Lexus RX 300 Starting Problems

jbl85jbl85 Member Posts: 49
edited June 2014 in Lexus
I have a 99 RX300 that when you try to start it, sometimes it won't start...following are the facts:

The car only has 46,000 miles on it, and that is not enough to warrant a starter rebuild or even a replacement but one never knows.

I never lose the clock time when I start the car, so that one was easy.

On unsuccessful attempts to start, I don;t hear anything turning. Just ONE click, and then nothing. Repeated attempts to start usually work, and when it does start up, it starts with authority, not just barely turning over...

No MIL lights are on, and in my paranoid state I even ran a check for any OBDII codes with a reader that I have and there are no codes...

The car does have some surface rust in the engine compartment and the 0only thing about that is that the connections might not be complete. IF anyone has any further information on where these wires are or where they go, it would be appreciated. I know where the one ground wire goes to and that is to the right front wheel well shell...I will check that one now.

Thanks again for all of your insight.


  • rparisrparis Member Posts: 368
    I assume you checked the battery and the battery connections at the terminals.

    Why not contact the service dept at Lexus and ask them their thoughts.

    I am not a mechanic, but can't a starter go bad at any time?
  • jbl85jbl85 Member Posts: 49

    Your suggestion has merit, but (due to experience) my Lexus dealer's answer to any question like that is "bring it in and we'll take a look at it", and a few or several hundred dollars later, I may or may not have an answer to the issue, which then it could be said that my particular Lexus dealership that felt good...

    That said, I have been on the side that with only 46k miles that it couldn't possibly be the starter, but more and more I am gathering from the suggestions on this and other websites that this may in fact be the case. The car is 10 years old, so that may play into this as well. I know it's easy to replace and I have a buddy who is a mechanic so I think this very well could be answer...

    Thanks for the feedback and sorry for the rant!!
  • jbl85jbl85 Member Posts: 49
    Yes I thoroughly cleaned the battery contacts, etc. Forgot to mention that.
  • rparisrparis Member Posts: 368
    Can your friend or a local garage check the output of the starter?
  • jbl85jbl85 Member Posts: 49

    Took the advice of replacing the starter and wow - I am not a mechanic but do have some basic mechanical skills and so I went down to the Toyota dealership and bought a remanufactured starter for $200 and put it in this afternoon...I have started it many times since and all seems GOOD TO GO!

    So, So far so good. FYI, and I am sure all of you know, that the starter is the same one that is used in the Highlander and Camry of the same year (and engine size), and so I think I got a good deal by buying it from them rather than a Lexus dealership...The time savings as well as the $$ saved makes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

    Thanks to all for your input, and have a great holiday!!

    JBL :)
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    It is not at all unusual for a starter to develop a "dead" spot, a commutator brush segment that is open or the windings for that segment being open or shorted. This latter, segment short, being the most likely for the action you describe. If the previous time you used the starter motor it happened to coast down and stopped on the "dead" segment....

    A second "JOLT" of the battery's FULL 12 volts and the starter moves beyond the "dead" spot and you're up and running.

    Oh, an aftermarket rebuilt would have been even cheaper and very likely rebuilt at the very same source.
  • txgal1txgal1 Member Posts: 14
    I always have my Lexus serviced at the Toyota dealer. They are much cheaper than the Lexus dealer.
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