Tread Carefully & Avoid the 2013 Mercedes SLK55 AMG
experience with Towbin Kia was abysmal. This dealership is not forthcoming and did not represent the car they are selling accurately. My experience
experience with Towbin Kia was abysmal. This dealership is not forthcoming and did not represent the car they are selling accurately. My experience with their salesman, Rameen, was negative. He represents a slimy car salesman perfectly.
I contacted Towbin about a 2013 Mercedes SLK55 AMG I was interested in, listed below market value. Initially, the dealership informed me it was sold. I was disappointed since it had only been listed for a day but decided to move on. Shortly after, I received a call from Evan explaining it was still available. Evan introduced me to Rameen in Sales, and it went downhill from there.
Rameen informed me that the SLK55 was in good shape and had been inspected by Towbin after they took it in a trade to ensure it didn’t need anything. He sent me a video walkaround of the car that was rushed and provided no additional photos of the car. He specifically mentioned that, “He drove it around town for ~30 minutes and that it was good to go.” Knowing that Towbin Kia is a franchised dealer with 4.6 stars, I felt alright taking them at their word that the car was represented accurately, in good faith. We settled on an agreed out the door price, and I sent Towbin Kia a bank wire.
After talking to my uncle who races cars, he suggested I get a Pre-Purchase Inspection as an afterthought just to be certain I know what I’m buying. I contacted RepairSmith and scheduled a PPI and they completed it the next business day which included driving the car, a scan tool, photos, videos, and a comprehensive inspection.
Here is where things really went downhill. The mechanic informed me the car has some major problems. Mechanically, this SLK55 has Mercedes M152 V8 engine and the mechanic told me, “There was a ticking sound coming from the valvetrain that mainly occurred on startup when the engine was cold for about 10 seconds.” This is a major issue with the M152 that a few other R172 SLK55 owners have reported on forums. This required breaking down the engine and replacing both timing chains and timing chain tensioners which is extremely labor intensive. Fletcher Jones Imports quoted me $8900 for these repairs which includes 40 hours of labor!
Additionally, the mechanic informed me that all 4 Brembo AMG brake rotors have noticeable lips on them indicating they are very worn down and need to be replaced. A ticking valvetrain is one thing (Kia mechanics might not know about), but lipped and faded brake rotors is glaringly obvious to any mechanic upon visual inspection. Fletcher Jones Imports quoted me $3500 for new AMG performance brake rotors and pads!
Cosmetically, the mechanic sent pictures and informed me that the car had three dents on the driver’s side quarter panel. Additionally, the glove compartment handle and locking mechanism are completely missing–meaning you can’t even open the glovebox.
Needless to say, I was frustrated by the lack of transparency from Rameen and Towbin Kia. When I called him to explain the issues from the PPI, he refused to own up to his mistakes and blamed me by saying, “I sent you a video walkaround of the car man!” He called back offering a measly $1000 off the vehicle price, which won’t even cover 2 front AMG brake rotors.
At that point, I knew it was time to get my money back and run like xxxx from Towbin Kia. If I could give 1.5 stars instead of 1 star, I would thanks to the courtesy and promptness of Linda in the business department. She was gracious enough to send my money back as an overnighted business check with Saturday delivery. Shoutout to Linda!
My takeaway from Towbin Kia is that if something seems too good to be true, it definitely is! Always do your research and get a third party inspection. Dishonest salesmen like Rameen are ubiquitous with the auto industry. There are much better dealerships in the Las Vegas/Henderson area to do business with. I dodged a huge bullet here and am grateful to RepairSmith and Fletcher Jones Imports for keeping me out of trouble on this deal!