Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • I purchased a 99 ES300 with 85,000 miles about a month ago. Its got some really odd problems, the most noteworthy being that the stereo (which fades in and out randomly) only plays when the fuel door button is pressed (bizzare!), as soon as you release the button, it stops again. It sounds like its tied into the amp, because at full volume you can hear it without pressing the fuel door button, but just barely.

    Also, the check engine/VSC lights come on and go off randomly. I was told that I could use regular gas, but I am starting to think that might be the problem. I was told it was a knock sensor when the dealership hooked it up to the computer.

    Any one have any advice for either one of these issues? ...Thanks.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    You have some very strange problems. The only thing that I can tell you is that you can use any grade of gasoline. The engine control module will make any necessary adjustments to the engine's timing, which compensates for whatever fuel the engine is using at any given second. I used to use regular on my 2000 ES300, but on a long trip that I took, I found that while premium costs more, I got better mileage using premium. But regular is fine. Your other problems are not.
  • That is good to know. The check engine light has been staying off since I have been using premium so far. Its very close to time for the timing belt replacement/90K service, so I'll try running a tank of regular in it again after that and see if it comes back on. I've got a Lexus mechanic looking into the stereo problem right now. I am just hoping that it is minor. I am starting to really like the car, other than crappy gas mileage (compared to my civic...which I expected). It's a very comfortable car, its handled much better than I'd ever imagined on the ice, and I LOVE the heated seats! := )
  • Update:
    The check engine light is on because of faulty knock sensors. They recommend replacing both and the harness at the same time for about $1050.00. A friend of mine who is a mechanic says the knock sensors are no big deal and if I don't fix it for a while it won't hurt the engine... Lexus says it could hurt it if the overdrive stays off.
    The stereo problemn seems to have been fixed just by taking a few fuses out and putting them back in... (so far so good)
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    I agree with your mechanic friend. I would not bother to replace the knock sensors if it costs that much. Unless your car is pulling a trailer uphill while using regular unleaded, the engine should not "knock" anyway. Just put a piece of black tape over that irritating "check engine" light :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Has anyone considered that it is unlikely that both knock sensors failed simultaneously and/or it is much more likely that the engine, BOTH banks, are actually knocking due to low fuel pressure, clogged fuel filter...,etc....??
  • hbthbt Posts: 1
    One morning, I heard a noise from the engine compartment. I took it the Lexus dealer. The mechanic rep. told me that the noise came the transmission block. He advised me that the transmission needs to be replaced and it will cost me over $4K.

    Is this typical for a ES300 Lexus considering 155k mile, working transportation for 1 person driving on flat highway, regular maintenance visits at the Lexus dealer?

    Need your feedback.

  • I have a chance to purchase a 2001 ES300 for $10,000 OTD from a single owner in Hawaii. Has not been driven much in about a year. The original owner died and his brother held it for him. Now the original owner's daughter at college in the mainland wish to sell.

    48,000 miles, Premium Plus package, automatic sun/moon roof and a 6 disk CD changer in the glove compartment. Not to sure about any other options.

    Both front leather seats show some wear. The rear bumper has a lot of minor damage. Front bottom grill has some too. Otherwise the body has no other damage or rust anywhere that I can tell. Tires in good to great condition. Runs and rides well.

    Never rode in a Lexus before so nothing to compare with.

    Anything I should be asking or looking for?

    Any help appreciated,
  • Today I parked in front of a store with a glass window and when I started up my car to leave I noticed that my Daylight Driving Lights did not come on. I fooled around with the light switch trying to see if I could get them to come on but to no avail. As soon as I released the parking brake the DDL's came on. When I arrived home I could see the DDL shinning on the back of my gagrage and I applied the emergency break and they remained on. Is this a normal function or do I have something flakey going on ?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    If the e-brake is applied when you start the car the DRLs will not come on until you release it. Once they're on they do not go out until the ignition is switched off.

    Cold winter night drive-in threatre "feature".
  • Thanks for the info wwest. Even though I bought the ES330 new I only have 16K on it and it is still in warranty if something is wrong. Just never have parked where I could see the front end of the car when I started it until the other day.
  • :confuse: Original 98 ES300 owner having trouble locating replacement "gas door spring assembly". After 10 years (and just 80K mi), door no longer pops open when pressing dashboard button, but can be pushed open. Long term faithful mechanic has dealt with 2 Lexus dealers' parts depts waiting 8 weeks for a replacement. At this rate I don't think it will ever come and I've suggested he check at a salvage yard. Anyone have a reliable used Lexus parts-by-mail dealer I should try? Any other ideas on how I can get this silly little part?

  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29

    I have ordered a part from rock auto, and I have ordered keys from Sewell, but their website for selling parts used to be
  • heyw00dheyw00d Posts: 10
    Does anyone know how to change Air filter for 2004 ES 330 ? need Step-by-Step information, video or pictures. Also, what is the part number for Air and Cabin Filter and best place to buy ?

  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    I own a '98 es300, 183k on the "clock." Recently, I had a check engine light diagnosed and was told that the code was for a knock sensor malfunction. My question is this: If I do not replace the sensors right away will it cause any problems with the car? Also, I asked my mechanic to check the differential fluid; he checked the tranny dipstick and said that the fluid was full. Is the differential separate from the tranny or is it one unit? My guy said that you service the differential through the transmission.
  • After totaling my 2002 Civic coupe at the infamous "Spaghetti Junction" (I-85/I-285 interchange) in Atlanta, I'm in the market for a "new" car. Since I'm looking for something bigger and preferably with side airbags, I've been looking at ES300's from 2000-2001.

    From what all I've read in this topic I'm starting to get pretty concerned--is there anything in particular I need to watch out for? I've always assumed these cars were fairly reliable, but many of the problems on here sound rather costly.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You were more likely told the problem was a "knock sensor RELATED malfunction.

    The throwing of a code, CEL, due to the knock sensor triggering could be the result of a number of engine component problems, or even the engine itself.

    Yes, the front diff'l runs in ATF.
  • Thanks for the information. How can I check for other problems related to the engine? I really do not think the engine itself is the problem. Is there a flow chart? I now have 189k and despite CEL the car is running fine. Should I change dif fluid. Has not been changed since I got the car but replaced drive axles 2-3 months ago.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The shop/repair manual has a troubleshooting flow chart for "chasing" thrown codes.
  • To service or repair your Lexus, there is actually a really good manual (thick) out there. My brother has it, in his garage a little greasy, but he's done a lot of maintenance on his Lexus. It runs great with over 200,000 miles on the clock.
  • The inside of the rear window on our '05 ES330 has some kind of crud or film on it that is slowly getting harder and harder to see through. Cannot clean it with window cleaner or vinegar and water but it kind of scrapes off under a fingernail. Any idea what this is? Is there supposed to be some kind of coating to protect the defogger wires that might be going bad? Dealer as you might imagine, was clueless.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Plastic window tint..??
  • The sound on my Mark Levinson system just stopped working in my 05 ES330. The sound on the navigation works but no sound on the radio/cd players. The warranty is now out due to the miles. Any one ever had this problem or heard of it? Sure hope it will be an easy, inexpensive fix. Thanks for any advice?
  • I have inherited my wife's 2005 ES330 (She's got the Infiniti EX35) . It is approaching 50K miles. Transmission hesitation problem, I lived with as I learned to drive conservatively. In return, saved me from many speeding tickets.

    I am ready to move on to a different car though. I looked at 2005/2006 CPO LS430, since it was the ultimate luxury. Testing driving the LS430 taught me that ES330 was very nicely built car for the half of the price.

    So, for those former or about to become a former ES330 owners, what car or SUV are you considering?

    After the comfort ride in the ES330, I don't think I can ever go back to small cars like 328, C300 or even G35/G37 coupe.

  • curt2005curt2005 Posts: 70
    When I bought my used ES330, I also drove the ES350 a couple of times. A big difference (aside from the price ) was the very large blind spot on the 350.

    BTW, when you do need to really accelerate just depress the gas pedal very quickly. The engine computer will then accelerate the car quickly.

    My theory is that the slow acceleration was designed into the software so that the car would get better pollution ratings.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    How quickly you depress the gas pedal has less to do with avoiding the 1-2 second downshift delay/hesitation than how "quickly" (or slowly) you released the gas pedal just previously.

    Oftentimes when you relax pressure on the gas pedal an upshift sequence will begin. Once that upshift has begun and you now suddenly wish to accelerate the DBW system will ENFORCE a delay in rising engine torque until the upshift is completed, and the subsequent downshift (for acceleration) is completed.

    Even worse if the previous releasing of the gas pedal was a full release. In that case the engine RPM will have dropped to idle and the ATF line pressure volume capability will drop accordingly, resulting in an elongated re-acceleration downshift delay, more in the range of 2+ seconds.

    Newer Toyota/Lexus FWD and F/awd vehicles, ~'08 and forward, have revised engine/transaxle ECU control firmware that "watches" the rate at which the gas pedal is released and attempts to predict your current/future intent. When accelerating slowly or moderately, and with a quick/fast release of the gas pedal will result in the transaxle remaining in the lower gear you were just using for acceleration. Whereas a slow/easy release of the gas pedal in the above circumstance will result in a normal upshift on the assumption that your wish is to exit acceleration "mode" and simply begin cruising along.

    The problem is that the driver does not always know his/her "future" intent, as in slowing for a stop light which suddenly turns green. Or in a freeway entry/acceleration lane, fully release the gas pedal to/while looking over your shoulder for a traffic entry slot, oops, one upcoming but now no downshift available for the next 2 seconds...

    The Ford Edge has adopted a variable displacement ATF oil pump to overcome this problem, high volume capacity with low engine RPM and incrementally lower capacity as engine RPM climbs.
  • mgormanmgorman Posts: 1
    Have a chk engine light and Traction Control light. What are the steps to check/diagnose? Thanks
  • wdwwardwdwward Posts: 9
    I am the original owner of a 1998 Lexus ES 300. It has just turned 81K. Besides the usual maintenance at every 3,750 miles, I have had the following done:
    New tires at 45K.
    Replace cabin air filter at 60K ($75).
    Replace 2 oxygen sensors at 64K ($500).
    New battery and alternator at 75K (405).

    The brakes still have 25% left and a Lexus dealer has never seen the car since I bought it. A good independent garage in Seattle has always serviced it. I plan to replace the timing belt & water pump at 90K.

    Now a question for you experts - how long can I expect it to go without major repair?
  • carholmcarholm Posts: 1
    I am currently looking for a one of these which include the nav system. for a 2002 lexus 300ES. Wow.Harder than I thought. Tryin desperately to find a cheap one online.If anyone has any advice,pls.advise eek,help! thx
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Depends on what you call major repair. If you consider a Radiator or Alternator major, then probably 150,000 miles. If you consider the engine or trnasmission major, you can probably get to 300,000 miles if properly maintained.
This discussion has been closed.