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2001 320SLK
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought an SLK320 from 2001 as a used car. It is my first Benz and is certainly a pretty thing. I'd like to do the best to keep it in as perfect condition as the modern world will allow. I'm wondering what I should be doing about those nice leather seats. I asked at the dealer and they said to just use soap and water to clean the leather and keep it looking nice and supple. I had bad luck with the leather seats in a BMW 3 I used to have. By the time I started paying attention they were cracked, and just got worse as the years went by. I'd like to avoid this with the new car. Any suggestions as to what to do and which products work best would be much appreciated.
 

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01 SLK 320 MT6
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4,477 Posts
Congratulations on your car and welcome to the forums. I used Turtle wax and now switched to Maguires Leather care products, both with good results. Reason why i switched - bottle of turtle wax broke and leaked.
 

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SLK32, ML430
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6,349 Posts
Congrats on the car. WTTC!

Forget the soap and water. Use a leather cleaner if your seats are dirty. I used a leather conditioner/cleaner from Griots Garage. Lexol is also a good brand and I may switch to them when I run out.
 

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1999 SLK230 Sport
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2,713 Posts
I have used both Lexol and Zymöl, both of which I think are top products.
 

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2000 SLK 230 LE
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196 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

Mother's Leather Cleaner and Mother's Leather Conditioner work very well. They are nice and mild and have a pleasent sent. Avoid the all in one cleaner/conditioners. I'd recommend any of Mother's products for your car. Watch out for some of the standard products (Turtle Wax/Armor All/Meguires). The can contain silicons and other chemicles that make them work well in the short term but end up damaging and discoloring parts in the long term. The best part about Mother's products is you can find them in local automotive stores.
 

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2001 320SLK
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Many thanks to all who replied. Excellent information, but guess the over riding question is whether you all think it best in the long run to use something on the seats. Somehow I got the impression from the people at the Benz dealer that it was sort of a toss-up in that whatever you used would eventually weaken the stitching and end up causing more harm than good. Know that most people trade cars so often that they don't concern themselves with the really long run. There are some cars--particularly the SLK that have sort of reached a finality of design excellence so that you would never trade just because you found something you liked better. If it's the feeling that a good leather care product is the way to go for maximum life, then that's what I'll do.
 

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2000 SLK 230 LE
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196 Posts
You definelty should clean and condition your leather. If you use a product that is too harsh (soap and water for instance) or overdo it on the cleaning you could have problems in the long run. The thing to worry about is not the stiching but the color of the leather itself. The issue is more with the cleaner than the conditioner. How often you clean and condition the leather depends on your situation.

*What is your climate like (Dusty, muddy, etc.)?
*How often do you drive your car?
*How many times do you get in and out per day?
*How often do you drive with the top down?
*How much exposure to the elements does your leather get (Sun, snow, rain, dust, etc.)?

The average for cleaning and conditioning your leather is every 3-6 months. This time can be extended or shortened depending on your situation.

The Mother's forum on Interior Care may be helpful in answering your questions.

http://www.mothers.com/waxforum/
 

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SLK32, ML430
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6,349 Posts
Yes you need to use conditioner on your seats. If you don't they will not hold up and crack.
 

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2006 SLK-55 AMG
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737 Posts
The enemy of leather is water and ultraviolet light from sunshine. Water will cause it to become stiff and encourage deep cracking. Sunlight will damage the color coating on the surface of the leather, causing it to peel, fade, and become brittle, as it bakes the plasticizer out of the coating and decomposes the molecular structure of the plastic.

A good conditioner will add moderate amounts of surface wax and oils to help repel water, and somewhat clean the surface finish; some may include UV barriers to provide limited protection against the sunlight, but the BEST protection is to keep sunlight off of the leather when possible, either by using a car cover when it is left roof open, or garaging the car whenever it is not on the road. Needless to say, NEVER let it rain into the car, and towel dry the seats if you have to get in with wet clothing on. With periodic care, it can look almost as good as MB-Tex.[:)]
 

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2001 SLK 320 6-spd
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206 Posts
What do you guys do for your dashboards??? Is it leather or man made? I have had problems wih Armor All (sp?) in the past on a Porsche.
 

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01 SLK 320 MT6
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4,477 Posts
TLC 320 - 3/15/2005 6:16 PM

What do you guys do for your dashboards??? Is it leather or man made? I have had problems wih Armor All (sp?) in the past on a Porsche.
It's plastic. I want to try 303 on mine
 

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2002 SLK 32 AMG
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1,219 Posts
I use Aerospace 303 Protectant, it seems to work well. Not too shiny and is supposed to protect the plastic from UV.
 

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2002 SLK 32 AMG, bone stock. 1987 190E 2.3-16 valve (destroyed). 2005 E320 new toy.
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14,926 Posts
I've got to agree with ByByeAmericanPie .........

I've been using Lexol in the blue bottle for vinyl and rubber, and in the orange and brown bottles for leather. The stuff is cheap and does a very good job, good enough to win me quite a few concours trophies.
 

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SLK32, ML430
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6,349 Posts
RE: I've got to agree with ByByeAmericanPie .........

I use Griots Garage vinyl treatment for the dash. Works well. Make sure whatever you use does not contain silicone.
 
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