“We get around four C 63s through the workshop every month. I’ve heard all the stories about noisy cam lifters and the rear head bolts failing on some cars – we’ve never seen those problems. We’ve seen lambda and thermostat issues, though. The thermostat sticks open, so it’s just warming up that suffers, rather than the engine being starved of coolant. They can use a bit of oil: one to two litres between services. The suspension is simple – no Airmatic – and as long as you steer clear of the Performance Pack brakes, discs are relatively cheap. One of my technicians owned a C 63 Estate for 12 months and other than its running costs - 17mpg and £535 road tax - he loved it.”
ENGINE - If it’s an early car, check condition of rear cylinder head bolts (a few were known to break). Listen for a noisy engine indicating cam lifter wear but, again, it’s rare. Low oil level suggests sloppy attention between services. Listen, too, for a noisy timing chain adjuster. Check thermostat operation. Oil-filled engine mounts on cars with 60k-plus miles can fail; feel for vibration. Fix is around £400.
TRANSMISSION - A fluid and filter change every 40,000 miles is best. Check later MCT auto has no hot-running issues. If it has a limited-slip diff, check if factory fit or aftermarket such as Quaife and that work was properly done.
BRAKES AND SUSPENSION - Front control arms can split at around 60,000 miles. Where fitted, check 19in wheels, which are prone to cracking. Standard discs are reasonably inexpensive at £70 but Performance Pack’s floating items are around £400; if fitted, check their condition. Check rear brake pipes for corrosion.
BODY - Lower grille is susceptible to stone damage. Check wheel arches for scrapes, wheels for kerbing and door mirrors for squeak-free operation.
INTERIOR - Check operation of door handles and driver’s seat adjustment. Expect some creaks courtesy of the stiff suspension, but on pre-facelift cars listen for a rattle from the fascia’s right-hand side. Check Comand system is glitch-free.
Also worth knowing:
The cost of a 12-month extended Merc warranty is an indication of the scale of the repair costs you might expect to face. Mercedes wants £4414 for our ‘One we found’ example. Go to mercedes-benzwarranty.co.uk
How much to spend:
£16,500-£19,995 - Range of 2008-10 saloons and estates with mileages between 60k and 120k.