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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • What options are there for re-keying the ES300 ?

    We had a burglary and one remote and the valet keys were stolen from our house, but left the cars intact. We have one remote key and can drive the car. Lexus dealer quotes around $1000 to replace the door locks, ignition and glove box lock.
    So far the insurance co. (State Farm) is refusing to pay to have the car re-secured.

    Are there less costly alternatives to re-gain security for the car ??
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    For the 2002-2006 ES3XXs (it does not work the same for pre-2002 models), if you want to insure that the burgler is prohibited from physical entry to your vehicle, then I suspect you will have to pay what the Lexus dealer quoted, because you will need to have your physical locks on your passenger doors, trunk and glove box changed.

    However, if you are willing to set things up such that the burgler cannot drive your car, but can still gain physical access to your car, then all you need to do is have your remaining keys and engine reprogrammed, a somewhat less expensive option. Reprogramming your keys insures:

    1. That your engine will only recognize your new program, which of course the burgler will not have access to.

    2. That your engine will not recognize the old program, which the burgler has access to because he owns the keys with the old programs.

    Beware that if you do nothing, the burgler has the ability to both get into your car and to drive away with it!!

    Were I you, I'd have my remaining keys reprogrammed immediately, regardless of the option I ultimately chose. If I planned to have the vehicles' physical locks changed, I'd make a deal with the dealer to allow me to reprogram the new keys free of charge once the new physical keys became available, so I would not be charged for two reprograms.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    I agree with the response that atoews gave.

    Although I would like to add that you yourself, without paying anyone to do it, can prevent the stolen key from starting the car, so that only the master key that you still have will actually start the engine. Here are the instructions to delete all keys from starting the engine, except the key you still have:

    Note that after you do this, the stolen key will still open the trunk, car doors and glovebox.

    Then you could order a full tilt $177 transponder master key from Lexus, or a $49 non-remote master key from Lexus, both at:

    Or a $30 or so generic master key from a locksmith. Lexus wants your VIN and proof of ownership to cut a key for you. Then using the instructions on the first link above, you can add the new master key to your 2003 ES300.

    So now you will have two master keys that will start the car, while preventing the stolen key from starting the engine, but not preventing that stolen key from opening the doors, glovebox, and trunk. But it is far cheaper than $1,000.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Why would anyone buy a new ES330 today with the new ES350 around the corner unless they are in love the the styling?
    The 2007 ES350 will probably be priced at a higher MSRP and not discounted until production has a chance to ramp up to meet demand some months later. However, if you are buying the ES330 to "save money" compared to buying a 2007 ES350, why not just get a 2006 Avalon Limited instead and get a newer design with a better powertrain and more room than a 2006 ES330? You can always extend the warranty on the Avalon if you are concerned about losing the extra year of bumper to bumper coverage compared to a Lexus.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    larry1, please define "master key" in the context of 2002-2006 vehicles. I have never heard the term used in the dealer for my 2002 ES300, nor is the term "master key" in my user manual at all.
    Also, what do you mean by "cut a key"? As far as I know you can cut the physical part of the key, the part that opens the doors, and maybe even the glovebox, but a locksmith cannot provide the programming that will allow the key to start the engine. And, the locksmith will not be able to give you a program that automatically opens doors, moon roof, etc.

    Here is the set of keys I received with my car when new. Which of these, 1, 2 or 3, is the "master key"?:

    1. 2 keys that include keyless entry. There is a programmable chip in both of these keys, which are identical to one another. All keys and the engine are programmed at the same time so they all have the same program.

    You cannot pass programming information from one of these keys to another, and you cannot pass programming information from a key to the engine or from the engine to the key.

    Therefore, if you lose one of these keys, you have to have all your keys and your engine reprogrammed if you want them all to work. I suspect you need to take the keys to a Lexus dealer in order to make keys that your engine recognizes, because your engine also needs reprogramming.

    2. A valet key, which also has programming in order for the engine to know that the valet key is matched with the engine. This key does not have keyless entry, i.e. cannot auto open the doors, trunk, moon roof etc.

    You cannot open the glove box with the valet key, because the glove box has the button that allows the enabling of the trunk button that is near the driver. To keep the valet out of the trunk with the valet key, you must set the button in the glove box to lock the trunk and then lock the glove box with the keyless entry key. The valet will no longer be able to open the trunk with the valet key because the trunk activation feature is disabled by the button in the glove box and the valet cannot get into the glove box with the valet key.

    3. A wallet "credit card" key, which also contains the program. There is no keyless entry on this credit card key, but it does open the glove box, allowing you to enable and disable the trunk opening button near the driver.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    The 2 keys with keyless entry are master keys. That means they will unluck the trunk and the glovebox lock, where the valet key will not. They are masters, because they operate everyhing. A standard key terminology.

    "Cut a key" meant to cut the proper pattern in the metal part of the key.

    You are correct, you can not pass programming info from one key to another. And you are correct, the key does not pass information to the engine.

    What happens is you insert a transponder key (a key with a transponder [transmitter/responder] inside the head of the key-like the two masters and the valet) that has been programmed to your your car in the ignition cylinder. There is a ring around the ignition key slot that sends a signal from the car's Engine Control Module, aka Engine Control Unit, aka ECM, aka ECU, to the key. This signal does not come from the actual engine. If the key receives that signal and transmits the proper signal back through the ring around the ignition key cylinder to the ECU, then the ECU will allow the engine to start.

    Yes, the locksmith does not give you a program. The car already contains the ability to program a new master key. But Lexus wants to keep it a secret, so they can gouge you. The locksmith who posted the page with the info, let the secret out:)

    If you read the website link that I gave you, you will see how to delete the stolen keyless entry, also called a remote (control) master, so that the stolen key will no longer start the engine.

    I watched all of this done myself on my 2000 ES 300 a few months ago right in front of me at the locksmith's shop in Phoenix. The same guy, Charley, who is the author of the website link I posted in my last post.

    I don't know how to program a key so that the remote buttons will operate the sunroof, etc. In order to save a thousand dollars or so, as you stated in your post, aren't you willing to live without that on your spare key? Or call the locksmith on the website and ask him if he knows how to do it.

    I haven't seen your wallet key, but I am almost 100% certain that it will not start the engine. That key is useful only if you happen to have that key available when you have locked your other key inside the car.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    We had an 02 (or was it 01. . . the old body) ES300. It was a great car and had one of the best stock stereos I've experienced. Seems the salesman told me they didn't bother ordering the upgrade system because the stock one was a 190w Alpine that sounded just as good. When my wife moved to an RX330 in '04 I gave her new sound system points for trying but without a trunk it just didn't have the bass.
    Last month we inherited her mom's 06 ES330 (800 miles), and are considering keeping it sinced it only had 800 miles and the RX lease is almost up. I drove it today looking forward to the great sound we got in the old EX. Much as I like the new sedan, that stock stereo sounds like it's made for an easy-listening grandma. Turn it up much and it turns to mush even with that nice sub in the middle behind the back seat. It doesn't sound like it has any power. What happened? My daughter's $22k Honda sounds like a concert hall by contrast.
  • Larry, how sure are you that the "re-key" instructions that you describe work for the 2002-2006 ES300/330 ?

    You said that you watched while it was performed on your 2000 ES model, which could have different electronics than the current model.
  • I just bought a new ES330, even with the new model around the corner. The dealer was willing to discount the car $3K. I was trading in a 2001 MB C-Class, which we'd had a few problems with, and wanted the Lexus reliability now. Yeah, I know...having the newest ES would be nice, but I wasn't waiting for the next problem with the Benz to arrive.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    You can call Locksmith Charley at 1-800-313-KEYS (5397) 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Arizona time Monday-Friday and ask him. His website is That website doesn't specify any differences for newer models, but you can read it yourself, or better yet, call him. And it isn't re-keying. It is reprogramming the key.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637

    Before I'd go with locksmith Charley, I'd try your local Lexus dealer again. In my experience, the predominant cost of getting a new key is in procuring the replacement key. My Lexus dealer quotes $350 to replace a "master" key plus about $60 for reprogramming your new key plus all your other keys. (Note that larry1's second website advertises replacement keys for $177, less expensive than the $350 quoted by my dealer.)

    If you buy a new key from the dealer, you may be able to negotiate the programming for free. I have lost a couple of "master" keys, and have not had to pay for reprogramming yet. The first time, the dealer allowed the price of the replacement key to cover the reprogramming too.

    When you get a quote from your Lexus dealer, be sure to differentiate the cost of a replacement key separately from the cost of the programming. If you want to buy a key from the website, inform your dealer because that may impact what the dealer charges you for programming.

    If your dealer charges $1000 just to reprogram your key, then you are indeed getting gouged and another Lexus dealer is likely to give you a better deal. Of course, go to locksmith Charley if all else fails, but I think doing it through a Lexus dealer is less risky.

    I have a 2002 ES300.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    By the way, the wallet key does start the engine. It is there for in case you lose your set of keys while away from your extra keys, so you can access your car before you can replace your keys.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 857
    What kind of mpg are you getting on your ES300?
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Please see msg #1269 under "Prices Paid and Buying Experience", Dec 22, 2005, where I answered your question previously. Below is my reply to your question.

    It is hard to really state the gas mileage I get. It varies from about 16-19 mpg in town and 26-28 mpg on the freeway.

    Here is what I have observed however:

    1. One pays a very high mpg price for accelerating.
    2. One pays a very high mpg price for driving uphill. If one takes a two-way trip that is hilly, the lower mpg for the downhill part will not compensate for the higher mpg. of the uphill part. (A two-way trip theorectically equalizes the uphill/downhill portions there and back)
    3. One pays a very high mpg price for stopping at fast food prices, which requires lots of acceleration/ stop and go.

    As such it is really hard to tell whether the basic vehicle is providing good or bad gas mileage.

    The only way that two drivers can get good comparison numbers is if they both live in a flat region, and they both have the same amount of stop and go when they drive in town.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 857
    Thanks atoews. I am getting older and my memory is not what it once was.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    I've been driving this car a few days. Despite my issue with the less than stellar sound system, this darn car drives like a dream. Smooth as "butta" as they say and amazingly quiet.
  • I purchased a 2006 ES330 in January. I have noticed an engine sound that is reminiscent of valve pinging. The service writer manager said it was made by the fuel injectors and was really pronounced in GS 300s [I’m not sure if that made me feel any better about my problem] In addition, I have noticed a “clunk” sound when I turn a cold engine on. Does anyone have insight on these experiences?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Valve (lifters) clack, engines ping.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Std stereo has only what, 84 watts? That's why they have ML, which will beat the one in your old ES hands (or ears)down. But I know most would expect a better std stereo, esp. when you can't get ML option w/o paying for Nav also.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I drove one and was disappointed that it wasn't quieter. I could clearly hear some road noise even driving on city streets at low speeds (under 40MPH).
    The quietness was so overhyped that I had very high expectations that failed to be met.
    There are now some less expensive cars that have similar or lower levels of interior noise.
  • Road noise more often has to with the type of tires that are put on the cars. The wider sportier tires generally have more road noises than the narrower ones. Sometimes changing the tires can eliminate that problem.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    It was a brand new ES330 with factory stock tires.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Factory stock tires are most often all-season and will typically be much noisier than their summer only counterparts.

    The Bridgestone Turanza series is a good example. Compared to the summer version the all-season version of this tire is LOUD!
  • My lexsus ES 300 cranks very slow and won't start I also smell a funny odor while trying to start it. It a ES 300 V6 3000 with over 160000 miles
  • agree completely. if you keep waiting "just a few more months" you'll never take the leap, reading these forums forever...and what you're really waiting for is not the newest car but rather your next problem with you current one! while you're reading others are driving great cars. there's no perfect time, dealer, price or even car. it ends up being more of a problem of commitment than one of pure indecision.
  • curt2005curt2005 Posts: 70
    Drove one yesterday, was also very disappointed in the irritating noise level from the tires. When I drove my old Olds home, I realized that my car had enough engine and wind noise to mask any tire noise.
  • curt2005curt2005 Posts: 70
    When I drove a 2006 ES yesterday, I forgot to fully check the sunvisors. They don't have a sliding panel when you turn them to cover the side window. When I commented, the sales rep didn't say anything.

    Do they, perhaps, slide on the rod? I didn't think to try that.

  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Posts: 168

    I have a 2002 ES300 and the sun visors do have the ability to slide back on the rod up to 5" when used. If you have the vanity light set to automatically come on when you lower the visor, the light will go out as you extend the visor along the rod. They provide plenty of coverage to block out any sun/bright light that might distract you. I would assume that the 2006 model has the same capability.

    Hope this helps.

    M.J. McCloskey
  • chrisarochrisaro Posts: 1
    I would like to know how to change the check engine light bulb on my 96 es 300.
  • Thanks for the tip ! It does adjust on my 06 ES330 and
    we did not know since there was no slide panel as
    on our previous Honda.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 857
    What type of fuel is required for the 2006 ES330? I have heard that it requires premium but I have also read in CR and others(Edmunds?) that regular is recommended.
  • lirikallirikal Posts: 4
    I recently bought a 97 ES300 fully loaded with 94k miles on it. I was wondering what kind of fuel is recommended for this MY. Also, the check engine light came on yesterday and I do believe it is the because of the gas cap. I noticed it was a volvo gas cap when I tried to get some gas. It was also screwed on so tight that i had to use a wrench to get it off. I was just wondering if there's a way to turn the check engine light off.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 857
    I would strongly urge you to get a Lexus replacement gas cap for your ES300. Although I am not familiar with the 97 ES300 as it refers to the gas cap/check engine light the newer ones will cause the check engine light to come on if there is trouble with the fuel system and/or gas cap. Hopefully a new gas cap will cure the check engine light and, if not, you should take it in to the Lexus dealer to diagnose the problem.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    After you get the new gas cap installed, make sure you tighten it until you hear a click or two. Then to reset the "check engine" light, pull the fuse in the engine compartment fuse box for the engine control unit, then put it back in. Look in your owners manual to see which is the ECU fuse.
  • lirikallirikal Posts: 4
    Thanks a lot you guys. I have already ordered the gas cap. Hopefully this is the problem and not something worse.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    What is required and what is recommended can be different. I am sure the ES would run fine on regular if you can live with 5 less Hp and 1 to 2 mpg in fuel efficiency. The new SAE rule states that Horspower ratings for all cars must be based on Regular unleaded. Hence the ES lost a few ponies compare to the 05 model. But if you use premium instead of regular your horspower output would be higher than what SAE states.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I don't think the rule says it has to be tested on regular if the car is required by the manufacturer to always run on premium.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    Again I don't think premium is absolutely required but it is recommended on most Japanese DOHC V6 engines to get the maximum performance. However, these engines can retard ignition timing if you use the lower grade gas. It won't hurt the car but you will get slightly less horsepower. What SAE has done is to make all automakers rate their engine based on regular unleaded. I bet this helps GM's antiquated pushrod V6's which runs just fine on regular and doesn't benefit anyway from using premium.
  • My first post here:

    I'm in a market for a new car.
    Finally, I'm ready to step up to Lexus. Yeah!
    (Had 1999 Honda Accord and 2002 Isuzu Rodeo in the past)

    I was told about the good deals on 2006 models, making rooms for 2007 models with bigger engine (already? It's not even September).

    Anyway, I have narrowed it down to two RX330 vs. ES330. I don't need an SUV but like the fact it sits higher and can haul stuff when needed. Is RX worth the extra $$?

    I'd really appreciate it if any ES330 owners tell me why you have chosen the ES330 over the RX330.

    Thank you.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My first SUV was a 1985 Jeep, then next a 1992 Jeep. While we had these we also had a "family" sedan, an 84 T-bird, then a 1992 LS400.

    Then in ~2000 I bought an AWD RX300 and the 92 Jeep went off to a ranch in north central MT where its functionality was sorely needed, required, and where its still doing stellar duty today.

    Then, without my really noticing, the LS400 started gathering dust just setting there in the garage day after day.

    I traded the AWD 2000 RX300 in to upgrade to the 2001 AWD RX300. The 2001 had HID and VSC and as it turned out the Trac firmware equivalent of the RX330, "virtual" LSD's, front, center, and rear.

    I have already decided that not later than this fall the 2001 will be traded in on a 2007 AWD RX400h. I'm delaying my purchase on the hope that by the fall the DFI V6 engine will have been fitted to the RX.

    So before you buy that RX330 take a good hard long look at the RX400h. Or if $$$ are a real consideration the Highlander Hybrid.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    A national newspaper is looking to interview consumers who have had to replace a car key, which ended up costing over $200 or $300. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] no later than Monday, April 2, 2006 containing your daytime contact information, the cost to replace your key along with the make and model your vehicle.

    Chintan Talati
    Corporate Communications
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Some cars require premium and have a sticker in the gas filler door and/or by the gas gauge that says something like "Premium Unleaded Only."
    There are cars like that and I'm sure the EPA does not make them do testing with regular.
    However, when it is "optional" I think it's fine for the EPA to require testing with the minimum octane the manufacturer says the car can safely run on unless they plan to publish multiple test results on multiple grades of fuel.
  • I have 1700 miles on a 2006 ES 330. The sunroof developed a rattle which I can "get rid of" only by closing sunroof visor. Anybody have a solution or similar issue?
  • What is the procedure for changing a front driver side turn signal bulb on a 98 ES 300? The owners manula says take it to the dealer. Thanks.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    Assuming your 1998 is the same as my 2000, and I think it is, open the hood. There is a black plastic "trim" piece that runs along the front of the engine compartment, over to each headlight. Peel that back over the headlight and you will see one phillips head screw. Remove that screw. Now press the palm of your hand on the side of the headlight/turn signal unit and push towards the engine a little to maintain a grip, and pust forward, The unit will slide forward, although it might take a little more effort than you might think. Then you can easily turn the plastic bulb holder on the back of the unit and remove the bulb. When you install a new bulb, don't touch the bulb with your bare fingers, so as to not get any residue on the bulb.

    I had to remove the passenger side light unit on my ES300 to rub the contacts on concrete lightly, to eliminate the problem of my turn signal flashing at double normal speed. If your signal is flashing too fast, all you may need to do is what I did.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    A large local newspaper is looking to interview consumers who purchased a Lexus, Toyota or Scion vehicle and what led you to purchase that vehicle. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] no later than Wednesday, April 5, 2006 containing your daytime contact information, along with the make and model your vehicle.

    Chintan Talati
    Corporate Communications
  • Anyone else have a problem with changing the automatic door locking function? I own a '04 ES 330 that locks all doors shortly after putting the transmission into drive. I want to change the function so that all doors unlock when I put the trans into park. I followed the owners manual to re-set this function - followed the instructions carefully I think - yet they continue to lock.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    You will need to go to a dealer to access the Customised Body Electronics SysTem (C-BEST) to change the setting for the door locks. There are a lot of other functions that can be customised. Your dealer will have a full list. Look it over before you go so that if there are any other changes you want, they can be done at the same time.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    I was also unable to get the procedure to change the auto lock function to work.

    I told my Lexus dealer about it and they said it was difficult even for them to change that auto-lock algorithm. According to the service people there, the feature is very finicky, and you have to do it just right to get it to work.

    I decided that if it were that much trouble, I'd leave it the way it is.

    If you really hate it, however, I think your Lexus dealer will change it for you, but you won't be able to experiment.
  • Thanks atoews - I believe you are right - I'll have to get the dealer to fix it.
This discussion has been closed.