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Three years ago I bought a new Mercedes GLK350 for $45,000. It gets about 19 MPG on average. It now has 49K miles on it, and the original warranty is ending. I have the option to purchase an extended warranty for $3,000 to cover the next 48K miles. My outstanding loan amount is $15,000.

Is it better to trade in the Mercedes (trade-in value is $23,000) and get an Accord EX or Camry Hybrid (both in the $23,000 range), either of which would have lower maintenance costs and better MPG, but neither of which will have V6, AWD, or the SUV feel? I live in Chicago with a bit of snow, but the Camry or Accord should be ok, I think ...

Or is it wise to keep the Mercedes till 90K miles and then opt for a trade-in? I am worried about its maintenance costs over the next 45k miles, and the $3,000 in fuel I will be losing on it.

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  • I don't think this question is really answerable at present; it's too specific and opinion based largely. It might be re-writable into a useful question if you get at what you're really asking - not explicitly advice on the specific purchase, but how to make said decision and what factors to consider. How you weight those factors is always your choice, and not something for us.
    – Joe
    Feb 20 '15 at 16:42
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    And "a bit of snow" is an amusing phrase from someone also in Chicago who is looking at the 2+ feet we got in the last two weeks ;)
    – Joe
    Feb 20 '15 at 16:43
  • Thank you Joe for your valuable opinion. and ya there was a lot of snow this yr...:)
    – sandy
    Feb 20 '15 at 17:13
  • I know almost nothing about car loans, but if you still have $15000 to pay, then your trade-in is not worth $23000, is it? Isn't it only worth $8000?
    – dg99
    Feb 20 '15 at 18:29
  • Hi DG, i am sorry its 8000 and the regular 15 k loan would be there for me, only saving would be the maintenance for the next few years + gas would be saved in camry + 3k for the extended warranty.
    – sandy
    Feb 20 '15 at 18:43
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I would keep the Mercedes and skip the extended warranty. I'll assume the car is in good shape and you're happy with it. My reasons:

  1. It should have a four-year warranty, not three. You're ok for another year.

  2. Consumer Reports recommends skipping the extended warranty. Instead, find a reputable independent mechanic (Yelp works!) and take it in once a year for the A/B service according to the Mercedes-recommended schedule. You'll save lots over going to the dealer for service.

  3. The Benz is a much nicer car than a Camry. Drive that sucker into the ground for the next 5+ years. Yes, you'll need new tires eventually, and it needs oil changes, brakes, etc, but that's true for any car.

  4. Assuming you sell the Benz and buy a Camry for the same amount, you'll still owe money on the original car loan. With taxes, fees, insurance, etc, let's call the actual cost of the car a wash. So for the same money wouldn't you rather be driving the Benz?

Yes, gas costs are going to be more in the SUV. So if that's causing you to lose sleep at night, it's a consideration for getting a smaller car. Otherwise I wouldn't worry about unpredictable future problems -- and you can always sell it later anyway.

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  • Thank you so much Rocky for your valuable suggestions, warranty is for 50k or 4 years, since i reached 50k i will need to take that.
    – sandy
    Feb 20 '15 at 18:42
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    +1 Assuming that you can save in order to self-insure on your future maintenance, you will save money by skipping the extended warranty. However, DO make sure to check whether you need to service the Mercedes at an authorized dealership and/or other terms that may be required by the original warranty.
    – JAGAnalyst
    Feb 20 '15 at 20:20

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