Consumer Complaints and Reviews
I purchased a 1999 SLK 230 off an auction on Ebay a couple of years ago. It was a fantastic car and I put over 35,000 miles on it with virtually no issues beyond replacing tires and a couple of belts. Until I hit a section of black ice this winter on I-80 and collided with a guardrail. Damages exceed car value and I could not work out fixing it. Copart will have it shortly on an auction block, it's the silver metallic with left rear taillight and quarter panel gone. If you are a body guy...you want that car.
The experience put me in the market for a replacement. I live in the Rockies and the mountain folk aversion to rwd vehicles is near legendary so my search took me well out of my area. The R170 version of the SLK was only made from 1998 through 2004, averaging about 10,000 US versions each year. I've discovered that only about 10 percent of these have manual transmissions. What are you thinking when you order a 2 seater sports car with an automatic transmission? I find that mystifying.
The search took me two months and I finally found what I was looking for at Mercedes Benz Omaha. I bought the car over the phone and never saw anything but pictures before I picked it up. This particular car is a one previous owner 2001 SLK 230, barrillo red. I rented a car, drove to Omaha and the dealership was very accommodating, picking me up in Council Bluffs for a late evening car pickup. They even filled it with gas. I drove it to Cedar Falls, IA that evening.
In the morning I discovered that the convertible top would not fully retract. The trunk opens and moves forward to receive the top...but nothing other than the whirring of the hydraulics obviously trying to do something. I bought the car As Is with no warranty of any kind but gave Mercedes Benz Omaha a call anyway. They hooked me up with an appointment on my return trip to Wyoming to evaluate the problem. In the meantime my son found a stream about the problem on the MB forum. Several solutions were posted there, the most useful of which is give the right front corner of the top a sharp smack with your fist...which actually works.
I have heard the stories about how expensive the top hydraulics can be to fix so I decided to keep the appointment at Mercedes Benz Omaha to get an evaluation...seemed like a good idea to know with more certainty what I would be facing in the future.
Mercedes Benz Omaha assigns the customer and associate who is tasked with getting your car through their process and resolving your issues. Mine was named ** and she is more customer advocate than I've ever encountered at a dealership. I just wanted my car plugged into their diagnostics computer and to walk out of there with a printout. There isn't a Mercedes dealership anywhere in Wyoming and it seemed useful to have that information because my favorite mechanic runs a Volvo shop. I was dismayed 1/2 hour into the appointment to be offered a ride home because, "this is going to take awhile". I explained that home = 550 miles and I'd go ahead and wait on them. ** said “the mechanic has finished evaluating the computer read out and wants to get into it deeper”.
Two hours later I'm standing in the parking lot contemplating my Ipads recommendations for nearby fast food establishments when an employee finds me. He tells me ** is looking for me and advises my car is done? ** is all smiles. My car is sitting in the queue obviously freshly washed. Upon further inspection I find it has been vacuumed and the top now works perfectly, faster and smoother than my old SLK which is saying something. ** reports the mechanic thought the issue would likely be that over time the mechanism picks up debris and just needs a good cleaning. Apparently he knows what he is talking about because it continues to work flawlessly.
I was presented with a bill for the evaluation which had been zeroed out. ** explained that while my car was sold, "As Is", it came off their lot and the dealership wouldn't be happy about the transaction unless I was. All in all a very pleasant experience. Good to find a dealership that takes pride in their service.
I've driven the car 1,500 miles now. It is truly a driver's dream come true. Handling and responsiveness of the SLK 230 is like nothing else I've ever driven. Mileage is a respectable 30 plus mpg on the highway. Acceleration of the supercharged 2.3 L is incredible and makes driving Wyoming 2 lane highways much more fun than it ever was in my 4runner.
This was an iconic car. Sadly Mercedes lost the plot after this. If I could buy my old car back I would, and rebuild her from scratch if required. This was a dream car that lived up to every expectation. Even my wife loved it and even called it our best car ever. No faults. Performed beautifully for 97,000 miles. Few cars can match this level of quality. A much loved car of unequalled quality. Why can't they all be so beautiful with poise and quality being the key points?
Director of parts & maintenance & general manager argued & would not discuss a solution to buy a new car since problem was "minor". They had neither read repair order until forced to see main bearings replaced w/ correct ones after removing motor from new car w/ 20k miles. They fired service writer because he told truth & they didn't.
I bought a 2001 Mercedes Benz SLK230. Since ownership the car has had a few recalls - one being the camshaft solenoid that leaks oil to the wire harness which was damaged and I paid for. Then the recall came about years later. Oxygen sensors need replacement. Over 15k miles the interior had to be completely redone as it peeled off. Now this is common in most 2001 German cars VOLKSWAGEN as well, except they took accountability and fixed it for free. I panned to keep this car. I still do because I've put 15 thousand in repairs. It's extremely fun, very unique, but I do think MERCEDES BENZ needs to issue a recall or service bulletin for all 98-05 models to have the entire interiors redone. Also the exterior paint is chipping off and I have to fix that too.
But it's better than BMW. I owned one and it was a nightmare. Porsche, too slow. The SLK is way faster even for a 4-cylinder supercharged engine. Its seats are like any roadster hard. Lamborghini, it drove like a clumsy battleship unlike the SLK. I'm a fighter pilot for the USA. The SLK reminds me of a plane. A little care and a lot of less bitching my owners and we're all better for it, BUT... MERCEDES BENZ NEEDS TO:1. Fix the back lights again.
2. Fix the camshaft.
3. Fix the exhaust.
4. Fix the entire interior (which BTW they use the exact same paint in the new 2013 SLK and SL500).
I'd like Mercedes to own up to the "BEST OR NOTHING" tag line that they use. They truly are the opulent car of the road and the 2091-05 SLK230 was the LAST of the best of the best. BMW, Porsche... they don't compare. EXCEPT they take accountability. Lamborghini, forget it. It's just junk compared to an SLK! Rip the SLK320. It is a problematic disaster. I had one and traded it for the smaller engine that is faster.
I have an SLK 230 2003. The diagnostic light came on the dashboard and I took it straight away to a Mercedes garage. I was told it was a common fault with that model. A plug leaks oil throughout the system and causes expensive damage to all parts of the engine including the ICU. I was quote 2,500 to have it fixed. I contacted Mercedes but they would not admit to this being a common fault even though they updated the said plug in 2005 with a waterproof plug to prevent the problem.
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I bought a used 2001 Mercedes SLK230 a few years ago. A year after I bought it, the car has had electrical issues that includes lights, oxygen sensors, radio locking, and fans misbehaving. I spent a lot of money replacing oxygen sensor, lights and getting engine codes checked and replaced.
Finally 3 weeks ago, the radiator fan kept running after the car has been switched off. It kept running on full rpm (revolutions per minute) and drained the battery. I had it jump started and it was the same problem, drained the battery again.
I took it to the dealer. Dealer said there is a recall on a leaking camshaft solenoid part that was causing oil to leak into the car's wiring harness and all sorts of problems. It even sent oil into the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Dealer said that the wiring harness, recalled part and ECU would be replaced which he did replaced.
He then installed a new fan control module to replace the one that had burnt out but the new one burnt out again. Now, the dealer says he needs 5 hours of diagnosis time at $850 to simply find the problem and maybe more, then additional cost to repair it.
This is insane. I don't have that kind of money and this is my only car which is useless now. All was caused by a faulty recalled leaking camshaft solenoid part! I have no car now and I am much poorer having to have so many repairs done over the years.
I feel this problem with the car has been caused by the recalled part and I should not be responsible for this cost.
My insurance declared the car totalled. I put in for a refund on my extended warranty with Mercedes of Alexandria and have not received a check or a response from anyone. I have called many times and no one has returned my calls. I have called Mercedes Benz headquarters and they keep telling me I have to contact the dealer. To add insult to injury, they only want to pay me 89% of what I paid for the warranty, which was not even in effect yet.
I have no transportation. I paid $4,000 down on this car and now I have no vehicle and no down payment to purchase another car. I would like my money and some type of compensation for the trauma. I feel that Mercedes Benz should be held responsible for a car they sold me that could have killed me.
Patricia's insurance company will pay her what they determine the value of the car to be. That's how it works. If she wants a refund for the amount she paid for the extended warranty, she can go to Small Claims Court.
After that the coolant light came on 3 times, the third time, there was an oversight in the mechanics handling (they forgot to the let the bubbles out) and the light came on again; I should have considered that the third element to meet the requirements, but I let it go. The coolant light has come on numerous times ever since. I took it in a month ago to the Smythe Dealership in San Jose, and they said they looked at it. But the light came on again immediately after I took the car back.
3 weeks ago, the O2 sensor died and I had to have that replaced. Yesterday, I found out something is wrong with the exhaust because my car suddenly sounds like a motorcycle. I can't drive it and have to take it in today.
The warranty ran out on it 10k miles ago, so I have to pay out of pocket for all these expenses. I have to take my car in and that means losing time from work. I have no peace when I drive my car because I keep thinking something is going to go wrong with it. I drive my car with care. I treat it with car because I worked hard to purchase it. I only use premium unleaded. I have all the service agreements/paper work for every time I have taken my car in - which amounts to every other or two months ever since I purchased it.
Mercedes SLK230 Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Mercedes Benz