hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,026 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Apr 092012

SL500 8-cyl

  • miles


Abc system valve failure then high pressure hoses failed.

- Richboro, PA, USA

problem #9

Jun 222011

SL500 8-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I have had ongoing / continual problems with the 2003 sl 500 model 230 abc (active body control) system. The resulting issues occur at random and with little consistency. The resulting effect causes the car to drive soft on some occasions and rigid on others. The problem has been diagnosed and reported to the local dealership and other opportunities to attempt to repair the issue. Thus far there seems to be no one who can properly affect and improve the situation. I contacted my local mb dealership on June 27, 2011 inquiring regarding a recall reported in the NHTSA recall system. The dealership said this was not a recall however the recall 08V405000 suggests otherwise. The continual problems with the abc systems makes me weary of mb ability to correct safety and driving issues. While this has not resulted in an accident or damage my fear is if mb nor the dealership recognizes there is an issue with abc systems, how many unrepaired and unsafe vehicles do we have on our streets?

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #8

Jan 102011

SL500 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Vehicle began having minor leak of pink color fluid that an auto repair shop identified as hydraulic fluid for abc suspension system. From a visual inspection, the fluid was leaking from abc tandem pump. The leak got worse by the week and the vehicle was immediately parked after a considerable amount of fluid was building up on the driveway. After a week, there was a large puddle of fluid under the engine and the whole left side of vehicle bottomed out and literally sunk over the front left and rear left tires. Mercedes dealership (walnut creek) said it was likely the abc pump was defective and would not fix because the car was out of warranty. My mechanic friend confirmed that the leak was coming from the abc pump. After the pump was replaced, the abc valve blocks for the front and rear began to leak. We found that there were clogs in the front and rear valves. Going back to Mercedes, the parts specialists informs us about the updated parts in the abc system that needed replacement. They also informed me that they normally have all the updated parts stocked and on-hand. I ended up replacing every part in the abc system since it was evident that contamination existed with the clogged valves. This includes the following part numbers: 220-320-12-58 $2499; 220-320-0858 $750; power steering tandem abc pump $1015; hydraulic fluid $450, filters $40, oil lines $300, labor $800. Total is roughly $5000. The parts specialist was right about the problems of the abc system for my vehicle. I researched this problem and found that many people with the same vehicle have dealt with the problem that I currently have. I don¿T think that replacing all components of the abc suspension system for a Mercedes is routine maintenance/repair. How does the contamination occur in a closed system? this car was a luxury that became a nightmare. This is only a brief and simplified series of events leading up to a complete malfunction in the suspension system.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 072009


  • 74,000 miles


I cannot believe that there is not or will not be a recall on the "suspension" issue. I too had the fate of my car collapsing on my way home from work-which is 35 miles away-it happened. On the dash it stated in bid bold letters "airmatic car too low". I pulled over and stepped out-my heart felt like it was going to come through my chest. Everyone in that situation understands just how I felt at that time. The front of the car was completely covering half of the front tires-if I turned the wheel it would have scraped the fenders. I left the car there overnite. The next day {Sunday} my partner's brother -who is a mechanic-went to retrieve my car not being familiarized with the Mercedes brand he started the car and pushed every button on the dash-he called me telling me the car was fine it was "fine". he drove my car to my home-much to my puzzlement. The car looked normal. The next day on Monday I started the car and on the dash in big red letters airmatic. Though the car looked fine I saw on closer inspection that one side in front was sagging lower, to sum this up-got the car to the dealer and was told the " air was leaking out of the bags in the front suspension".that cost $1,000 to repair-I think its cheaper to pay that than the alternative. As I write I am furious yes- I have another appointment this coming Monday for my SRS system. This is the second time. This time it has to do with the front passenger seat and the etr-they state there is a fault. I have to pay $540 to have a safe car" this is the second time the SRS light has come on-sounds kind of like the first time it happened too-only that was covered under warranty. I have 74,000 miles on this car. Whats going to happen next? Mercedes submitted a video showing an S class with a collapsed suspension showing that it was fit to be on the road along with other cars-people what are you thinking?this is supposed to be one of the safest cars on the road! that's why we bought it.and about the SRS light"

- Wassaic, NY, USA

problem #6

Oct 252009


  • 84,500 miles
My suspension is horrible!! without warning my S430 airmatic light displayed "visit workshop", I pulled over and noticed my vehicle was riding extremely low...almost touching my front and back tires. Furthermore, there is a rubbing sound when the wheels are being turned. I contacted 4 dealers and they all claimed the suspension and/or airmatic system has been a common problem...my concern is why wasn't I notified about a recall" secondly, after scheduling an appointment for this week, mb is claiming that I will be charged for service a. this is unbelievable>>>why is Mercedes loosing their reputation for poor customer service" please contact me...I need my vehicle in operable condition and will expect to be reimbursed by Mercedes once this recall matter is approved and/or active. I'm glad to know that NHTSA cares...thank you.

- Richton Park, IL, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #5

Jun 122009


  • miles
Incident one: 1. while driving in atlanta, ga in February of 2007. The front airmatic suspension failed while crossing an "inactive" railroad track. Just imagine if it was active. Mercedes-Benz towed the car and replaced the defect. 2. a few days ago, I'm driving on a 40 mph speed limit road and my car starts to lower. Again. I was lucky that no one was behind me, otherwise it could have had a different outcome. How many times will someone need to report this "safety hazard" to the national highway and traffic safety administration. Does someone need to die, in order to be heard" please help me. I cannot afford to have the car I purchased, as the salesman said, "the safest car on the road, " become the reason for serious injury or even death to me and others. Thank you, I hope you'll contact me within a reasonable amount of time. We need to be heard. We want you to do something, because it will make us feel that you genuinely car about listening and creating action on these complaints. What does it cost you to recall something" I know what it'll cost me or the public if you don't.

- Fairport, NY, USA

problem #4

Apr 262009


  • 49,820 miles


2003 Mercedes Benz 500sl driving down the road the car just dropped down, the active body control system failed it ruined the undercarriage of the vehicle the car does not even have 50,000 miles on it. It's hard to get it towed. It is very low and it can cause a very serious accident, the funny thing was the next day started the car up the car came up but knowing my undercarriage is destroyed. I had couple incidents happen to men luck I was not on the freeway. It also throws your alignment out.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #3

Jul 182008


  • 73,000 miles
The airmatic warning came on my vehicle without prior incident. While driving normally last week, I suddenly noticed the panel flashing this warning. The car did not completely fail, but the car is much lower than it needs to be. When I searched this on-line I came across a forum called benzworld.org or com. There are hundreds of complaints about this problem and many people are calling for mbusa to recall this item. I called the corporate hq and was told to take the car in to the dealer, I was to ask the service manager for a" after warranty assistance". I am not sure what this means, but this is a very expensive item to repair and there may be many things contributing to this problem. Mbusa should stand behind this faulty feature and recall this item. I will take the car in on 07/28/08 and see what the outcome is. I suspect this will cost me close to 1K on a car that has 73K miles. I will ask for the old parts and hold them in reserve for your further instructions.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #2

Oct 232005

SL500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles
I purchased a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500 in December of 2003. As of today 8 November 2005, the suspension apparently can not be repaired. The car has being taken back to the dealer for the eight (8th) time to repair the suspension. It is currently alexandria Virginia, Mercedes Benz as of November 9th, 2005. While driving the vehicle home from a dinner engagement, late October 2005, one of the front hydraulic shock dropped and the vehicle literally changed lanes. Fortunately, no cars were beside me at the time. I am writing to the NHTSA to get their assistance in determining the feasibility of driving this vehicle with its unpredictable level of safety. I am appalled by Mercedes Benz lack of concern to replace this vehicle, the manufacturer or their representatives, are unable to repair it. I request your assistance to determine my next steps or any actions you can take to compel the manufacturer to resolve this matter.

- Washington, Dc , DC, USA

problem #1

Jun 252003

SL500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,132 miles
The vehicle (2003 mb slk320) was purchased on 4/14/2004 in AZ and began noticing problems on the drive back to nm. The most significant safety problem involves the transmission, which has been serviced by the manufacturer 8 times without resolution. The vehicle slips in and out of gear at highway speeds. The vehicle has spent a total of over 68 days in the shop for unsatisfactory repairs in a one-year period. To this date, the manufacturer has been uncooperative in resolving these problems forcing me to seek legal services.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

Not what you are looking for?