First, it would cost a fortune because there are a ton of things to look at. And I'd have to rent a rack. And I don't own a STAR
diagnostic box. And unless the car runs like a top forever, there's a chance someone could come back and say, "This heap of junk you
inspected died on me in the middle of nowhere" - despite the fact that the guy complaining about my inspection has owned the car for
three years and never had it serviced.
No, someone else is who you want inspecting your car. If I inspected it, I'd give it the once over and drop it at a Mercedes-Dealer with
my list. You'd pay me five bills, the dealer would charge me two, and I'd make three for my trouble. The three is probably more
trouble than it's worth, so why don't you take my ever growing list and see a dealer about the inspection? Or better yet, buy a CPO
Benz with a 100K mile warrantee.
- Check the driveshaft, flex discs, couplings, and center support bearings
- A complete exhaust inspection, connections, odd welds, supports, cats mufflers and tubing.
- The parking brake and cables.
- Check the brake lines
- Tire wear (including the spare)
- Check the condition of the brake rotors and pads, noting the thickness.
- Shock absorbers/ struts
- Self-leveling suspension, if applicable
- Front and rear rubber suspension mounts and bushings
- Steering play
- Steering gear bolts
- Ball joints
- Steering damper
- Check the speedometer, odometers (make sure they match and yes, some Mercedes-Benz vehicles do have more than one) and trip meter.
- Check all dash instruments, clock, illumination, and dimmer control.
- Check the side view mirrors (including fold back if equipped), rear view mirror, and the auto dimming feature of all mirrors.
- Road test and rack check paying special attention to the steering, handling, and whether the steering wheel is centered
- HVAC function and display test
- Cruise control check that includes all functions; setting, accelerating, decelerating, resume and off.
- Check the Distronic, if equipped
- Does the engine smoke? Pass smog? Have normal power? Odd noises?
- Does the suspension vibrate or make odd noises?
- Function check of the transmission (upshift & downshift quality)
- Does the shift lock work?
- Is there a normal amount of wind noise
- Rack check for structural damage and evidence of repairs
- Check whether the recalls and service campaigns have been done.
- Dealer maintenance history, review the service booklet.
- Do all the keys work (including wheel locks)?
- Check the electronics and telematics, if applicable
- Use a STAR box to check for stored codes
- Engine oil level and appearance.
- Transmission oil level and appearance
- Rear axle oil level and appearance.
- Transfer case and front axle oils appearance and level, if applicable
- Engine coolant level and appearance
- Power steering fluid level and appearance
- Brake fluid and clutch fluid (if equipped) levels and appearance
- Windshield washer fluid level and appearance
- Level control oil, ADS, ASD, 4MATIC fluid level and appearance, if applicable
- Visually inspect the throttle linkage.
- Ensure the emission control systems are in place and functional (and doesn't fail the smog test)
- Compression test (optional but preferred)
- Check the fuel, ignition, and wiring system routing.
- If it's a diesel, check to ensure the glow plugs function, the vacuum pump works, and if there is evidence of an oil leak in the vacuum lines.
- If the car has an adjustable injection pump, check the timing.
- If it's turbocharged or has a supercharger, check the boost level.
- Check the condition of the drive belts (accessory and supercharger)
- Check the engine mounts.
- Is there a dust filter and what condition is it in?
- Check for evidence of a repaint and body work.
- Check all lights and the condition of all the lenses.
- Check the central locking system, trunk lock.
- Check the alarm system.
- Check the power windows (including with the keys)
- Check the condition of the dash, door panels, seats, wood, and glass.
- Is the first aid kit there? Is it complete?
- Check the power seats; heating, cooling, all adjustments, memory and whether the rear seats fold. Check the headrests. Ensure the seat
belts are present, their condition, whether they work, and adjust properly. Check the roll bar pop-up.
- Check the front armrest and drink holders.
- Check all sun visors and vanity mirrors
- If equipped with Parktronic, does it function normally?
- On a cab, check the soft top, the condition of the seals and whether the top functions normally.
- If it has a removable hard top, install and remove it. Check the seals. Ensure the tool kit is present.
- If equipped, check the door & trunk closing assist, including the station wagon tailgate closing assist
- Visually inspect the door and trunk seals and drains
- Check the sunroof function, the drains, and headliner. Check the glass roof for scratches. If it has Pano, check the rollo shades. Check
the rear sunshade.
- Are the fuses present and do the ratings match the charts by the fuse boxes?
- Check all features of the entertainment system (radio, satellite radio, all speakers, fader, balance, CD, telephone, voice control, the
NAV unit - everything).
- Check the cigarette lighters
- Check all switchgear for function, feel, and illumination.
- Check the steering column adjustment and memory
- Check the rear window defroster.
- Check the horn
- Check the wiper/washer system including the condition of the wiper inserts and the headlamp cleaning system
- Ensure the trunk mat is in place, along with the spare tire, tools & jack.
- Does the interior smell? Is it moist anywhere?
- Lift the mats and check the condition of the carpets.
- Inspect the chrome, the grill, and the bumpers.
- Are all the badges in place? Are there any badges that do not belong on the car?
- Lastly, ask the owner if they have service receipts and check to see if the mileage and dates in those receipts matches what the
warrantee booklet says should have been done, and when. Then call the shop where most of the work was done and ask if they've
ever worked on the car you're considering. If they don't remember the car, that's OK. Many people won't remember or
possibly think you're there to bug them about some warrantee they aren't going to honor.