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Old 08-05-2010, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
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Default Are European cars not long term reliable?

Are European cars like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi not long term reliable? I see plenty of older American and Japanese cars on the roads, I see a few Volkswagens, but hardly ever any other European brands pre-2003.

Last weekend, I was driving home from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on I-15 and saw quite a few BMWs, Audis and Mercedes broken down in the middle of the desert as my Nissan Altima, and countless other US and Japanese cars flew by at 85-90 mph! Did not see one US or Japanese car on the side of the road

Are these expensive European cars not that reliable or what?
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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I would not say that. I would say alot of the owners who buy 10-15 year old flagship luxury cars can't afford the $$$ for proper maintenance. a car that costs $70K-$80K brand new cost alot for repairs when it get's into the 200K mile range and major parts start to go it means big repair bills that tend to be dealer dependant.

trust me getting a new tranny for a BMW 760IL or mecedes E-class from a dealership is not going to be cheap.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Its where there was not as many sold when new. Also like GTO said, parts are higher for these... many hit the salvage yards instead of always getting repaired.

The 80s Mercedes were some of the most reliable cars on the road. I had an 85 380SE in 2006 with 293K miles. Original drivetrain - everything still worked. I had an 84 190D with 160K, still ran perfect. Now have a 88 300SEL with 162K, perfect working order. There are some ragged out cars out there... lack of maintainence really.

The 80s Volvos, especially the 240 series were really solid cars too.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennesseestorm View Post
Its where there was not as many sold when new. Also like GTO said, parts are higher for these... many hit the salvage yards instead of always getting repaired.

The 80s Mercedes were some of the most reliable cars on the road. I had an 85 380SE in 2006 with 293K miles. Original drivetrain - everything still worked. I had an 84 190D with 160K, still ran perfect. Now have a 88 300SEL with 162K, perfect working order. There are some ragged out cars out there... lack of maintainence really.

The 80s Volvos, especially the 240 series were really solid cars too.
yeah I would say the older luxury cars of the 70's and 80's were very solid and independant mechanics could work on them but in the late 90's early 00's they really went to some gimicky stuff which not many people could fix or find parts for without going to the dealer and thats when they got expensive to own.

not to mention alot of these newer high-end cars were leased and the people that leased them tended to neglect basic stuff because they were going to trade up in a few years anyways really gave them a hard life.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:18 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Yeah, starting in 1988, the BMW 7-Series became a rather complex car... starting in 1992, the Mercedes S-Class became very complex, whereas the 81-91 Mercedes S-Class sedans were really actually simple cars to most peoples surprise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
yeah I would say the older luxury cars of the 70's and 80's were very solid and independant mechanics could work on them but in the late 90's early 00's they really went to some gimicky stuff which not many people could fix or find parts for without going to the dealer and thats when they got expensive to own.

not to mention alot of these newer high-end cars were leased and the people that leased them tended to neglect basic stuff because they were going to trade up in a few years anyways really gave them a hard life.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:39 AM
 
13,569 posts, read 14,786,130 times
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It has as much to do with rarity as anything else. The Euro luxury brands simply sell far fewer cars in the U.S. than the domestic and Asian brands.

As for reliability I have generally found that the cars are very mechanically reliable as long as they are maintained. The issues tend to creep up with the electronics that started to get ingrained into these cars in the '90's. I would venture that 99 times out of 100 a breakdown on an older Euro luxury car is do to electronics or lack of maintenace by someone who may be the third owner. As PP's have pointed out it takes a decent amount of cash to properly maintain and service an older high end luxury car. Often times people buy them used as higher mileage for the image or status, but lack the knowledge or money to keep the car maintained.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Pikesville, MD
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Hmm. my daily driver is a 180k mile BMW 740iL. I'm part of a rather large community of owners of this era 7 series, and finding them with over 200-250k miles is common. Of course, they DO take proper maintenance to get to that mileage, as well as a willingness to search out better parts sources than the dealer and either good independent mechanics or roll up your sleeves and DIY (which can save you thousands of dollars).

But to give you an example, my car was purchased at 143k miles almost 4 years ago, and in that time has cost me just over $1500 in repairs and maintenance (the latest was a AC service and recharge that I wanted the dealer to do to not just recharge it but to go though it and look for leaks AND clean out the system. I decided that it was $250 well spent). I find that quite acceptable for a 12 year old luxury car that is so rewarding to drive.

I will say this, if you don't understand the concept of preventative maintenance, and let things go bcause you're cheap, AND you have to have a dealer do any repair work that comes up becaeu you can't do any work yourself, a car like this CAN become an unreliable money pit fast due to the complexity of it and the high labor costs for a dealer to do any repairs. What might cost a DIY person $150 in parts and a saturday afternoon in labor can run into the thousands of dollars at the dealer real fast.

But there are a lot of them around on the roads still:







midatlantic7s
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:24 AM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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That's surprising you saw that many European luxury cars out there. When I was driving around in the deserts of AZ, I hardly saw any cars of any make on the road.

My BMW Z4 has been very reliable. At 100k miles, it's only had the electric motor for the soft top fail and a door lock actuator fail and the electrochromatic paste in the rearview mirror burst out in the extreme heat. Engine is perfect. Clutch is still going strong. Gearbox is still the same as when I got it at 30k. Maintenance is a breeze so long as you're careful (so far I've just discovered DIY joy, and have done my own brakes, and am getting ready to do my own pre-cat O2 sensors).

I just think there aren't that many deserts in Europe so they don't design to them. Which is surprising because many loyal customers are in Saudi and the middle east.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:35 AM
 
10,454 posts, read 6,856,382 times
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My wife is on her second Audi A6. She had the first one for 6 years and it ran fine. The reason she traded it in for a new one was cost of maintenance. Where I can get my 98 Mustang serviced at the local shop and they do a fine job at a reasonable price, she has to take hers to an Audi dealer and pay top dollar. As the car gets older, the costs go up.

Her new Audi is a fine piece of engineering. It really is a superb machine. But, boy, is it sensitive. You have to put premium gas in it and one hiccup and you get lights coming on. Still, its her money.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:49 AM
 
12,897 posts, read 5,674,557 times
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as the others have said, the higher end euro cars are very expensive to maintain. for instance way back in 1983 i had the chance to get a good deal on a used mercedes that had some major engine issues. i inquired as to the price of a remanufactured engine and i was told that no such animal existed, and that a new engine would be about $7000. needless to say i have avoided buying high end euro cars ever since.
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