11 Common Problems With Benz ML350 (Why You Shouldn’t Get One)

Benz is a famous car across the world. For many people, it is about how consistent the brand has been with its products’ functionalities. For others, it is about their designs and their maintenance.

Whichever case it is, proper maintenance is non-negotiable when you have a car. Hence, this article focuses on common Benz ML350 problems and possible solutions. It can be a reliable guide for vehicle owners or for those considering getting one.

Benz ML350 is a top choice of SUV for families. The Mercedes Benz is a combination of luxury and enough space. Its good performance is encouraging. There is sufficient space for 5 people with quality AC vents.

Read more to learn about your Benz ML350.

What is wrong with your Benz ML350?

Benz ML50 is famous for high maintenance too. However, there are different signs to indicate. For its several indicators, green means the system is perfect while yellow shows there is a need for extra care.

As a car owner, you must notify of any slight change your vehicle may display. This helps to administer care before matters go out of hand.

How Reliable is the Benz ML350?

Your Benz ML350 can be a risky purchase due to its high mileage. A Mercedes Benz ML350 has more than 120,000 miles – this is high mileage because more problems will arise. The commonest of this problem is a high degree of wear and tear. Nevertheless, the reliability of care is not based on its mileage alone.

There are other qualities that can help determine if the vehicle is a good choice or otherwise. A new Benz ML350 will have most of its functionalities at its best. Hence, the new vehicle remains a reliable option.

A used Benz ML350 will need further examination. You should check out the following;

  • Its maintenance history: the easiest proof of this is if the owner has properly serviced the vehicle before or not.
  • A professional’s verdict: get a professional to examine the vehicle and share their verdict.
  • Rust examination: look out for rust as it spread over quickly. Also, examine under the car as some dishonest dealers cover rust with paint.
  • Previous users: fewer previous users assure more reliability.

Let us examine the most common problems with the vehicle and their possible solutions.

Most Common Problems with the Benz ML350

The commonest problems with Benz ML350 include;

1. Engine louder than normal

Oftentimes, the major cause of a louder engine than normal is a dirty or failing sensor. The implication is that a little fuel is getting to the engine. This makes the engine do more work to power the vehicle.

Also, the oxygen sensors of ML350 is to measure how lean or rich the exhaust gases are after they have left the combustion chamber. The vehicle can process this to control the amount of fuel entering the engine.

A dirty will do otherwise and cause an unpleasant run of the engine. Hence, it results in a loud noise.

Possible solutions

The most appropriate solution is to fix the sensor. You must supply the engine with enough fuel.

2. Failed muffler

A failed muffler is another reason for louder engine noise. A muffler helps to limit noise and direct gases out of the engine. When a muffler is bad, it cannot muffle a vehicle’s exhaust sound.

Mufflers can serve you for five to seven years. You can replace them in a shorter time if you often ply snowy or iced roads. Get a knowledgeable technician to fix it for you.

3. Clogged Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is an integral part of your ML 350 exhaust system. It filters pollutants from the combustion process. The good side of a clogged catalytic converter is that it can serve you for a lifetime.

4. Airbag Problems

The airbag is a common problem with several vehicles including ML350. The reason has been due to the wide use of Takata. These airbags are Japanese but not purpose-driven.

These airbags explode when subjected to high heat and humidity. As a result, it can cause fatal injury to passengers and even death, in some cases. The situation is worse because vehicle users have to wait for ages before this is resolved.

Possible solutions

Whether your ML 350 is a new or used one, you should be ready to address its airbag problem. You can run the VIN of your ML 350 on the NHTSA or Mercedes website to know if anyone has recalled the vehicle before now.

Since this problem is critical, it is advisable that you consult the service of a professional to resolve it. You can take it to a Mercedes station or leave it with the dealership. You can rest assured you will get a lasting solution.

5. Engine Mounts

Engine mounts are not a common problem with all ML350 users. However, there has been a tangible amount of complaints lately. Hence, there is a need to discuss engine mounts.

Engine mounts or stalling refers to when the engine cuts out. It is commonly reported among the 2006 to 2012 models of ML 350.

According to one of the users;

“My ML350 has only 65000 miles and was working fine then the engine stalled and now needs a new engine!! Stalled on the highway suddenly and had to be towed to a shop that want to replace the engine”

Possible symptoms and solutions

There are different symptoms that have been indicative of this situation. Oftentimes, it is due to the inability of engine control module pins to function properly. It is easy to solve this problem without getting a new engine control module.

 Other symptoms are associated with the fuel system, ignition system, and air intake system. Get a professional to resolve this before you need a new engine. That is an expensive repair.

6. Problem with the faulty camshaft adjuster solenoid

Repair Pal argues that the most reported problem with an ML350 Benz is a problem with the camshaft adjuster solenoid. It is a common problem with several model years but the worst experiences were with the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012 models.

The vehicle uses a variable valve timing (VVT) system – this is a type of piston engine technology that brings about an inconsistent timing of exhaust and intake valves. Once there is ignition, the Camshaft adjuster solenoid helps the oil to flow properly through the VVT system.

The engine light is the first sign to indicate that the camshaft adjuster solenoid is bad. Other notable signs are;

  • Bad engine oil
  • Low fuel efficiency
  • Low engine power
  • Rough acceleration
  • Rough idling

Here is what a displeased owner said;

“Check Engine Light stays on. First, I was told the camshaft adjuster solenoids needed to be replaced – I had all 4 replaced. The Check Engine Light came back on the next time I used the vehicle.

Now I’m being told the balance shaft gears are wearing and the balance shaft needs to be replaced – the estimate is $5,500. Mercedes is aware of the issues but has not issued a recall. From things I’ve read on the internet, a national class action complaint is being prepared – let’s hope the courts can force Mercedes to “do the right thing”

Possible solutions

Replacement of the camshaft adjuster sensor is the most assured solution. Can you have a recall for this? The answer is not certain. You may have to check the VIN and consult the vehicle’s dealership.

It is advisable to get a repair from an independent user.

7. Shifting is Rough

Rough shifting is peculiar to the Mercedes ML350 with automatic transmissions. It has been a consistent transmission complaint with every model from 2003 till 2015. If your Benz has a 7-speed automatic transmission, you will notice the rough shifting when;

  1. The ML350 is cold
  2. Moving from the first gear to the second gear
  3. Changing from the third to second gear or from the second gear to the first gear

This problem comes with both grinding and loud clunking sounds.

It may not be a common problem with a new ML350. However, you should take your used purchase for a test drive. Pay close attention to the vehicle when you are changing the gears.

Possible solutions

Since the problem is transmission, the solution is to update the transmission software. Users of the latest models after 2015 believe it was an internal issue. Nonetheless, they do not experience it because Mercedes have released these updated parts.

8. Brake Light

According to Repair Pal, owners of ML 350 lamented that they received a brake light warning message when only a bulb has burnt out. It is a similar problem with all models between 2003 till 2015.

Diagnosis has associated the problem with the tail lamp housing. The brake light comes on when this bulb is hot or about to melt. It appears to be an electrical problem.

Some car owners reiterated that the problem continued despite replacing the old bulb. The brake light warning message was associated with the brake light socket (improper grounding).

Possible solutions

The best solution is to replace the lamp housing. You only need a few bucks to fix this. Howbeit, it is advisable to drive your car to a professional’s workshop to examine the real issue. 

9. Power Steering Issues

Power steering issues are quite common in many different car brands and models such as the Benz ML350 to even Volvo XC90.

Everyone will agree that power steering is an important part of the vehicle. However, many owners have complained about their ML 350. They have lamented how the steering can become uncontrollable while moving at moderate or high speeds.

This loss of power steering accompanies some fluid leakage of the steering.

Repair Pal has 104 complaints while Car Problem Zoo has over 34 complaints. The commonest problems were between the 2006 and 2008 models. Some users of 2003 and even 2013 have reported similar situations with their vehicles.

Some users have complained that they see puddles of fluid leakages after parking their cars for a while. The reason is that their steering rack does not have power steering fluid.

Some owners do not see the symptoms. The only experience is the unpleasant experience while in motion. 

Possible solutions

You only need to replace the steering rack. The cost could be expensive and be as high as $2000. Nonetheless, you can employ a recall system for these problems. This solution is free.  

10. Window Regulators Malfunction

The motor or window regulator is located by your car. The most obvious sign of window regulators malfunction is the clicking or grinding noise when passengers try to roll the window down or up. The window can have tracks on it if there is more force.

Similarly, this malfunction can stick the window in the door. The cause can be debris or dirt buildup or a toy between the motor and window. This is dangerous as there is no protection of lives during harsh weather conditions or belongings from theft.

NB: A malfunctioning window motor can be an uncontrollable speed of the window.

Possible solutions

The solution is to repair your window regulators. Oftentimes, it is better to change the entire motor to restore your automobile. Also, it is important to maintain your window regulator afterward. You can walk into a local automobile engineer to fix your window regulators.

11. Suspension System

According to Car Problem Zoo, there were 10 complaints about suspension problems since1996. The commonest were;

  • Suspension problems                                                     8
  • Front Suspension Wheel Bearing problems           1
  • Rear Suspension Shock Absorber problems          1

The suspension system occurs with age and mileage. Since you have used the vehicles without maintenance, their response may become slower than one would expect. It can be due to a failed or worn control arm or thrust arm bushings. This makes it difficult for the vehicle during heavy acceleration, cornering, and braking.

The suspension problem results in creaking noise and even unusual vibration. This problem may not be as frequent as other above cases.

The solution is to carry your vehicle for inspection. There may be a need to change some parts like the wheel bearings, sway bar links, and ball joints.

What years did the Benz ML350 have problems?

According to Car Problem Zoo, some models of ML 350 have more problems than others. The least problematic years are;

  1. 2001 – 3 cases
  2. 2005 – 24 cases
  3. 2015 – 40 cases

The most problematic years include;

  1. 2006 – 208 cases
  2. 2011 – 103 cases
  3. 2010 – 101 cases

The strengths of ML 350 are as follows;

  1. The vehicle offers a comfortable ride
  2. Cabin elegant
  3. Powerful engine
  4. Adorable exterior design

On the other hand, there are weaknesses. They are as follows;

  1. The cost of maintenance and repair can be highly demanding
  2. Suspension is different from in other vehicles
Mercedes ML350 Model YearProblems

Source: Engine Patrol

Recent Recalls

Mercedes Benz has recalled different models of their cars. The most recent recalls have been for the GL, ML, and R-class models for vehicles constructed between 2005 and 2013. This accounts for 17,687 cars during this period.

The common problems have been intense corrosion. In turn, their boosters become damaged because of hard braking. The manufacturer has also warned these owners to contact the closest service center to where they reside. These vehicles need an inspection to get your ML 350 fit for the road.  

According to ARFC,

“Since 1977, MERCEDES has issued a total of 1745 car recalls worldwide. Of those recalls, 36 have been for the MERCEDES ML350 starting in 2016. This accounts for approximately 3.2% of the 54171 car recalls issued by the NHTSA since 1966.

The ML350 accounts for about 2.1% of all the MERCEDES recall issued since 1977. Compared to other car manufacturers, MERCEDES ranks #9 in an overall number of recalls issued by a car maker.”

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall

You can check if your ML 350 has an open recall. The easier route is to know the VIN of the car. You can input these digits and search on the NHTSA website. You will get enough details to know if your car has an open recall.

How is it compared to similar cars?

Here is a list that compares ML 350 with other similar cars. Their reliability score was attached to the Model;

Make & ModelConsumer Reports Reliability Score
Lexus RX94
Acura MDX83
Buick Enclave60
Mercedes ML35051
Lexus GX49
BMW X344
BMW X543
Cadillac SRX42

Based on Consumer Reports, Mercedes is ranked number 23 out of 28 brands of reliable cars. Below is a table containing different brands, their ranking, and corresponding score.


Source: Consumer Reports

What is the life expectancy?

The life expectancy of ML 350 is a durable vehicle that can last between 200,000 to 250,000 miles. However, this implies that you have to maintain the car at an optimum level. You can expect your ML 350 to serve you without any expensive breakdowns or repairs.

What is Good and Bad about the Car?

There are different things you will like about your Mercedes ML350. According to owner feedback from the Kelley Blue Book site, here are the qualities many people love about the Mercedes ML350;

Their Likes

  1. Fuel Economy
  2. Impressive Looks
  3. Minimal Noise
  4. Steady and Smooth while in motion
  5. Great technology
  6. Comfortable and reliable

Their Dislikes

  1. Inconsistency production of diesel variants
  2. The rear seat is uncomfortable
  3. Repair and maintenance costs are expensive
  4. Perfect for only 5 passengers (together with the driver)  

What do Owners say about the car?

“Bought this vehicle new in 2013. It still looks new, with its design holding to look great next to our neighbor’s 2020 GLE43. We would buy another one if MB still offered this outstanding 3L turbo/diesel: 24 mpg city; 32 MPG hwy, with more torque than ML550.”

Source: Kelley Blue Book

“This one is a gem. the power is great – it will jump when you need it to. the gas mileage is wonderful, and it doesn’t bog down in the snow. I may keep this car forever.”

Kelley Blue Book

 “115K miles on this car and it’s running great, remains comfortable, and continues to get excellent fuel mileage for such a large car – love the diesel.”  



The Benz ML 350 is a credible option. However, you can learn from the above problems to know possible cases and their solutions. Always remember, it is better to get a solution from an expert.