Even when old, a Mercedes stands out

Thursday September 17 2020
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Reliability. Of the three big German premium brands, it’s Mercedes-Benz that comes out on top in the reliability stakes – and its cars tend to be a bit more affordable to fix on average, according to carwow.co.uk, an online portal.

By Joan Salmon

For the three motorists, owning a Mercedes Benz means getting a car that, if well taken care of, will last while requiring few repairs. They each tell us about their model Mercedes and why it has been a good investment. 

Benon Mugumbya
Benon Mugumbya of Swangz Avenue owns a C200 1996 model and describes it as reliable. Bought in 2011 at Shs10m, he says it had an intermittent throttle problem which the previous seller did not mention. “I guess that is why I got it at a low cost. Luckily, I got a mechanic who fixed it and I have been driving the car since, with just a few issues, ” he shares.
“There is something about German cars. The comfort and stability on the road never diminishes as long as it is handled well. Regardless of the model year, I feel it is still superior to other cars,” he adds.
In Mugumbya’s circle of friends, he says, his car is now referred to as ‘Mugongo gwa mbwa’, which means ‘back of a dog’. “I guess that is because it now looks old and beaten up. However, it has carried bags of cement and other building materials, and gotten special parking at clubs and restaurants because a Mercedes Benz is a Mercedes Benz,” he says.
Mugumbya gets his spare parts from a trusted mechanic at Kisekka Market in Downtown Kampala and has no qualms because of a relationship built over the years.
Peter Odoki
Peter Odoki, on the other hand, has an S Class, which he says is the premium edition in Mercedes. “World over, it received unrivaled acceptance owing to its superiority replacing the VW GTi.” Coming after the W140, the S-class is subtler yet offering everything else the other model offered such as power (402bhp), comfort and performance without compromise. Odoki’s S320 is a sixth generation Benz that came with several additions such as a driver’s seat that massages one as they drive, making it premium indeed; That is not forgetting a bigger boot, increasing on interior space, and less plastic which gives it an even more executive look.
Getting his spare parts from Ebay and Amazon, Odoki says Benz parts do not come cheap. “While maintenance comes at a steep cost, the parts last forever. Therefore, buying genuine parts and leaving the car as was made, allows for one to enjoy it better than trying to alter parts,”  he says.

Mark Kawalya
Mark Kawalya, the owner of Mercedes C class W202 believes his love for his car is purely sentimental. 
“It is what I used to take my son and daughter home from the hospital when they were born in 2016 and 2018,” he says. Besides that, it is a very reliable car having only suffered a mechanical breakdown once through six years of ownership. 
“It was my fault, having taken long to replace a fuel pump that had been giving off warning signals for about a week and a half.” Kawalya also likes that the car is not as expensive to maintain as the larger, more ostentatious Mercedes models on our roads such as the E Class W211 and the M Class W164.
Bought as a second hand car, he did not spend a lot on it seeing that European cars generally have low resale value. “That said, it was in pristine condition so it did not give me any headache for the first four years of ownership. It currently has a mileage of about 157,000km on the odometer and still going strong.”
Powered by a 2.0 Liter M111 engine that is mated to a 5G-Tronic transmission, the Benz is capable of shifting through five speeds and is quite a sturdy car. “I find that surprising because it is a simple sedan and sturdiness is normally an attribute of larger cars that fall under the SUV category. It also handles the road very well whether you are driving in the city or off-road,” he says. 
Maintenance
In regards to maintenance, he previously bought spares locally. “However, after a while, I found it difficult to get genuine parts. I thus ship in most spares, especially service parts such as filters, brake pads, spark plugs, whenever I have the budget for them.” Kawalya says parts are affordable and the most expensive part was a conductor plate for the gearbox that cost Shs600,000. “Other parts’prices oscillate between shs150,000 and Shs350,000,” he says.
 

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