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Guest Raven

Trouble with Smart

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My husband and I were one of the first 7 out of 500 to buy the Smart in 2005 in Canada. We loved it! Leather seats, great stereo, convertible...We endured the questions and interested folk who always stopped us to inquire about it. Even the kids doing their Smart Dance while pointing and laughing. We didn't care. We knew we were the "smart" ones. 4 years later we are wondering how smart we really were. Anyone else feel the same way? Our car has 102K on it. So far we have had to replace headlights 3 times, brakes, tires, ball joints, alternator, and turbo charger twice. Not too impressive for a car of only 4 years. Total repair bill outside of the warranty has been approaching $5,000. Anyone else experiencing these issues? we have contacted Customer Relations with Mercedes and are waiting a reply. Service Manager seems to be on our side with just as many questions.

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Welcome to the club.The issues you have experienced sadly do not seem out of the ordinary at all.Where are you located?

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I'm starting to feel the same way but with way more expenses than you. We still love our smart but they maybe shouldn't have called it smart. maybe money pit would be more apt. sorry, but we just paid over nine grand for a new engine and other parts installed. at just over 175000. km. that is not a good record for a well cared for car. I am really hesitant to add up all the other expenses we have had to put into it but I will eventually.I probably would never buy a Mercedes again (are you listening Mercedes?) We plan on keeping our smart because we love the quikiness about it and the fun drive, not the bumps mind you but the mileage and the size. And now we have another engine to repair and keep on hand plus CAA for towing we hopefully will now be able to enjoy another four years. Yes we were early buyers too.I believe where you are from has a lot to do with it too the west coast seems to have a better track record for long term use. mild climate?any way here's to four more years B) Karen

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We are located in St. Catharines, Ontario. I plan on pursuing this further with Mercedes. We too have enjoyed the same things with the car, but know we will never buy Mercedes again - not a Smart either. They took quite a risk calling it that because the other obvious adjective is just as catchy! Have you pursued your issues futher? I am afraid to drive it past 110K now!

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Well the two turbos is a bummer at only 110,000 but the other stuff, three headlight bulbs ($9 a piece), brakes (I assume you mean pads and possibly rotors) and tires being replaced hardly counts as unusual stuff. Balljoints are not the best in this car and if you drive on rough roads I guess you can expect to replace them frequently.

My car has 126,000 km and is on the original brake discs, original turbo. The only thing that has gone off on my own dime so far is the clutch actuator at $750 all in.

I have read some horror stores about the costs of running a smart long-term, and I have read some stories about how others are well over 150,000 km and all is well.

Let me ask you a question...you were "one of the first 7 out of 500" to buy a smart in 2005?? What do you mean?

Hundreds of smarts had been sold across Canada by the end of 2004. When we got ours on January 8, 2005, the Victoria dealer alone had already delivered over fifty of them at that time.

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Oh I forgot the alternator, also a bummer. It seems that if you drive in harsh winter conditions with salty mush etc, the starter motor and alternator are vulnerable to that. Expect starter trouble sometime soon if that is the case in St-Catharines.This is the ideal car for Vancouver and Vancouver Island. I'm not sure I would drive one year-round back east.

Edited by Mike T

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The smart, in my opinion, (and I can only speak about the 450 like yours and mine) is not truly... robust... enough for our rough-and-ready Canadian conditions.Like Mike T, I am fortunate enough to live in a mild climate - the Okanagan Valley in BC - so I have had perhaps fewer troubles than if I were elsewhere. My car rarely visits the dealership, as I do some maintenance myself and go to a highly qualified independent for more complex items. So costs have not been excessive at all...

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May I add. I had performed services and modifications on smart for several years. Thousands of car count through the door. In summary, I must say the car is design to work best in certain ideal condition for longevity. Many of the premature fault can be prevented. May it be environment, driving style, driving habit, service frequency, service quality, etc. Otherwise, service cost is average to most other cars in it's class. That being said, I find most owners of other brands i.e. Toyota, Honda are well behind on their maintenance work; but without the car breaking down. Smart 450 cdi is not as forgiving in this case. But if you treat it well, it will rewards you.

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that's good to hear about the long term use of the car my 2005 passion has only 55000 on it i follow the service to the book and wash the car every week in winter take in side and wash in the garage . i put the heater on over night to warm up the garage then wash and dry the car. i have replaced light's but that's :):smile_anim::speak_cool: normal as they are always on had mb cdn do some in house tuning of the car , but overall they are cheap to run . drive 52 km to work evryday and drove though winter in vancouver except when snow is do deep .

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I was told when we purchased the car that only a limited number of smarts were coming to Canada and that we were the first 7 to purchase one with the convertible and leather, etc. Maybe that was just Ontario. No big deal - either way, I still stand firm on the fact that for a car of only 102K and one that is just 4 years old, that many items breaking down is more than disappointing. It is also unfortunate for us that we were unable to get the $2,000. that the government now offers if you purchase one. I once had an Integra and knew it was common for the timing belt and clutch to break down after 100K. They did. The tires, breaks, headlights, alternator, etc. didn't. Nor did the car cost me $27,000. What did we pay for? I think the warranty on these cars needs to be better. I have to say our dealer has been truly the best. He has paid for the labour charges for the alternator. Now why is that? Quite possibly he agrees that these failures are unwarranted. Why is it that with the new smarts out right now they pay for regular maintenance for 2 years. That sounds great. It is tempting - especially when you consider an oil change is $90. What happens after 2 years? My experience suggests that a lot will happen and it won't be fun.

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The new smart 451 is not the old smart, so I wouldn't say that any issues with the old one necessarily will apply to the new one.A broken timing belt on an Acura will cost about $3K because it is an interference engine. And a clutch blowing at 100K km can only be due to poor driving technique unless the clutch is destroyed by an oil leak. So compared to the smart you have, the Honda/Acura sounds worse.

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One year and 8 months on our demo 451. Just over 15,000km. Only repair/service required was an oil change at 9,000km (one year time expire on FSS). $100.00. Otherwise about $15k spend on upgrades. Gone through about 10 sets of tires :) .

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