16th Mar 2006, 17:20

Try and find a mechanic that lives and breathes NEWER Mercedes, i.e. the person loves your car and is happy to work on it. There are mechanics out there that don't work on newer cars and/or have a prejudice against them.

And, yes, the dealers are a crapshoot and will charge you an arm and a leg. Not to be stereotypical, but a lot of Mercedes owners really don't know that much about mechanical stuff so the dealer takes gross advantage of this - you "need" $5,000 worth of work when it really was just a $500 job. This is less so with BMWs as there are more enthusiast drivers who run them.

Also may want to subscribe to a Mercedes club.

9th Sep 2006, 22:37

I have a 2001 SLK 320 with 50,000 miles. I purchased the car in 2005 with 32,000 miles on it.

The first problem that I had with the car in the first three months of ownership was with the rear tail lights. The left brake light bulb burnt out first, causing the rear brake lamp socket to warp. The bulb holder couldn't make grounding contact with the lens assembly, so the stop/running lamp wouldn't work.

Within another couple of months, the right rear did the same thing. Both lamp assemblies (lens and bulb holders) had to be replace under warranty (lucky that the car came with the Starmark warranty).

Second problem. The alarm system would trigger its self for no reason (most of the time, in the middle of the night). It turns out that water condensation from when the top is retracted during humid weather pools at the lowest point in the trunk. Of course, that's were Benz mounted the PSE control module for the alarm systems and door locks.

Water seeped into the PSE module, shorting it out. Also, part of the wiring harness was corroded because of water wicking into it.

The dealer replaced and remounted the PSE module in a different place by reversing the direction of its mounting, placing the power/data connectors to the rear as opposed to the front of the car, and also replace part of the damaged trunk harness (under warranty). I'm still having problems with the CD changer and suspect that, since it's harness is right above the PSE module, it is also bad. So, another trip to the dealer.

Tell you the truth, I do very much like the car and am currently looking into trading for a later model. Hopefully, Benz has solved the problems in the newer 171 series.

17th Sep 2006, 11:33

I just bought a 2001 SLK 320 and also have a tail light out. My husband called our local authorized service department and there is a campaign/recall regarding this. You should call your local service department and look into it.