Tires, Required Maintenance on Mercedes...help...special needs

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  #1  
Old 03-14-12, 10:44 AM
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Smile Tires, Required Maintenance on Mercedes...help...special needs

Back in 2008 when losing money daily I worked for all my life, I took some cash from my retirement and found a good deal on a Mercedes SL550, 2007 model, no AMG
package. I looked at it as an investment, took 8 months to find a good price (seller was desperate & sold it to me for what he owed). It had 9k mi on it. I am now
unemployed & have special needs & I didn't buy the extended warranty. I've only put 20k on it. It now has 31,000 total miles on it. I know nothing about cars since I've never been physically able to work on them, I've always depended on dealers, etc. I need 4 new tires. I plan on keeping this car forever til it falls apart if I can find out how to avoid the Mercedes Dealers robber barons tactics for this car. They take one look at me & tell themselves to take advantage of this poor guy. Well, I may be challenged, but I'm not stupid. What I need to know is this: the 2 front tires are
245 35 20 sport tires, back are 285 30 20 sport. Do I really need the expensive tires. Does anyone know of a good tire to put on this car. I don't race, drive fast or recklessly, etc. etc. Biggest issue is what will keep the car smoothly on the road for safety & to not offset it's whole being.

Other question is it is set for messages to appear in the dash for when scheduled maintenance is due. The messages state like : level 5 or stage 5 maintenance due. I've done all scheduled maintenance until now. Last time I did it, they tried to charge me over $100 for changing out transmission fluid. They would have done his if I hadn't asked first for a breakdown of charges so I now get this is a "screw the consumer tactic". Ever since the reminder for stage 5 maintenance has come up, it won't let me use the dash settings. Also, it states off and on "brake useage low, use key". I believe chances are good this is set up to get the consumer to take it in. I put the key in ignition and the brake message goes away. Brake is "never" on. Does anyone have any advice for how to maintain this type car without Mercedes Dealers involved? If I take it to a good mechanic who works on Mercedes will I get the same "screw the consumer" tactics.

Anyone who has experience with this & isn't guessing is really appreciated.

Thanks, Russ
 
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  #2  
Old 03-14-12, 11:03 AM
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The first thing I would do is spend an evening reading the owners manual.
 
  #3  
Old 03-14-12, 12:55 PM
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If you are in the U.S. and deal with U.S.-type cars, you will not understand the complexity of the sophisticated machines that can last forever. They are designed for high speed travel and to last forever (VW, BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Opel - unless it has a Buick badge on it). Also, the large VWs that will not be exported to the U.S. and the extraordinary small VW V8s fall into the same group. It is scary to be in a large Renault sedan that is not sold in the U.S. to be going 170km/hr (105 mph) three cars lengths apart why they stress continuous maintenance. The reason is the European philosophy for good engineering and proper maintenance. - They are not intended to be DIY cars because of the high standard annual (or sooner) government inspections, where a car can often be held if it fails (pollution, rust, glass, AC, etc.). If it is for tire wear you may have 24 hours to replace them. It is rigid and brutal, but it is economical in the end.

Since you are in the U.S., understand the owners manual, buy a repair manual and take the car to a technician or dealer that can clear the warnings and codes and explain what really needs fixing since U.S. inspections are so minimal.

My friend from Switzerland has an older (1994) Mercedes with 700,000 miles on it and he has to have it inspected twice a year at a government facility and expects to spend about $400 in repairs twice a year to keep it equal to a new car.

For inspections, they do not care if it is a Mercedes AMG or just a Mercedes, but people that can work on AMGs are very limited.

The level of standards, quality and expectation from inspections will vary by country, but the cars are generally designed to German standards and with their maintenance procedures. I just wonder what they do in China, where the top imports are Mercedes, BMW and Audi, but there must be enough German mechanics there.

Maybe that is why there is such a different between Formula 1 racing and NASCAR.

Dick
 
  #4  
Old 03-14-12, 12:57 PM
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Dealing with a Mercedes......RW is right, first thing is to thoroughly read the owners manual with respect to required/requested maintenance.........As far as tires go, the real right tire would probably be a Michelin ($$$$$$) but understand, The tread may last "forever", the casings are good, in general for about 5 years.......Try an independent tire dealer to see what else is available.......try to stay away from the CCT's (Cheap Chinese Tires)There's still some reasonably priced tires out there........Next.....Once your tires are on Alignment.......Probable best thing for this is the dealer.....Mercedes/BMW require toe spreaders and weight sacks the independent tire dealer will not have
 
  #5  
Old 03-14-12, 03:30 PM
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russ -

You have two different tire sizes (front and rear). Many newer Corvettes have that requirement plus they have a rotation direction requirement, so you can have 4 different tires that can not be rotated. I was lucky because I only had the same size with a directional rotation requirement on my Corvette.

On a 2007 Mercedes, you could run into the same rotational requirement even for a non-AMG Mercedes.

Long life and performance cars are not like ordinary cars.

Dick
 
  #6  
Old 03-14-12, 04:55 PM
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Your tires may be spendy no matter what because of the size - I don't think you're going to find a lot of options available to you.

That said, tirerack.com has good prices and a lot of brands so a search there ought to at least be educational for you.
 
  #7  
Old 03-14-12, 05:09 PM
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If you want to turn the Benz into something less than it came from the factory with there maybe more standard wheels available that will take both a more standard tire size along with tires that aren't high speed Z rated. Not all Benz's even in Germany have the autobahn cruising tires on them. Lot's of Benz taxis at Frankfurt airport run on regular more standard wheels and tires for instance. Same with the rental car fleet vehicles. I agree with the comments about the LKW inspections in Germany too and like everything else they now even there have become a source of opportunity to make questionable repairs for hungry dealers that include the LKW inspection at their sites. I wonder what country they learned this business approach from? Also over the years the speeds have been dramatically lowered on many autobahns with less and less unrestricted areas available each year. High speed driving in Germany was always more about road construction methods and high quality driver training and discipline than building performance into the vehicles. These days there are as many Daewoos and Toyotas on the roads there as there are Opels, VW's and Benz.
 
  #8  
Old 03-14-12, 05:15 PM
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IMO a car like that I would put OEM tires on it and not mess around. This includes other parts also. OEM all the way.

Mike NJ
 
  #9  
Old 03-14-12, 05:25 PM
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Just to clarify I meant to install OEM Benz stock wheels and tire size and simply get away from the performance wheels that were ordered as optional equipment from the factory.
 
  #10  
Old 03-14-12, 05:35 PM
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If think that a charge of $100.00 to replace transmission fluid is a rip off you are not really in touch what repair costs are......This is not the seventies!
To purchase a car like what you have would most certainly be a nice treat for yourself but this really sounds like a case of "if you have to ask how much it costs you really can't afford it".

As also said, if you have purchased this car as an "investment" as much as a vehicle could be one, putting on substandard components will only detract from its value.
 
  #11  
Old 03-14-12, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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The SL 550 is not a cheap car and you may be able slip it by someone in the U.S even with cheap rags on it, just because of the name, model and year, especially with 31,000 on it if it is detailed. If you want drive to a Mercedes, put on what you want and enjoy it.

If you really want a great Mercedes, look at the 2012 SCL600 with no steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal. You only have to worry about theft if the thief is under 7 years old and is accustomed to a joystick and loves leather and luxury.

Dick
 
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