Mercedes-Benz SLK Reliability

jcpmiamijcpmiami Member Posts: 4
edited May 2014 in Mercedes-Benz
I am thinking about getting my first convertible ever. The car at the top of my list was the SLK 350 until I started reading in various forums and editor's ratings that the SLK, along with most other Mercedes vehicles, rate at the bottom of the list on reliability and repairs.

I thought a hardtop convertible was a must but with Mercedes' apparent poor reliability, I might have to opt for a softtop convertible, such as the Audit TT or the BMW Z4. Other hardtops, such as the BMW 335 and Mazda MX-5 are either too square for my taste or lack power/appeal.

Any thoughts out there about the SLK's reliability? Would the TT or the Z4 be better alternatives?



  • ajp1948ajp1948 Member Posts: 1
    In 2003, I purchased a used 1999 Mercedes SLK 230 with 60K miles from a dealer who proclaimed the car was a cherry. I liked the fact that it was a 4 cylinder (better gas mileage), supercharged (more power) and had always liked a convertable, but did not like the noise and wind from a rag top.
    I found this car to be more like a lemon! :lemon:
    I have had to replace a burnt out headlight ($8) every 3 months. The dealer claims I am getting cheap lights. I purchase a light from the M/B dealer ($15) which only lasted 2 months. Complained to the dealer only to be offered me one for $12.
    At 71K miles, I had to replace the engine/transmission mounts ($1200) because of a loud vibration noise. Had to return the car to the dealer the next day because a radiator hose was cut during the mount replacement. The dealer CLAIMED the hose was just worn. After the mechanic removed the hose and I showed the CUT to the dealer he said he would not charge me for the hose but I had to pay for the labor ($150). During this visit the dealer noted that I had not brought the car in for an oil/filter change. I told him that I had been changing the oil and filter per the manual. The dealer scolded me for doing this claiming that only M/B oil and filter were to be be used and MUST be done by a certified mechanic. I asked for the price and was told it was only $49.95 and had to be done every 3K miles.
    I decided that I would use another dealer from this point to have maintenance done.

    At 75K miles, the voltage circuit board had to be replaced ($850).
    At 82K miles, had to replace the heater core ($1400).
    At 89K miles, the A/C compressor failed ($1500).
    At 103K miles the alternator had to be replaced ($1350).
    Now at 133K miles, I can smell antifreeze when I turn the heater on which tells me I will have to replace the heater core again. Hope to make it last till spring when I will trade it for a new reliable AMERICAN car!
    I have had many many other cars before ranging from Dodge, Ford, Chevy, to Honda and I have never had as much problem with any of the cars as I have had with the Mercedes. In fact, I looked at the total cost of maintenance of the past vehicles I have owned (9 in all) and they are less than the cost of this M/B!
    Believe the reviewers ratings! This is NOT a reliable car!
  • p0926p0926 Member Posts: 4,423
    While I don't question that Mercedes' poor reliability reputation in general and the SLK's in particular are well deserved, I am happy to report that after 6 months of ownership, I have had nary a problem with my 2005 SLK350. Now whether this is due to all the bugs getting worked out by the first owner, I can't say but regardless, it has thus far been a pleasure to drive.

  • kendonovankendonovan Member Posts: 1
    I have had my 2000 SLK320 since 2003 whereupon I purchased it with 3000 miles on the clock. I don't know if others have had problems and I am not aware of any however, I have only bought a new battery for mine other than general servicing parts.

    Touch wood I haven't had any trouble with the car and it as served its purpose very very well.

    I did upgrade the looks to reflect the newer shape with a Rieger body kit which I believe gives the car a extra look which friends love. I do intend to change the car in the next year or so and I will most definately be giving the 350 some thought along with the SLK55
  • bobportneybobportney Member Posts: 1
    I have owned 2 SLKs over the past 5 years and have had no troubles or difficulties. I have 5 other vehicles, including a Toyota Sienna van, a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, my wife's Lexus RX350 SUV, Toyota Corolla for my daughter and a Honda CRV SUV for my other daughter. I worried quite a bit before purchasing my first MB about reliability but had no concerns after buying the second one because I realized that people who own more expensive cars are less likely to spend time filling out forms unless they become upset or angry. In other words, happy MB owners probably will not take the time to fill out stupid forms claiming their vehicles are good but will complete such paperwork when they become motivated by anger that results from the perception of poor quality.
    Robert B. Portney, MD
  • boodsboods Member Posts: 1
    Purchased my "01" SLK 320 in 9/00 and only have 52,000 miles. Rear windows will not close although rooftop does. My mechanic (european trained specialist) checked wiring "nets" under front hood with no luck. Now has to begin disassembling rear portion of car checking wiring for any shortages/malfunctions. Expect labor bill to be extremely high. Has anyone experienced this problem and costs involved? Any suggestions?
    Thx, Beth
  • wogasawogasa Member Posts: 3
    Does anyone know of a reliable and fair maintenance of my '05 350SLK located in the Tacoma or Bremerton, WA area. Are there any MBZ owners clubs here?
  • acettacett Member Posts: 2
    I have purchased a used Audi TT as well as a used MB SLK 280. Both cars had approximately 22,000 miles when purchased and they were in (seemingly) very good condition.

    The TT was extremely unreliable and cost me both in time and money. I eventually sold it when it had around 31,000 miles. As for the SLK, it now has the same mileage (31k) and it has been 100% reliable.

    Did the care (or lack thereof) by the previous owners contribute to the cars reliability? Are there other factors such as the model year, etc that influence the reliability? Probably, so my limited experience with these two used vehicles is certainly inconclusive, but the fact remains that my investment in a '07 SLK has been a rewarding experience.

    Good luck with whatever vehicle you decide upon.

  • fourteen14fourteen14 Member Posts: 85

    WOW! I know of a lot of people who would love to have a car that the only problems that they have had were headlight bulbs for 70,000 miles!!

    Few warranties cover problems over 50,000 miles, except Hyundai, but I would rather drive an SLK!

    PS: You can buy two "H7 Xenon HID Headlight Bulbs Mercedes Benz SLK 98-08" on ebay for $5.98 with Free Shipping and no tax! Brighter, sexier, and cheaper!!

    PPS: Sounds like you need a better dealer!

    PPPS: My ride? 2002 AMG SLK32 with 9,100 miles! Love it!! :blush:

  • nextlexuslxnextlexuslx Member Posts: 1
    Sorry to hear that you had so many problems with your R170 (first gen SLK). I believe the quality issues were greatly improved with the newer R171 (2nd gen SLK). Personally I own two SLK's, one is SLK280 and the other is SLK55 AMG. I bought both gently used and am very happy with both of them. For sure, these MB's are NOT CHEAP to maintain and drive around. It definitely costs more $$$ per mile/months driven/kept.

    BTW, I would not advise ANYONE buying any MB's (or any other European cars) without the ORIGINAL FACTORY WARRANTY INTACT AND IN FORCE......PLUS EXTENDED WARRANTY ALREADY PURCHASED OR ELIGIBLE FOR PURCHASE SHOULD ONE KEEP THE CAR BEYOND THE ORIGINAL FACTORY WARRANTY!!! Anything seemingly small that "malfunctions" will COST A LOT TO FIX without the warranty!!!!

    I look at these MB cars (or most European cars) as a "LIFE STYLE" type of thing rather than the "NEED FOR A RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION". If one is looking for a "RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION", then one should go with something like a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan or equivalent!!!

    Just my two cents worth.
  • henryb1henryb1 Member Posts: 7
    this is a carry over from pricing forum. but am about to purchase a 2012 slk350 and wonder whether anyone has had experience with either the 2011 or 2012 models. i understand the model year is new and probably has limited experience on road but curious before i purchase one this friday as to value for the dollar.

    comments appreciated.
  • jai4jai4 Member Posts: 1
    My new 2012 SLK 350 looks great and is fun to drive, BUT! With less than 2,000 miles on it, I've had multiple problems: (1) had to replace the catalytic converter; (2) both exhaust manifolds had broken welds inside and needed to be replaced; (3) headlamp switch had short and drained battery; and (4) injection fuel pump needed replacement. MB shop tried to tell me I had just been leaving the lights on which was pretty annoying. Wish I hadn't bought the car, but maybe now that repairs have been done, I'll be happier.
  • manny56manny56 Member Posts: 1
    I will pick up my silver 2013 SLK 250 this Wednesday. It's my first convertible and it has few optionals. I had the opportunity to see the car last Friday and I was surprised that the car has a glass roof (black) with roof liner. I was surprised because I had ordered a standard steel roof and I asked the dealer why that roof and was told that 2013 models are coming with this type of roof. I don't see this option in the MB websites and I am disapointed because I don't believe the dealer is telling me the truth. My feeling is that the car came with a panorama roof and a liner was placed. I'm not sure if the liner was placed here in the US or in the factory. Can anyone help explaining what is going on?
  • ClairesClaires Member Posts: 1,222
    edited February 2013
    Hmmmm... according to the review, "The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is a two-seat convertible with a retractable hardtop roof.... Stand-alone options include parking sensors, a glass roof panel (also available with a dimming feature)..."

    There's a picture of the panoramic roof at the MBUSA site, which says that it's an optional feature: - - - ut-4/type-img

    ClaireS, Host
    Automotive News & Views | Coupes & Convertibles


    Need help getting around? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Tell everyone about your buying experience: Write a Dealer Review

  • jtm3jtm3 Member Posts: 1
    I have a similar story. I have a 2012 SLK350 that I purchased with a solid roof. The roof warped and began to leak so I took it to MB to be repaired. They ordered a new roof and when I picked up the car, the new roof had what appeared to be a tinted glass square in the center. It appears that they are replacing solid roofs with glass roofs to correct the warping problem, but that they have not yet made a glass roof that is painted entirely the same color as the body of the car. They are using the panoramic roof as a replacement, but are not replacing the headliner underneath to make the roof panaoramic. The result - a funny looking, useless purple square in the midst of the glass roof. Has anyone else gotten a resolution from Mercedes on this problem? I am awaiting futher word from my dealership.
  • funsportfunsport Member Posts: 1

    Never had a M/B, but owned the first gen Audi TT (coupe) and a VW cabrio (ragtop). Both had many electrical and other problems. Audi TT had problems with the radio, the hatchback switch, the remote key, a squeaky hatch cover, scratch-prone inside-door handles, and the interior roof upholstery that fell down! VW also had a malfunctioning top. Fortunately, most problems surfaced within the first 3 years and were replaced/fixed under warranty. The squeaky hatch lid couldn't be fixed, since it is a design flaw, very well-known - Check on the internet. Because of these annoying (reliability) problems, I am now very hesitant to buy any German car. Porsche is the only one I am still willing to consider. I now drive a Honda CRZ; not in the same league, but very reliable.

Sign In or Register to comment.