2002 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML320 from North America - Comments

12th Feb 2006, 11:38

I don't see how the owner's maintenance habits would affect the oxygen sensor or fuel pump failures. There is nothing to grease, tighten, or check on those kinds of items. When they quit, they quit, and that's the end of the story. The rotors needing replacement at 30,000 miles I think is a problem. Having to replace the brake pads at those miles would have been reasonable, but not the entire rotor. In fact, I'm suspicious of that. Did you really need to purchase new rotors (not just pads?)? Were they so badly warped that they couldn't be machined? Or is there a possibility that the dealer unnecessarily charged you for this? I would say that if rotors are so badly damaged at 30,000 miles under normal (i.e. not excessive, road-course wannabee braking) conditions, it is a design problem.

12th Feb 2006, 17:51

"don't blame Mercedes they make the best cars in the world" is unfortunately a sad reflection of how well Mercedes' marketing machine has worked recently.

Anyone who has owned a late 90s/early 2000s A or M-Class Mercedes-Benz can attest to the low quality plastics and reliability problems that infested these vehicles. And it's not just a case of poor little A-Class owners trying to buy 'class' on a budget: the M-Class is a premium priced SUV. The 1998-2004 M-Class had a variety of common quality and engineering problems. It's not due to user abuse or poor maintenance. Even Daimler-Chrysler's CEO recently told shareholders quality has been slipping and strong measures needed to be taken. The 2005 A and M-Class models are drastically different to their first generation runts and only after 7 production years has the 'German' build quality finally returned.

12th Feb 2006, 20:01

You forgot to mention the paint problems where owners of even the very-high-priced CL500 & CL600 coupe were finding surface rust developing on exterior surfaces of body panels after only a few months. Mercedes admits having switched to a cheaper water-based painting system.

Mercedes' solution?

Just sand down the locally affected area, even though the entire panel is suspect and will likely erupt with corrosion after a further few months.

My solution?

Buy a Ford.

12th Feb 2006, 21:26

I'm glad that there are some very intelligent people out there who actually write fact based comments instead of those who use sweeping generalizations. Thank you.

22nd Apr 2007, 09:27

I bought the 2002 ML320 at the urging of my german husband. Seems I was right to be concerned, as this one was made in Alabama, not Germany.

We bought it used at 34k miles. In the first few months, the clear coating on the rear tailgate panels began peeling. We took notice of the other ML320s on the road... same problem.

The wind buffer on the sun roof simply fell off one night while we were driving at 20 MPH.

I pulled too far forward in a parking garage and this small amount of pressure against the bumper cracked the front fender.

Dropping a simple wooden bar stool on the back bumper cracked a hole in the top of the bumper. I've had plastic coffee cups that withstood more abuse than this.

I tried to reverse the car out of a parking space once, only to find the gear shifter was stuck. No amount of starting and restarting, or wiggling the steering wheel would work, nor was there anything in the manual to advise what to do about it. A lengthy wait on hold to my service manager at MB resulted in him advising me to "jam a pencil down the flap of the gear shifter" to release it. I did this everyday for a week before I no longer had to do so.

One day my car horn started going off uncontrollably, even though no one was in the car. It continued to do so whenever I made left hand turns. I took it in for warranty service on this, they had to replace something in the steering column, but it took 5 visits before they got it right.

Now whenever I go over a speed bump, my full dashboard of warning lights go on, and stay on. They say its a sensor, replaced it,and it still happens.

My first experience with MB has not compelled me to want to buy another, esp. after reading all the other reviews. My sense is that MB cheaped out in order to break into the american assembly market, and it shows. I am certainly not impressed. The MB corporate attitude seems to be non-accomodating. I believe I will stick to my Hondas after this.

25th Jun 2007, 22:11

I too own a 2002 ML320 and will NEVER be buying a Mercedes again after all of the ridiculous stuff that has gone wrong on this car. The FIRST time the spare tire was taken off (by Mercedes!) the bolt broke and a new one had to be shipped from Germany (3 weeks). My rotors needed to be replaced at 30K also, some wire in the driver seat was frayed at 30K and needed to be replaced, the black trim around the windows peels and has been replaced 2x by 70K -- the list goes on -- I will go back to the Nissan I had years ago and give this "luxury" car back at the end of my lease!

26th Nov 2008, 11:44

I bought a ML320 back in 2002. Still runs reliably with NO PROBLEMS today. Runs and looks as new. I'm very proud of it.

The only thing I did to it was I changed the Navigation system to a more updated one, and that's all.

I would buy this car again anytime.

12th Jan 2009, 01:56

Bought a 2002 ML320 in 2007. Bought used from a big used car dealer. I read both bad and good reviews of the MB ML320 and decided to get one anyway. Several things went wrong already.

1. I could not adjust the height of some of the headrest. Fixed it myself by cutting the cover and aligning the spring properly.

2. Mirror part of the left side mirror fell off. Fixed this myself too, by crazy gluing the mirror back on the assembly.

3. Drove to Las Vegas from LA and found that the left side panel fell off somewhere between the two cities.

4. Right side mirror part fell off too, so fixed it myself by crazy gluing it back onto the assembly.

5. Had a powering steering leak. Had it fixed by MB.

6. Noticed 3 days ago that part of the center console has bright lights on one side of the speedometer and dim lights on the other side. I think it's a wiring problem. I think it happened when I went over a rough bump.

I am afraid to drive this car now, wondering what else is going to go wrong. I drove Fords before getting the MB, and never had so much trouble with a Ford.

I think I will buy a Honda, Toyota or Nissan next time, or a German made MB.

27th Feb 2009, 03:46

After buying two BMW 330's, a two door and a four door, we decided to see if we could stick with a german car and find a Mercedes SUV because we couldn't find a BMW SUV in our area. We should have waited!

Even though it is a nice superior vehicle in its own right, the interior isn't up to snuff with our entry level BMWs or even a based out X3. I think when a decent C3 becomes available we'll swap it out.

The Merc has a slight air of what will break first, not to mention Mercedes high cost of parts, 2.30 for a sheet metal screw?

BMW blows away Mercedes, and BMW service is just way cool. Free wiper blades and bulbs, topping off the fluid levels etc, etc.. just sayin'