Used Mercedes-Benz SLK 1996 - 2004 reliability

Category: Sports car

The Mercedes SLK offers solid build quality in a sleek roadster

Mercedes-Benz SLK Open (96 - 04)
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK Open (96 - 04)
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK Open (96 - 04)
Used Mercedes-Benz SLK 1996 - 2004 review
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What should I look for in a used Mercedes SLK sports?

There are some essentials when buying an SLK that will help you sell the car easily later in its life. For starters, insist on a leather interior and seek out a more traditional Mercedes colour - yellow might sound good when you buy, but others may not think so when you try to sell.

An automatic gearbox is also desirable because the SLK's manual gearboxes were nowhere near as slick as those in BMW rivals. A full service history from franchised or specialists is also a must, as neglecting the 9000-mile service intervals can wreak havoc with superchargers that need clean oil to work efficiently.

Otherwise, reliability is generally very good on SLKs, but check the roof works quickly and smoothly, as its electrics can play up.

Rust is the biggest concern with the SLK. It usually starts from the wheel arches, so check for any bubbling paint around all four arches for any signs of corrosion. However, even if the vehicle you're looking at doesn't have any obvious signs of rot, there could be plenty hiding below the surface. One such rust trap hides behind the front wings, but you can inspect the area by unclipping the indicator lamps and taking a peak. Rear subframes also rot, though, this can be hard to spot if you can't get underneath the car, so check the MOT history of the example you're looking at and see if it is mentioned.

What are the most common problems with a used Mercedes SLK sports?

Is a used Mercedes SLK sports reliable?