Need Buying Advice!!! The year is 2017 - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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

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#1 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Need Buying Advice!!! The year is 2017

I am currently very nervous for this weekend as I might be getting my second Mercedes in my life. I currently drive an '03 E320 which runs fine, but the gas cost is kind of killing me. I have driven a variety of cars in my life, but I have only used one Mercedes as a daily driver. I need help deciding if this car is going to be way too much for me to handle. It is a 2000 slk230 I-4 kompressor. I have quite a few concerns. First off, I will be taking a 3 hour drive (about 500 miles back and forth) to see this car. I have a scary feeling that the distance I'm traveling to get this car would cause me to make an irrational decision and not make a sound judgment and inspection and on top of having quite a few friends come with me to look at the car.

*Excuse my random thought pattern please, very heavily caffeinated*

My first concern is whether the price matches the year. I searched the KBB value of the car to be about $5900. The car is going for about $7000 with only 61,000 miles.

I am buying the car from a Mercedes dealership, but I don't know if that entitles a stricter inspection of the car before the dealership buys and thinks about selling the car. They do provide a carfax report that states three owners starting at Tennessee, then all the way down to Florida, and now the car is in the Washington, DC area.
Tennessee to Florida ~900 miles traveled
Florida to DC ~1100 miles traveled
First owner 26,000 miles; Second owner None Stated; Third owner to 61,000 miles

With the overview of the how the miles are kinda spent, I am concerned with the mechanical issues associated with the car. It has gone from a semi-normal weather for me (hot summers, cold winters) to (mostly hot weather) to (very cold winters, and semi-hot summers). I worry about the weather of the car due to long travel, snow, amount of rain and sun, etc.

With that, I am unsure of how to properly inspect a used Mercedes-Benz. I am jumping between this post and a list of potential problems with the R170 style. I could use a good run-through what I should check for. The only thing I have in my head right now is that I will be looking at the car during rain it looks like which means I can check for any leaks from the vario roof. I will check the shocks, most of the rubber if possible, and glass. I want to see if there is any specific things/problematic areas I should check for in the SLK230?

I'm sorry if this post is a mess, but in short...

Does this sound like a good deal and what should I check for slk-specific when I view the car?

I attached some photos of the car. I thank you for taking the time to view the post and hopefully you guys can help ease my car-buying anxiety!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg side rear view.jpg (62.0 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg side front view.jpg (59.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg pedal view.jpg (44.8 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg passenger interior view.jpg (40.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg front view.jpg (44.8 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg engine view.jpg (59.5 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg driver interior view.jpg (43.5 KB, 13 views)
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#2 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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This thread my help you


SLK 230 Inspection Checklist
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#3 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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This will help you also

First please update your location and vehicle (Put Looking!)(year?: 1996-2017, model?: 32, 43, 200, 230, 250, 280, 300,320,350,55) in your profile as it helps the members answer your questions which usually are based on that information if you haven’t. This takes about 30 seconds to do.
Follow exactly to update: ‘Usercp’ at the top of page, then ‘edit your details’ on the left side, ‘additional information’ near the bottom, edit your ‘location’ and ‘vehicle’. Info in your garage does not update your profile.


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#4 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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If you're buying the slk cause the cost of gas on an e320 is killing you, don't buy it. They get about the same mileage.
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#5 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Thoughts on Buying R170

I own a 2001 R170, basically the same car you're looking at. And I've been in the market for a clean 1997-2000 W202, so I know what you're going through.

First, I'd get another Mercedes shop/mechanic to do an inspection on the car. Have him pull codes, do a test drive, etc. But if you're buying from a dealer, maybe you can wangle some kind of guarantee as part of the deal, something like if you find anything material within 30 days, you get to take it back or get a discount.

As to the price, it seems a couple G's high to me. The car looks nice, and dealers certainly get more than private parties. But if you go look at the car, like it, I'd maybe open with a $5,000 bid and be a little unreasonable.

As for fuel mileage, I have the 6 speed, and am a total lead-foot. But I typically get about 19 MPG around town (sad, I know). And on the freeway I can get 27-30. I drove mine from Boston to San Francisco in December, and I averaged 27.6 MPG. That's probably not MUCH better than what you're driving now, especially around town. And the car you're buying will probably do a bit worse due to being an automatic.

Finally, be sure to check that the seats move. The relay for controlling the electric seats is famously erratic. If you test drive the car, try the seats before and after bumps. The part is fairly cheap (< $40), but it's a complete pain to access.

Also check the self-dimming rear-view mirror. If there are any bubbles, lines, etc, it will have to be replaced for about $500-600. (That's the figure I'd use in negotiation; they can actually be repaired for about $120.) And I believe this is more of an age factor than a mileage factor.

As for leaks, someone here wrote about all the drainage tubes in this car. I've got a couple that are clogged, but the main symptom is that the driver's seat belt gets damp if it's left in the rain. I don't think I'd notice anything on a test drive. See post here.

Oh, the car is prone to rust inside the front fender where it joins the front bumper. you'd have to pull off the interior (plastic) fender guard to see it, but it might be worth it. That said, your car hasn't lived in the salt/snow belt, and IMHO, DC hardly counts. (Said a Bostonian.)

Anyway, Good Luck! And let us know what you do.

P.S. 61,000 miles isn't a big deal. There are plenty out there running strong with 3x that. Mine has 75-ish, and it's strong. I did recently need to replace the steering damper (you can find the post I did on it), and opted to replace the front shocks. (Probably unnecessary) My only problems are that seat relay and the rear view mirror. Oh, and last year I replaced the trunk lid supports, but that cost me something like $40 with parts from Amazon. (Which is a GREAT source of parts, BTW.)
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Last edited by El_Murcielago; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:11 PM. Reason: Found link for drainage tube post
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#6 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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P.S. - Power Steering

P.S. The power steering hose is famous for leaking. Take a look at it and try to get the dealer to replace it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Nguyen View Post
My first concern is whether the price matches the year. I searched the KBB value of the car to be about $5900. The car is going for about $7000 with only 61,000 miles.
@Patrick Nguyen,

I looked at the car. You may want to re-visit the dealer's web-site as they have dropped the asking prices (still too high) and state this is a 'Wholesale to the public Mechanic special UNKNOWN ISSUES WITH THIS VEHICLE". Good luck.
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#8 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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I think asking price is way to high for this 15 years old car, as previous poster said. Last month i took my 2002 white slk 320, well maintenance and running to carmax for an estimate of selling price because someone at Lowes pushing a cart to my front door. they come back with an offer of less than $2000. I was laughing when they ask if i want to sell it. Yes my car is near 120k miles but it runs so smooth with no error code, no leaking oil, new LED tail light, roof works, rear dim mirror works, Mod for roof to open with remote, new updated front grill and light, wind blocker...etc.
I know dealer need to make money but again $8000 is quite high.
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Late Reply, but Still Hopeful

Thank you so much for mentioning this. I will definitely look at the car today, but now I am feeling quite negative about the outlook. Luckily the rain has cleared up a bit and hopefully I can make a good list of things to look at. I think I will start at $5000 and going from there if the car has a few issues. I don't mind working on the car a little, but knowing it's a mechanic special now, I feel like it could cost me double the car to fix it and I don't even know if I can make the 300+ mile trip back home without issues.





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@Patrick Nguyen,

I looked at the car. You may want to re-visit the dealer's web-site as they have dropped the asking prices (still too high) and state this is a 'Wholesale to the public Mechanic special UNKNOWN ISSUES WITH THIS VEHICLE". Good luck.
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#10 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by Patrick Nguyen View Post
Thank you so much for mentioning this. I will definitely look at the car today, but now I am feeling quite negative about the outlook. Luckily the rain has cleared up a bit and hopefully I can make a good list of things to look at. I think I will start at $5000 and going from there if the car has a few issues. I don't mind working on the car a little, but knowing it's a mechanic special now, I feel like it could cost me double the car to fix it and I don't even know if I can make the 300+ mile trip back home without issues.

They likely know what is wrong with the car - they have a 72 bay service facility full of techs, and they have decided that it is not financially worth it to repair the car and try again to get top dollar for the car. To me this is telling and should act as a warning signal to those that are interested in the car. Before driving 600 miles round trip (are you in SW Virginia??) I think I would be on the phone with the sales manager seeing what you can get them to divulge. And there will likely be more that needs to be done than whatever you figure out by talking to them and looking at the car. As an example, the pictures show that the small rear quarter windows are not up/closed while the top is closed and door windows are up. There is an issue there and if the car has been outside over the last few days with all the rain we have had (2.25") then it has had a lot of rain water get into it. I would hope they parked it in the service shop.

CarFax reports can be very helpful depending on the information contained. In this case the car fax report only seems to have the most basic of information - which is only when the registration was renewed. While the report does show that there have been three owners, there is no record of what happened during the time of the second owner including no idea how many miles they put on the car. The biggest piece of messing information is the complete lack of service history on the car. Hard to imagine that over 15 years not one service report became available to CarFax. For me, the fact that the car has no service history and it is now known that it has some problem significant enough to keep the MB dealer from repairing it, means that either it is not the car for me or they will have to get a lot more aggressive on the pricing. The buyer is taking all the risk and there are known to be problems and holes in the car's history. It could be a big black money hole.

There are way too many nicely maintained R170s out there to get very excited about this one. Especially, after they reveal that the car has problems and still have an asking price over book value. With the buyer knowing there are issues with the car and not knowing how deep the problems go that makes this a $3,000 (or less) car not a $6,000 one.

These are only my views and I hope you don't take them as anything more than what I would do if I were interested in this car. I know my way around a car and repairs do not scare me as I can do them all, but the unknown at a high price does not work for me. The bigger the unknown issues the lower the price. As the old saying goes, there is a fool around every corner. The dealer knows that too and is hoping the right one stumbles on to his lot. I try to let others play that role.
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#11 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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@mchild:

Fantastic post, insightful, and really value added for anyone looking for any used car. Thank you!

@Patrick: unlike, say a C-Class of similar vintage, an R170 is a "special" car, and thus you can often find them on eBay in quite good condition. Frankly, shopping for a used car, particularly one that old, is a bit of an art. Take your time, and the perfect car will eventually show up. And it's better to pay up for something good than to try to make it up in repairs later. Unless you are going to do it yourself, you could easily drop $1,000 on some kind of repair, and even if you do it yourself, parts can add up too.

You mentioned wanting to save on gasoline, but based on my comment above, I don't think you're going to save a ton on the R170 vs your 320E. And even if you do, a couple months gasoline savings will pale in comparison to some unexpected repair cost. So take your time and look for a good car. Also, the advantage of eBay is that you can select cars that have only lived in warm, salt-free places like California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, etc.

I live in Boston, but happen to be temporarily in California now. I love my R170, but frankly, have dallied with the idea of replacing it with an identical car that I buy out here. My car has only 77,000 miles on it, runs like a top, but rust (despite my trying to keep it out of salt, washing the undersides, etc) is still a problem, and it's now a bit rusty underneath. And I'm in the process of replacing the front fenders because they've rusted through in the spot I indicated above. I would never buy an older car from Massachusetts or any snowy state as it is almost impossible to keep the rust at bay. The only exception might be a very very cherry car that had clearly only been driven in the summers, and was clearly with absurdly low mileage.

But by buying an identical California car, I could, for around a couple thousand dollars, set back the clock on my rust by 15 years. That would be a teensy tiny fraction of the cost of cleaning up all the rust on my own car. Or, in short, an amazing deal.

Anyway, good luck, I really hope you find a fantastic car. These cars are a lot of fun, and I particularly love the retro styling of the R170. You'll have a lot of fun when you get your car, but take your time and find the right one.
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#12 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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This is what I'm talking about

This car on eBay is exactly what I'm talking about. Though from Pennsylvania, it's about as cherry an example as I've seen in a while. Absolutely beautiful with a beautiful interior and 18,350 miles on the clock. (Though I personally don't like that weird chrome on the tail lights. Maybe that could be removed, I don't know.) I've seen this kind of condition go for five digits, so you'd have to pay up. But then you've got nearly a new car. (P.S. this red one seems to be missing a cover on the engine that hides the throttle body. Either that, or that cover got added later. Mine has it.) (Correction: I've looked at several of that era now, and none have the cover; must've been added later.)

By the way, aside from the below, there seems to be a raft of good R170's on eBay right now. Here's my search for models with less than 100K miles. If you are willing to buy an automatic there's what, 4-5 to chose from?

Go for it! (And welcome to the club!)







Attached Images
File Type: jpg Side view s-l1600.jpg (101.3 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Interior s-l1600.jpg (47.3 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Engine s-l1600.jpg (61.4 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Wheel s-l1600.jpg (50.8 KB, 54 views)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Nguyen View Post
Thank you so much for mentioning this. I will definitely look at the car today, but now I am feeling quite negative about the outlook. Luckily the rain has cleared up a bit and hopefully I can make a good list of things to look at. I think I will start at $5000 and going from there if the car has a few issues. I don't mind working on the car a little, but knowing it's a mechanic special now, I feel like it could cost me double the car to fix it and I don't even know if I can make the 300+ mile trip back home without issues.

So what did you end up doing? Did you look at the white one in Northern Virginia? I see it is still for sale. The red 1999 with 18K miles that @El_Murcielago posted the eBay link to sold for $8,125. That provides a good reference point as to what $8,000 gets you as that car was fairly close to the top of the market. It does not take much in higher mileage and needed work to cut that price in half or less.
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Jeeze...$8,125? I should have bought it. Except I don't want an automatic. But someone out there got a LOT of car for not much money.

@Patrick Nguyen: Don't waste your time with one that needs a lot of work unless it's super cheap and you want to be fooling around with it.


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So what did you end up doing? Did you look at the white one in Northern Virginia? I see it is still for sale. The red 1999 with 18K miles that @El_Murcielago posted the eBay link to sold for $8,125. That provides a good reference point as to what $8,000 gets you as that car was fairly close to the top of the market. It does not take much in higher mileage and needed work to cut that price in half or less.

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It's very easy to fall in love with something at first sight. But one thing to remember is at this stage of your journey, look with your brain and not your heart.

It's difficult to separate the two when you've fallen in love but remember: there will always be another one available tomorrow that you may have wished you'd waited for.
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I love the feedback!

Unfortunately, the car was wayy too much trouble. Glad someone noticed that the back windows were down. For people to know, I looked at the car and they valued it at $6,260, but after everything with the salesperson, he told me he would try to get the price as low as $500, which hints at how bad the car was.

First, top didn't go down, which also meant the back windows were stuck in their position, DOWN. The cigarette holder was off its hinges and pretty much broken. The casing where the switch to drop the top was loose of the car, too. All of this I could probably deal with fixing, but this is what killed it. I was only going down the road max speed 55 miles for me. I noticed that between gears it was slipping (very bad sign) then while i was driving back to the dealership and taken a left turn red light, the car was stuck in first gear. First thing I checked was maybe I had the shift knob in the wrong gear. It was in drive and stuck there. I was appalled at how badly this car was kept. I felt so sorry for the car. I really did love the look and feel of the car, though. It was small, light, but hefty enough for me to feel like I could be happy just driving around in the car. I will definitely look into getting another slk230, but I guess in virginia they are hard to come by in good condition. I wish I saw the Pennsylvania one sooner!

I really am looking to spend a max $7000 since this is just a secondary car for me, but I wouldn't mind spending a little extra for a very pristine car. I will definitely look at getting another one.

I am patient, but also been holding off since January since my 4runner died during the storm we had. I don't like putting so many miles on the e320.

I live by the beach, so having a hard top convertible was a very big plus on top of it staying a bit warmer during the winter times versus the soft top. I find that my area has a lot of c-class, e-class, but not many s-class so I wanted a more unique car. I don't like the look of the c-class lights, but I'm starting to rethink if I can deal with them.

Thank you all for the continued help. I will definitely keep a better tab on this since I'm still car searching. I work a lot and tend to not be at a personal computer oftentimes, but I should still be able to update every few days. Thanks again and cheers!
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Side-note: I noticed on the engine that the paint had some weird almost melted marks on the faceplate. I also felt that was a very weird and potentially scary thought to have on the car.
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Lemon alert

Quote:
Originally Posted by mchild View Post
So what did you end up doing? Did you look at the white one in Northern Virginia? I see it is still for sale. The red 1999 with 18K miles that @El_Murcielago posted the eBay link to sold for $8,125. That provides a good reference point as to what $8,000 gets you as that car was fairly close to the top of the market. It does not take much in higher mileage and needed work to cut that price in half or less.
It was a total lemon in my honest opinion.
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Vehicle: 2005 SLK 350 w/ AMG Sport Pkg
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Originally Posted by Patrick Nguyen View Post
It was a total lemon in my honest opinion.
Nothing like looking at a car in person as compared to the glossy pictures on the Internet. All the blemishes show - especially if you are discriminating and looking for them. Yes, they have a real pig on their hands with that one. They will likely take it to auction and get what they can for it. You are correct that the salesman saying he may be able to get it down to $500 was telling.

I looked for my SLK for about a year. Ended up with a 2005 171 body that had 20K miles. At the time it was 10 years old and was virtually a new ten year old car. I had the dealer put it up on a lift so I could check the underside and I suspect that not only had it never been driven in the snow, but rarely, if ever, had it been driven in the rain. New in virtually every regard except for its age. As you saw with the eBay auction, they do exist and you just have to be patient. If the car has been well maintained, garage kept, and driven on a regular basis (as compared to being parked for years) the age should not be an issue and you can get yourself into a very nice car for very reasonable dollars.

When looking at cars on the Internet use all the information available to help you decide if it is worth it to take the additional step of looking at the car in person. Use the CarFax report to tell you how many owners, how the miles have been accumulated, service history, accident records, and so on. If a dealer says they don't have a CarFax report then they are not being truthful as all dealerships have accounts with CarFax. So, if they say they don't have a report they are hiding something. If the CarFax report is missing information such as no service history over 15 years then move on. There are way too many fish to catch to chase something that has holes in it.

Mercedes does not like telling others about a car's service history - they claim it is a privacy issue. But, if you are looking at a used MB at a MB dealership I would make it a part of the deal. They can bring it up on their system and let you scroll through. Not the same as having a full print out but you can get a sense of the prior owners attention to maintaining and repairing the car. If oil changes and other regular service is sporadic, that may be an issue. If the dealer made recommendations on repairs that the owner passed on and did not get the repair done, that may be an issue.

Looking at the pictures carefully can also provide you with valuable information. I noticed the rear windows which ended up being a lead to a bigger issue. For cars that are being sold in Virginia, the dealership runs it through Virginia state safety inspection as soon as they take possession. If you can see the month and year it was inspected in one of the pics it will tell you how long the dealer has had it on the lot for sale. Longer hold time can mean more flexibility on the selling price. Pictures of wheels with lots of curb rash will tell you the prior owner was sloppy with parking and to me likely was sloppy overall with the car and more than I would be comfortable with.

The R170s are noted for peeling paint on the interior pieces. This seemed to be resolved near the end of the production run in 2003 - 2004. This will normally be visible in the pics so it will tell you how much work needs to be done to get the interior back in good condition. If you don't see any peeling paint and it is not a late model version then the prior owner probably already did the work - but then you need to look carefully when you are looking at the car in person to make sure they did a good job and didn't just spray a new coat over the old peeling paint as that will not hold up. There is lots of information on this site dealing with this issue. Spend some time getting to know the R170 (and R171 if you think you may go there too) and its weak points. Every car by every manufacture has them so best know what they are going in.

Good luck in your search.
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