Disabled 2011 Mercedes-Benz with almost $11k in negative equity


I have a loaded 2011 Mercedes-Benz with a loan balance of almost $14k. It is currently sitting disabled at a Mercedes-Benz dealership requiring more than $20k worth of repairs. The car was nearly $80k, and I refinanced it a couple of years ago.

I was planning to trade it in and roll over negative equity this week, but then the dealership announced that they would only give me $3k for it. I was counting on getting at least $6-7k for it. This amount is what CarMax and another dealer offered me before the strut gave out just a month ago. It had numerous mechanical issues before it was towed to the dealer a couple of weeks ago after one air strut failed. Before this, I had been planning to drive it until it blew up* because I have an extended warranty that only covers the mechanical issues unless there a failure of an internally lubricated part—a catastrophic warranty. This warranty was acquired after the two manufacturer warranties expired. Exclusionary policies were not available to me at that point.

I am a loss for what to do at this point. I’m leaning towards taking it to CarMax, shopping that offer around, and then coming up with much of the difference. I have two excellent $0 down base MF lease proposals on the table, but they were calculated on only rolling in $7k of negative. They are on a Jaguar F-Pace S and an Audi Q8 Premium Plus. Any better ideas?

*I was actually looking to trade it last year, but my meddling parent (who is unfortunately listed on the existing loan) insisted that I keep it and get it “fixed” even though it had been established and reiterated multiple times that repairs were not a smart decision.


I mean this in an earnest and genuine way: get a car you can easily afford and afford to maintain.


What kind of Merc is it? There’s more than 1 type. Did you try an independent Benz specialist? Might be worth doing that comparison if the extended warranty covers the rest of the vehicle for a significant period of time.

Your write-up seems to be by someone well educated but the decisions are anything but when reading between the lines. What’s your credit rating, can you lease those other vehicles right now under just your income? $7k is ~$210p/m just by itself on a 36 month lease.

but my meddling parent

I’m not even a parent and that got my hackles up. I’m guessing you didn’t mind the meddling when they cosigned for you?

I’m breaking open the Bill Hader Popcorn gif because this thread is going to be crazy.


Neither was buying a MB for 80k and asking a “meddling” parent to co-sign for you in order to do so.

You mention a failed strut, 20k needed in repairs and a mechanical warranty. No way a blown strut costs 20 grand, so what else is wrong with it?


Must be a GL of some sort. Consider taking the car to an independent for repair, they can source LKQ used parts to keep you limping along until you get that loan balance down.


Sign up for triple A so you can get towed to an independent shop on the cheap, what exactly is broken that is costing $20k? Get it running well enough to drive off a cliff, snowy off ramps are hard to find this time of year

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I agree with taking (in this case, probably towing) the car to an independent mechanic.

I used a reputable independent shop for my E500 after the warranty expired, and it saved me a small fortune (labor rate was about 30% less than an MB dealer).

I would never own another MB out of warranty. In one particularly painful eight-week period the car Hoovered $8,000 out of my wallet for brake and suspension repairs.

… but that would have been $12,000+ at the MB dealer.

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An 8±yr-old vehicle you owe $14k on that required a cosigner and refinancing, and you are shopping other expensive vehicles. … I just can’t …


When I was 17, I found a used Audi A6 from some shady used car dealer, I thought the payments were a good number. I had a job and would be covering the payments. After fighting with me for a few days, my dad took a ride to this place an hour away. The Audi needed to be jumped to start in this dealership. My father walked out and said he isn’t signing a thing for this and I can go F myself. The next day, he brought home a Nissan Sentra (without any conversation with me) and a payment of about $200 a month that I would owe monthly. I was furious! I made the payments and drove the car until the lease was over.

After reading your post, 17 years later, I’m gonna go see my dad and give him a hug for the smart parenting move.


‘I would never own another MB out of warranty.’ Pre-determined threshold :wink:. After sales needs to move those parts.


Wisdom comes from many different places and in many different forms. This one most likely from experience.

Both the F-Pace S and Q8 are going to lease between 850 and 1100 a month based on what I’ve been seeing here on LH. With an additional 14k of negative equity rolled in, that’s almost 400 dollars added to that.

If money was no issue for OP, they would just go ahead and fix the vehicle enough to get it rolling or pay off the negative equity. I sense money is an issue considering they’re concerned with rolling over that kind of equity and needed a cosigner from the get-go.

OP should consider towing it to the cheapest independent dealer they can find and fixing the struts and maybe whatever mechanical parts the car needs just to stay on the road and drive it until they can pay down the loan a little more.

Why refinance after years of paying down the original loan?


If you are willing to spend $1K+/month on a lease, wouldn’t you be better off leaving the MB in the driveway, leasing a $200/month Jetta and getting the MB paid off as quickly as possible?

Rolling over that much equity is a terrible idea if even possible and need the stars to align to make it all work and get a relatively good deal.


Yes, it would be a better solution.


Some conversations are so outside the bounds of reality that…

closed #15