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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I've been looking for a 171 2005 SLK 55 AMG and finally purchased one the other day. Over the past month or so I've seen no less than 8 different cars and travelled some ridiculous miles in the process. I've also been utterly demoralised in the process to the point where I wasn't going to bother looking and coming to a conclusion that I'm way to OCD to own a 12 year old car.. Patience is a virtue however and persistence is key.

Anyway, thought I would share some knowledge of the things I check for when looking at these cars, comprehensively.

I'll pre warn the guide / checks is not only a long read but they take on average 50-60 minutes for me to do, so may take much longer to someone not used to checking over cars. I'll also pre warn that most sellers will wonder what on earth's going on. They'll get a bit twitchy but these are not cheap cars and can be expensive to fix so it's worth spending the time to give them a decent check over, especially if buying privately. You can only buy once, so buy right.

I also admit, as much as I've tried to cover everything there will invariably be lots of things I've missed out - not to mention plenty of typos and poor grammar.. and things others may/may not agree with. If people want to add to this please feel free to share things you have picked up when looking for/ living with the 171. I've in no way researched this as a topic as such, it's purely from memory over my 12 years working for Mercedes / 16 years in the trade and last month or so of picking up things whilst checking them over.

Hope this helps some folks out.

Chris

Pre checks, before viewing:

Contact seller directly and have a chat, you can also re ask these questions when viewing, to get more specific answers & dig deeper, more specifically catch them out. This is mainly bias towards private sellers as dealers will tell you everything you want to hear & more to get you in so don't spend too long on the phone to them as they're experts at BS, better off just getting down there and looking yourself.
ALWAYS ask to make sure the engine cold before arrival, as in left over night cold, not for a few hours prior to you turning up - feel the engine to be sure it is stone cold!

(IF DEALER ) Ask generally about specification of the car, overall condition, additional options, how long it's been on forecourt, how they acquired it, former keepers, what prep/repairs they've done, any known faults, service history, ask about warranty and additional warranty with the car.

(If PRIVATE) why they're selling, how long they've owned it, how regular it's used, any recent repairs/servicing, any major bills during their ownership, former keepers, how long until next service if everything works electrically, paint/wheel condition (ask them to be OCD), ask if they've been on any trips in the car and try and basically gauge the feeling of the seller, get them to open up. The guy I purchased my car off I talked to for almost an hour before I travelled a 6 hour round trip for. You can soon tell someone that is genuine and selling to someone who is trying to hide things, dodge questions etc. You want an honest seller.

I'll just add a note here, Pistonheads PhoneSAFE service - if calling from a mobile charge up £1.04 per MINUTE! Ask me how I know!

(THINGS TO CHECK PRIOR )
HPI - Is it clear? (Only do this if you're serious about purchasing, it's £20 a check) I put it here as it's important but I've done it when I've decided I actually want to purchase. If dealer, they should supply but check date and ask to see a physical copy.
Check MOT database, look to see if MOT's have been regular & annually. If advisories have been issued, have they been re-issued the following year or not? When does current MOT expire? Use this to gauge if prev owner has maintained car at no expensive or Not, if advisories keep reoccuring.
Get insurance quote, It can vary year to year - car to car - day to day - always worth checking.
Tax - again can vary year to year, specifically pre 3/06 cars being cheaper tax.

En route:
Call the dealer/seller tell them you're coming. More importantly re illiterate and tell them not to start the car or move it. You want the engine to be stone cold.

Arrival - Checks:
Service history - get the book and ask for any other accompanying documents/receipts. Run through the service book, checking the dates firstly - should be a date ~roughly~ annually since -1 year of registration to current date. Then run back through the book and check additional extras due and if they've been done when they're were supposed to be.

Oil & Filter - Annually/ maybe more if low mileage and Assyst specified
BF & Combi/Pollen filter: Every 2 years
Plugs: 50k / 5 year
Coolant: 15 years
Gearbox Fluid & filter: 37,500/40K

If invoices are present, see if they match-up with service book/stamps. Also more recently if the car has had a vehicle health check (VHC) along with the service at a dealer, they will quote for the work. If the work has been identified check the invoice to see if it's been carried out. If not, ask to see if there is another receipt for the work. If private, ask why they didn't have it done. If it's a dealer, just make a mental note of what the work was and the severity of it not being completed when identified. Check other invoices for any major repair work and all small receipts for tyres, MOT etc gives a good idea that it's been looked after. Ideally again you want to build a picture of the car and if it's been maintained regardless of expense.

Do they have all the owners manual and case, also should be sat nav disc case, soft microfiber cloth for dashboard and Locking wheel nut + case.

Interior/First engine start:
Bolsters for wear / rips (common)
No warning lights/error messages on cluster.
Check both keys work unlock/lock car
Leather condition, for tears, creases, marks, damage etc.
Carpets, behind seats and foot wells for general condition - stains/marks MOST IMPORTANTLY DAMPNESS! Ensure dry. Don't be afraid to push down hard on the carpet.
As above - for the boot. Check the back and sides of the boot, reach in and feel if wet. Empty out the false floor, spare wheel, and polystyrene tool holder. Pull it out until you can see metal floor, check for water. You won't see many completely dry ones, but you don't want it to be swimming in there. Whilst here check all tools are present, you should have a small bag of fuses, towing eye, compressor, jack, wrench, plastic bag to put wheel in & white cotton gloves etc. Check the tools and compressor ends for corrosion, a sign it may have leaked in the past.
Ensure locking key is present, check sat nav DVD (eject from nav unit in boot). Check version is it up to date? May also have a wind deflector here.
Check dashboard, door cards, console for marking/stains. Check the outer edge of the doorcards as these can be very susceptible to damage.

Fun bit: Checking literally every single button in the car. BUT FIRST! Ignition on, check oil level on dash board. Then open bonnet and start the car. Listen attentively, it helps if you've heard a few. You will always hear the secondary air pump, sounds like a hairdryer for a minute or so, then it'll shut off and the engine should just purr. Naturally this engine has a slight 'whine' that is always there. They also aren't the smoothest engines in the world by standard of a V8, they do idle ever so slightly 'off' - a tiny amount.

Back to the fun bit: With engine running check: windows, up & down - should be smooth and no noises when operating no clicking or roughness. Interior fan, all speeds (sometimes they sound like a bit of card is stuck in a fan, occasionally leaves and crap can get in the fan and make a fast ticking sound). Check all air outlets, top, feet, face, mixed. Check AC works and is icey cold. Check rear demister, heated seats (both) and airscarf if applicable. Leave heaters on for a few minutes and feel the rear screen and seats (bottom and back rest to see if warm). Check parktronic if applicable, get someone to walk around the car closely. Check COMAND, push MAP button, should show map screen if disc /nav is working. Turn up volume and shut doors, turn up bass on setting, listen to rattle etc, push all buttons, make sure they're not sticky. Check mirrors move all ways and fold in/out without any noises. Select reverse, handbrake off, foot on brake and see if passenger mirror dips on reverse and repositions when back in park 30 secs or so later. Check BOTH seats move all the way to each stop up down side to side etc and all memory functions work. Check steering column adjustment to each stop. Check ALL lights, specifically xenons look at the bulbs out the car, should be similar colour of white, check 3rd brake light and # plate lights as sometimes wiring in boot can break, check glovebox door - should open slowly, not drop. Check cd changer, push all the buttons, should be heard to be operating and moving to select positions. Check to see if iPod or AUX fitted to side of glovebox. Check to see if pre wiring fitted in car, is puck fitted? Expensive to buy! Check centre console opens both ways and upper console closes/opens ok. Check handbrake travel, should be roughly <5 clicks to stop, check headlamp washers and front washer/wiper, check cup holder and lower coin holder - both should eject slowly. Push steering wheel buttons, shouldn't be sticky, ensure volume control and menu functions work. Check outside temp is right, check when service is due next. Check mirrors and vanity lights work. On entry/exit to the car when the door is open, the seat & steering column (for 05 only) should move to exit positions. On 55+ onwards just the steering column will move, I have also noted a difference in the menu functions for these two different functions. Check mirrors fold on locking - if not, check the setting is selected in the cluster.
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Bodywork:
Check EVERYWHERE. TWO PAIRS OF EYES ARE BETTER THAN ONE! Check all the corners front and rear bumpers, look down the side of the car at all different angles to show up small dings/dents, especially on the curve in the doors. Bonnet for major stone chips.
Check under front valence, guaranteed to be scratched to death as it's so low.
Check panel gaps. Check it around the boot, bonnet, headlamps, doors, check with the roof down make sure all are roughly the same, symmetry is your friend.
Check the wire centre bumper grill for damage (Common)
Check foglamps aren't cracked, fogged up (Common)
Check wheels for curbing, corrosion, lacquer peel and cheap paint refurbs (it will be an off colour of silver or extra shiny and won't quite blend in).
Check inside door shuts near the door striker for chips/scratches from the seat belt being shut in the door. (Common)
Check edge of doors for paint damage, hitting walls etc.
Check bonnet by the wiper arms, people change the wiper blades without moving them and catch the paint on the bonnet.
Check mirror indicators and fog lights for condensation and cracks (common)
Check headlights for misting on the outside (common)
Rear lights for condensation, cracks.
Check all glass, windscreen for chips.
Rear roof trims either side of rear screen for fading. (Common)

ROOF:
Engine still running, listen again very carefully to the roof operation. Open fully first, and basically listen for anything loud occurring. It shouldn't be excessively creaking, straining, banging it should be nice and smooth with a constant whurr from the pump during it's operation. Then fully close it, again listen for any abnormal noises.
Then open it up again, but stop half way and leave it. Get out and look at all the roof seals. In an ideal world, the prev keeper as lubricated them frequently and they're all pristine and gleaming. In reality, they will be dusty and a bit crap. Overall you want to look at the general condition of them, shouldn't look too squashed, should still be slightly buoyant. No rips/tears/wear. Ultimately look at them all and if you think they'll clean up, they probably will. If they're covered in 10 years of moss and crap, probably time to go and find another car or be prepared to have all the seals changed (expensive). Close roof back UP at this point.
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Engine:

Turn wheel lock to lock and hold, listen for any abnormal noises. PAS Pump will clunk and whine when it reaches it stop. Repeat 2-3 times.
Check your fluids, coolant, brake fluid, pull an intake pipe off and check PAS fluid.
Rev engine slowly up to the standstill limiter and listen. Foot off, should drop back to idle with no rpm dip or hassle. Idle rpm should be well below 1000rpm - 800rpm or so. Repeat 2-3 times.
Check cam covers around the side of the engine, 90% will be leaking (common, cheapish fix)
Listen to the engine and place your hand on the cover just feel for any weird vibrations and listen for any intermittent oddball noises. Again the more you see, the more you will get a feel for how they should run and sound.
Watch the pulleys and belt alignment whilst engine running.
Have a scout around the engine with a torch for any fluids or leaks where they shouldn't be. Be mindful the camcovers can leak oil pretty much all down both sides of the engine.
Take the Battery cover off (x3) twist clips and have a look at the battery and the drain hole in front of it. Look into the blower motor and see if it's clean (re mention lots of crap can get in here). A decent battery again re affirms owner has looked after it, a cheap nasty one can be seen in the same light as cheap tyres (note dealers might chuck a cheap one on).
Check around the base of the front engine fusebox (SAM) by brake fluid reservoir for standing water. Check all the loom that runs down the back of the bulk head for possible rodent damage/illfitting.
Switch engine off. Quick check of V belt.
Restart engine and listen again, do this a couple times make sure it's re starting OK.
General check round for things that don't look right. Again, more you see the better you get a feel for them.

EXTERIOR: (Take a blanket to lie on and a decent torch)

Check tyre tread depth all round. Make a note of the tyre brands. Are they premium or cheap brands?
Check Brakes all round. Everyone knows how expensive the discs can be for the front of the early 2 piece AMG's so if they look corroded or excessively lipped, it's a superb bargaining cheap especially as little is known about the cheaper alternatives available. If possible and it won't be unless you have a jack or some small ramps, check the inner disc surface as quite often they can be found corroded.
Turn wheel full lock both ways, have look at the spring and arch gap. Check the tread wear on the tyres - look for bold inner edges. Inspect with torch the bushes (castor and camber can just about be made out if worn, look for splits in the rubber - not essential and difficult to check for the untrained eye, these things should usually be picked up on MOT).
Have a general look around underneath for any fluid dripping, look at the transmission pan for leaks and the exhaust for any damage/corrosion. Again be mindful of oil loss from cam covers leaking.
Make sure undertrays are secure & not damaged.
Check the rear of the car. Look at the diff (I found one that was leaking bad) you can see the driveshafts etc
Check rear tyres for uneven wear.
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
TEST DRIVE:
Don't drive the car unless you've seen enough to want to buy it. The problem with buying a fast car is that it can become overwhelming in the fact that driving the car is so enjoyable you forget how much of a dog it was and buy it because it's fast.
At this point, I usually have a pretty good idea if I want the car or not at this point so I either leave as it's no good or sort out the drive. If you've seen a few, you also won't want to waste your time. When I purchased my car, I actually made an offer to seller and negotiated before driving the car anywhere as it was a private sale as I needed to sort insurance out. As this costs ME money, I didn't want to go through the hassle of spending the next 20 minutes sorting out insurance if me and the seller were going to be miles apart on price. So I made the offer, subject to me being happy with the test drive. This also helps private sellers to know you're a serious buyer, not just there for the test drive (if he's not gathered that already from the checks!) If it's a dealer, you can wait as you don't need to jump through hoops for insurance, HPI etc.
As above make sure you're insured if private.
Before going anywhere, buckle up (and this is difficult to explain) but with the handbrake off, put it into reverse / drive and literally as soon as it's in that position and the car starts moving, knock it into the opposing position drive/reverse and repeat 2-3 times - car will roll back and forth over the same spot 2 feet or so. Basically, at this point the gearbox should be selecting D/R smoothly - it shouldn't be banging into those gears. We used to use this trick to check oil level in boxes, a box that clunked harshly into gear doing this usually had low oil or other issues. It's not the end of the world if it isn't completely smooth but just another factor to consider.
When driving, turn radio down and keep roof closed. Always be on the listen for odd noises, vibrations, creaks, rattles etc. Try not to talk too much either.
Don't rag it from cold!
Check temp on dash whilst driving. Sit at 90*.
Pay attention to every single gear change. It should be smooth no bangs/clunks.
Check limiter and cruise control work.
Check paddles on steering wheel work, check shifter knob operates gears left and right.
Check the S,C, M gear mode button changes option on dash display.
Check Map is operating and tracking your position.
Find some open road, some slow roads, bumpy roads - take your time.
Give it the beans, check pulling away from near standstill and redline gears to 70mph or so, this is not so much for engine performance but gear changes.
If possible from 50-70, try and coast to a stop from 7th gear. Again, paying attention to smoothness of gear changes. Particularly 3-2, 2-1 and stop.
At 60mph+ feel for any vibration coming through the car seat, steering wheel. A vibration shaking the car can signify faulty lock up clutch on torque converter. Vibrating wheel at speed can be buckled alloys, wheel balance. Vibrating through steering wheel when braking, front brakes warped/corrosion, through seat - rear discs warped/corrosion.
Listen for wind noise at 60mph+
Take your hands off the wheel, take note of camber on the road and see if the car drives true and straight without pulling excessively to one side. Whilst hands are on the wheel, is the wheel straight when driving in a straight line. SLK steering is relatively heavy compared to most other PAS cars so bare this in mind when crawling around.
Bumpy roads. 99% of SLKs, more specifically with poorly maintained roof seals will creak from the roof. Drive a few, get the feel for them, some are quiet whilst others will creak, crack and squeak on the slightest bumps. A personal pet peeve of mine, and something that caused me to walk away from at least one car. Some can be simple fixes, some it seems are almost genetic!
When driving about, randomly just put your foot down, attempt to trick the gearbox to changing up then take your foot off the pedal. See how it copes. Shouldn't clunk or take too long to sort itself out.
Wriggle car side to side, drive over some bumps on purpose and listen for knocks underneath.
Brake hard, shouldn't pull to the side and should stop fairly quickly. Listen when slowing down at junctions and creeping for any high pitched squeaking from worn brakes.
The whole duration of the drive the engine should be strong and smooth. No hiccups or stutters, whether you're cruising or accelerating it should be effortless. It's a huge engine which for its size is largely underpowered.

Summary / Thoughts:
So as long as the test drive was good, you should have a pretty good idea on where you want to be with the car now. I usually find if the car has impressed me enough before driving, that after I've driven it I'll want to purchase it. However a few times, that hasn't been the case. If I'm not happy with major components like the gearbox or roof noise, engine performance, there is a noise from the engine I'm not familiar with, vibration in excess of any sort, a serious leak, patchy service history on a car I'm 50:50 with I'll walk away. They're by all means not common cars but there are enough out there to be picky from if you have the patience. The above checks stopped me buying 5 from the 8 cars I saw. I identified at least 10+ faults on every car I viewed, no matter how small from a ding in the door to paint missing on the edge of the door. To a major diff leak, completely corroded inner front discs, an odd engine noise on start up from cold and excessively noisy roofs and poor seals/water leaks. Some of these in conjunction with a number of additional faults as well.
Spec is also important. From exterior colour to interior colour. Typical additionals fitted to the SLK's are Designo interior, harmon kardon sound system, Comand, pre wiring for phone, parktronic, heated seats, air scarf, electric seats with memory, folding mirrors, cup holders, climatronic/thermotronic Air con control, ipod retrofitted kit, CD changer, bi xenons, AMG alloys & performance pack.
Spec list of the car, along with mileage and ultimately how good the service history is pretty much determines what the value of the car will be. You can haggle hard on the points listed above if anything isn't right, discs and cam covers particularly. If you find yourself with a decent sized list of issues, unless it comprises of mainly bodywork issues or small niggles you can easily sort yourself (or don't mind sorting) walk away from the car.
 

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Wow - do you find dealers are OK when you ask if it is OK for the 24 hours needed to check the car over :) Thanks looks very useful and helpful.

The balance shafts on the V6 had it been sorted by the facelift or are the very early ones of those affected?
 

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Wow - do you find dealers are OK when you ask if it is OK for the 24 hours needed to check the car over :) Thanks looks very useful and helpful.

The balance shafts on the V6 had it been sorted by the facelift or are the very early ones of those affected?
sorted by around late 2007. that is before facelift
they came out with new engine. it has 31 in its number instead of 30
remember the thread...mb did not know when it started or ended per se
the range is large 2004/5 through about 2007 because they do not know when other part was used.
so get your free datacard to get engine number and compare to range or hope for 31
:D
 

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Thank you so much for this invaluable inspection guide. I won't be using it for an SLK (as I've just sold mine), but I'll be taking it along when I inspect an SL55 I'm interested in. The guide is pretty universal and all the heavy technical stuff I'll get Merc to check. Again, a truly comprehensive list for amateurs like me.
 

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* Registered 2009 SLK200
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You completely forgot about the no 1 Killer for these cars RUST ! !

All that is shiny at top may not be underneath !

1 Rear Axle are prone to corrode / Rot out ! and at times req a new back Axle frame .
2 Underneath Brake pipes corrode common at that age
3 Rear Boot well corrode badly
4 Rear side sections beside rear exhaust box corrode
5 Front wings where they bolt on to front bumper area corrode
6 Rear arch wings corrode
7 Either side of gearbox area points corrode under plastic floor pan area

This is mainly for UK with rain and salting is a killer for SLK users even if its a garage queen .
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You completely forgot about the no 1 Killer for these cars RUST ! !

All that is shiny at top may not be underneath !

1 Rear Axle are prone to corrode / Rot out ! and at times req a new back Axle frame .
2 Underneath Brake pipes corrode common at that age
3 Rear Boot well corrode badly
4 Rear side sections beside rear exhaust box corrode
5 Front wings where they bolt on to front bumper area corrode
6 Rear arch wings corrode
7 Either side of gearbox area points corrode under plastic floor pan area

This is mainly for UK with rain and salting is a killer for SLK users even if its a garage queen .
You're correct. Rear axle/subframe issues are becoming a known (wouldn't say common just yet) on SLK's and other Merc's of similar age.

Problem is however, you're not going to be able to check that sort of stuff when purchasing a car unless it's on a ramp. Same with brake pipes & and other areas of the under carriage.

I had not encounted any rust issues when looking, however I will update the guide to include rust on body components :tu:

Edit: I cannot update the post as the edit button is not available, maybe one of the mods could update the relevant sections to include body rust and axle/undercarriage corrosion with a note?
 

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* Registered 2009 SLK200
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You're correct. Rear axle/subframe issues are becoming a known (wouldn't say common just yet) on SLK's and other Merc's of similar age.

Problem is however, you're not going to be able to check that sort of stuff when purchasing a car unless it's on a ramp. Same with brake pipes & and other areas of the under carriage.

I had not encounted any rust issues when looking, however I will update the guide to include rust on body components :tu:

Edit: I cannot update the post as the edit button is not available, maybe one of the mods could update the relevant sections to include body rust and axle/undercarriage corrosion with a note?
The later subframe if im correct had new drain holes drilled etc
Because of the issue .
But many i see have the starting issue of rust and with rust it starts as a small tiny hole and when you dig it becomes a huge hole and then its to late .

Id say if your buying a pride and joy and a keeper you need to pay attention underneath .
Id upon purchase insist you examing car underneath .
Most car sales / Garages have a ramp .
So no excuse if they want a sale .

and talking about RUST the front cross member next to headlight area where panels are sandwitched [ lip ] together is another prone area for rust formulating .
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The later subframe if im correct had new drain holes drilled etc
Because of the issue .
But many i see have the starting issue of rust and with rust it starts as a small tiny hole and when you dig it becomes a huge hole and then its to late .

Id say if your buying a pride and joy and a keeper you need to pay attention underneath .
Id upon purchase insist you examing car underneath .
Most car sales / Garages have a ramp .
So no excuse if they want a sale .

and talking about RUST the front cross member next to headlight area where panels are sandwitched [ lip ] together is another prone area for rust formulating .
Interesting, wasn't aware of drain holes. An old colleague showed me a picture of a rear subframe rusted through on a 212 - 2011 - E Class! It's not common place but maybe still an issue across the brand?

Garages not a problem checking underneath, private sale you may have more difficultly. There is no doubt value in checking, however most (myself included ironically) wouldn't entertain having someone faff about underneath the car/getting into a garage for a check over.
 

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This is an excellent write-up. Thank you!
I was able to take the cars on an unaccompanied test drive, found a quiet place to stop and check them, and worked methodically through your list. It really helped me find the right one!
 

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Wow, this is amazing, thanks! Being a Yank I need a few translations and being new to this, need a few definitions:

HPI?
MOT?
Pistonheads PhoneSAFE service? <- What is this?
BF & Combi/Pollen filter?
Boot?
Bonnet? (At first I assumed you were referring to the top but something you mentioned later made me ask)
Ensure locking key is present?
check sat nav DVD (eject from nav unit in boot)? Assume this is navigation?
Torch...HA! I know this one.
Check all the loom?
V belt?
Tires/Tyres. What are premium vs cheap? I've always used Goodyear on my prior vehicles so don't know much about other brands. Is there a particular brand I should avoid/walk away?
S,C, M gear mode button?
bi xenons?

For leaks and such, a pre-purchase inspection by a dealer should catch those, yes? Do they also usually go through the buttons, check the CD and air-conditioning, brakes roof motor, etc? Not that I won't do as much of this as possible, but as you said two eyes are best.

Again, thank you, this is a gold mine of information for someone new, like me.
 

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HPI? In UK, The UK's most accurate and reliable car history check information from HPI Check.
MOT? in UK, The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards
Pistonheads PhoneSAFE service? <- What is this? It is a free service for PistonHeads advertisers.
BF & Combi/Pollen filter?
inside filter...see dyi thread
Boot? UK for trunk
Bonnet? (At first I assumed you were referring to the top but something you mentioned later made me ask) UK for hood
Ensure locking key is present?
check sat nav DVD (eject from nav unit in boot)? Assume this is navigation?
Torch...HA! I know this one.
Check all the loom? wiring loom in trunk...if frayed, affects rear 3rd brake light and license plate lights, etc
V belt? serpentine belt
Tires/Tyres. What are premium vs cheap? I've always used Goodyear on my prior vehicles so don't know much about other brands. Is there a particular brand I should avoid/walk away?
S,C, M gear mode button? go read the owner's manual. let me know if u need a link
bi xenons? hid /led headlights

For leaks and such, a pre-purchase inspection by a dealer should catch those, yes? Do they also usually go through the buttons, check the CD and air-conditioning, brakes roof motor, etc? Not that I won't do as much of this as possible, but as you said two eyes are best.

if they are good
 

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Wow, this is amazing, thanks! Being a Yank I need a few translations and being new to this, need a few definitions:

HPI? A purchase agreement used to buy car
MOT? Annual road worthiness inspection
Pistonheads PhoneSAFE service? <- What is this? Dunno, see pistonheads website.
BF & Combi/Pollen filter?
Boot? Trunk
Bonnet? (At first I assumed you were referring to the top but something you mentioned later made me ask) Hood
Ensure locking key is present? Key is not just a valet key, but one that works for all locks.
check sat nav DVD (eject from nav unit in boot)? Assume this is navigation?
If fitted. Check that it is oem & in good condition.
Torch...HA! I know this one.
Check all the loom? Wiring loom passes down the hinges holding the trunk open. Some suffer fraying/breakage. Often simple to fix.
V belt? Serpentine belt, I think. Passes around water pump etc at front of engine.
Tires/Tyres. What are premium vs cheap? I've always used Goodyear on my prior vehicles so don't know much about other brands. Is there a particular brand I should avoid/walk away?
See https://www.slkworld.com/tires-wheels-brakes-suspension/
S,C, M gear mode button? Auto box modes see https://www.slkworld.com/ask-dansslk/3177-s-c-m-modes-learning.html
bi xenons? The type of headlights used

For leaks and such, a pre-purchase inspection by a dealer should catch those, yes? Do they also usually go through the buttons, check the CD and air-conditioning, brakes roof motor, etc? Not that I won't do as much of this as possible, but as you said two eyes are best.

Maybe yes, maybe no. Use the buyers guide https://www.slkworld.com/general-di...kup-checklist-buying-171-what-look-guide.html

Again, thank you, this is a gold mine of information for someone new, like me.
 
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