week ago and didn't touch the suspension. I took drivers wheel off to replace the windshield washer pump but after that just ran it as normal until sold.
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