This evening I had a scary experience with my little red Mercedes. I was driving on A1A in North Miami when I noticed a smokey smell, but I ignored it thinking it was just something in the air.
Then I come to a red light and stalled out. I was able to restart the car, but then a red light began flashing on my dash telling me that my alternator and battery needed to be checked. I realized that the smokey smell could be coming from my car. I was in the middle lane of a 3-lane highway, so I decided to make the first right to turn around and go back to the Trump Hotel. This is when I realized that my power steering was gone. I used all my strength to make the turn.
While sitting at another red light, I got a message to turn off as much as possible in the car to conserve the battery, so I turned off my CD player and my air conditioning, and closed my sun roof. I couldn’t think of anything else I could turn off or close up. Next I got a message that the car was overheating and I realized that the burning smell was indeed coming from my car. I wasn’t far from my hotel so I began praying that I would make it back without being stranded on the roadside. On the way I looked for gas stations, but found none. I made it back to the hotel and let the valet know that I was going to call Mercedes. When I got out, I saw steam coming from the hood.
Although I should have checked for the roadside assistance number in the owner’s manual, I thought I had it programmed into my cell phone. But after getting back to my room, I realized that I didn’t. So then I did a web search for the number for several minutes. It didn’t come up right away, so I did a search for Mercedes-Benz Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. I decided to call the Ft. Lauderdale Benz on Federal Way since the location is north of my hotel, toward Jacksonville, rather than south of it in the direction of Miami.
So I called the Ft. Lauderdale number and pressed 5 for roadside assistant, as the instructions directed me to do. After pressing 5, I got a message that this wasn’t a valid extension! Ugh! NCR* on Mercedes Ft. Lauderdale for an extension that leads to a dead end! My customer satisfaction was dropping fast.
Then I went back to web surfing for the USA roadside number and finally found a generic contact number for Mercedes-Benz USA. I called that number and, after just a ring or two, got a nice young lady, Angela, on the line. She was friendly and sincere. It helped to calm me. Since I was back at the hotel, she advised me to call the Ft. Lauderdale service center at 7 AM in the morning before having it towed there. I appreciated her advice and that’s just what I’ll do tomorrow morning.
I drove from Jacksonville down to Miami on Sunday for a Hammer seminar and the car was fine until today. I’ve had the care for less than 3 years and this will be the 13th fairly major repair! Something’s up with this car!
*NOTE: An NCR is a nonconformance.