The SLK is USELESS in snow

MainMan

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The SLK is possibly the worst car in the world in snow. On Thursday there was 3” of snow in London. The council has decided to save money by not gritting the roads so conditions were very difficult. But they weren’t conditions that would trouble most cars. The SLK, however, was completely useless. I know the recommendation is that you have a set of winter tyres, but I hadn’t realised exactly how bad the SLK was in snow – and this was only a small amount of snow. I was trying to drive up Barnet hill, and everybody else seemed to be doing OK but the SLK couldn't get further than the slight incline before the main hill. I eventually had to spin it round, drive back down the hill and along the A1. I then had serious difficulty getting up the slip road. (And I do know all the tricks, like being gentle with the clutch, trying second gear etc. I wasn't using high revs).

I guess there are several reasons for its lack of traction. The wide wheels and high speed rated tyres are part of the problem. Narrow wheels and soft rubber works better. The front engine and rear wheel drive doesn’t help either. But the real killer is the effing ESP. If I’ve got a switch on the dash which is meant to turn ESP off, then that’s what I want it to do. OFF should be OFF. But with nanny Mercedes, not content with shining a 100 watt light in your face, OFF is not OFF. It’s off until it decides it knows better and turns it back on again and then starts beeping continuously. So you end up in a situation where you have the clutch out, the car in gear, the engine turning over and the bleeding wheels aren’t even turning. This is ludicrous.

I posted this on the American web-site and the general reaction is that you either have to buy a set of winter tyres or you have to change the OEM tyres for all weather tyres - or you leave it in the garage when the temperature goes below 4C. But I've never had to do this on any other car I've owned (FWD hatches, MR2, numerous MGBs). Anyone got any views?
 

GrahamC230K

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Only have ASR on my C230K (manual too) and in last weeks snow, found thew ASR to be great. A few incidents where I had trouble getting the car going from standstill, but nothing that stopped me in my tracks, and I had to drive on snow, ice and off road (snow on mud).

I found leaving the ASR on was better (stopped me fishtailing too much). My ASR off, although not entirley off, does not sound as intrusive as your ESP.
 

Shude

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Originally posted by GrahamC230K
I found leaving the ASR on was better (stopped me fishtailing too much). My ASR off, although not entirley off, does not sound as intrusive as your ESP.

I overtook a couple of 20mph-chumps in a 60 zone through the snow this morning and ASR was awesome. I fishtailed both times while overtaking but ASR handled the situation and made me look like a pro, leaving me to concentrate on going past the slow-a$$es and getting back into my lane.

Two nights ago I went into an empty, snow-filled, floodlit DFS carpark and spent about 20 mins just spinning the car around in the snow and ice. With ASR "off" you can practically do anything and it won't try to help you, even with it on it wasn't much help because I guess it's not designed for that kind of situation - it just didn't know where I was going! :)
 

Maff

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I had similar problems with ESP as well. Switched it off and not a great deal happened, the engine still died when the wheels were spinning. The 275 profile tires dont help either.

The only fun thing with ESP is that you can leave it on, floor the accelerator and the car will only go as fast as the computers let you depending on the amount of slip detected.
 

GrahamC230K

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Originally posted by Maff

The only fun thing with ESP is that you can leave it on, floor the accelerator and the car will only go as fast as the computers let you depending on the amount of slip detected.


ASR does that eventually. After it messes about cutting power, you can keep your foot flat on floor and it gradually increses power without any wheelspin, even on ice.
 

Mark300SL

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On ice the SL must be the worst car ever !!! - big engine, auto box, 245's !

My wife struggled to get out of the company car park - because it has a 5" tall, 8" wide sleeping policeman!

she got the front wheels over - and didnt have the momentum to get the back wheels over - then couldnt get the front wheels back off to have a run up at it either!

A group of people stood about joking that her car cost more than their houses - but didnt go in sub zero temperatures !

I wish I could have seen it :bannana:

Mark

BTW - where can I buy a house around here for £18K !!!!!! ?
 

Tan

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Liverpool, in fact you could have 2.
 

Guy

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Guess I was lucky to be driving a C220 CDi loaner today! My car was having its 10k service.

255s + AMG power + Ice = :eek:

C220 CDi Avantgarde was very civilised, really liked it :)

Usual commute mpg is 17, today, even in heavier than usual traffic, snow and ice - 33mpg :rolleyes:

Anyone want to swap until Easter? :p
 

Shude

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This coming December I am going to buy 4 steel wheels with 195 winter tyres, to swap out during December, January and February. If anyone wants to join me we might be able to drive the prices down a bit - £22 for each wheel and £28 for each tyre (Hankook winter tyres) is what I got from the stealership last time I asked, the tyres were about half the price of ATS :eek: .
 

Sp!ke

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I am ahead of you....I deliberately kept my old steel wheels for this purpose & perhaps the occasional Ski holiday.

£28 for winter tyres seems very good. What rating/temperature range are they for?
 

Shude

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Originally posted by Sp!ke
I am ahead of you....I deliberately kept my old steel wheels for this purpose & perhaps the occasional Ski holiday.

I never had any steel wheels with mine, it came with 16" alloys from the factory, even the spare is an alloy wheel. I will just buy the default, stock 195

Originally posted by Sp!ke
£28 for winter tyres seems very good. What rating/temperature range are they for?

No idea, they were cheapo Korean Hankook tyres. I'm sure they'd be better than the wide/low profile Kumhos I have on the car now. Just as long as the tyres are for UK/European winters and not Korean winters! ;)
 

rirhill

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I raise similiar issues on the first bout of snow. I simply tell the g/friend "Darling shall we take your car today as I need to get to work"
Pug 206 1.1 Great in the snow
Merc E320 Forget it. Leave it on the drive.

Cheers
Ian
 

Shude

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Originally posted by rirhill
Pug 206 1.1 Great in the snow
Merc E320 Forget it. Leave it on the drive.

The day it snows is the one day of the year that Micra owners get to cruise past me, looking smug. If I can get some decent snow tyres maybe that day will be gone forever!
 

Richard W

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I took the wife's car too.... 1.4 Polo:cool:

Empty RWD Estate :(

My father used to put a paving slab in the boot for extra traction. (hadn't invented traction control then!)

R
 

TMP

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Several years ago I have a 190D I could not even back it off the drive to get to work (Serveral more like 8 or 9 :D ).

But my dad's skoda not a problem (it got me to work).

After that I swore I would not get another Merc but here I am with a Merc sitting on my drive.

Not seen snow here in Bristol thats lasted more than a few hours so not been able to get upset with the car.
 

Guy

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Problem is finding a wheel that won't foul the brakes - otherwise I'd be happy to join you Shude... :(
 
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MainMan

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That's not a bad idea, Shude. My first solution to the problem was to think about selling the car, but I tried a few dealers and the people who advertise for Mercedes (Mercedes urgently wanted etc) and the most that was offered was £17k. This is almost exactly half list on a UK car less than 2 years old with 11k on the clock and in perfect nick. The second hand market is dead apparently.

So what I'm going to do is put different tyres on when the current ones wear out. The ones I have are Bridgestone S03s which are great in summer but not good in low temperatures. I checked out the correct tyres on tirerack, which gives details of summer/winter/all weather tyres and the S03s are not listed for winter use. I might go for all weather tyres. The other alternative is to get another pair of rear wheels (same as already on the car) and put winter tyres on them for winter use. I'm not too keen on a set of steel wheels because I would be using the winter tyres for several months.

I still think Mercedes should make the scale of the problem clear in the manual. I think it probably affects all modern Mercs with ESP, and the message is that you either need special winter tyres or you must select all weather tyres - and forget about the high performance sports tyres.
 

Shude

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Originally posted by MainMan
The other alternative is to get another pair of rear wheels (same as already on the car) and put winter tyres on them for winter use. I'm not too keen on a set of steel wheels because I would be using the winter tyres for several months.

OMG you are RIGHT! I am going to get just two 7.5x17" AMG replicas with winter tyres on them for use in the winter months! That's almost as cheap as 4x steels with winter tyres.

Hmm got me thinking now :)
 

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