Beginning with the 2005 model year, Mercedes-Benz is doing away with their free maintenance program, which consists of footing the bills for scheduled service checkups, parts and labor. The scheme now will be either one, get customers to pay for the services individually along the way, or two, have them buy service packages up front, so that it all seems free later when the services occurs. Tricky stuff. Mercedes' former program wasn't totally free anyway (not unlike those "totally free" checking accounts advertised by banks with asterisks next to "free"), since customers had to pay for parts replaced because of wear and tear, like brake pads and wiper blades. Apparently the move will save MB money, but it certainly goes against the increasing trend towards free maintenance practiced by many other car makers, especially those doing the luxury thing.

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