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I went to the local MB dealership today and requested a service history for the 2006 SLK280 I purchased recently. I gave him the VIN number and he looked it up on the computer. He told me there was an outstanding recall on the car that should be addressed but refused any further information saying it was the policy on MB not to disclose the service history to anyone other than the original owner. Is this the case or is he withholding info I should normally be given? He also told me there was a D service due on the car. I told him this was performed by the previous owner and a local shop and I could produce the documents to support that. He said MB would not accept any work not performed at the dealership and it would all have to be done over at a cost approaching $1,000. Is this typical of MB?
 

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Typical? Not in my experience. With my M-Bs over the last couple of decades I've had some work done at the dealer, some at indy shops, and some myself. At least around here, the best indy shops are well regarded by owners and the dealers alike; a couple of them are owned by techs who used to work for one or another of the dealers. When I've told a dealer service advisor that the car was last seen by an indy shop for something, they don't make a fuss about it. Being cagey about details of the history is frustrating but not unusual, given privacy concerns in a litigious society.

When I bought my SLK used I didn't get any more history from either the selling dealer or my own than an assurance that the service was up to date. Carfax told me that services had been performed regularly at time/mileage intervals that looked normal. If you have documentation that the D Service was done, then they ought to simply reset the service indicator for you. So show them the documents, and ask them what else is on the list for the D Service that hasn't already been done. Then schedule that and the recall repair. Trying to up-sell you on stuff is normal, and you shouldn't be shy about saying no if it isn't an immediate issue.

For example, I just had my C230 in for an oil change and a general inspection since it hadn't been into a dealer's service bay in a couple of years as a result of not many miles having run under the wheels in that span of time (driving the SLK is more fun!). The service cost a couple of hundred bucks, and they recommended another grand worth of stuff that could be done soon. An air filter I did myself this morning; a fuel injection service was rejected as unnecessary (car runs fine and Techron is cheaper), and a transmission pilot bushing repair, brake fluid flush, and power steering fluid flush will get done before winter comes. None of those last three are required immediately, so I declined them at this time to budget for them in a few months. They aren't necessarily trying to put anything over on you, but just because they notice something and tell you how much they will charge to fix it doesn't mean you have to have them do those things right away, or at all if you have another trusted shop that you prefer.
 

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When I took mine in to the dealer for an oil change at purchase, the dealer went over the records they had for the car and told me what had been done already and when. The 7G tranny oil&filter change had been done at 28K miles, brake fluids would be due in about 8 months, and other such stuff. He said there was no reason to do any of them early, but I opted for the oil & filter anyway to set a baseline for future work. He did not tell me the name of the previous owner, but he did say that he currently had two other MBs and all had been cared for according to schedule or better. There is no reason why your dealer should not inform you when service work should be done, at least in accordance with the factory recommendations, particularly if they are due or overdue; that would be the responsible thing to do, not oversell you on work not needed by keeping you in mystery about when they are due.
 

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I had a similar experience when thinking of buying an R170, however I was told that if I actually bought the car (third party seller) they would happily discuss the cars history, came out with data protection bollox, but I could understand them not giving out info with just a vin number.
 

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Go to another dealer... it's your car, ask for the MVI... It's out of warranty, don't deal with MB, find a good indy. And every time you go to the indy, call the dealer and let him know, and that you tell everyone you know about their attitude. Seriously...does MB really think we're all that stupid.
 

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Providing service for their vehicles is a major source of income for MB dealers. That's pretty obvious when you consider what they charge for routine service. In addition, many dealers have a lock on the service market due to few "good" independents and the ignorance of many Mercedes owners.

The service that Mercedes vehicles require is no different than for a Ford or Toyota, and their prices for it are considerably less. Take a look at the maintenance booklet that comes with you Benz and parse through it. Except for the oil & filter R&R, most of it is eyeballing stuff, my best description. Service technicians don't eyeball stuff any better than a novice DIY. Unless something is dragging the ground or fluids are leaking, they'll check everything off as OK.

Mercedes is one of the easiest cars to R&R the oil and filter, since it can be done topsides. The dealers loves this, because this service doesn't tie up a rack and can be done out on the lot. Another service that Mercedes is anal about is "flushing" out the brake fluid every two years. You'll pay dearly for this, and unless you spend most of your time storming down the Autobahn and slamming on your brakes to avoid hitting a Porsche, it really isn't necessary.

So what's my point? Forget about service records. They won't really tell you anything about the car. You've got what you've got. If you are fortunate, the oil was taken care of along with other minor things. The real worry is if the car was involved in an accident that caused major structural damage. The only way to know is to take it to a high-tech body shop. Another worry is if you bought a "dud". This is a car which will fail due to Mercedes very poor quality control of the various parts that make up the car.

I'm a fan of the SLK, but I'm not a fan of Mercedes vehicles in general. Take a look at the 2015 Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue on page 12. Here are the brand report cards from best to worst. While Lexus is number one, Mercedes has sunk to 21st, and this is out of 28 vehicles! Notice that Audi is a four and BMW is 10.

In any case, cars are becoming just too difficult and expensive to service. Only the tech at the dealer can do it, and I'm not interested in pouring a fortune in repairs likely in any brand that has a poor report card.:frown:
 

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I was treated very well by the local MB dealership service department. I had gone in explaining I was purchasing my SLK and was wondering about the service history. The girl behind the computer advised she could look it up. However, she did say she could not print anything out for me, but gave me a verbal rundown of the service history by MB on the car. I think that was most helpfull and kind of her. One thing I found with the MB "Corporate" dealerships, is that they are not going to do a used vehicle inspection on a MB brought to them. They advised it was for liablity reasons !!! Sheesh, they make the car, what is liable ???? One of thier mechanics not providing accurate description of the cars condition ??? There are enough "weasal" clauses in the fine print for them, so I am sure if something popped up after you got inspection and bought the car based upon thier inspection, that you would not be able to hold them liable. Sorry, rant off . . . back to first part, just be up front and honest and the dealership service department should help out. If not, then either ask for the manager, or find another dealership . . . .

Cheers

Mark
 

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Changing brake fluid every two years isn't a recommendation done to pad profit margins. The fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water, and when it does the fluid becomes less effective and braking performance suffers as a result. The fluid reservoir isn't sealed airtight, so moisture does get to the fluid and degrades it over time. I'm sure if you had the stuff sampled and chemically analyzed, you could make a scientifically valid decision about extending the service interval based on some measure of fluid degradation...but replacing it every two years is probably cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Service History

The car had regular service performed up through 29,000 miles and all the dealer stamps are there. It was sold at that point and then serviced regularly through our local indy, who is very good, up to 40,000 miles. That is when I bought it. The 39,000 mile service was performed by the indy so no stamp in the service records. What I was interested in finding out was if MB performed any warranty work on the balance shaft sprocket. The dealer would not give me that info. I guess I'll try another local dealer and see if I have any success
 
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