really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,750 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Owner Comments

problem #4

Jun 282013

SL500 8-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


The SRS system (airbags) have been deemed inoperable by the dealer and may either deploy at any time or not deploy at all in a collision. This is due to a defective seatbelt buckle and a defective passenger recognition sensor pad located in the front passenger seat which disables/enables the airbags functionality. Both a very common defect in the 2000 to 2006 model year Mercedes Benz S class vehicles. The seatbelt buckle contains a sensor that eventually fails for no apparent reason or warning which compromises the air bag's functionality. The passenger recognition sensor pad located in the seat eventually malfunctions due to fatigue.this also disables the functionality of the SRS system.this malfunction has recently been addressed and recalled by BMW for the same issues but Mercedes Benz has yet to issue a recall campaign also the gear shifter is stuck in park and can not be shifted in reverse. This is due to a small plastic part located in the shifting mechanism which is released by a solenoid when the brake pedal is depressed. The plastic part eventually cracks and renders the car inoperable.the part is not available nor produced by Mercedes Benz and the entire mechanism must be replaced by the dealer at the owner's expense. The cracked part can also affect the safety of the driver and pedestrians. If it cracks while the car is in drive, the shifter can not be moved forward to neutral or park and will remain stuck in drive due to a broken piece of plastic blocking the shifter from moving.this is another extremely common and dangerous defect in the model year 2000 to 2006 S class and has affected and left thousands of motorists stranded. Mercedes Benz has the lowest recall rate in the United States according to the following www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/27/us-autos-recalls-study-idusbrea2Q1zq20140327. they should not ignore safety issues.

- Valley Stream, NY, USA

problem #3

Nov 192013


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500. The contact stated that while the vehicle was being inspected by the dealer, it was found that the SRS was not operating properly and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was being repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 59,000.

- La Habra, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 012007


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercedes Benz S55. The contact stated that the seat belt would not retract properly whenever there were warmer temperatures. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer and the dealer was unable to determine the failure. In addition, the contact stated that the trunk lid would either become resistant when attempting to close the hatch, or it would close independently. On one occasion, the trunk lid closed unexpectedly on the contact as she attempted to remove items from the trunk area. As a result, the contact sustained a contusion to the right leg. The contact also stated that the key fob failed to engage the trunk lid. The manufacturer was made aware of failure and advised the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V285000 (latches/locks/linkages: Trunk lid springs). The failure mileage was 50,000. The current mileage was 100,000. The VIN was not available.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 032009


  • 120,000 miles
The driver's side seat belt does not work properly during hot weather. More particularly, the belt will not extend. It is impossible to pull the belt out enough to fasten it. Thus, the only way the car can be driven in hot weather is without the driver wearing a seat belt. The belt works properly in the morning when leaving our air-conditioned garage, but when returning to the car while it has been parked outside in hot weather the seat belt does not work.

- Barrington, IL, USA

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