What kind of problems does a Mercedes SLK200 normally have? In this post, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for a Mercedes SLK200. In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every single problem in detail.
Furthermore, we’ll tell you how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix.
But if you just want the quick answer, here’s what you need to know:
The Mercedes SLK200 can experience issues with the electric roof, including leaks and malfunctions, rust in pre-2003 models, M271 and M272 engine problems, and wear on the center console. Less frequently, faults may appear in the mass air flow sensor and in the steering and suspension systems, which can contribute to significant repair costs.
We’ll dive deeper into everything so keep reading if you want to learn more about each specific problem!
1. The Electric Roof Is Leaking
One of the most common problems with a Mercedes SLK 200 is that the hydraulic roof has some leaking problems. The most logical explanation for this is that the rubbers seals that prevent the water from leaking have given out.
For most Mercedes models, these seals have a life expectancy of around 15 years. Most of them will need to be replaced after this period. Therefore before you go out and buy a used SLK 200, it’s wise to inspect these specific seals visually. Preferably the previous owner has regularly put some oil on these seals to maintain elasticity.
Because roof leaks are common in this type of vehicle, it’s wise to check the carpets of the passenger seats to see if it feels moist. If it does, this indicates a leaking issue that most likely has to do with the roof.
This video does a great job not only explaining the problem but also walking you through a relatively simple fix:
2. Electric Roof Doesn’t Open Or Close Properly
The roof is one of the main problems that the SLK 200 has. It’s also not the only luxury brand to have these issues and you can see similar issues in the Cadillac XT5.
A common problem with the roof is that it doesn’t open or close properly or makes noises while doing so. There are different ways in which you can check the condition of the roof.
First, it’s important to open and close the roof several times to see if something catches your eyes. The roof should take approximately 22 seconds to open and/or close. If it takes much longer to do so, that probably indicates problems with the hydraulic pump. Replacing a hydraulic pump would cost around $250, excluding labor. The labor itself would normally cost around $750, given that the whole roof needs to be disassembled.
Furthermore, check if the hydraulic fluid is at a normal level. If this is not the case, then the car either has not been maintained well, or a leak in the system. You can find a hydraulic fluid leak in three places.
First, control the boot to see if you have any unwanted fluid in there. After that, you check the roof lining on the inside of your car. Finally, you check the hydraulic pump of the roof because these are known for wearing out quickly.
If the roof of the car doesn’t open or close properly, it’s also important to be aware of the car’s history. If the car was ever in a crash, that probably means the roof isn’t aligned perfectly with the rest of the car, and that’s almost impossible to fix.
It could also be the case that you don’t see any roof problems while the car is still. Therefore it’s important to make sure to go for a drive with the car and accelerate up to 60 mph. Make sure you keep an eye out for the following things:
- Do I hear sounds of the wind that I consider to be abnormally loud?
- Do I hear something rattle or shake that sound like the roof is not stable?
If one of those questions is answered with a ‘yes, it’s important to inspect the roof one more time since repairs can be quite pricey. This also isn’t the only Mercedes vehicle that’s known to have some electrical problems and the e320 can suffer from them as well.
3. Mercedes Benz Pre-2003 Models Have Rust Issues
Many Mercedes Benz SLK 200’s have issues with rust. Most of the models that have this problem were manufactured before 2003. The reason for this is that Mercedes didn’t galvanize the body of the car before this year. After 2003 they did start doing this, and this severely improved the quality of the body.
Suppose you’re going to check out an SLK 200 produced before 200, then it’s wise to check the car’s body for rust. There are two main spots where you’ll be able to detect rust. The first spot is the wheel arches; the second one is the sills. For this reason, it’s advised to check underneath the car and bring a flashlight to inspect these places properly.
You can see a great example of what happens once this rust takes hold of a Mercedes in this video:
If you find a car with rust issues, you’ll probably be better off skipping the car entirely, given that rust is a complicated and expensive problem to fix and will make it extremely expensive to maintain any Mercedes.
4. Engine Problems With The M271 And M272
One of the most expensive problems to fix in SLK 200’s is problems with the engine. Which problems you can have depend on the engine itself, but the M271 and M272 are most notorious for having issues and we’ve seen similar issues in other Mercedes vehicles like the ML350 as well.
First off, there’s the M272. This engine is known for having problems with the balance shaft (the engine part that reduces vibration). The problem here is that it wears out prematurely. That’s a pretty expensive problem, given that the engine needs to be taken apart to replace the balance shaft. Repairs can cost more than $3,500.
The issue with problems with the balance shaft is the fact that this is difficult to recognize. Mercedes could fix this problem in 2008, but any care produced before that period is at risk. At least be aware that you don’t buy an SLK 200 with a worn-out gearbox; that’s normally a precursor for problems with the balance shaft.
Besides the M272, there’s also the M271. This one has problems with the timing belt. The timing belt in this engine is known for wearing out quickly. This means it can break while the engine is running. If the belt breaks while you’re driving, then your engine is done for. You can recognize this problem by listening to rattling noise when starting the car or while driving. It’s advised to change the timing belt of an M271 every 60,000 miles.
5. Leaking Camshaft Adjuster Magnets
Camshaft adjuster magnets take care of the amount of air that enters the combustion chambers of your engine. Unfortunately, the camshaft adjuster magnets in the SLK 200 have leaking issues. This means that oil is leaking out of them. The oil then leaks into the wiring harness and to the ECU (the computer of your car. This will normally result in an expensive reparation costing somewhere between $1,000 – $1,500.
Therefore, it’s always a good decision to check the camshaft adjuster magnets, the wiring harness, and the ECU for oils leaks. Most SLK 200’s did eventually get a cable to prevent oil from leaking from the camshaft adjuster magnets. If the car does not have this cable, it’s advised to put it still on. This will cost around $25.
6. Side Windows Won’t Close
Another potential problem that you must be aware of when checking out an SLK 200 is that the side windows won’t close anymore. What the main issue is here depends. Normally it takes a qualified mechanic a few minutes to fix this. If you’re buying the car at a dealer, you can arrange for them to have this issue fixed before the purchase.
If you buy the car from another individual, it’s good to know that this normally isn’t a big problem. However, sometimes the window regulator has given out, and that can be an expensive problem costing around $350 to fix per window. Common symptoms are:
- the window falls down inside the door
- abnormal noise when a window is moving up or down
- the window rises slow, jams or doesn’t close fully
- the window slides up or down crooked
- when the window switch is pressed, the window motor runs but the window doesn’t move.
7. Wear And Tear Of The Center Console
Finally, the Mercedes SLK 200 also has some styling issues. One of the main ones is that the paint used on the center console tends to wear out quickly. You can check if this is an issue in your potential car by running your fingernails across the center console and seeing if any paint chips away. A new center console takes some time to install and costs around $100 for the actual part.
8. Faulty Mass Air Flow Sensor
Another problem sometimes reported in Mercedes SLK200s revolves around the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. This crucial component measures the volume of air entering the engine and relays this information to the car’s computer, which then controls fuel injection to optimize engine performance and fuel economy.
However, with time and use, the MAF sensor can become dirty or faulty. When this happens, it can disrupt the delicate balance of air and fuel in your engine, leading to a variety of potential issues.
Common symptoms of a failing MAF sensor include:
- Reduced fuel efficiency: If the car’s computer gets incorrect information about the amount of air entering the engine, it might inject more or less fuel than necessary, leading to wasteful consumption.
- Difficulty starting: The car might take longer to start or require several attempts.
- Stalling or rough idling: If the air-fuel mixture is off, the car might stall or idle roughly.
- Check engine light: In many cases, a faulty MAF sensor will trigger the check engine light.
To diagnose a faulty MAF sensor, a technician will typically use a diagnostic tool to check for related error codes stored in the car’s computer. The sensor can sometimes be cleaned to restore its function, but often it needs to be replaced.
This video does great job explaining how you can check for a faulty MAF sensor:
The cost of replacing a MAF sensor can vary based on the region and whether you use an OEM or aftermarket part. Generally, the part itself ranges from $100 to $300, and the labor cost can be around $50 to $200.
Before buying a used Mercedes SLK200, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle, paying particular attention to any symptoms of a faulty MAF sensor. This proactive approach can help you avoid potentially costly repairs down the line.
9. Suspension and Steering Issues
An additional issue that has been reported by some Mercedes SLK200 owners pertains to the car’s suspension and steering systems. Given the sporty nature of the SLK200, its suspension and steering components are subjected to more stress and wear compared to more conventional vehicles.
These problems can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, such as:
- Unusual noises: If you hear clunking, squeaking, or rattling noises when going over bumps or making turns, this could indicate worn or damaged suspension components.
- Difficulty steering: If the steering feels heavy or unresponsive, it could signal a problem with the steering system, such as a failing power steering pump or issues with the tie rods or control arms. I’ve also seen similar power steering problems in the ML320 line.
- Poor ride quality: If the car bounces excessively after going over a bump or feels “floaty” at high speeds, worn shocks or struts could be the culprit.
- Uneven tire wear: This can often signal a suspension issue or wheel alignment problem.
These issues, if present, should not be ignored, as they not only affect the comfort of your ride but also the safety and handling of the vehicle.
Repair costs for suspension and steering issues can vary widely, depending largely on the exact component that needs to be replaced. For example, replacing a tie rod end can cost between $100 to $400 for parts and labor, while replacing a power steering pump can run anywhere from $200 to $600. A full suspension system replacement, if needed, can run well into the thousands of dollars.
This isn’t the only Mercedes to suffer from steering issues and the W204 can suffer from similar issues.
While the Mercedes SLK200 can offer an exhilarating driving experience, potential buyers should be mindful of the various issues that can arise. Being aware of these potential problems will help you make an informed purchase and anticipate maintenance costs.
When compared to other Mercedes models, the SLK200 has its unique set of issues, primarily due to its convertible nature and the age of some of its components.
For instance, problems with the electric roof, such as leaks and malfunctions, are less common in other models. Engine-related issues also vary depending on the specific model and engine type used.
For example, while the M271 and M272 engines in the SLK200 have certain known issues, models like the Mercedes BlueTec, CLA, or 4Matic may have different engines with their own unique set of potential problems. Therefore, it’s important to not only be aware of the general reputation of Mercedes for quality and durability but also understand the specific issues that can arise with the particular model you’re considering.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!