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Please De-Lease me, Let me go.

This car drove me around the Benz


The car that drove me around the Benz

It’s over. I finally got rid of our Mercedes CLA250 after it’s three year lease end. Multiple attempts by MB to get me into a new lease were rebuffed.

To be honest, I never loved the car. It was ok but it never wowed me and I thought it rather a noisy ride especially on the freeway.In some ways, it was my fault I got into this situation. I agreed to get it to keep Mrs Caesar happy who needed a car at that time and the CLA250 was the new offering to America.

Having had favorable experiences in leasing BMWs before, I thought this would be similar.

There were a few things bothered me at the time of leasing that I should have acted on before signing up.

  • The first was that no car matched the monthly price advertised. In fact, the monthly amount for the car we wanted was a few hundred dollars more. Funny how that goes isn’t it?
  • Second was finding out that the services were not included in the lease price. However, I could pre-pay and get a discount so took this route.
  • The third was their default low mileage offerings of 10K per year which at that time where we were living, we thought would be ok.

However, I was in time crunch to get Mrs Caesar mobile again before I left on a long business travel so emotion took the better side of me and I violated one of my own rules about car buying – Sort your finances out before you set foot in the dealership . To reduce the monthly payments, I put down a much larger down payment than what I had envisaged before visiting.

In the beginning, Mrs Ceasar loved the car and how she could go around the dealership at Boerne to get the car washed anytime where we only lived a few miles away. Of course, that had to be scheduled but it was still free and she could get coffee while she waited. However, in the back on my mind, there was a thought I was overpaying to be driving it.

Then the first problem happened with the tires. A nail in the tire required some action. MB service adviser said I’d need to replace it. Goodyear tires said it could be repaired once if the sidewall was not damaged. So I had it repaired.

Some time after we moved back to Houston area, I hit a particularly big pothole that took out a different tire. Within a minute it went from 35 PSI to 0. It did it’s job of running flat and I drove home at slower speed but the next day, I found how difficult it was to get a direct replacement. Even Goodyear didn’t have them in stock and would have to ship them that would take a few days. The dealer had them in stock but it would be 5 days before I could get into MB Sugarland. I was blown away : 5 days  just to get one tire changed.  After phoning around, I ended up buying it for over $300 and taking it to Discount Tire in Cinco Ranch to them to fit it. By the way, Discount Tire got future business from me on my other car in the positive manner they treated me after this initial very small business. 

At the time of leasing, I got the sell for tire insurance which I calculated at 2+ blown tires and on the BMW, I’d never had one so I figured I’d take the chances. Over the next year, we had another tire that went flat and needed to be replaced. Another was dangerous due to a bulge in sideball so that needed replacement also but not wanting to hunt down an expensive tire, I put on a regular tire as an interim fix.

The first service with MB Sugarland was an eye opener in that cost of maintenance and what they will try to slip in. When asked if I wanted them to rotate tires and some other minor inspection, I said sure. After printing out the pre-work contract, it would cost me $230. What for I asked as I had pre-paid maintenance.  These tire rotation and inspection was optional services I was told. If that was the case, then I opted not to get them. Over $200 to f’ing rotate the tires which most other manufacturers include for free and then to perform a mechanical inspection on something that would be covered by warranty anyhow. What the heck? No wonder why they are called stealerships. This must be how they pay for all the swanky waiting areas and coffee baristas.

It cost me another $3K to close out the lease where I had to replace all 4 tires (get a bulk discount compared to individual tires as if that made it easier) since the lifetime of the tires (20k miles) is much less that lease duration. The rims had to be reworked to polish out the scratches and finally there was the 4,000 over mileage fee which was expected.

Overall, I did not enjoy my ‘luxurious’ experience with MB and was glad for it to end. I was surprised to  find that 67% of Mercedes are leased [Source : Cartelligent] but it not for me. No more run flats either.

Augustus

Postscript:

  1. I will add that MB has recently changed their service in that they now have a separate express area and conventional servicing area. Items like scheduled maintenance are addressed by the express area which my last service in easier to get in and out of. Regular maintenance seems be now included in the lease costs but it is too little, too late for me. My opinion of the star has been tarnished.