SLK 320 reliability / maintenance costs - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

SLK R170 General Discussion SLK 200, SLK 230K, SLK 320, SLK32 AMG

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#1 Old 10-26-2007
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SLK 320 reliability / maintenance costs

I'm new to roadsters, Mercedes, and buying used cars. I'm really interested in getting a roadster and after doing a little research the SLK looks to fit my needs. I love the look and the hard top convertible.

I'm leaning towards a 2003 SLK 320. I'll probably test drive it this weekend and get a feel for the actual car.

However, I do worry about reliability and maintenance costs for this car. When reading the forums and user reviews, seems like people either love 'em or hate 'em. Seeing comments like "better get an extended warrantee" or "stay far away from this car" makes me worry. These cars already have a higher than average cost and having high maintenance costs isn't something I want to jump into.

How does the SLK stack up to other vehicles you've owned in respect to reliability and maintenance? Basically, I don't want to buy this thing and have it be more trouble than it's worth.
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Welcome Slicer. Let us know where you're located. There are plenty of R170 owners that may be able to help you from Australia to Europe.

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#3 Old 10-26-2007
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I'm in the Dallas, TX area.
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#4 Old 10-26-2007
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Tslick has the 2004 SLK 32 AMG and 320SLK has the 2004 SLK 320. Perhaps others too will chime in soon.

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#5 Old 10-27-2007
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Welcome to the forum Slicer.

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#6 Old 10-27-2007
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I have a 2004 slk320, it's a great car, lots of fun and handles great. I have had the top adjusted three times and for the last three weeks it has been at the dealer. It seems that adjustable steering column would move even when locked down. The entire steering column is being replaced and the parts, in Germany of course. I am so glad to have a warranty!!

In spite of this I am very glad to have this car. The only question remaining is, what to do when the warranty runs out.
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#7 Old 10-27-2007
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I had the SLK 320 and now have the SLK 350. I really, really liked that SLK 320. But (and I hope I don't offend anyone) I LOVE the SLK 350. The 350 is a GREAT car. If I were faced with a decision between the two, there is NO question of my decision. I would get the SLK 350.

I had no trouble that I remember with the SLK 320 and none yet with the SLK 350.
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#8 Old 10-27-2007
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Hey slicer,

This is a very hot topic you are bringing up and I stand by your decision to carefully think before you buy. I personally own a SLK230 and I hear good things about long term reliability and what not. I usually do not hear good things about the 320 in terms of reliability but I constantly hear how great a car it is. In terms of maintenance - its not your everyday honda - parts are expensive. You have to face it, the engines are built for performance and sporty characteristics. I have had my 230 for about 1.5 yrs and I have put in around 3000 outside of the used car warranty. Oil changes aren't 20 bucks , there around 100 minimum. Expect at least 1000 a year for maintenance.
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#9 Old 10-27-2007
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Also make sure your car has been thoroughly serviced throughout its history, I was cheated into buying a car that hadn't been serviced in 20,000 miles. I went for an oil change and they called me 2hrs later saying they have a list of problems with my car. I went in and it was a bill for around 1500 dollars. I was extremely mad, contacted the manager and he took care of 1100 of those dollars. So make sure that you know your car has regularly been serviced. What I told the dealer to get my money back was this, " I thought that your used cars go through a 1000 point inspection, so how is it that your technicians overlooked all these problems(engine belt, spark plugs, steering column, air filter, some valve some more forgot...) to which he said, I will pay for...". Other than that if your vehicle has a clean service history than don't expect to pay more than 1000 every 20,000 miles. Around 60K is when everything needs to be replaced(spark plus, engine belt, few parts on the steering, filters etc, coolant flush, transy flush) So make sure all this is done by the dealer before you buy.
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#10 Old 10-27-2007
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Thanks to everyone for your comments!

MCFaisal .. 100 for an oil change? That's pretty steep, isn't it? I wasn't really expecting that kind of price for a simple service. I generally spend $35 for an oil change at the dealer for my 01 Acura TL. Obviously a Mercedes is a class higher than an Acura TL but roughly 3x as much .. wow! $100 by itself isn't a huge deal but I can only imagine the costs for something more involved.

This is really the kind of information I'm looking for to help determine if I should buy or not.

Also, I'll definately ask the dealer about the 60k service. I'm actually looking to choose between an SLK320 and an SLK350. I was leaning towards the 320 because it's 10k cheaper and still a very nice car. However, my wife saw the 350 and really likes that one so .. still trying to decide. Anyway, both are in the low-mid 50k mileage range and if they haven't done the 60k service sounds like that's an expense I'd have to take on fairly soon.

Does anyone know if there's something on the web that lists the different services needed for the 320 & 350 with approximate costs? I'll do some searching myself but if someone knows offhand that would be cool.

Thanks again for all the comments! They're both really nice cars .. now I just need to justify the maintenance costs.
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#11 Old 10-27-2007
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Unfortunately there isn't a list that has approx. costs for each service on it because it varies from vehicle to vehicle. If you can afford a SLK350 go for it, if not I would try to find a low mileage SLK320. Im surprised you found a 320 for 10K cheaper than a SLK350, thats ridiculously overpriced, I wouldn't pay more than 25K for a used SLK320 to be honest, the market value is dropping like crazy on the R170(SLK230,320,32), so don't pay more than 30K for any of those models. The advantage you have with the SLK350 would be the warranty, which is a must when you buying a sports car. The reason why the oil change is around 100 dollars is because the quality of the oil they use is extremely high, and depending on the motor, the vehicle is designed to run on a specific type of oil which is never cheap when it comes to a mercedes. The advantage of spending 100 dollars is that the oil lasts around 10,000 miles which is great. I would go for a low mileage SLK320, and if your lucky a low mileage SLK32AMG which I think is the most exciting AMG vehicle mercedes has ever created. The SLK350 is going to be much more refined than the SLK320 not to mention much faster. Its a excellent sports car and attracts alot of attention. If you have any specific questions about either model feel free to ask.
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#12 Old 10-27-2007
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Also the service intervals are different from vehicle to vehicle, the car is so advanced it adapts to the drivers style in too many ways to mention. So, I am assuming you have found a used SLK350 with 50K on it? wow, thats hefty. Notice how the dealers always have vehicle in the mid 50s range mileage wise, it is most likely due for a service soon. Don't back out of your purchase in light of spending a lot on a service, all that won't matter once you start driving the vehicle on a daily basis. It shouldn't be too bad, if its through a mercedes dealer then you can't go wrong because the dealer has to protect its name and integrity. Don't go for a used mercedes in through a "3rd party" seller because the car would have most likely been abused in its past. I would ask the dealer these questions to make sure, because if they lie to you there screwed there is no other way of putting it.
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#13 Old 10-28-2007
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Actually there is a list - in German

Take a look and see if it makes any sense......

http://tinyurl.com/36uk77

100 Euro (EU = 143.879 US Dollar (USD)

One thing that makes the prices a bit hard to compare, is that a lot of Germans bring their own oil ...

Changing the sparkplugs on a 320 costs twice as on a 350, 'couse the 320 got 12 of them
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#14 Old 10-28-2007
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Here's the cars I found:

'03 slk320, 52,692 miles, $22,500
'05 slk350, 54,665 miles, $31,500

Trying to decide between the two. My wife really likes the decked out 350 (as do I) however, the 320 is still a very nice car and 10k cheaper. So yea, the 320 is under 25k; I guess the 350 is less than you expected (because of the miles, I guess). It's interesting that both cars are less than a year away from the 60k service.

A $100 oil change isn't bad if it's done every 10k miles. The dealer that has these two vehicles only sells used Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Jag. They also service and detail these vehicles. I'll ask them more details about the services due on these cars and pricing.
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#15 Old 10-28-2007
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the 350 seems a little shady, thats just my opinion. You have to ask yourself, does it bother you that it has done 50K in 2yrs
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#16 Old 10-28-2007
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Makes no sense what so ever (the list) and it seems as though users post the mileage and service done on their vehicle and how much they paid. Also, slicer is looking for a spec sheet from mercedes that has a list of all the service intervals and the specific costs of each service.
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#17 Old 06-29-2010
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So has anyone here changed their own oil on the SLK 230? I'm a big do it yourselfer (primarily due to the fact that I caught a few shops charging me for parts they replaced but obviously did not) so I'll be getting my own oil, filters, etc. I've done euro style oil changes on bimmers, with the oil filter housing instead of the scre on type...so do not see it being worth 100 bucks...I know that dealers usually charge a lot for service so I am hoping it is not primarily for the cost of oil. And why does the 320 have 12 spark plugs? Does the 230 have more than 4 spark plugs too?
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#18 Old 06-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohlikeshunny View Post
So has anyone here changed their own oil on the SLK 230? I'm a big do it yourselfer (primarily due to the fact that I caught a few shops charging me for parts they replaced but obviously did not) so I'll be getting my own oil, filters, etc. I've done euro style oil changes on bimmers, with the oil filter housing instead of the scre on type...so do not see it being worth 100 bucks...I know that dealers usually charge a lot for service so I am hoping it is not primarily for the cost of oil. And why does the 320 have 12 spark plugs? Does the 230 have more than 4 spark plugs too?
It's not rocket surgery. The main cost is for the oil. About $7US/quart.

You may want to invest in a oil suction device. I have the Mityvac 7300 pneumatic which works beautifully. About $89US. It will hold the full complement of 8-9 quarts for an SLK 320. Mann oil filters run about $15.

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#19 Old 06-29-2010
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I have a manual pump that works great! and it was about 15 bucks. Works on the bimmer np. But at 7/qt, there's no way in hell I would even consider having a stealership do it for 100 bucks...I don't imagine the filter being more than 20 bucks either. 40-50 bucks and it sounds like a done deal, plus I'll know for a fact it was done. Thanks!
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#20 Old 06-29-2010
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Oil change is like 10,000 mile or once a year and it is around 9 quarts using Mobil 1. Most cars you change at 3000 miles or 90 days, thats 4 times a year at $30 or $120 per year vs once a year around $100. It sort of balances out when you look at it this way.

Yes there are suggested items like change blake fluid and trans fluid ever few years as a PM (preventive mantance.) How much of this you do or dealer does and if you follow the book to the "T" can effect the cost of owning it, it is up to you. Better PM does pay off in a car lasting longer.
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