Advice for an auto moron - Tires for a '98 SLK 230 - plus shocks question - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-10-2005, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Advice for an auto moron - Tires for a '98 SLK 230 - plus shocks question

Hi, First I'm an idiot when it comes to cars.. so pardon if these questions seem totally noob...

Purchased a 98 SLK230 for my wife a littel over two years ago. The tires were pretty new at the time (not sure what kind, typing this at work). Just recently my wife mentioned the tires often lose traction when starting out from a stop - especially when it's wet. I had previously just been keeping a quick eye on the tread by looking at the outside of the tires and the tread always seemed fine, but after looking last night, I found out the whole middle area of the back tires are pretty bald. (a white (warning?) thread was also present around the circumference in the middle of one tire). The front tires 'seem' to be ok.

Obviously I need to get the tires replaced, but here are some questions...

1) What kind of tires should I get? I'd prefer ones that are very durable (and safe on wet roads) over performance. My wife doesn't drive the car hard at all.

2) Could I just order the tires online (tirerack.com?) and have an auto shop put them on for me? Does it need (or should it be) a Mercedes/foreign auto shop to do this?

3) One German mechanic I went to this morning to just ask about when I could bring the car in, mentioned that the shocks could be bad if the tread is worn so much in the middle but not on the outsides. The car has 70K miles on it, and I doubt the shocks were ever replaced. If anything the air pressure was probably lower than it should be - but I would think that would cause more wear on the outsides if anything, so I doubt air pressure would be the problem for the tread wear pattern that I'm seeing). Is it normal for the shocks to need replacing at this time in the car's life?

Thanks so much for any advice and recommendations.

--
Rick
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-10-2005, 12:59 PM
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RE: Advice for an auto moron - Tires for a '98 SLK 230 - plus shocks question

Hi, Rick.

Welcome to the forum.

In reverse order, I think I would probably avoid the "German mechanic" you reference in your post. Worn shocks don't cause wear down the center of the tread as you describe, so it's probable he's tossing that out there simply to sell you something you don't need. Don't get me wrong: it's entirely possible that your shocks are worn and need replacement, but for him to suggest that would cause the tire wear you describe means he's willing to misrepresent facts to you in order to sell you stuff, and that's not a great way to start off a repair shop relationship. Particularly since he didn't even inspect the car...like I say, I'd avoid him. (FYI, there is no specific mileage replacement for shocks, it requires a physical inspection and a couple of tests.)

You can indeed order tires from the Tire Rack; I've done that myself in the past. They have a great wealth of information about tires with recommendations, etc. as well as survey feedback info on specific tire models. The SLKs tend to come with more performance-oriented rubber and people often replace them with the same. The only issue I have with ordering from TR is that you have to find a place to install them, and the shops TR recommends were stunningly expensive (more than $40 a tire as I recall to mount and balance).

Your profile doesn't say where you are, but it's probable you have an America's Tire outlet near you. I believe in supporting the local merchant and they have an excellent reputation (I have a friend who absolutely will not purchase tires from anyone else, that's how well he's been treated). It's also nice to have a local vendor to go to in the event you have a tire problem in the future, and you can also get a rebalance/rotation agreement from them to enhance tire life. If you go to them and describe the tire you're looking for (sounds like long life is a key for you) they'll make some good recommendations as well. (Personally I'd stay with a premium brand.)

On the wear issue, wear down the center of the tread is typically a sign of overinflation more than anything else (I see you think they might have been underinflated if anything, but...). There are some very high-performance tires out there with different tread compounds across the different planes of the tread, which could also account for irregular wear, but I'd bet it's more related to the inflation pressure. Follow the manual's recommendation, MBZ recs often seem a little soft so some folks push it up.

If you want some specific tire recommendations, I'd suggest reposting this over in the SLK forum (actually, probably do a search there first) stressing that you're looking for tread life as a primary factor.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-10-2005, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Advice for an auto moron - Tires for a '98 SLK 230 - plus shocks question

Thanks Greg. Your feedback helps a lot. I should have scrolled down to realize there was an SLK forum:) (I'm in Florida, I'll look for the tire place you recommended.)

Rick
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 06:53 PM
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RE: Advice for an auto moron - Tires for a '98 SLK 230 - plus shocks question


"the wole middle area of the back tires are bald. (a white (warning?) thread was also present around the circumference in the middle of one tire). The front tires 'seem' to be ok."

I have exactly the same problem with my CLK...
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