2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 4.3 V8 from North America


Good solid used car


Nothing so far, but I just got it.

General Comments:

Bought this car at the dealership. I like to buy cars from the Sonic or Autonation dealerships in southern California. They weed out the junk cars for you and fix basic maintenance and safety items on the vehicle. But remember, even though I have bought good cars from them, you have to do the inspection; they do basic maintenance and safety items only. Also they charge higher interest rates, so get the car away from them and go to your own bank later, and there is nothing they can do about it. Also they try to load up your contract with all types of extra money for them like gap insurance... warranty programs... special sealers and undercoating... alarms... don't do it. This one was for sale for $7895.00 plus tax... lic... smog... document fees... electronic mail in on smog and regrist. I have bought other cars from this corporation, an 2004 Acura RL and 2001 Lexus GS430 that I have still have and others that I have sold. All were solid built vehicles.

Since the dealership was a Sonic corporation they will give you a list of what they did to it... In the case of this 2004 S430 they did oil changes, dentless paint removal, replaced front lower A arms and bushings, and replaced the front air shocks and a bunch of other small stuff. Also I notice that someone, not the dealership, replaced the battery, it was brand new. And the alternator and the fan belt. The problem was the Carfax did not have a lot of information about the last owner of the car, so no maintenance was noted other than smog being done to it. It's possible the place he did his maintenance at didn't report to Carfax.

The interior and exterior of this car was in average condition; not bad but far from perfect. But should clean up nice because the interior and exterior look well put together. I priced these cars in my area of southern California of being priced from a low of $4000.00 to about $11,000 dollars. The lower end ones from private parties and the higher end ones from dealership and some private parties. The car is taking a little while to get use to. Since I basically buy Japanese cars, the Germans have a different way of making an interior. This S430 has buttons all over the place and takes some time getting used to them. My Japanese cars have a simple fall to the touch button system, whereas the Germans have a more complicated interior controls system.


Solid car.

Good suspension.

Quality interior and exterior.

Excellent fit and finish.

Excellent ride with these Michelin tires that came on it.

Strong air conditioning unit.

Good size trunk.

Outstanding radio and speakers (Bose).

Nice comfy seats.

Roomy interior.


Overly complicated interior controls; just changing the radio station is a nightmare.

Too many control buttons and many are hard to reach.

Automatic trans is not very responsive.

Must push the gas pedal all the way to the floor on this 4.3 engine to get going... could be the trans causing this and not the engine.

Has very small leak that looks like it's from the rear main seal... will have to be addressed later.

No transmission dip stick... so you can't tell the level of your automatic trans fluid or see its color and the smell of it.

The car battery is in the back of the car in the trunk.

No seat warmers.

Nav system is very old and not up to date and is not angled towards the driver.

In general I'm happy with the car. It's a solid car, runs strong if you press it. All in all a very good car even with 110,000 miles on it. The dealership salesman told me that this car sold for $74,000 when new which I found hard to believe. It's a nice car, but at $74,000 I would feel bad for anyone that paid that much, it's just not worth it. In fact I have owned a lot of Hondas and Toyotas that ran as good as the older luxury cars I have bought lately. The main difference is that these luxury cars have so many little bells and whistles on them. Also if you want to move quicker because this 4.3 V-8 isn't that powerful, at least for me, I would move up to a S500 or higher model. Prices should be good.

Also make sure you inspect the car closely before buying. The dealership showed me on a lift what they did to the front suspension. Replaced a lot of parts up there and they look like they would be hard to remove. They were heavy duty and big. The front struts/air shocks alone look like they were out of a plane or something. They were that big. The front suspension components were so beefy it makes me wonder why they would fail at only 110,000 miles. Also I sense I could have got this car in the $5000-6000 range from a private party, if I knew a little more about Mercedes Benz cars and cars in general. But I don't and depend on the dealerships as a safety net on my purchases.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2016

6th Oct 2016, 03:36

Also want to add that the dealership also replaced the flex disc on this car. When I saw it I didn't know what a flex disc was... but since then I went on internet and found out it's some weird rubber plate that goes between the driveshaft and the rear end, or the driveshaft and the front of the output shaft of the transmission... not sure which one I have... the front one or the rear one. Don't think I ever saw a flex disc before... the internet says there are two of them... but not sure if I have two of them or just one of them on this car. The internet says if you have a clunking or vibration problem... this rubber flex plate or flex disc could be the problem... not sure because a lot of things can cause vibration in a car. Clunking is a different story... YouTube has the fix for it... on this flex plate... flex disc...

2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 Sport 4.3 V8 from North America


Well built, quick, and very luxurious!


Tires needed to be replaced, SRS sensor needs replacing, needs a transmission mount.

General Comments:

I bought my S430 after my E320 got caught in a flood.

My car is black on black with the beautiful AMG sport package. This package includes an AMG front bumper, side skirts and (in my case) chromed 18 inch staggered monoblock wheels. The staggered 18s and low profile tires make for a great ride; loads of grip and excellent handling, but still soft enough to bear the S badge.

There are 3 settings for the Air-matic (convenience, sport 1 and sport 2), so if I'm feeling up to it, I can really firm up the ride for some spirited driving.

2004 was the first year for the 7g-tronic 7 speed auto. The transmission is a little sluggish, but does exactly what it's supposed to. I feel like it provides for quicker acceleration at all speeds, and it definitely helps fuel economy. The 4.3 SOHC V8 is silky smooth with more than enough power for this heavy beast. My father has a 2000 S430 with the 5 speed auto, so I've had a chance to compare both.

Overall, this car is a real treat to drive; very well built, with all of the luxuries one could imagine, with performance that's more than adequate to satisfy your sporting desires.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd December, 2014