hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,024 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Owner Comments

problem #3

Sep 292003


  • 93,939 miles


Shifter stuck in park. There are probably hundreds, possibly even thousands of Mercedes owners that have experienced this problem. For no apparent reason and without any warning the shifter locks in park. You turn the car on and it will not move even if using a 16 pound rubber mallet to bang the shifter. I would consider this as a potentially dangerous situation if the person was out in the wilderness or a mother traveling with children in the car. This problem is well documented at www.mbworld.org this particular forum is a great source for problems associated with Mercedes Benz. It is caused by a $4 piece of plastic located inside the shifter box that moves back and forth to activate the solenoid.. once the plastic piece breaks it locks the shifter in place. Mercedes could easily fix this problem by using more durable materials. Instead, they charge you up to $1500 to replace the shifter box. I know because it happened to me and several other people I personally know. The car literally can not be moved and has to be dragged on a flat bed truck and taken to the repair shop. For a car this expensive, it is totally ridiculous.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #2

Apr 042010


  • 68,000 miles
Shifter stuck in park due to the only plastic part ( shifter module) in the shifter box. Mercedes headquarters take no responsibility for such an expensive fix when plastic part breaks.

- Tujunga, CA, 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

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