Gotta Love Mercedes Service Reps - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

General Discussion Topics must pertain to all 3 generations of SLK - R170, R171 and R172

 
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#1 Old 02-23-2014
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Gotta Love Mercedes Service Reps

So, my SLK55 has been stored for the past 6 weeks in a heated garage. On Friday, I decided to drive it to work just to get the internal parts lubricated and keep the tires from flat spotting. I was about 1.5 miles from work when a pulley seized, the serpentine belt disintegrated, and all sorts of warning lights started flashing. Basically any ancillary system driven by the belt. Battery, alternator, cooling, power steering.

So I call Mercedes roadside assistance and off to the dealer it goes. They inform me it's just the belt and one pulley that seized. $350, not bad. The belt may have been original and I'd been getting a speed dependent whistle from a pulley for months. It must have seized up from sitting in the garage for 6 weeks and combined with the old belt.....failure.

I also had them do the "Service C" maintenance which is just an oil change and fluids check. $299, again not bad.

But then I had to listen to the sales pitch from the service rep. Keep in mind, my dealer has outsourced service operations to Penske Automotive. So, although the dealer's name is on the building, all of their personnel servicing Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, and Smart brands are Penske employees.

So the service rep informs me about the problems noted above and then goes on to say in addition.....
  • Oil leak - At first he called it a leak from the valve cover gaskets then amended that to a "weeping" at one corner of one gasket. I'm getting no oil on the garage floor. He admitted it's barely noticeable at the moment.
  • Transmission fluid change - recommended at 40,000 miles. I had to crush his spirit and inform him that the car had the conductor plate and valve body problem fixed at 27,000 miles just before I bought it and therefore had fresh transmission fluid.
  • Brake fluid flush - Next up he tried selling me a brake fluid flush which is also recommended at 40,000 miles. Sorry dude the car has 37,000 miles and is in storage until mid April. We'll talk about the end of June.
  • Spark plug change - Recommended at 5 years regardless of mileage so that oxidation doesn't cause the plugs to weld themselves to the block due to anodic reaction of the block vs the metal in the plugs. I had to break his heart again when I informed him that the plugs were also done at 27,000 miles just before I bought the car.

Now, I can't fault the guy for bringing legitimate maintenance items to my attention, but the transmission, and plugs were done at a Mercedes dealer. The service records should be available to this service center. They should have looked. Or maybe they did and thought they could get lucky. Sorry, I have the service records for the car.

He did not get as far as giving me prices for all of the above maintenance but I would guess it totals around $2,000. Based on the facts, I think I'll take it to a local independent I trust for the valve cover leak and the brake fluid flush. Both are pretty mundane service items. As a result of either laziness or deceit, these guys will get zero work out of me for this stuff.
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#2 Old 02-23-2014
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Does the 171 maintenance book say that the brake fluid is based only on mileage or is there a time interval too? The 170 is strictly an every two year service item as has been Mercedes policy back to the late 80's. Prior to that it was an annual service item.

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#3 Old 02-23-2014
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Originally Posted by sokoloff View Post
Does the 171 maintenance book say that the brake fluid is based only on mileage or is there a time interval too? The 170 is strictly an every two year service item as has been Mercedes policy back to the late 80's. Prior to that it was an annual service item.
I do mine every two years. In fact I'm a month over due.
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#4 Old 02-23-2014
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I also do the brake flush every 2 years, irregardless of mileage.

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#5 Old 02-23-2014
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Originally Posted by sokoloff View Post
Does the 171 maintenance book say that the brake fluid is based only on mileage or is there a time interval too? The 170 is strictly an every two year service item as has been Mercedes policy back to the late 80's. Prior to that it was an annual service item.
Dunno, my SLK55 is still at the dealer and the books are in the trunk. They didn't call me until 3PM Saturday and I didn't pick up the voice message until 6PM so it sits at the dealer until Monday morning. Or longer if we get snow or ice. But the service rep said 40,000 miles in his message. My car has the 20 piston brake package. I'm not sure if the AMG's with that package use the standard Mercedes hydraulic goop or maybe some whiz bang synthetic glop that allows a longer life.
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#6 Old 02-23-2014
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Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
Dunno, my SLK55 is still at the dealer and the books are in the trunk. They didn't call me until 3PM Saturday and I didn't pick up the voice message until 6PM so it sits at the dealer until Monday morning. Or longer if we get snow or ice. But the service rep said 40,000 miles in his message. My car has the 20 piston brake package. I'm not sure if the AMG's with that package use the standard Mercedes hydraulic goop or maybe some whiz bang synthetic glop that allows a longer life.
I changed mine out with Motul a few months after buying it. Standard is Dot 4+ not Dot 5 (synthetic)
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#7 Old 02-23-2014
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I also change brake fluid every two years and coolant every three...it's cheap insurance as I see it. Oil changes for me are roughly an annual event, as each of my cars gets about 5-7k a year put on the clock.
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#8 Old 02-24-2014
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Brake fluid flush is always date based rather than mileage due to the hygrscopic properties. Spark plug welding to engine: I have not heard that one in a long time. Almost all spark plugs are manufactured with a trivalent zinc-chromate coating that prevents both corrosion and seizure. NGK tells me the date based replacement does not take into account modern spark plugs manufacture and is not needed for an NGK plug. They also implied the 80,000 mile change is conservative.

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#9 Old 02-28-2014
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"Gotta Love Mercedes Service Reps"

The bad thing about going to dealers is they log everything and it may show up in a CARFAX report if you go and sell the car. I had a repair done to my first Mercedes SLK 230 (rock dent - oil pan- but NO LEAK - cosmetic only). The car was perfectly fine! When I went to trade in the car the dealer used that incidence against me from a CAR FAX report to lower the resell value. That's why I prefer certified indie Mercedes repair people. My car is off the grid but I keep all my maintenance paperwork myself.
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#10 Old 02-28-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
The service records should be available to this service center.
That's a reasonable assumption but not necessarily accurate. A Vehicle Master Inquiry would show work done under warranty, recalls and TSBs but not necessarily maintenance records which are often kept at the dealer-level only. Maintenance entries also may be incomplete, e.g. only show the top-level invoice item. When you consider it from the data storage perspective there's clearly a need for Mercedes to store VMI type data but not maintenance data which could be queried on-demand from the dealer network.

From my own practical experience I've found that San Diego dealers such as Hoehn and MBSD (a Penske dealership) can't see detailed service records performed at the other.
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