S550: Mid-Life Maintenance


Maintenance on these cars is expensive. You know that going in. And it's extra painful when you're not intending to keep the car long-term. But it's nevertheless necessary, and I like leaving them nicer than I found them. 

So when the "check brake pads" light appeared, I decided to do more than just pads and rotors. It made sense to do a brake flush, as I don't have any receipts indicating that it was done in the past two years (and two year intervals is the Mercedes recommendation). I also don't have any receipts showing that the transmission oil had been changed (recommended every 60k miles) or spark plugs replaced (recommended every 50k miles). Since the car is at 69k miles now, it seemed sensible to do those "mid-life" items along with the brakes. 

Thanks to a friend who has long Mercedes experience, I found a great independent shop (European Sales and Service in Santa Rosa) to do the work. As any owner of an out-of-warranty Mercedes will tell you, you're much better off going to a qualified independent than to the dealer (certainly for price, frequently also for quality of work). While he was in there, he also found that one of the air hoses had developed a split, so that got replaced, as well. Here's what it all cost: 

  • Brakes pads and rotors: $2,046 (dealer quote: $3,784)
  • Brake flush: $151
  • Spark plugs: $532
  • Transmission oil change: $604 (dealer quote: $1,639)
  • Air hose: $112
Pricey, but between these items and the stuff done by the dealer for which I have records, this should eliminate any worries about deferred maintenance. 

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