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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2008, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
 
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Service on 450 smarts?

I have a 2006 smart Passion.

I was in a wreck in Aug. [Not my fault] It took 3 weeks to get an estimate for repairs.

I figured the Mercedes smart car dealership at Easton in my home town area should be the company to fix my car. They took the money [over $500]to fix the body work but REFUSED to do any repair on the engine! Not only did they refuse to do the repairs, they refused to even look at my car after the body department drove my car over 50 miles round trip to the dealership for them to look at.

I did not know this piece of information about refusing to work on the mechanics of my car until after they had already done the work on the body. I would have found someone else to do my repairs if I had know.

I am not sure what is wrong with my car but there is now an odor of gasoline in the interior of the car. I smell it worst when I fill the car up and it seems to go away after I get down to about 1/2 a tank of gas.

They, Mercedes smart car at Easton in Columbus Ohio, just told me that they would NOT work on my car.

Anyone else had any problems with a dealership refusing to work on the older 450 model smart cars?

Mad as He__ in Columbus Ohio!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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dealers

search the site you'll see many posts - some from before the smart dealers even opened.
for the most part, while they might sell you parts/accessories, dealers won't work on the pre-Americanized cars. I'm surprised they worked on the body. I have an independent mercedes garage that has worked on my 2005 fortwo for the last 2 yrs. Just to see what would happen, I contacted both local smart dealers and asked if they would do "B" service and they both said no - it's a smart USA policy. One actually replied by email - the other refused to reply by email and blew me off over the phone - no evidence. this appears to be a rather despicable corporate decision on the part of Penske. it's regrettable because it's directed at very loyal owners who supported the smart brand when it was difficult - or at least a little more complicated - to own a smart.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2008, 02:11 PM
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in my 20+ years of experience working in dealerships, i can only offer this: body shops are body shops and will work on pretty much anything. HOWEVER, and this is just an assumption, that 'smart centers' are, by their contract with smartUSA, FORBIDDEN to perform any service work on anything OTHER than smart 451's. smartUSA does not have, to my knowledge, access to 450 parts nor service info.

dealerships are like any other business. they do NOT have to do business with you. i'm sure if you check it out, the body shop works on ALL MAKES and "IF" you had said (or maybe known.....not clear as to what was said when your 450 was taken to them) "I want the body work done AND the mechanical/engine work done as well", someone would have told you at that time "Sorry, we're not allowed to perform any mechanical/engine work per our contract with smartUSA".

you also stated they 'took the $500 to do the body work".....with only $500 damage, surely your accident couldn't have been THAT bad. "IF" the $500 was only your deductible, then you need to contact your insurance company, explain to them the situation and tell them you need to take the car somewhere else to have it checked out. you mentioned you would have taken it elsewhere if you had known what you know now, so go ahead and take it somewhere else. other than some time, i can't see that your out anything at this point.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2008, 03:10 PM
 
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All that is fine - dealers can do what they want - just be up front. Having owned a smart for more than a year before there were smart dealers - I have an established supply/service network - however - I'm tired of these excuses - dealers can't get parts and don't know how to service - what a bunch of bs. I can get parts and they can't - a smart dealer can't get smart parts. The word to use is not "can't" but "won't". How does this sound - I can't get parts or service for my 2 year old Chevy at the local Chevy dealer?
I have an independent mercedes garage that has serviced my 2005 smart for two years - they are more familiar w/ the smart than a smart trained mechanic at a smart dealer? just be honest - this is a vindictive corporate policy. Then, just as they can decide who to do business with, in the future, consumers can decide whether they want to do business w/ a corporation that would behave this way.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2008, 06:56 PM
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Just my .02, but the grey market smarts were not imported by Mercedes, modified by Mercedes or sold by Mercedes. It may be part of Penske's deal with Mercedes requires smart USA dealers to not service the grey market cars, or it may be solely a PAG decision. Either way, complaining to the dealer won't change anything. Best thing to do IMHO is as many grey market owners have already done - find an independent shop to do the work and help them locate parts as needed.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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Some places that I have found that will work on the grey-market 450s are:

  • Smart Center Denver
2855 S Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113
(303) 597-6278

Specifically talk to the services manager and try to come in the back way where the up-front sales staff can't see you. Also, if you've been following the National Rally thread in the SCOA Members only forum, someone is trying to organize a caravan for west-coast attendees to meet up in Denver and caravan down to Kansas City. Smart Center Denver would love to see people drop in and say hi.

  • Specialty Repair
Specialty Repair :: BMW and Mercedes Service and Repair :: Atlanta Area
11452 North Fulton Industrial Blvd
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(770) 475-4753

John is willing to work on and fix anything. They have a grey-market Benz G Wagon and usually there is at least one 280SL Pagoda top in there.

I use them for anything A/C and engine related. They do not do tires and brakes. For that they recommended me to the next place.


  • Perfect Performance
Perfect Performance Tires
1089 Frazier St
Roswell, GA 30075-3831
(770) 993-5777

They have swapped out my winter and summer tires. I have an appointment for Monday 2 August 2009 to have the front rotors and pads replaced with EBC rotors and pads. Have had great experiences with my HHR there as well. However, I am thinking about trying a new shop for the brakes on my 450, the next one listed:

  • Revolution Smart
Atlanta Smart Car Service and Repair + Decatur, G
500 Dekalb Industrial Way
Decatur, GA
404.292.2683

I called them today (31 July 2009) to see if they would work on my grey-market 450, if they guarantee their work, etc. So far I like what I hear. Of course the ultimate determinant is what they do, not what they say. If I have them install my brakes, I will update that information here.

Anyone else have any other shops they've had great experiences with? Midn sharing that information?

And if you're looking for a shop, try Mercedes-Benz Repair Shops - Find a Mercedes Mechanic | BenzShops.com to find a list of independent MB repair shops near you. Then just start calling each one. Thats how I found Specialty Repair.

Last edited by briansmart; 07-31-2009 at 10:16 AM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 04:44 AM
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Thanks Brian!

Thanks for your research on this, Brian. That last website is particularly valuable. Good to hear there are still a few of the new smart dealers assisting. There has apparently been pressure on them not to do that. Plaza Motors (smartcenter Creve Coeur) in St. Louis stopped servicing the 450's within the last 6 months after working on them for two years. Not the service department's fault.

One other piece of guidance I usually offer is to check local Yellow Page listings for "small print" service and repair shops that appear to be foreign car related. I pick the small print dealers because they aren't spending a lot in overhead on their ads and their business is supported primarily through "word of mouth" referrals. Their labor rates are usually lower. First, find these small print dealerships and begin calling in reverse alphabetical order (newer guys will buy cheap ads and start their names with an "a" or "b". Call each one and ask how long they've been in business, then ask if they work on Mercedes, then ask if they've ever HEARD of a smart car. Their enthusiasm will dictate whether you consider them as a potential mechanic. If they get excited when they are asked about the smart car, ask if they'd like to learn how to work on one. There are websites and CD's available to make any willing mechanic a potential top serviceman for your 450. Parts are now readily available on fairly short ship time and delivery. There may even be affordable software/hardware packages out there somewhere for the mechanic to troubleshoot with the IBDII. Just some thoughts...
Ron Gaus, asmartcar.com, St. Louis

Last edited by rgaus; 08-04-2009 at 04:46 AM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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Forgot to post about my experience at Revolution Smart.

Revolution Smart is another independent MErcedes Benz repair shop. However they do brand themselves as an independent Smart repair place as well. Shop is extremely clean, staff is friendly, knowledgeable and able to work on pretty much everything it seems.

They fitted EBC turbo groove rotors and greenstuff brake pads to the front of my 450. Install went well (i was told) and the brakes are great. A little bit of noise is introduced by the grooved rotors but the reduction in brake dust over the OEM parts that were there before is tremendous. Stopping distance has decreased by about 10 feet or so. This is an eyeball measurement on roads I have driven many many times. But still, I feel and see an improvement.

I did not get a chance to speak with any of the techs as they were very busy (many many newer and older model Benzs in and out of the garage). I will find out if they have MB Star or not. If so, this could be another great source for doing things like steering wheel swaps, tach enabling, etc. for grey-market 450s.

Last edited by briansmart; 08-13-2009 at 04:10 PM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-13-2010, 05:55 AM
 
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