R230 SL350 The road to 200k miles

Can a R230 350 live past 100k miles?

  • future of the r230

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • R230 350

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • R230

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Owning a Mercedes R230 350

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


New Member
Apr 29, 2019
Reading various reports with interest....my SL500 (2011) has been super reliable, only covered 40k miles. Just replaced all front and rear bushes, well worth it but I'm afraid the old rust worm is attacking. The usual wheel arch inner lip, leading edge of spare wheel well (external), then I removed rear plastic cover, blisters everywhere, decided to remove all under trays, much the same, nothing serious but will be in a year or two. Rear exhaust hangers rusty and also seams behind rear wheel arch liners (up top). So.....blew the dust off the old DA ....poor show for such low miles, especially as she is in dehumidified garage from Oct till march each year.....I still love my SL though!


MB Club Veteran
Aug 19, 2002
Not always
Morning all,

I am a young owner of a Mercedes R230 SL 350 which I had bought in 2012 from the official Mercedes dealership in Brighton at 23k miles. Coming from a CLK 200 Convertible i was looking for a vehicle i could enjoy if i wanted to explore the great roads of UK and also one that was going to last if I wanted to keep it until the wheels fall off. My advice came from a Mercedes tech who honestly said that's what the sl was built for but go for the 350 to avoid the suspension maintenance costs (as I wanted a 500) so I proceeded with my purchase and he has never been wrong ever since.

My post here is to put many past, present and future owners straight that these cars can last beyond problems and with the help of a approved Mercedes warranty and investment into the dealerships for faults and services can go a long way. This vehicle is admired today as the r231 doesn't seem to gather the same appreciation from admirers as the r230's and the 4th,3rd, 2nd and 1st generations before it.

So in 2018 my SL 350 is 11 years old (my ownership is 6 years) its covered 120k miles and its a daily driver that is garaged and has been maintained by official Mercedes dealerships all services and 90% of the faults (brake pads have been the only wear and tear done by a major independant specialist in London/ Rochester) and its been looked after daily by a professional detailer (myself). My passion is having the same satisfaction as those that have owned and put alot of money and effort to enjoy their repair spendings or vehicle purchase as not many newer cars today attract my attention as they are too common.

So I know many of you may think I am crazy or sensible, I will let you into a bit about my car still stands today to help you owners think different about the R230 SL350.
My SL when purchased had a approved Mercedes used car warranty which I felt was an absolute gem to have if i wanted to keep this car for life and since ownership in 2012 the following have all been fully repaired/ replaced under their tier 1 warranty (which annual renewals by me) until June 2017 when i passed 100k miles...
  • Lumbar support (both seats)
  • Speakers in the doors (they sounded blown )
  • ECU
  • Roof seals that link to the boot
  • upper / lower ball joints (front & rear)
  • valve replacement as gearbox was slipping from 2nd to 3rd
  • SBC unit
  • CD Changer
  • Sam unit
  • Endless software updates
This was around the regular servicing (via their service care contract) and maintenace of non warranty faults that I experienced and requested the dealership to mend. So thanks to them they have returned me a vehicle I enjoy to continue to soak up every mile with a smile. So why do I maintin my SL in this way.

Today we see alot of older/ modern classic vehicles and admirer them especially if we use to own them. I wanted to have the feeling but also be an owner of that vehicle and growing up in my teens the R230 SL was a really nice car i had respect for. Compared to the predecessor this car is way cheaper to maintain should it be a long term ownership and this car was the last built benz out of passion and over engineering when small qualities of the famous SLR was filtered into these base vehicles so you felt you had a touch of flagship class in the R230.
I especially watched the fussy Ferrari/ Mercedes/ Aston martin owners complain about the service history of the vehicles they owned and were concours and to me if i wanted the best example like they enjoyed I knew only one place could give me that at a premium, The dealership fr major faults and servicing.

Before you argue with me. We all want our vehicles fixed and with the R230 we know a star diagnostics machine is whats required for most of this vehicles repairs/ replacements. But even Independant repairers who have this may not have theirs online so the latest update or communication with the uk HQ or Germany for headache faults many not be at their disposal. Even worse the garage may not be able to solve your problem fully because they don't have the higher grade techs or facilities like a dealership would and for the demand to get your fault fixed and have your parts warrantied for a 1/2 years when fitted (which indies can do too)i just felt the dealership has 'all the answers (Mercedes Brooklands to be exact). Yes this is a higher premium than a trusted indie but as I have developed a relationship from investing in the dealership for looking after my SL for repairs after servicing its only right to continue to build that relationship with them as there may be a major fault and some goodwill will come into consideration whether its from the manufacturer or dealership.

The car was easier to maintain under warranty but why stop when the warranty stops. This is a very expensive car when new which was actually better made than most modern Mercedes today. So maintenance is a high cost when things go wrong but compared to a r231 major fault I would rather maintain a R230 in that case and I'm not even interested in the resale value as i don't plan to get rid of it. My aim is to maintain this car beyond 200k miles so yes the engine will come out and they balancer shaft and lower part of the engine will get a overhaul (as the top of the engine has already had a overhaul) so that is expected and I will front the costs as they happen as Mercedes understand my future with this vehicle and want to keep me inside of it.

Please share your views on what you think about the R230 350's and let me hear your complaints or praises about such a nice vehicle.
My only experience , or knowledge, of the R230 series has been with my former neighbour who has a 500 .

The few times I have been out in it , it is certainly an impressively quick car , but I know he has been plagued with electrical issues , not least of which the most recent one where something went on fire in the compartment behind the drivers seat ; no rear lights , no roof operation and quite a lot not functioning, although the car still starts and drives .

He previously had issues with the battery becoming discharged and had it repeatedly into the dealership, including new batteries ( both. ) and an alternator . I don’t know what else , but he has spent a lot on it .

By contrast , my R129 , which I got as a cashless swap seven years ago with 100,000 miles on it , no history to speak of and 13 previous owners was as much of a dog of an SL as it is possible to get , but the difference is that it is much less complicated and easier to maintain , and I’ve never needed to take it to a dealership.

Other than a new stainless exhaust system , and a full brake rebuild , which I did myself , it has been tyres , oils , filters and a new battery .

Despite servicing the gearbox when I got it , and again at 150000 miles , it just went bang at 202000 miles and I was going to look at it this summer but for a change in domestic circumstances which resulted in me giving the car to one of my pals who has space for it . He has bought another gearbox and I will help him fit it , so the car will live on , and the replacement box is less than the cost of either the brake rebuild or the exhaust system , so far from the end of the world . Being 27 years old , it needs new front wings , a new soft top and both front seat cushions , but I did enjoy 100000 miles of spirited motoring over my seven years with only an ignition coil and a couple of distributor caps along the way , she also consistently returned 400 miles for a roughly 90L fill up , so fuel economy wasn’t bad , oh I replaced the fuel tank and charcoal filter in the front wing after the fuel evaporation system became blocked , causing the tank to implode and leak .

Once my domestic situation is resolved , waiting to sell two houses and buy another with space for cars , I will have another SL , and it will be another R129 , ideally another 300SL-24 , same again .

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