If you own a luxury Mercedes-Benz vehicle, you know that taking the car to the garage for repairs can be an expensive proposition. Something as simple as hooking your car up to the dealer’s Mercedes-Benz Star Diagnostic tool can cost a lot. It’s no wonder that so many Mercedes owners seriously consider buying their own tools.
If this is something you have considered, take a step back and also consider the ramifications thereof. There is a lot to know and understand about the MB Star Diagnostic tool, what it does, and how Mercedes-Benz fights to protect its intellectual property. It is not as simple as buying a tool on eBay and repairing your car at home.
What It Is, What It Does
In simple terms, the MB Star Diagnostic tool is a piece of specialised hardware loaded with proprietary software that can diagnose all sorts of problems with Mercedes vehicles. The machines can also be used to clear fault codes and retrieve data computer systems.
Mercedes-Benz sells the hardware and software directly to the dealers and repair garages. Obtaining a system legally requires paying for the hardware along with an annual licence that covers upgrades, security patches, etc. Make no mistake; buying directly from Mercedes-Benz is not cheap. The hardware alone can cost tens of thousands of pounds.
Clones and Pirated Units
Now that you know what the Mercedes Star Diagnostic tool is and what it does, you need to know what you are doing before you attempt to buy. You basically have three options, unless you want to buy new:
- Used – By digging around, you might find a used tool being sold by an independent garage. The advantage is that this tool is genuine. The disadvantage is that you will not get any updates unless you pay for the licence.
- Clones – Yes, you can buy clones at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. Most are made in China, though. Why is this a problem? Because you may not be able to access the Mercedes-Benz database, even if you attempt to pay for a licence.
- Pirated Tools – The last choice is both unwise and illegal. However, that does not stop people from buying and selling pirated tools. As an example, three individuals in the US were convicted in 2016 of selling 800 copies of pirated software installed on tablet computers to the tune of some $17 million (£6 million).
The US court case proved that Mercedes-Benz is quite serious about protecting their intellectual property. Though reported cases of piracy have fallen dramatically over the years, there are still those who persist in doing it. These are the sellers you want to be careful of.
In the end, you might want to avoid buying your own MB Star Diagnostic tool unless it is absolutely critical that you do so. If you can afford to own a Mercedes, you should be able to afford the repairs that go with it.