Would you recommend this car as a daily driver? Could it handle it?
A 20 year old Benz convertible as a daily driver? My first inclination is to say no. I'll guess the mileage is a bit high and being a Benz, regular maintenance costs to keep her up and running as an everyday car might be a bit high also. Lots of things to factor in as well (especially your lifestyle)....Storage space is limited in convertibles and if you don't have a hardtop for it, it will not be as fun in heavy rain and snow. For these reasons (and others), I bought an inexpensive SUV to compliment my convertible.
Racer X is right, however these older SL's are lower in price which does make it an attractive possible purchase. You get excellent germain enginering, high end materials, and good build quality. On the down side yes maintenance can be expensive, unless you dont mind doing it yourself or have a good indy mechinic. If you are considering one of these it is a good idea to get a pre purchase inspection done that way you run into unexpected problems. These are great cars and drive several before purchasing and dont exclude the SL320 from your search.
In 1988 I bought a 1966 Cadillac as my daily driver. Had it for seven years. It was one of the best cars I've owned. Took it on a couple of trips too. By 1993 parts were becoming hard to get "right away" and I had moved 10 miles away from my job. So I replaced it with my '93 Caprice that I had 'till last year. If it's feasible for you and not costing a ton of money, why not? Old isn't bad. You love the car like I loved my Cadillac so drive it and enjoy it. Everyday. Years from now you'll have fond memories of it too. Just like I have of that old Cadillac! HTH. -Jim
A lot depends on its history of service and care. If it has been driven on a regular basis, serviced as needed, and garage kept - it could be a real deal. HOWEVER, if you test drive a later model SL with the hard top (or even an SLK) you may find yourself looking for ways to come up with the extra money needed. As for later model SL's - if you find one that has even a fender bender on the CarFax report, it just kills the value even though it may be a perfectly good car. You can use this as a bargaining factor. There are some really good deals in the 2003 to 2008 years, but you have to look for them. Note: SLK's started with hard tops around 1997. My SL is a fun and capable daily driver.
Mine has 140,000 on her, and I drive daily. No problems with engine, transmission or brakes (except a lot of brake dust on front wheels that should be cleaned frequently to maintain alloy rims) as long as you keep car maintained. It is more expensive to keep them maintained properly than a run-of-the-mill car, unless, as Michael says, you have an indie mechanic. No other major problems (until the a/c just went out). And if something does go wrong the bill mounts up quickly. Definitely get a pre-purchase inspection. One thing to look for is if car fogs up on inside that indicates there is problem with the evaporator for the AC, which is behind the dashboard & runs a couple thousand $ to fix. Also caution that have to be careful when putting top down that the plastic rear windows don't get crinkled and that sides by rear windows don't get caught in the frame as the top folds down. But I love the car, and it drives really nice!!
I appreciate all the answers! I dont have an idle mechanic and im probably gonna opt out for a safer pick. The sl i was speaking of was champagne in color w 86k miles on it, priced at about 5-6k. Irresistable but i must try to resist until i can get it as a weekend driver. Thanks for your input! I took every word into consideration!
You're welcome. Glad we could help you make an informed decision. Good luck with your search. -Jim
I bought a 2005 SL500 last month with 20k miles. I intend to use as my daily ride. Love the car and I've owned every kind of auto-Volvo, Audi, BMW, Caddy, Lincoln, Vet, etc. This is by far my best ride yet.
Few things to check on maintenance. MB strongly urges the brake fluid and transmission flushes on the SL's. Their frequency is much sooner than most other cars. It DOES NOT need to be done at an MB dealer - it just needs to be done. Any good repair shop can do it for you cheaper than MB. In your case - many things are probably needed due to age - not mileage. I have a special caution that may not even apply to you - send me a PM (private message) and I will tell you about it.
I'm considering buying an '03 SL500 with 56,000 miles for $18K as a daily driver. I average 20-25K miles a year on a vehicle. The owner has maintained the car as a weekend show car and has changed the transmission and brake fluids at around 30k miles just to be proactive through the break in period. I plan on getting pre-purchase inspection done but I'm concerned with the cost of maintaining it over the next 5 years. Can someone share any knowledge of if I should pass on this for something less expensive to maintain or go for it?
An SL properly maintained could last forever. They are good cars. My current SL had only avg about 3,500 miles per year and was garage kept. The problem you may have - and it will probably only be temporary - is that SL's don't like to sit in a garage. Yet, by far and away, many of them do. Don't be surprised if the first 1 or 2k miles, it seems sluggish and maybe does not ride as smooth as it should. This is because of not being driven every day. Several tanks of adding Injector Cleaner and driving to loosen the suspension and joints will usually fix this. Not all injector cleaners are the same. ONLY use those such as Chevron and others that contain PFE (might be the wrong spelling). Let me know if you need more info.
Mark, thanks for the info as it was helpful. But keep in mind I drive 20K-25K miles annually so I'm wondering if this car can handle that type of daily driving? And if so, how expensive will it be to maintain it?
20k per year for an MB is nothing. They are designed to be driven for a long time. You will have your oil changes and other service items that would be common to any car. When repairs do occur - DO NOT take it to a Benz dealer unless absolutely necessary. That is when things will get really expensive. Eventually, you will probably need some suspension or other repairs. Www.arnottinc.com has MB parts at a fraction of MB prices and they carry lifetime warranty's. MB only warranties repairs for 12 months. SL's are really fun to drive. Get one and enjoy it.
Thanks Mark!!! You've been very helpful. I'll let you know what happens.
I have owned two SLs a 94 and a 2000. In both cases I had an extended warranty that covered all major systems on the car. While I think they are very durable vehicles they can be crazy expensive to fix when something goes wrong!!! If you will not have an extended warranty AND you do not have a non dealership mechanic to work on the vehicle, trust me you will end up more likely than not having a love/hate relationship with that vehicle. I received a suspension repair estimate for $7000.00!!! They are beautiful cars and fun to drive but consider yourself warned!!!
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