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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,183 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.

2002 Mercedes-Benz ML320 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Mercedes-Benz ML320 Owner Comments

problem #8

Jan 112012

ML320 6-cyl

  • miles


I recently took my 2002 ML320 into my local Mercedes repair shop (fairfield, ct) to have some work done. When I collected the vehicle and as I was leaving, the esp/bas, ets and ABS lights came on simultaneously. This had happened on many previous occasions over the years and every time I had mentioned it to the Mercedes service people they have said that this is a common fault and that I should turn off the engine, wait and then re-start and this should clear the issue. This had mostly worked until this recent occasion. Instead it the lights remained on and so I immediately drove the car back into the repair shop. The repair shop kept the vehicle for several days trying to isolate the cause. Eventually they found some serious corrosion in the esp/hydraulic control unit. They told me that this was related to an accident the car was involved in and suggested I contact my insurer. The insurance assessor examined the car in detail and concluded that the fault was entirely unrelated and their diagnosis was that the design of the unit was flawed. In other words this is a design fault. They said that given that this unit controls the entire braking system, any failure could be catastrophic. I had no choice but to authorize the repair. However, I am very concerned about this issue. The unit has been replaced at a cost of nearly $2,400 but if as the geico insurance assessor believes, this is a design fault then this is going to happen again. Additionally, it seems that the unit had been corroded for some time and could have failed at any time but because it is such a common occurrence for these warning lights to come on, no-one investigated the issue with the unit until recently. My related concern is that the unit could fail at any time and this possibility places me and my family in potential danger. Mercedes declined to take any action.

- Westport, CT, USA

problem #7

Jun 012009


  • 22,000 miles
2002 ml 320 front brakes locked up by themselves nearly causing an accident. Burning smell detected from front wheels. Vehicle taken to dealer who claimed sensors had failed and that this was a rare problem; consumer charged to replace sensors. Less than one month later the same thing occurred, dealer now states it is a pressure issue but wants to keep vehicle overnight to duplicate stated problem. Owner initially noticed this problem over 1 year ago, taking it to the dealer thinking the emergency brake was sticking, causing the burning smell and sluggishness. During that visit the dealer stated it found no problem with the emergency brake. Owner paid to have rotors and brake pads replaced due to pitting and groving caused by the front brakes self-engaging; this did not fix the problem and the dealer is currently investigating a pressure issue. Vehicle has less than 24K miles on it and was purchased from the dealer brand new.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

May 132010


  • 118,206 miles
[Mercedes Benz ml 320 2002] while driving East on route 80 at 65 mph and approaching the toll booths of the george Washington bridge, I tapped my brakes to disengage my speed control. The speed control did not shut down. I hit the brake pedal several more times harder and harder, but the speed control stayed in control. I pushed down very hard on the brake pedal with both feet and although the car slowed a little, the speed control dramatically speeded up the engine with the tachometer going almost full scale. I was able to reduce the car's speed from about 65 to under 50 mph, but was still pretty scared. This was a terrifying experience and as an engineer I realized my options and time to react were very limited! I figured my choices were few: 1) brake until the car either stopped or I had hit the stopped cars at the toll booths (maybe damage the transmission further), 2) shift the car into neutral hoping that either the speed control would disengage or at least I could stop the car (engine rpms might run away and destroy the engine), or 3) try to shut off the speed control with the control stalk on the left of the steering column (which I obviously could not read closely to figure out where the stop might be). Fortunately, with several tries I was able to find the stop position on the speed control stalk and disengage the control. I braked very hard to stop short of a collision..... and got harsh words and looks from the adjacent toll collectors. I suspected that the brake light switch was not working and this was confirmed by my mechanic (eddie rodriguez of eddy's total auto care). The mechanic also has to replace the brake pressure sensor. My wife is insisting that I get rid of the car immediately and buy a new car. I love my ml 320..... but I love my wife too!

- Mountain Lakes, NJ, USA

problem #5

Oct 082006

ML320 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I purchased a used 2002 ML320. Once the vehicle came of the lot it was fine in the beginning; however, the bas/esp continues to come on every two to three months. This prevents me from moving the gear shift from park to drive also the brake lights are not working (on or off when pressing on the brake pad)and when it does come on when I am driving at night other drivers cannot see any brake lights at all which puts my family and I in a safety situation or safety hazard which has occurred many times while driving. At first, I took it to Napa on metro parkway in fort myers which they replaced the brake light switch and then two months to three months later the vehicle was taken back for the same situation. They replaced the switch and said the brake light switch they received was from Mercedes Benz. In the spring 2007 the same situation occurred and took it to Mercedes Benz of fort myers and they also replaced the switch as well. However, Mercedes of fort myers changed and followed orders from corporate on what to do but to no avail. This has been an ongoing issue since the purchased of the ML320. Currently, October 1, 2009 the vehicle is at Mercedes at fort myers for the same issue. My wife and I have contacted Mercedes customer complaint with this issue but we feel enough is not being done to resolve. The situation began in the month of December 9, 2006 and continues presently which I have indicated. Other drivers came close to crashing into me due to no brakes lights. My wife and I feel that we purchased a used vehicle that is considered to be a lemon that had about seventy two plus thousand miles on it. This is a very dangerous situation, and my wife and I would appreciate it if you can investigate this situation. Please respond as soon as possible. Updated IVOQ 10/11/11. Updated IVOQ 10/18/11.

- Lehigh Acres, FL, USA

problem #4

Jan 032009

ML320 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mercedes Benz ML320. While driving less than 70 mph, the front passenger side brake locked up and caused the vehicle to swerve into a median. The ABS warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel at the same time the brakes locked. The contact never depressed the brake pedal nor the accelerator pedal for the brakes to lock. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the yaw rate sensor failed. The repairs were scheduled under warranty. The failure and current mileages were 63,000. Updated 02/05/09 the bas/esp light illuminated. The catalytic converter was cracked and the transmission electrical connector was leaking.. updated 02/06/09.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 011976


  • miles
My concern is about safety. On two occasions I have sent my certified pre-owned 2002 Mercedes-Benz ML320 to the dealer with spongy brakes. In fact, under certain conditions, the brake pedal goes to the floor. I'm told that this is normal. I believe it to be unsafe. What should I do?

- Wildomar, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,261 miles
One day after washing the car, the rear brake sticks until pressing the gas pedal and force the brake to release. It makes a loud cracking noise during the force release. The noise is so loud that you may think you hit something from your bumper if you don't know the problem. Mbz said that's normal because of the rust overnight. They did took the brake apart, clean and put them back together. They told me it's my responsiblity to drive the car after I wash to car to get rid of the excess water within the brake pads. Yesterday, it was a rainly day and I parked the car in the garage after driving. It happened again next day. I don't know how can I drive the car to get rid of the water when there is a rainly day. I'm still waiting for the manager to give me an answer and I don't think they will do anyting to resolve the problem since they claimed that this is normal for this brake.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 202003

ML320 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
Dash board brake light went on and the brakes failed.

- North Caldwell, NJ, USA

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