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Registered NO SLK but an SL 550
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Discussion Starter #1
I struck a pothole very hard resulting in two, left side, damaged wheels and tires.

I am running Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 tires; 225/40 ZR18 and
245/35 ZR18 tires. The car only has 28K on it and has not had any suspension issues during the 3K miles that I have driven it.

I purchased the car used. The wheels pictured below are currently installed. They are not the 5 spoke AMG wheels that were purchased originally. The following options are installed.

483 Vehicle Dynamics Package

782 AMG spoke wheels

I've read posts pointing out that the alignment doesn't really change unless there is excessive wear or damage to the suspension.

After the new tires/wheels are installed the car will be aligned by a shop, and not an MB dealer. They will also check the suspension for damage. I am uncomfortable not having the dealer do the work and am considering having the insurance company direct that the inspection/alignment be done by a dealer.

Here is the real issue. How does one make certain that there was no damage to the suspension? I would think that if the damage were severe it could be determined by a visual inspection. Assuming there is no visual damage does an alignment check by itself show that the suspension has been damaged?
 

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Premium Member
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132 Posts
I would personally push to have a MB dealer do the insurance work. But it does depend on how good the inspection process is at the shop slated to do the work. It really is a tough call. I could perhaps see that some damage might go undetected by a visual inspection, if it is a quick/dirty one, and done by someone not familiar with a R172 SLK's suspension. However, if you get a probie second string mechanic at the dealer the same thing could well happen. At the end of the day I would most likely trust a dealer first, but I would also maybe have a second opinion inspection, done at my expense, just to be sure. I for-sure would want to talk to the mechanics doing the inspection/work to get a sense of what they are looking for and how they are doing it. That must have been one nasty pot-hole. Good Luck!
 

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Premium Member 2012 SLK350
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1,296 Posts
I would prefer to have the work done by the dealer in this case also. Even more so, if it's covered by insurance.
There are so many sophisticated systems and electronics that a regular independent might not be aware of. I would only use them for simple maintenance.
 
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Registered NO SLK but an SL 550
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Discussion Starter #4
update

The car has been repaired with 2 new wheels/tires on the left side. It was also aligned by an indy shop. I took the results of the alignment to the dealer and he had his alignment guy look at the figures. One of the figures for the left rear was a bit out of spec but of no real significance according to the alignment guy at MB. They did not find any damage to the suspension. I was going to have the MB shop check out the alignment and inspect the undercarriage just for peace of mind. Unfortunately they are so busy with their regular customers that they could not fit me in.

Regarding the inflatable spare. I cannot find anything in writing about it's life expectancy other than don't drive over 50 mph and replace it after 6 years of non-use. The tire shop deflated the tire and put in back in the well in the trunk area. Other than being a bit worn, and needing some cleaning it looks fine. Since the replacement was over $400 I opted to return the one I had purchased from the MB shop primarily because my insurance company would not cover the cost.

On the road again......
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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Great news Colonel! Did you use Fields in Lakeland?
 

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That's good, sounds like it went off OK for you. I might still, but I am a bit anal from time to time (or so I been told), still get the dealer to have a look at some point. I am not sure on the spare, but it seems like what you did is very reasonable.

Happy/Safe Motoring.
 

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Registered NO SLK but an SL 550
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Discussion Starter #7
Incident happened near the TN/KY border on I-75. I drove the car 90 miles to Lexington KY thinking the MB dealer would do the work. Turns out they use a local body shop that is the same one my insurance company suggested; South Broadway Collision in Lexington. The MB dealer in Lexington, James Motor Company, was very helpful in getting the wheels.

I paid the core charge for the rims and have sent them in for a repair estimate. I am confident they can be brought back into spec for a lot less than the $900 cost of new ones. The core charge was only $80.
 

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Registered NO SLK but an SL 550
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Discussion Starter #8
Well.......dealer in Lexington was too busy to check the alignment. I took off the trip out west and noted that the car pulled significantly to the right when the steering wheel was straight. I had to keep about 10 degrees left to keep the car on the road. I finally found a Mercedes dealer that could get me in that day....in Albuquerque NM. I told the that the steering wheel had to be straight, with no pull, or I'd bring it back. Well, when I drove it the steering wheel was now about 10 degrees left. I took it back and they did get it right the second time. They did have to replace the "alignment bolts" during the process.

Here's the problem. I had new Michelins on the front/rear of the left side. The right side rear was a 2014 tire so it might have had 8K or so miles on it. I drove a long way with that arrangement and everything was fine. After several thousand miles I noted that the red traction warning triangle in the speedo would come on occasionally. I stopped at a dealer in Sioux Falls SD to have them look at that along with a parktronic issue, and B service. They couldn't find any issues other that 1 fault related to parktronic ( object too close to car.....I think it was that bird that I hit in Montana.....it was definitely too close ). The tech did move the left rear to the right. I'll see if that effects the traction warning. I say this because a guy in the dealership had the same issue and he discovered that it was definitely caused by rear tires with significant tread differences from one side to the other.

Now here's the tech question. Now the steering is cocked a bit to the right. Nothing was touched on the suspension other than moving the tires. Is it possible that significant differences in tread wear on the rear tires can effect the steering wheel alignment. My experience is that it does, but an expert can chime in I'd appreciate it.
 
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