hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,971 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Owner Comments

problem #9

Aug 212013


  • 74,000 miles


I own a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500. Like most owners of this vehicle, the baffle moves freely within the gas tank which causes a noise and is potential dangerous if a spark is created from the baffle hitting the inside walls of the gas tank. From my research it is a manufacture issue with the welding of the baffle to the internal wall of the gas tank. There is a tremendous amount of complaints and threads on Mercedes forums. Please follow link to see all complaints. It is poor customer service and accountability from Mercedes Benz usa to not recall the issue. There is over 20 pages of complaints regarding this issue at this link: www.benzworld.org/forums/R230-sl-class/1295215-SL500-noise-rear-interior-wall-gas.html.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #8

Sep 012012

SL500 8-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
The baffle inside the gas tank has come loose and is hitting the inside of the tank. The only time it isn't noisy is when the tank is full. After contacting Mercedes of Utah, they advised they haven't heard of the problem. I don't know if there is a safety issue with the baffle being loose but it is a great concern to me.

- Heber, UT, USA

problem #7

Feb 142011


  • miles
Fuel tank baffle failure 2003 sl 500 mbz.

- Suite 200, CA, USA

problem #6

Aug 182010

SL500 8-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I have a 2003 SL500 Mercedes. I hear either a free dangling object behind the seats or perhaps a noise from an object in the gas tank (not sure where the tank is). This clanging noise is heard when car is shook. Even a light nudge of the car will cause it to clank. Like a dangling object, hard acceleration will cause the noise to go away but when the car stops accelerating a clanging noise is heard. The car is running perfectly. This may have started happening while my car was parked overnight seeing as though it would have been hard to miss it when parking the night before. I can not rule out vandalism of some sort but I am having a hard time seeing how this could be the case. Mercedes dealer states that there is an anchor that holds the gas tank in place and it has broken, that's why the I get the clanging noise!! striking the rear wall of the interior compartment seems to make a noise consistent with the clanging. Is this suppose to happen to car of this caliber? the dealer wants to charge $3000.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #5

Mar 242009


  • 67,000 miles
1. events leading up to failure. Driver started noticing "sloshing" sound coming from gas tank area. Next day, a rattling noise starting coming from gas tank area each time the car would come to a stop. The noise was consistent with something floating around and hitting something mental inside. The sound comes from the gas tank area, consistent with a loose piece of metal floating in the gas tank. 2. upon inspection, the baffle within the gas tank had broken off and was loose, floating in the gas tank. Each time the driver comes to a stop, the baffle will float around and bang on the inside of the gas tank. Preliminary inspection reveals that subsequent model year gas tanks are differently designed to prevent such failure. Consequences of having a loose piece of metal floating around the gas take are extremely serious. If not taken care of promptly, there is a potential that the metal piece may damage the gas tank and cause a fire or other harm. 3. the entire gas tank must be removed -- a $3000 procedure. Because of the nature of the defect, many repairs will fall outside of the warranty period. The dealer pretends as though this is an uncommon issue. Independent Mercedes shops confirm this is a widespread issue.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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problem #4

Feb 222010


  • 70,739 miles
Mercedes-Benz built baffles inside the fuel tank to prevent fuel sloshing noise during stop and go motion. These baffles were poorly designed and weakly welded into place resulting in them coming loose and banging around inside the fuel tank. Being a small convertible and given that fuel tank is immediately behind passenger compartment, end result is a very loud banging noise making driving a slow torture. Aside from irritating loud banging noise there is also a potential of explosion since this is a moving metal part inside a metal fuel tank containing gasoline as both liquid and fumes. There are also many reported instances of this design flaw with some dealers reporting 10 fuel tanks replaced in 1 week. Please visit www.benzworld.org/forums/R230-sl-class/1295215-SL500-noise-rear-interior-wall-gas.html and forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/showthread.php?T=57846&page=2 I believe there are enough of these complaints to warrant a class action suit. Both Mercedes dealer and Mercedes corporate (supervisor Mr. Mariano) have refused to fix this issue insisting car is out of warranty, and there is no open recall on this issue. Dealership quoted $2400 to replace fuel tank.

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #3

Sep 032008


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500. While driving at any speed, the contact heard a rattling noise coming from the trunk. He took the vehicle to the dealer and was informed that the baffles in the gas tank failed, which caused the rattling in the gas tank. The gas tank needs to be replaced; however, the dealer refuses to take responsibility for the repair. Through online research, the contact discovered numerous complaints for the same failure. He believes a recall should be issued. The current and failure mileages were 65,000.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 012008


  • 60,000 miles
Bad gas from sunoco gas stations. New gas blend. 6 Mercedes Benz serviced for all 4 oxygen sensor burned out in boston MA.

- Hyde Park, MA, USA

problem #1

Dec 202006

SL500 8-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
2003 Mercedes Benz SL500 - baffle breaks free within gas tank seemingly causing a safety hazard. Mercedes does not replace the tank for free in all cases. Gas tank needed replaced.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

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