hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
127,108 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2001 Mercedes-Benz ML320 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

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 #20

Jul 292016


  • 130,000 miles
While driving at 40 mph unintended brake application causing loss of control. This has happened numerous times under different speeds and condition. It has happened on curves and straight road conditions. This has been happening since May 2016 at least 15 to 20 times.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Feb 012016


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes-Benz ML320. While driving 5 mph, the brakes applied independently and the ABS light illuminated. The failure occurred randomly. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 150,000. Updated 05/11/16

- Davidsonville, MD, USA

problem #17

Oct 292015


  • 181,000 miles
While driving today at approx 20-25 mph brakes suddenly applied on their own and my vehicle swerved and came to a halt. Waited several minutes and restarted the vehicle. Drove on the 101 and 405 freeways without further incident. Drove later on the same day, and the same thing happened again. This is extremely dangerous. What if I had been driving on the freeway" I refuse to drive this vehicle again. Is there a recall on this" I have seen a lot of similar incidents online.

- Culver City, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 122015


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes Benz ML320. While driving at approximately 65 mph, the brakes failed without warning and caused the vehicle to come to an abrupt stop. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000. The VIN was not available.

- Fordland, MO, USA

problem #15

Jun 022014


  • 185,000 miles


Same story as I've seen thousands of times on the internet and you claim not enough occurrences! I'm on the interstate, going 70 mph. Weather is good, traffic is light (thank god!) and my breaks slam on. The ABS system kicks in, so I'm able to get over to the shoulder before being rear ended. The triangle warning lamp is lit and the bas / esp lamp is lit. I try turning the car off and back on, lights go out, I move forward, get up to about 20 mph and the breaks slam on again. I shut the car off for about 15 minutes while I got out and was investigating the tires and breaks. Get back in, start the vehicle and drive another 45 minutes. Get into town, driving about 25 mph and they slam on again. I'm able to limp home with the ABS going on and off. I park it for the night. Next day I do some research and see there are thousands of similar complaints. Follow one of the suggestions and disconnect my battery. Fixed the issue for about 4 months before it happened again. This time I was in the passing lane going around an 18 wheeler with traffic behind me. Me and my 8 year old was almost killed along with other drivers. This is a life threatening issue that you can't ignore. It has happened 4 or 5 times in the two years I've owned the vehicle.

- Newburgh, IN, USA

problem #14

Mar 062015


  • 180,557 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes Benz ML320. While driving at approximately 25 mph, the brakes seized and the esb warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 180,557.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #13

Dec 172014

ML320 4WD 6-cyl

  • 118,832 miles
This is a sequel report to my ODI 10664733 of 12/16/2014. Two incidents are identical. The earlier incident happened at odometer reading 118,714; this second incident happened at 118,832, 118 miles later. I was on I-280 southbound approx. 53 miles South of sf. Around 1pm, a sudden extraordinarily forceful braking " the Mercedes owner?S manual calls this maximum braking capability power boost which exceeds driver?S manual braking style ? the ?brake assist system bas? happened again without driver?S command. I was going steady at 65 mph, absolutely no braking. The traffic was light and the road was dry. The car swerved slightly with a large braking noise and came down to near holt. I could steer the car to the right side emergency area by traveling perhaps 15 feet while the bas was firmly in force. This is counter to the NHTSA action PE07007 reference attributed to Mercedes as the esp electrical faults duration being 0.3 seconds or less. My experience indicates this is incorrect. It lasted as long as I was trying to move the car. When the bas activated, the esp alarm signal and the bas/esp light came on. Turned off the engine for a few minutes and restarted. The bas/eps light came back on but the car behaved normally otherwise. Drove back to sf without further incidence. Were the traffic heavy and the road were wet and slippery, my Mercedes ML320 would have been rear-ended at highway speeds and would have lost control on the wet road. I firmly believe that this is a serious safety issue Mercedes must address with the definitive solution. I am willing to avail my vehicle for field testing. PE07007 cites ?the low complaint rate" through 2007 led to closing ODI investigation. A quick website research indicates there are a considerable number of bas incidents posted since 2007 on various private forums and blogs but these drivers may not have reported to NHTSA.

- San Fransisco, CA, USA

problem #12

Dec 162014

ML320 6-cyl

  • 118,714 miles
I was on calif hwy1 northbound approx 20 miles South of sf, doing 45mph, around 1:00pm. All of a sudden, brakes were activated in a fierce force, which brought the vehicle to a complete stop within a second or two traveling two to three feet. I felt all the four wheels were locked firm. I did not even touch the brakes. My car swerved slightly but did not lose control. The road was dry. There was no traffic and no vehicle behind me or to my sides. As I steered the car to the shoulder area of the highway, I noticed the esp/bas lamp was on. I turned off the engine and restarted a minute later. The esp/bas lamp came back on. I was lucky that the traffic was light and the road was dry. Drove back home without another incidence.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #11

Nov 022014

ML320 6-cyl

  • 78,500 miles


When driving on a local street between 25 and 30 mph, the car suddenly applied strong braking force by itself (my foot was not even on the brake pedal at that time). During that instance, the car also went out of steer. Fortunately, the car behind me was able to avoid me without rear ended into my car. I was thinking if the same thing happened on a freeway, me and my family could have got killed.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 022014

ML320 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Right side brake locking up when I'm driving and make the car slow down real fast.I almost got hit from behind. I have to travel on the right side of hwy so when it locks up I can try to get off road. I never know when it will lock up. Its scary.

- Splendora, TX, USA

problem #9

Nov 302012


  • 145,000 miles
Then on Dec 28, 2012 I was driving back from sacramento, ca to my home in san leandro, ca. I was on the 580 freeway in livermore going around 75 miles in the fast lane and the car suddenly brake on its own. This time it was a sudden and severe braking action. It caused the tires and brakes to smoke. My two children were in the car with me.what I noticed this time was the upside down exclamation light on the dash came on right as the car was braking. The bas/esp light came on. I drove about 40 mph to get my family home. I didn't drive the car for the rest of the weekend. My advisor at mb of pleasanton. He told me it was the brake light switch. The car has been doing this on and off since Nov 2012. It will go several months without this "self-braking" action then it will do it on and off for weeks.I am so scared to drive it and even more afraid when I have my kids in the car. Recently (April 2014) I was almost rear ended by a big rig on the freeway as a result of the sudden braking. I took it to smythe european in san jose. They said it was the yaw sensor and that needed to be fixed. My this time I have replaced brakes and tires as a result of the wear from the braking. I was told I would need back tires too. The yaw sensor was replaced. I got my car back on a Friday (April 25th) and it drove fine. On Monday(April 28th) I was going to lunch and the car braked on its own. Fortunately I was only going about 5 mph bc I was at the light. I called my mechanic and was told that if its still braking it must be the aam and that's an additional $1000 repair. Mercedes Benz is aware of this problem but since no one has died yet, it is not being handled properly. I need help and resolution before the fatality is me, my family or someone else's family.

- San Leandro, CA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Jun 152013


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes ML320. The contact stated that the ABS warning light and an exclamation point icon illuminated. In addition, the vehicle would exhibit an abnormal grinding when braking from various speeds. The brakes would also seize intermittently. The vehicle was towed to the dealer twice for diagnosis. The technician was unable to duplicate the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Gardina, CA, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Apr 052013


  • 94,527 miles
While driving in heavy traffic at 45mph, the brakes automatically engaged and the electronic stability program and yaw rate sensor failed. I was narrowly able to avoid a serious accident. After searching many online Mercedes forums, this seems to be a recurring problem for 2000-2001 ml models and is related to NHTSA campaign PE07007 that was closed in 2007. However, the problem seems to be occurring more and more frequently now and grounds for a recall. The car is not safe to drive until fixed.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #4

Apr 272013

ML320 6-cyl

  • 108,258 miles
I was driving straight on an interstate highway at 70mph with my foot on the gas pedal. All of a sudden the vehicle started to totally apply the brakes all by itself and lunged to a stop. The car behind me barely missed hitting the rear of my vehicle. I turned off the engine and restarted and and was able to drive to the side of the highway. Fearful to continue driving, I then called a tow service to take my vehicle to the nearest dealership. A few days later, they called me and said one of the sensors for the ABS/esp system had failed (yaw rate sensor - dtc C1120) and caused the problem. The repair cost would be about $900. I could not believe that a component of a so called safety system could fail rendering the system so that it can in itself cause an extremely dangerous situation. Fortunately in my case there were no injuries but different circumstances could have been just the opposite. The ase master certified technition who takes care of my car stated that this was a known type of failure (defect) of my model Mercedes. Mercedes Benz refused to cover this repair for me and does not have a solution to prevent this from happenning again on my vehicle or any of the other thousands that they have sold. We all put faith in these safety system that Mercedes manufactures but once the warranty expires we all are forced to live with the concequences of defective designs. I was told that when a component in a safety system fails the system is supposed to turn on a warning light and turn it self off. Not like in my case the failed sensor caused the ABS/esp system to randomly turn on the brakes. With all of the crazy computerized systems in the modern cars I am now nervous about blindly trusting them with my life.

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #3

Sep 062012

ML320 6-cyl

  • 75,830 miles
My dad was driving the car and we had just come to a stop at an intersection. When the light turned green, he accelerated and just as we crossed the intersection, the brakes locked up. I thought my dad had slammed on the brakes, but he had his foot on the gas pedal. It was as if the car had a mind of its own and started to brake on its own volition---even though we didn't want it to. There was a loud screeching sound and a few seconds later you can smell the stench of burning rubber. Thankfully, the car behind us was not tailgating or that person would have run straight into us! my father then let go of the gas pedal and stepped on the brake to decelerate until the car came to a complete stop. We then saw that two indicators were lit on the dashboard: A yellow triangle with an exclamation mark and a yellow square with the letters bas/esp in it. He then shifted to "park" and turned off the ignition. We waited for about five seconds before starting up the car again. Both of the indicators (yellow triangle and the bas/esp square) were no longer lit and my father slowly accelerated the car (about 10-15 mph). The brakes did not lock up and we cautiously drove home. We'll be taking this car to the mechanic today and hopefully we can find the root of this problem. Nonetheless, I feel the need to file this complaint because I sincerely do not believe that a car can brake on its own while someone is driving it. I would be more understanding if this was google's autonomous car, but unfortunately this is not the case. There is something inherently and flagrantly wrong with a car that can brake without the driver telling it to.

- Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 052012


  • 114,970 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Mercedes ML320. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the esp and bas warning light illuminated and then the ABS and the traction light illuminated. The contact mentioned that the brakes engaged independently. The failure recurred numerous times. The contact stated he believed it is a faulty yaw rate sensor. The dealer was notified and a diagnosis was pending. The manufacturer was notified and an investigation was pending. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 114,970 and the current mileage was 115,000.

- Coral Gables, FL, USA

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