Howdy, Stranger!

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

Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • bear64bear64 Posts: 17
    My car is starting to have the same transmission problem that you describe. Did the new part installed by your dealer solve the problem?
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    Lexus replaced the transmission about 2 mos. ago and at first it seemed like the problem was fixed, but lately I've noticed that the same problem exists when I first drive the car in the morning after it has been setting overnight. Also, the transmission seems to slip when I accelerate. It just doesn't feel like the transmissoin is right. I plan on contacting Lexus about buying the car back from me and then buy an Acura TL.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I would be sitting in the seat of a "returned" ES freaking out right now if I hadn't come to this board. What a great place to share.
  • Very smart move. Toyota/Lexus has a HUGE problem on its hands with this transmission flare issue, and it appears that there is no fix in sight. Buyer beware on ANY Toyota product with V6 and automatic transmission. Just check the Toyota Camry Problems & Fixes threads, you'll see many with problems same as those in this thread.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I'm curious. I was reading a glowing review of the Lexus LS460. So I went to the LS board; and there was no mention that I could see of transmission problems. Does the LS have an eight cylinder engine?

    Why isn't there more about this in the newspapers? Maybe some negative publicity would help. It seems this has been going on for years and yet Consumers says Lexus is the most reliable car. What gives?
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    Yes, the LS has an 8-cylinder engine.
  • Consumers has been giving Toyota the benefit of the doubt for years, but they are quietly admitting that quality issues are starting to come thru. There have been spotty reports of Toyota issues in the newspapers, but again, not enough for people to take notice. Toyota has huge momentum going for them right now, problem being that they are now cranking out problems in record numbers, and the word of mouth is going to kill them.
  • 99-03 Acura TL's also have a tranny issue..I owned one and had 2 transmissions put in that. Not a difference from Lexus.
  • I'm seeing that Honda Odyssey is having big time tranny issues as well. Buyer beware!
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    I have a 04 tl that has been nothing but problems. Are the Japanese cars losing their quality advantage?

    You can buy a Buick for half the price of a Lexus or Acura and almost as good!

    Of course, it's not a Lexus!
  • I bought a 2007 ES350. I regret this purchase. The transmission had to be repaired. At 9000 miles the direct import injector rattles when the car is accelerating in the morning. My car sounds like a car from 1990. I am told that this noise is non repairable and normal. I would expect a smooths sounding car. Do not buy this car.
  • I have been going back and forth with the dealership ofr 4 weeks now. First visit "There is NOT any problem." Second visit "We have reproduced the problem, but that's the way the car rides. Adding your wife does NOT know how to drive!" That sure made her happy.Now we are attempting to hear from the 'regional', 'district' or some other tech-type person. We sold our BMW for this PROBLEM and dealership. We regret it deeply.
  • I took delivery of my 2007 ES350 in July. Noticed shortly afterwards that the transmission shifted rough between 3rd and 4th gear. Waited until my 5000 mile oil change and was told that a service technical bulletin would fix the problem. The dealer then called me after they put in the service bulletin fix and said that they had to replace the transmission. Drove the car and that transmission was also defective. The car is now on its 3rd transmission with only 7000 miles. During all of this I contacted Lexus customer satisfaction. They were useless. I told them that I wanted the car replaced. They took a wait and see what happens position. I then filed a claim with NCDS ( lemon law booklet came with the car) and was told it would now go thru arbitration. In the meantime, I saw a commercial on TV about a law group in Pennsylvania that handles these types of cases. It was thru them that the right person was contacted at Lexus and I now have a new replacement car. Love the car but it seems that Toyota is having problems with the new 6 speed CVT tranmissions.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    The Lexus website has this to say about the ES 6spd transmission:
    Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence
    ECT-i uses electronic controls to adjust hydraulic pressure gradually for even smoother shifting. The ECT-i computer can also adjust for wear in the transmission, and even learn and respond to a person's driving behavior.

    I do not believe there is a continuously variable transmission in your vehicle.
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    Would you share the name and contact info for the Penn. law group? Thanks.
  • nik8nik8 Posts: 9
    First off, my apologies for asking here what is very likely a stupid question(I come from the school of thought which says that no question is stupid :) ) BUT how exactly is a 5 speed automatic transmission to be used.

    I have a 2000 Mazda 626 auto which I always drive in one gear regardless of weather/city/hwy/speed. On steep inclines I use a lower gear and when I need power I switch off the overdrive.

    So with a 5 speed automatic do the gears need to be changed while driving (what then is the use of an automatic) AND does the transmission problem on the ES300/330 occur when gears are being shifted OR does it happen regardless?

    Also, I see several threads where the poster says "gear changed from A to B, etc". Is this comment based on actually changing the gears OR is the driver sensing what gears are being engaged.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    i come from the same school being an engineer... the only really stupid questions being those that aren't asked, perhaps because one is instructed to follow blindly.

    i believe you were driving your Mazda w/AT as it was designed. i cannot imagine any owner's manual for an AT vehicle regardless of make or model suggesting that the AT is supposed to be operated manually all the time.

    this has been one of the more dubious suggestions reported by a few owners who were instructed to do so by the dealership.

    for 5spd automatics, one SHOULD be able to leave the vehicle in "D" most of the time and the gear selection will be done for you in a smooth and efficient manner most appropriate for conditions.

    exceptions would be towing, incline, needing extra power for passing etc. with respect to the latter, ATs that i'm familiar with will down-shift when you command lots of throttle.

    i cannot help you w.r.t. if the transmission problems exhibit themselves if the AT is manually being shifted since i don't own one of these vehicles... but i suspect it would mitigate (but probably not eliminate) a lot of problems as you are manually commanding the transmission...

    when you see posters indicating their vehicles were changing gear, it is safe to say they are indicating this based on observables like changes in engine RPM, engine sound, seat of the pants feel, etc, etc, but NOT because of the operator manually commanding a change in the gearing.
  • On Sunday, July 9, 2006 at approximately 3:30 P.M., I decided to stop at the grocery store. I pulled into the parking lot from and was driving slowly with my foot on the brake to enter a parking space. The parking space was located directly across from the entrance and I turned left and eased slowly into the space with my foot on the brake bringing the car to a stop. The moment I stopped, I reached over to put the car in park and all of a sudden, the car engine surged enough to move my front wheels over the car stop in an instant with my foot still on the brake. I was totally shocked and wondered what in the world was happening. Why was my car doing this? I still had my foot positioned on the brake and pushed down. The car continued to accelerate and the back tires came over the car stop. At this point, I removed my foot totally from the brake to see if the engine would slow down naturally without any action at all by me. The engine continued to surge just as fast totally on its own. I tried the brake again and the car still did not stop. I lifted my foot from the brake again and at this point realized I was going to go into the road. I looked to the left (North) and saw a car coming down the road a fair distance away. I then looked to the right (South) and saw a silver Toyota with a lady driving it. I knew at that point I was going to hit her. The collision then happened and I put the brake on again and the car finally stopped. The police cited me for failure to control. As I was waiting for my husband to pick me up after the accident, he called me and told me that he had talked to my brother and that while my brother was working at Lexus, another lady had a similar accident, only hers happened when she was pulling into her garage and her engine surged and her car ran into the garage door. I thought this was kind of a big coincidence and I decided to look into it further on the internet when I got home. The information I found out about was shocking, unbelievable, and also made me very angry. The complaints are still being made on an ongoing basis. Since the day of the accident, I went to court for my ticket.I had to hire an attorney to defend myself. The charges against me were reduced to driving an unsafe vehicle and I entered a no-contest plea. I have incurred psychological trauma and other physical injuries as a result of this accident. I would like to get out of my lease with Lexus, but Lexus won’t allow it. If Lexus acknowledges any problem with my car, they will have to acknowledge all of the other problems reported by Lexus drivers. The economic consequences would be devastating to Toyota/Lexus.

    I have since had a second sudden acceleration incident on Monday, December 4, 2006 under the same circumstances as the first. When pulling into a parking space at work returning from lunch, I had my foot lightly on the brake controlling the speed of the car as I was turning left into the parking space. Just as I gently applied more pressure to the brake to stop the car, the engine surged and the car took off again. I thought, “oh no, here we go again”. This time I was prepared and jammed the brake with all of my strength to the floor and held the brake down to the floor. The car stopped in time just short of running into the tree that was in front of my parking space. My foot was never on the accelerator pedal the whole time I was entering the parking space. I contacted Lexus customer service for the second time and they sent a tech out to inspect the vehicle. Of course, they say the vehicle is operating normally and there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I feel as if I'm sticking my nose in where i don't belong because after reading many of these posts, I decided not to get a Lexus though it had originally been far and away my first choice.

    I'm wondering whether all of you who've had trouble (and it seems like a lot) have tried contacting Consumer Reports which always gives glowing reviews to Lexus, or J.D. Powers or whatever government agencies might be appropriate. There is something outrageous about selling unsafe cars and continuing to do so since the redesigned '07 Lexus and the '07 Avalons etc. still display the same issues.

    (My Acura is not as smooth or quiet a ride as a Lexus, nor does it have as luxurious an interior; but so far it's been reliable.)
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    there will be those that are most certain you touched the gas pedal, thinking you were on the brake, or perhaps you had a floor mat stick the accelerator pedal to some non zero position.

    there are others who believe it's possible you have a problem with one of the DBW (drive by wire) components in the vehicle (like the accelerator pedal mechanicals or sensors, the throttle body mechanicals or sensors, the valve positioning motor, the engine control unit, etc).

    unfortunately, this is going to be one of those cases where you are considered at fault unless you personally invest the $$$ in systems forensics and they are able to determine the problem is with a part of the vehicle, not you.

    how would that help you in terms of your accident or your insurance rates? probably it wouldn't. but, if you had independant analysis that was sound and pointed to a system problem, you could probably get favorable terms with the manufacturer, but you'd probably be bound not to release any of the information you uncovered.

    if more and more people report issues to a site like the NHTSA, one would hope a government entity would review the design / implementation and then have an independant testing laboratory attempt to get to root cause.

    people experience flakey and infrequent problems with complex systems all the time, and yes, after the fact, a most superficial review by others often cites human error and "nothing is wrong" with the system.

    we often blame ourselves for a program that errantly produces some unexpected result, when in fact, it's a programming bug which we've just experienced...
  • I have filed two complaints with the NHTSA. Lexus techs have been out and inspected the vehicle two times and say there is nothing wrong with the vehicle. Quite frankly, I do not trust the Lexus techs. All that they do is hook up a laptop computer to your car's computer and test 8 systems for error messages. When I asked for a copy of the computer report of the eight systems checked, Lexus says that I will have to contact their legal department for that information. They will not even tell you which systems they checked. If they do find anything wrong, they are pretty good at keeping that information confidential. From what I have read, I know I will have more episodes until I am able to get rid of the vehicle. I don't really know how Lexus can continue to market these vehicles without resolving this problem. I understand from a recent Wall Street Journal article that Lexus had more recalls than cars sold in 2005. I presume a recall of this magnitude could potentially put them out of business in the long run. If you read the reports at the NHTSA website, you can see that the problem began in 2002 and continues through 2006. In the beginning (2002-2003), various service department people admitted that there had been problems and that Lexus did not have a fix for them. Now, the standard answer is that the vehicle is performing as designed. I have attempted to engage the services of a forensics mechanic but they did not seem to want to be involved. Forensics mechanics in my area do not advertise and are difficult to locate.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    it is unfortunate that a manufacturer (and it doesn't have to be Lexus, it could be any manufacturer) hasn't taken care of you in this case. i'm sort of surprised they haven't thrown a new accelerator and throttle body assembly at your vehicle following the second event.

    they did instrument the car twice for some short-term diagnostics, but that fails pretty miserably to duplicate the scenarios you experienced the events in - doesn't it?

    i suppose you'd need perhaps a third event in order for them to do a buy back or justify to themselves replacing a component.


    if you feel most confident both events were not caused by an action or inaction on your part, my suggestion is you should probably get out of the vehicle, even at a loss as another event could drastically change the cost/benefit equation in front of you as of this day.

    to fight a manufacturer on an issue like this would take time, money and effort i'm not sure any consumer would have to spare. i'm thinking you'd burn much more money than the fiscal hit you'd take on trade. add in the time, effort, frustration, etc, and it just gets more costly overall.

    there would need to be engineering specialists to duplicate the two scenarios you experienced and repeatedly run them again and again until an event occurred that could be captured on a data collection system installed on the car. that is expertise, equipment, time and money another organization would have to come up with.

    then you'd need law expertise to take the data collected by the engineers with their equipment and present it in the proper forum for the manufacturer or government to take action.

    even if the engineering and law expertise were free to you, you'd be in the vehicle right?

    i hate to say give the problem to someone else, but if it were me, if i had lost confidence in the vehicle i own and operate, my safety and the safety of passengers who might be riding with me, or for that matter people in my immediate vicinity where another event may occur, i say it's better to move on.

    as i see it, you've been lucky twice.

    you've registered two complaints with NHTSA. by doing so you've alerted other people, the government, and the manufacturer. you've given the manufacturer two opportunities to do right by you.

    i think you've done what any single person can realistically be expected to do to alert the manufacturer and the public of an issue. the manufacturer has deemed the vehicle operating as designed.

    rhetorical question: who should you trust at this point - the manufacturer, or yourself?
  • I also believe it is going to take a third incident. I have been very lucky with the first two. The first time caught me totally off guard and I could not figure out why the the car was accelerating like it was. It was like the cruise control suddenly kicked in and I did not know why it was happening. The second time, I knew, and immediately reacted by jamming the brake to the floor and holding it down until the car stopped. I am extremely cautious when driving, especially in parking lots. When there is a third incident, there will be a lawsuit filed. I can accomplish this easy enough through attorneys who are close associates of mine. The problem with getting rid of the car, is that it is a leased vehicle and I really cannot afford to buy the lease out. Lexus will not allow me to get out of the lease since they say nothing is wrong with the vehicle. Lexus would rather take their chances with a serious accident occurring with me driving the vehicle than to let me out of the lease. If they let me out of the lease, they would be admitting that there is a problem with my car. If they admit there is a problem with my car, then they will have to admit there is a problem with all of the ES models sold since 2002. The longer they can hold out on admitting there is a problem, the better it is for them financially now. I believe they do know there is a problem, even though they will not admit it; and that they are trying to figure out a solution in the meantime.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    i do not know how much it costs to buy yourself out of a lease, but the economics of the situation in my opinion do not justify driving the vehicle until the next event. and if you are anticipating another event, if you aren't instrumenting the vehicle with a special device to capture all the relevant information to support your case, what are you doing exactly?

    while you can file a lawsuit, what are you going to sue for?

    damages (money) or something else? to force an action upon the manufacturer (like a major recall and replacement of parts), or stop an action on their part (like cease manufacturing and selling vehicles with DBW technology)?

    what if something should happen to you or another person as a result of a 3rd event, would staying in the vehicle have made any justifiable sense?

    i'm not in your situation thankfully, but i'm sorry, i'm not following your plan of action here.

    i do not believe you need to wait for a 3rd event to file a lawsuit or investigate being a part of some class-action.

    i just don't think the cost-benefit of doing either is in your favor.
  • I was just surfing on ebay and noticed an outfit in Texas that is selling a bunch of the buy back es 350s. They say the transmission was replaced by lexus and lexus had generously bought back the cars. buyer beware
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Thanks for the warning
  • Searched everywhere (3 times!!!) on Ebay and no joy on any tranny replaced buy back Lexii.
    Any chance you have a link? Or how many available/what the probs with trannies were? Or even why the buybacks?
  • bobbassbobbass Posts: 34
    Go to "EBay Motors"
    Enter "Lexus ES"
    Next page, enter "2007" in both minimum and maximum years.

    The very first one showing up is a GORGEOUS Ruby Red with 1,000 miles that is a buyback with replaced transmission. That is clearly and honestly stated in the last paragraph of the description.

    I didn't look at any others, but there are more listed.
  • Kimmel & Silverman
    Ambler, PA
    215-540-8888 or 1-800 LEMON LAW
  • YES, YES, YES. Replacing transmission now. 119K miles. Had a 94 Es300 had re replace transmission @140K miles. Will be looking for new car in about one yr & moving away from the Brand.....tired of fixing transmissions. Bevobest
Sign In or Register to comment.