hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
95,091 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Owner Comments

problem #7

Dec 182015


  • 86,998 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, she smelled smoke coming from the engine. The contact stated that the abc and stop vehicle too low warning lights illuminated. The contact mentioned that while driving, the front end of the vehicle started to scrape the ground. The contact was able to pull the vehicle over and noticed that it was leaking fluid. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. It was unknown if the vehicle was diagnosed but the vehicle has not been repaired. The contact stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 07V263000 (engine and engine cooling, suspension). The dealer informed the contact that the vehicle also showed failure signs of NHTSA campaign: 05V133000 (service brakes, hydraulic). The failure mileage was 86,998.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 152015


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500. The contact stated that while driving at 25 mph, the front of the vehicle lowered and leaked fluids as the ABS warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #5

Sep 012015


  • 51,500 miles
I have a 2003 Mercedes SL500 with 52000 miles on it and suddenly the brake warning light came up and the investigation linked it to the sbc hydraulic recall (2005070007). Mercedes had extended the warranty on sbs unit for 10 years and my car is now out of that extended warranty period. The sbc issue did not occur until the car had over 51000 miles. I reached out to Mercedes Benz customer care and they wanted me to take the car to the authorized dealer which I did and the dealer's report clearly states that they could not connect to the sbc pump and it needs to be replaced immediately. Mercedes Benz customer care called me back stating that the car is out of the 10 year warranty period and does not qualify for the replacement. As a matter of fact, I was told that there was no recall on the entire sbc pump and also stated that it was only on the installation of bracket, which happens to be another recall on the sbc unit (2005110001). The vehicle does not adequately stop due to this failure and the repair cost to replace the sbc unit as stated by the dealer is $1939.75. This is clearly a safety recall that is a concern and so would like to request nhsta to advise.

- Marriottsville, MD, USA

problem #4

Apr 042014


  • 224,679 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, he attempted to engage the brakes but the pedal sank to the floorboard abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that the brake lines needed to be bled and the brake fluid needed to be replaced. Also, they advised that the brake hydraulic unit needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 224,679.

- Campbell Hall, NY, USA

problem #3

May 022014

SL500 8-cyl

  • 96,935 miles
While driving at approx. 20-35mph I pressed the brake and almost went to the floor with no resistance. Dashboard indicates red warning "stop" brake defective, stop vehicle with yellow ABS warning light. After I pulled over, parked the car and shutting down the engine... warning lights, red emergency "brake" illuminated. As well as, reduced brake effect, start engine and followed by incr braking distance, start engine.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 222014

SL500 8-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
While driving to work, I was going about 35 mph when the dash lights up red saying "service brakes, stop vehicle, etc". my mechanic looked over everything to do with brakes and could not fix it. He called Mercedes of tallahassee and was told it was an electrical issue that was a common problem with this vehicle. It did have a recall on it, but it expired in July last year, just my luck. So I googled it and have now found tons of people with the same experience! how can the vehicle safety administration legally allow Mercedes Benz to continue letting this happen to people" how many accidents must take place, or god forbid deaths before something is done" I have no option but to pay out of pocket to have this piece of $100K junk fixed and pray it never happens again! Mercedes Benz and the vehicle safety administration better pray this doesn't cause an accident or I will sue the [xxx] out of both! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- St. George Island, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 122013

SL500 8-cyl

  • 71,525 miles
My wife was driving about 1/2 mile from our house when the brakes completely failed. She was on a back road and had to brake for a stop sign. She was able to pull off on the side of the road, to avoid rear ending a car stopped at the stop sign, and finally bring the car to a stop. The brakes started to work with about 1" of pedal from the floor. She said it was so hard to push on the pedal that she could barely do it. Luckily she was not hurt. Had this happened on a major road or highway the results could have been catastrophic. Apparently this was the first year for a new braking system referred to a "drive by wire". euro motorcars in md informed me that because Mercedes had so much trouble with this new system that they extended the warranty for this problem for 10 additional years. The new extended warranty on this brake failure issue was for complete parts and labor. I was never notified of this extended warranty. No one at the dealership, where I have had the car serviced exclusively, notified me of any warranty extension for this very serious braking failure issue. I find this reprehensible! my wife could have killed. Why was such a serious braking issue not made a recall instead of "if you have a problem warranty extension"? at the very least Mercedes should have recalled all cars with this potential braking failure. The problem lies with the sbc hydraulic braking unit. The car was towed to euro motorcars where it was repaired. I asked the service writer if it could be covered under the extended warranty and he told me that the extended warranty had expired this past February 2013. Mercedes told me the same thing. Tough luck! in addition to helping recover this expense of $1593.81 please explain to me why this was allowed to happen. No recall and no notification. Someone could have killed!

- Darnestown, MD, USA

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