In this four-part mini series on classic car reliability, we are looking at the wider definition of reliability in the context of a classic… And what it means for you as an owner.
Blog Post #1 – Mechanical Reliability
Does your classic car consistently function as a car, or is it a driveway ornament with an unpredictable personality?
When it comes to the Mercedes-Benz and the R107 SL, reliability goes with the territory. All Mercedes-Benz engines from the R107 era, particularly the later 300SL, 420SL, 500SL and 560SL are renowned for their longevity – but good maintenance is the backbone of reliability and dependability.
Even the most robust and dependable engines can become unreliable and unpredictable when neglected. Time and poor maintenance are not your friend.
How do I ensure the mechanical reliability of my classic Mercedes-Benz?
It might seem like an obvious answer, but good maintenance!
Follow the service schedule laid out by the manufacturer, stick to the correct oil change intervals, whether that’s by the miles or by the months. Changing fluids, filters, plugs and leads at the correct intervals will prolong the life of your engine. Have the timing chain checked by a specialist, and make sure you know that the engine is generally in good health.
There is more to mechanical reliability than just the mechanics:
When we talk about mechanical reliability, we don’t just mean the engine. Do your locks work as they should? Does your roof go on and off in the correct manner, or does it stick and bind? Does your handbrake work adequately or do you rely too much on leaving your car in gear? How well do your windows operate, are they slow and noisy or is it exactly as Mercedes-Benz intended? There is more to reliability than just an oil change.
You might never consider greasing the door hinges or giving your seat runners a squirt of WD40 on your modern car, but your classic might be 30, 40, 50 years old. A little bit of care and attention here and there goes a long way.
Outside of the engine bay there are simple things that can be done to ensure your car stays mechanically sound. Keep on top of any rust, even consider a good rust proofing and rust prevention service. Keep moving parts lubricated and greased, clean your car down after a run on salty roads and never put it away wet without good ventilation.
It’s incredible what a bit of underseal; some WD40 and a small amount of fettling here and there can do for your classic car. An annual check by a specialist, not just of the engine but of the general operation of all aspects of the car is a great way to ensure you get consistent mechanical reliability from the whole package, not just the cylinders up front.
A modern car would come with a service plan, a maintenance schedule and all manner of bolt on products to ensure mechanical reliability, so treat your classic car the same way and it will look after you.
Is it time your car attended SLSHOP for an update to it’s service record?
#2 Emotional Reliability