My mother has told me she is considering purchasing a used SLK to have as a
fun second car. Besides the normal things one checks when buying a used
car, I would appreciate any hints/tips/advice for things I should look for
specific to the SLK when buying one used. I think her budget means she will
be looking at a 99-01 range 230 SLK. I am somewhat familiar with the 230K
engine since we have a 99 c230K. The thing that concerns me the most the
retractable roof system and its long-term reliability. Is there anything to
notice in particular when inspecting this?
While this will not be the main driving car, how bad are they to drive in
the snow? Are they decent in the rain?
Are these cars pretty reliable after the "new car gremlins" are worked out?
I am doing lots of research on the net but I would appreciate hearing from
long-term owners who can share their experiences.
Thanks in advance for any help!
A Mercedes dealer might be able to offer some advice on specific things to
check on an SLK, but here's my experience with a '99 SLK, sport model:
A couple of years ago, the top was almost up when it stopped, and I had to
lower it again before it would go up completely. I took it in the next day,
and they found nothing wrong.
It had happened while I was raising the top in the garage of the apartment
building where I live, and at the same time talking to the attendant on duty
at that time, who had never seen the top move before. I may have been
distracted enough that my thumb eased up for a second, causing the top to
stop moving. It hasn't happened since (I focus on keeping my thumb pressed
against that button).
Because I live in Chicago, where they plow the streets when it snows, I
don't have much experience driving on snow, but I can tell you that the
winter drive setting, the traction control, and the low gears helped get me
out of a spot when I was stuck in some snow in an unplowed alley. If you
normally put snow tires on your car during the winter, I suppose you'd have
to buy tires in two different sizes, because on the SLK the rear tires are
wider than the front tires.
Driving in the rain? No problem. (Neither is driving in the winter; the
cabin warms up quickly, and I have heated seats besides.)
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