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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2006 SLK55 AMG with the OEM 16 spoke polished aluminum wheels. The car is Caspian Blue (Benitoite), a dark metallic blue. The car is stored for the winter. And I'm planning on new Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires in the spring to replace the OEM Pirelli P-Zero's.

Meanwhile.....I hate cleaning and waxing these damned OEM wheels. And the brake dust from the OEM semi-metallic brake pads is awful. More so on polished bright aluminum.

So.....what to do?

Option 1 - I found a local powder coat business that will coat the OEM wheels in any of hundreds of commercially available colors for $100 each, $400 for the set. That includes minor reconditioning for curb rash. If I go this route, I'm thinking of "gunmetal gray". Darker but not black. Brake dust color. Camouflage for the brake dust LOL. I've also seen this color described as Titanium by some wheel manufacturers.

Option 2 - I found another shop that will sand blast the wheels to bare metal then prime and paint them with matching OEM body color paint. In this case Caspian Blue. This is where I was originally headed but then I had second thoughts about body color wheels. I like the idea of painted wheels with a clear coat from the standpoint of maintenance. But, I'm not so sure about a monochrome look to the car. On the other hand, I love the blue metallic color and the wheels would be unique. The cost is only a bit more at $500 for the set including refurb for minor curb rash.

Thoughts?
 

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2007 SLK350 fastdawg
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Go Chrome, I like Chrome. Color keyed wheels reminds me of 70's GM cars. But, body color, Chrome, silver, or Black would look great. That color of blue (your car), is more versatile than a lot of car colors.
 

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Registered 2009 SLK55 AMG
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No chrome. Chrome is for old cars. Just my humble opinion of course :D. Also, not body color. I think that would be very weird, unless the body is black or white.

I always loved this car, which I believe is your color:

http://www.slkworld.com/slk-parts-sale/59761-renntech-monolites-18x8-5-9-5-forged-1-piece.html#post684642

That is a machined front and I guess it would have the problems with brake dust as well. I think a dark gray or flat black would go really well. Don't go full matte, because it will not only *match* the brake dust, it will *look like* brake dust, i.e. dirty wheels.

Between matte and shiny is "flat" or "satin". I just went this route in black and it looks really good on dark cars.

http://www.slkworld.com/attachments/general-modifications-r171/93673d1387677745-project-blackout-2013_1221_163039ab.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Go Chrome, I like Chrome. Color keyed wheels reminds me of 70's GM cars. But, body color, Chrome, silver, or Black would look great. That color of blue (your car), is more versatile than a lot of car colors.
Oh Gawd no!!!!!! I'm trying to hide the brake dust not accentuate it. Chrome would be a nightmare! Plus I don't think chrome is the right look for this car. And having the wheels truly chrome plated would be a more expensive process.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No chrome. Chrome is for old cars. Just my humble opinion of course :D. Also, not body color. I think that would be very weird, unless the body is black or white.

I always loved this car, which I believe is your color:

http://www.slkworld.com/slk-parts-sale/59761-renntech-monolites-18x8-5-9-5-forged-1-piece.html#post684642

That is a machined front and I guess it would have the problems with brake dust as well. I think a dark gray or flat black would go really well. Don't go full matte, because it will not only *match* the brake dust, it will *look like* brake dust, i.e. dirty wheels.

Between matte and shiny is "flat" or "satin". I just went this route in black and it looks really good on dark cars.

http://www.slkworld.com/attachments/general-modifications-r171/93673d1387677745-project-blackout-2013_1221_163039ab.jpg
LOL I'm flipping back and forth between "cool" and "what the hell am I thinking" with the body colored wheel idea. One moment I think it would work with the dark Caspian Blue metallic paint and the next I think I'd be pissed at myself when I picked up the wheels.

I'm leaning towards the dark gray (Titanium) solution as the "safer" choice. It would hide the brake dust and NOT look like a 70's Chrysler Cordoba. I like the black/red on your car but I'm not sure the color combo would work on a blue metallic car.

My son is a RISD art student and a wizard with Photoshop. I think I'll take slk320chick's advice and have him Photoshop a few different images of the car with body color and gray wheels. Not sure that will be an accurate representation but it can't hurt to try. Much cheaper. The kid works for free.
 

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Registered 2012 SLK55 AMG w/P30
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When I say go with your gut, I'm not being flip. Collars evoke visceral reactions. You want a combination that you emotionally react to in a positive way. If you feel gunmetal gray looks good, since colors are all about what you like – go with it!
 

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2007 SLK350 fastdawg
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Chrome is not good on alloy wheels. Can lead to many problems down the line.
Everything at some point has a drawback, but Chrome can look awesome! If I was afraid of work and upkeep, I'd be driving a Toyota or Honda or something else besides a Mercedes! Everything on a Mercedes is work and expensive for the most part! But for just plain awesome, Chrome, hell what isn't black or gun metal, or machined anymore, eventually that runs it course. That's why they come out with something else, so we all go and spend our money on the next great thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Another option would be to change out your brake pads instead of the color of your wheels.
Sure, ceramic pads cut down on brake dust drastically. My problem is that they also drastically reduce the performance of the OEM braking system. One of the reasons I wanted a 2006 SLK55 was for the 6 piston calipers up front and 4 piston calipers in back with ventilated, cross drilled, and slotted rotors. The factory semi-metallic brake pad material offers much better performance in high temp fade resistance and friction levels but sucks for brake dust and they have a shorter life.

With less dust, better pad and rotor life and less noise issues, ceramic pads are well suited to a Camry or minivan. For a car that's not going to be asked to repeatedly scrub off triple digit speeds or brake deep into a corner, ceramic pads are a great choice. For the best performance with metal rotors, semi-metallic pads are the best option currently available.

Likewise, I could put all-season tires on my SLK55 and have a 500+ tread-wear rating that may net me 50,000 miles for a set of tires. But, those all-season tires will not accelerate, turn, or stop like a set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports with a 300 tread-wear rating. The Super Sports may last less than 20,000 miles but it will be a fun 20,000 miles with the SLK55 performing as intended by its designers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Everything at some point has a drawback, but Chrome can look awesome! If I was afraid of work and upkeep, I'd be driving a Toyota or Honda or something else besides a Mercedes! Everything on a Mercedes is work and expensive for the most part!
Not really. I did my research on the SLK55 before I bought it. The car has few weak points. Fluids and filters are not expensive. Likewise tires are not huge and therefore reasonably priced. Brakes have reasonably priced aftermarket solutions. Factory maintenance intervals are reasonable. One of the attractions of this car for me is that it is pretty much trouble free if you maintain it well. And maintenance isn't all that tough or expensive.

It's a time tested naturally aspirated V8 and an automatic transmission that Mercedes has built zillions of copies of. There is no active or pneumatic suspension. The suspension design is mechanically nothing radical. No blower. No turbo. The Bi-xenon headlights are more reliable than halogen bulbs.

I don't find Mercede's cars to be all that expensive to own as long as you take care of them. And I've owned three so far. But that's true of almost any current brand.
 

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Registered 2012 SLK55 AMG w/P30
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The thing about the Mercedes, is it's not as forgiving as some other cars (japanese) for failing to follow maintenance schedules. If you do follow the schedule however, it is about as reliable as anything else out there - modern.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh, while we're debating my taste in body color wheels, I have another question. One of the things that bugs me about the SLK55 is the OEM spec rubber. 225/40 up front and 245/35 in back just doesn't seem like enough contact patch for a 3,400 lb car with SLK55 levels of torque.

Can you safely upsize to a 255/35 tire in the rear? The difference in diameter is 24.8 inches for the 245 vs 25.1 inches for the 255 (with Pilot Super Sports). Speedometer error should be only about 1%. And the wheel width seems to be (barely) within the range recommended by Tire Rack.....8.5" - 10.0". So I guess the only question becomes clearances in the wheel well.

Similarly, can the front end handle 235/40 tires without rubbing? Again, speed error should be minimal and the OEM wheel width looks to be acceptable. But on the front you have to worry not only about suspension travel but steering as well.
 
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