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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I'm from Texas, too, but now live in PA. I work for a firm that handles nothing but automotive law.

    We have gillions of Lexus ESs and Camrys around and even in this very litigious area, I've yet to see a complaint about the Lexus transmissions. In fact, in checking my records, I've only worked on two Lexus cases - a GS400 with engine management problems (fuel injection-related) and an ES 300 with electrical problems (weird water leak caused all kinds of sunroof and power windows/locks problems).

    And, Lord knows, I would see them, in droves. We either have a very isolated number of these problematic vehicles, or it's a regional thing.

    The firm I work for would have already been on the Lexus bandwagon if there was anything significant (number of vehicles-wise). They started the Kia Sephia and Mitsubishi Galant class-action suits, so they know how this all works.

  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    Hopefully, I will be the first to get the ball rolling. Lexus acknowledged at my Lemon Law hearing that 1 in 12 people are dissatisfied with this transmission. The Lexus Rep wasn't very bright to admit that as that's probably all that have bothered to register complaints. When the judge drove my car and the transmission failed twice for him, Lexus was all to eager to give me a new car. Unfortunately, my new car is better but still unacceptable. It still fails at times, but I can't replicate the failure as easilly. Like I said, it's really necessary for someone to die or be seriously injured before easy action is taken. I'm just now looking. If you think I'm the only one complaining. Please refer to the last 18 months on this discussion board.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    "letter of the law" is that if 1 in 12 folks have a problem, then you don't have a lemon. A lemon, by the law, is made out to be 1 in 100,000.

    We have people who shoot themselves in the foot constantly by taking internet discussions into an arbitration, saying "I talked to 50 other people who have the same problem". Sunddenly, you're not special anymore, the spotlight gets pulled from you, and you get nothing.

    I'm glad they repurchased the first one for you, but I'm very surprised they did.
  • amf1932amf1932 Posts: 79
    Here is an official reply from the Lexus Corporation that was sent to one of the members of the Club Lexus Forum:

    "Thank you for contacting the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department regarding your 2002 ES300, VIN ######. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts. As you requested, we are responding in writing.

    In a constant effort to listen to customers and improve our product, we have become aware that some 2002 and 2003 ES 300 customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the responsiveness and the shift feel of their vehicles. In the interest of satisfying customers, Lexus is working hard to address and resolve this situation and provide ES 300 customers with a satisfactory resolution. Lexus engineers are currently developing driving responce and shift feel improvements. These improvements must undergo extensive testing , to ensure they meet Lexus performance targets under a broad range of driving conditions and driving styles. As soon as the development work is complete, Lexus will make the update available through the Lexus dealerships. As there is much work that needs to be done to achieve this goal, the resolution may not become available until late 2003. When this update becomes available, customers with affected vehicles will be notified by mail, and Lexus will make the update available at no cost.

    Please contact your Lexus dealership, or the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, if you require further information or assistance.


    Elston E. Gentle, Jr.
    Customer Satisfaction Representative"

    As you can see Lexus is working on this problem.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    Thanks for the post. However, I was told this for June '02, August '02, September '02, October '02, December '02, June '03, July '03 and now it's just later in '03. I hope they come out with something, but now I really doubt they will.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    "dissatisfaction with the responsiveness and the shift feel of their vehicles"

    you aren't being taken seriously or aren't commincating correctly.
  • es300transes300trans Posts: 32
    I just brought my 2002 ES300 in for an oil change and also asked if there were any updates available for the numerous transmission issues (e.g., shuddering, stumbling, jerking, etc.) I was told "none available at this time." That's it. My whole experience with this issue and how Lexus has handled it has left me very disappointed. I would like to believe that Lexus is fixing/working on this issue. But I have yet to hear otherwise from Lexus.

    My dealer also claims that they test drove my vehicle and they cannot duplicate the problem. This is very frustrating since all that I have to do is quickly accelerate, and then stumble. The shuddering is less frequent so it is understandable that they wouldn't experience this one. You have to own the car to experience it.

    Lexus has already lost one sale that I know of due to this issue. I just bought my second car, a Honda.
  • I was told by Lexus of North America that a fix has been completed by engineering but they are waiting for government approval.

    What does that mean?
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    That obviously means Bush has to approve the changes personally to assure there are no threats to homeland security. Can't be too careful these days.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    emissions settings in any way, they have to be approved - can't allow anyone keying up their laptop, making their car scream, and hurtiung the ozone layer...
  • I'll wait until the Fall and then its Miller time...
  • jo743jo743 Posts: 2
    When we were at the Acura dealership, I told the salesman the Acura problems that
    I had read about and he addressed each one.

    We then looked at a ES300. I mentioned to the Lexus dealer
    that I had read about some transmission problems. He said that he had
    never heard of any in the 6 years that he had owned the dealership.
    He said that I shouldn't buy a Lexus if I felt that way. I ask him to repeat
    that and he did. Now if he, as owner, reacts like that how would the service
    department treat any concerns?This is not the image that I had of being
     a part of the "Lexus community". Jo
  • es300transes300trans Posts: 32
    Jo743, you should tell this Lexus owner to take a look at what editors say about the jerky transmission. He is either a complete idiot or a liar.
  • texas83texas83 Posts: 107
    Hope you are still looking at postings. Would it be possible to get a fax of your letter from Lexus? I just received one in response to a letter I sent, and they say there is nothing wrong at all with the transmission. I would like to send a copy of my letter and yours to the National Transportation Safety Board. I was driving my car last night in stop and go traffic after a fireworks display, and the transmission slip and surge was driving me crazy. You can e-mail me at and I will give you my office fax number.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    lease is up on my '01 ES300. Couldn't ask for a better experience. Wouldn't mind a new ride but this transmission stuff scares me a little. Went to the Camry board........I see zero transmission complaints. I thought it was same/same. What's the deal? Lexus buyers more particular?
  • Yesterday we put $1000 down on an 03 ES300. Thought I did my homework by studying Consumer Reports for weeks. Narrowed the field to Acura TL, VW Passat, Subaru Outback and Lexus ES300. Came home last night and found this discussion. Tomorrow I'm calling and getting the $1000 off my credit card - between the transmission and the AC smell - I'm scared! I have a 92 Mercury Grand Marquis with 185,000 miles... Is there any car out there in the $30,000 - $35,000 range that anyone could recommend...
  • richm4richm4 Posts: 169
    You were correct to be concerned. That is what eliminated the ES300 from my consideration.

    Look at the Cadillac CTS boards. The CTS owners absolutely love them.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I have a '03 ES and have had no issues with the drive train - transmission. I test drove the car knowing the entries about the transmission on this
    web site, purchased the car and haven't been able to reproduce those complaints with my car. I have also driven "loaner" '02 ES300's with no issues.
    I sympathize with those who have complaints, but I don't think the transmission issue is as pervasive as the logs on this web site suggest.
    The car is a luxury car, very comfortable and smooth. It drives similar to my previous Lexus.
    If you want quick response, high rpm and racing capability - look to BMW.
  • richm4richm4 Posts: 169
    It does seem that some people do not have any complaints about the transmission, however perhaps a certain style of driving elicits the transmission problems which would explain why not everyone experiences those problems.

    Call me cautious, but when spending $35K on a car I do not expect to be holding my breath and hoping that I'm not buying such a dangerous/annoying transmission condition.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I agree with the comment about driving styles.
    I also agree with the J.D. Power award for entry level luxury sedan - Lexus ES300. If I'm not mistaken, that award is based on a response from a large number of OWNERS of a specific car, who have first hand experience.
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