One of the issues we had before purchasing our Sprinter was maintenance costs. Mercedes has to be expensive, right? Maybe. If you go to a Mercedes dealer for any work, expect to pay at least $100 / hour. The upside is that we’ve found our Sprinter to be amazingly reliable. In the spreadsheet below I’ve outlined all mechanical issues we incurred during and after our trip. We’ve tried to do a lot of work ourselves, which definitely kept costs down – the upside is that we learned a lot about the vehicle and the Sprinter is a lot less of a black box now than it was 2 years ago.
Parts are usually not that cheap either, but there are a few alternatives solutions. Amazon and Rockauto have been great resources for getting replacement parts. We usually buy all fluids directly from Mercedes (i.e. oil). For filters, we tried to figure out who the Mercedes suppliers are and then bought those parts online (so we skipped the 50-100% Mercedes markup).
Oil changes look expensive at $120 for oil and filter at Mercedes (excl. labor). But oil change intervals are only every 10,000 miles, so they don’t end up being that different from what you would pay for a gas car.
There are definitely things that were avoidable expenses during the trip. Brake pad replacements would have been a lot cheaper online – we could have taken those along on the trip and saved a few hundred dollars rather than paying up for them in Guatemala (rear) and Peru (front). The stabilizer bar bushings have worn out multiple times, and they would have been easy to take along on the trip to spare yourself the hassle of finding them in the middle of nowhere.
So here you can see all the detail: