Please, please, please, I can't say this enough, please bring a used car to me (or other reputable mechanic) to look at before you buy it.
I got these customers, a couple, hard as hell on cars. This past winter, they blew the transfer case and front differential out of their Jeep Grand Cherokee. Paid me a lot of money to fix it and they don't have much. Fine.
The male half of the couple gets a wild hair a couple months ago and buys this Mercedes S-something from a guy he works with who's moving to California. It's 15 years old. Ya think he would have had the guy bring it to me, or he'd get it and bring it to me, before he bought the fucking thing. It's a Mercedes, it's gotta be good, right? Yeah, right.
He drops it off this morning. He tried to drop it off before I got there to open up, but I beat him in. "When'd ya get that?" I ask.
"Couple months ago," he replies, sheepishly. "I made an appointment with Harry, it runs a little funny."
"Funny how?" I ask as I take his keys.
"You'll see," he says as he heads off towards his wife's Jeep. "Can't miss it."
Six hours later, I call him to tell him about the $1500 bucks for the exhaust he's gonna need and another $500 for the complete tuneup (I gave him the fuel filter and my labor to put it in, just to keep it idling so I could figure out what the fuck else was wrong. I could stall it by misting water on the sparkplug wires.), and the $250 for new driveshaft couplers (the vibration at 30 mph shook two of my fillings loose). I swear I heard him shit himself over the phone.
"The guy I bought it from said it was in good shape," he says.
"What did we say when we looked at it?" I asked knowing damn well what the answer would be.
"Uh, I didn't bring it to you."
Idiot. Pay up, sucka. We would have told you not to buy the fucking thing to begin with.
Note to potential used car buyers: Just because you can afford a luxury car at a good price, make sure you can afford to fix it. Before you buy that S-Class, find out what parts cost and then compare 'em to parts for less luxurious cars. It'll open your eyes.