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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
99,348 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Mercedes-Benz ML320 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Mercedes-Benz ML320 Owner Comments

problem #13

Aug 152016


  • 150,000 miles


On more than one occasion, my 2001 merc Benz ML320 came to a complete stop and dramatically pulled to the right while I was driving at various speeds. The first time happened as I was making a right turn from a stand still. The second time happened as I was traveling at approximately 35-40 mph. Finally, the last two times occurred while I was on the highway traveling at approximately 65-70 mph. In all instances, the front brakes absolutely locked and my vehicle came to an approximately complete stop while pulling the steering to the right. Each event was a very frightening episode. Although I kept trying to accelerate, the brakes would not allow it. I had just enough momentum so that I could veer to the safety of the safety lane. The events all happened within a two (2) week period...far, far too frequent for comfort. In all occasions, I was fortunate to not get rammed by the vehicles traveling behind me. Now that I have done a little research I am really disappointed that Mercedes seems to be aware of the issue but has not taken this issue more seriously as it seems to not have been an isolated issue but rather one that has been consistent among fellow ml 320 vehicle owners. Lastly, I've only owned this truck for a two week period, and it has terrified me in this short time.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #12

Jul 222016


  • 163,230 miles
During braking the bas/esp will come on causing no acceleration with the vehicle. This has happened 7 times in the last 3 days. Almost resulting in 2 accidents. Only tuning off and the the vehicle will temporally fix the issue.

- Hesperia, CA, USA

problem #11

Dec 062013

ML320 6-cyl

  • 134,850 miles
I am having safety issues with my 2001 Mercedes Benz ml 320 with a esp bas light coming on and locking front brake causing the ABS to come on and stop SUV. To avoid an accident and almost getting rear ended with my kids in car. Contacted Mercedes dealer and cant guarantee what problem is already changed brake light switch 2 times said it could be ABS pump {800} or wheel speed sensors {1200} or yaw sensor, ignition switch, maybe even computer but said they could not guarantee to fix this problem. Mercedes Benz should have a recall on this issue it has been going on for years some one is going to get killed. Spoke to Benz at corporate and they only say bring it to the dealer who does not know how to fix this problem. Hope I can get a answer to this situation.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #10

Jul 312013

ML320 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles


I was driving approximately 25 mph getting onto the highway when all of a sudden my brakes seemed to lock up. My vehicle jerked violently and I heard this awful grinding noise. I was narrowly missed by the vehicle behind me as the jerk slammed my vehicle to a halt and turned my wheels causing my steering wheel to jerk as well. I was able to pull off to the side of the road and sat there for a while and once again tried to proceed ahead and almost immediately the same incident happened. I called a tow truck and had the vehicle towed to a Mercedes dealer who kept the vehicle for three days and could not recreate the issue however they stated that the yaw sensor came up as faulty during the diagnostic. I went to pick up the vehicle and as the tech drove it up it again started jerking. $1000 later the yaw sensor has been replaced but I feel like this issue is definitely a safety hazard. I am just thankful that my 18 month old son wasn't in the car with me at the time as had he been and someone hit us from behind because of the abrupt stop, he surely would have been injured. This needs to be looked into immediately and recalled as it is a safety issue. I believe that Mercedes should deem this a recall, fixing the issue for those out there who have not yet experienced it and reimbursing those of us who have had to spend $1000 replacing what is supposed to be a system put in place for safety.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #9

Oct 012012

ML320 6-cyl

  • 215,000 miles
While driving on freeway in moderate traffic the car suddenly without any warning violently applied uneven power to different wheels, brake and sped up. Originally I thought we were having an earthquake as I was trying to regain control over car. After about 15 seconds as I slowed car resumed normal operation. About 10 miles later the action repeated making me fear a crash or roll over as I was fighting to regain control and exit freeway. Luckily I was able to exit and gain control. Ended up having car towed 175 miles home. Mechanic at dealership now says it was a defective yaw sensor designed to work in conjunction with the esp to prevent a roll over. However the defective sensor easily could have caused a roll over or a crash with a less experienced and physically strong driver. Indeed, had my wife been driving I do not know whether she could have controlled the vehicle. Had there been one of the many 18 wheelers immediately next to me I do not know whether I could have avoided a collision. After the fact in review on google I noted many very similar complaints for the same 2001 mbz ML320. I believe there should be a recall before there is death or serious injury.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #8

Jul 022011


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes ML320. While driving approximately 65 mph the contact depressed the brakes and the cruise control would not disengage. The contact crashed into a ditch and was able to turn the ignition off. There was no mention of whether a police report was filed or if there were any injuries. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was included in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 11V208000 (vehicle speed control:cruise control). The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technicians were unable to provide assistance because they were unaware of the recall. The contact made several attempts to call the manufacturer and did not receive a call back with information about the recall repairs. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #7

Oct 202009


  • 92,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes ML320. The contact was driving with the cruise control set at 65 mph. When she attempted to disengaged the cruise control bt tapping the brakes, the vehicle would not decelerate. In order to stop the vehicle, she had to turn the vehicle completely off and as a result, the vehicle ran off the road. The dealer was contacted who advised her to bring in the vehicle for a diagnostic test. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 92,000 and the current mileage was 93,000.

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #6

Feb 222011


  • 161,000 miles
2001 mb ML320 when push the brake the cruise control did not disengaged the car did not stop had to push the gear to N.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 152010


  • 95,000 miles
Mercedes Benz has a serious design and quality control problem. While driving the brake switch fails causing the cruise control to accelerate. The Mercedes Benz service manager and lead mechanic both acknowledged and explained this problem to me noting that current models could suffer from the same design and they've been having problems with their vendor providing faulty brake switches. I was driving my 2001 ML320 with cruise control at 60 mph. I tapped the brake to disengage the cruise control as I was exiting the freeway. The car began to accelerate. I braked harder and the car increased acceleration to the point of almost over powering my efforts to brake. I was panicked so I stepped on the parking brake, put the car in neutral, the engine raced harder and harder, as I pulled off the road and pushed the gear shift into neutral and turned off the car. The service manager and mechanic explained that by design if the brake switch fails then the cruise control won't turn off as it's supposed to when you apply the brake pedal. Furthermore the cruise control senses that the car is slowing down because I was braking so it increases the acceleration to get the car back up to the cruise control set speed. The more you brake the more the cruise control will force the car to accelerate. The mechanic said the solution was to manually turn off the cruise control, but I was so panicked that thought never occurred to me. If it was my wife or 16 year old son driving they would have crashed the car. The service manager acknowledged that Mercedes Benz is aware of the problem. They fixed my brake switch for free after hearing my scary story. I told them I thought they should have a recall to fix this design problem. The design should include a secondary brake switch or some type of automatic cruise control turn off function.

- Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #4

Jan 032007


  • 55,438 miles
I lightly tapped my accelerator to edge my car up the curb to drive onto our driveway and in a fraction of a second my 4 wheel drive was in full throttle. I quickly stomped on my brakes and was able to stop the car but it was like holding back a crew of horses. I had to brake all the way to the floor and thank goodness I have strong legs and quick reflexes. It accelerated so fast I could not have done it that fast even if I had pushed the accelerator myself. It left multiple 4' to 5' black scratch marks on our driveway and the skidding of tires (take off) was heard inside our house. Probably traveled 10' or so before I could stop it. No injuries but just shaken up. I called our dealer to inquire if there were any other incidences and they said no. I looked on the web and could not find any other incidences. Took to dealer the next day and they acknowledged some type of error notice from their computer related to my accelerator and did a fix of some type.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

problem #3

Nov 182005

ML320 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles


I own a Mercedes Benz 2001 ML320 and the lateral acceleration sensor failed around 15,000 miles and was replaced at my own expense. The bas/esp (break assist/electronic stability program) warning light comes on during each short or long trips and goes away after the vehicle sits for a while and restart of the engine and this started to occur after the warranty expired. The first replacement did not work because the wrong parts was used (so the dealer says) and the problem came right back but was corrected with the correct parts the second time (sometimes I feel the esp kicks in and breaking but that might just be my feeling). This could be a safety related issue and should be a recall item since customers that are used to these safety features may have wrong sense of feeling when the sensor fails unexpectedly at a time when this feature can avoid an accident.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #2

Aug 012003

(reported on)


  • miles
Mechanical failure believed to be result of accident. The consumer believed the accident was caused by unintended acceleration.

- Menlo Park, CA, USA

problem #1

Jan 132003

ML320 6-cyl

  • miles
The vehicle experienced sudden acceleration. The consumer tried to stop the vehicle and the brakes did not work. The consumer shifted and the SUV stopped. The steering wheel failed to turn, and the dealer stated a gasket had to be replaced, and the sudden acceleration and the steering problem were not related. Scc

- Dublin, OH, USA

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