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Lexus RX 330 Maintenance and Repair



  • Does anyone know where to get a new wheel other than the dealer that's cheaper??

  • briegelbriegel Posts: 139
    I had to replace a wheel on my '05 RX 330 after I hit a curb. My local Les Schwab service location got a used wheel at somewhat less than the dealer price for a new one. I would think that other tire stores ( Discount Tire, Big O Tires, etc.) could do the same.
  • Hello all,
    A local dealer has a a super clean 2001 RX300 for sale at $9,995.00. It has been serviced by the local Lexus dealer and he indicated all records are available. I am a little hesitant after reading of all the problems shared in this forum from being an unafe 4WD vehicle from one person to misting problems.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Keep in mind you are reading a forum where most people who post have complaints and that's what they are posting about. The majority of people with positive experiences and comments don't generally post.

    Only one person I know of considers the RX to be unsafe like you said. Not to speak for him but as I understand it from his posts on this forum, he apparently prefers a car with more rear-wheel bias and he warns of misting "problems". The misting issue is easily avoided by the simple press of a button deselecting the A/C for longer wet trips in cool weather to defog like any other car that gives you a choice. That's a common issue with automatic climate controls, and not a problem as long as you don't allow it to be. My Fords without the automatic controls (and most other non-Japanese designed cars) are worse; you aren't allowed the option; A/C comes on with defrost whether you like it or not which clears the glass quickly but eventually fogs worse. I've driven both rear-wheel and FWD in ice and snow, and I feel very safe in my RX with appropriate caution, but it's not the drive of an AWD BMW. And I don't drive that weather all the time. It's true both designs could be improved upon, like any car. That's why there's a diverse market of brand-new cars (but not new $10,000 RWD).

    I would check those service records to see if the transmission specifically was serviced (not flushed) and how often. It's not normally part of regular service. Or better yet, if the tranny was already replaced by Lexus. If not, see if the dealer will warrantee the powertrain, or there is enough room in the price in case it comes up sometime soon. The tranny's likely the weakest link, other stuff is pretty minor. As long as you're aware of it, you will be going in informed and likely not take issue.

    Since you're asking and I'm on the subject, my biggest complaint (I'm the original owner of one of the earliest models) is a few buzzy rattles from plastic interior trim against glass or steel - changed by 2000 models, the soft, cushy handling (I prefer the more engaging drive of a sportier car) and although the RX can be shifted somewhat manually like any car with an automatic transmission, I prefer better control of the downhill and curvy-road shifts than the RX is designed to support (I'm a control freak, I guess).

    There are a lot of cool features I really like about the RX which seem so minor, but you get spoiled. Like ALL FOUR one-touch "auto" windows and moonroof both open and close (with "pinch protection) that you usually only see on more expensive cars. And also on the remote built into the key. Press and hold the "unlock" on the remote built into the key, and it opens all the windows as you approach the car on a sunny day to vent the rush of hot air. And you can close all the windows and lock the doors simultaneously with the key in the drivers door. Really cool, little things, especially for sunny climates. And the huge sunroof that opens automatically 3/4 of the way, and a second push to fully open (but crack a rear window when it's fully open) for an open-air ride. And the real, full spare inside the car under the floor, rather than exposed underneath. And the rear seat that not only goes back and forth and tilts back, but also easily swivels down into the floor flat without taking up the space right behind the front seats. And I like the size of the "300" models, because I don't need a huge hulk of a car.

    It sounds to me like it's a good deal as long as you cover your bases and go into your purchase informed. Look closely like you would any used car. Here are a few common things I'd look for: Is the rubber on the brake pedal worn (indicating lots of stop n go) or is it smooth (indicating it was so worn it was replaced or better yet the car was usually used for more constant drives)? Is the transmission fluid fresh and pink or burned smelling and dark (yes, check it)? Is there blue exhaust smoke when it's first started from ice cold? Does it start smoothly and easily without touching the throttle? Does everything work properly (including the remote locking at all four doors)? Was the power antenna bent by a tree so it binds when it goes up and down? Just some stuff common to any used car purchase.

    Good luck and share positive or negative experiences with us.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Has anyone replaced the HID bulb? There is very little room behind the headlight assembly to remove the headlight back cover and get to the bulb. I checked the obvious 15A fuse and it is not it.

    It is crazy that you have to take the bumper facia off to remove the headlights. Whose stupid idea was that and what is the purpose?

    I know the ballast fires momentary 20,000 volts to ignite the bulb. I will disconnect the battery, pull the 15A fuse, before even reaching for the bulb connector.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...simple press of a button.."

    That would be nice, but.

    Absent going to the dealer and having the appropriate c-best option set to other than the factory default the A/C compressor will ALWAYS engage, with NO indication to you of same, in ANY defrost/defog/demist mode, partial or full.

    " in my RX with appropriate caution..."

    And therein is the "rub"...

    Absent a serious level of experience or education specific to handling/driving dynamics of a FWD or F/awd they are/remain PATENTLY UNSAFE.

    For me, appropriate caution involved installing tire chains on all four wheels of my '01 F/awd RX300 during/throughout our recent 10 day snowstorm.


    Post #188 in "Lexus RX300 Transmission Problems".
  • How many miles do you get out of your brake pads on your RX330? (particularly the rear brakes?).
    Reason I ask is, I have a 2005 RX330 with 84,000 miles on it. Went in for service last week and the dealer told me the front and rear brakes needed to be replaced. I ok'd it, but looking back on my records, I noticed that the rear pads were replaced at 59K miles -- only 25K miles ago. These are the only two times I've replaced the rear pads, which means this set lasted less than half as long as the first set. (By comparison, my fronts were replaced at 42K the first time, meaning the second set of pads lasted an equal 42K as the first set). This doesn't add up in my mind.
    Please post to this thread how many miles you get on your rear pads.
  • I just got my rear pads replaced today at 38K. I had the front ones replaced a while back at approx. 35K. The dealer wanted $320, but I went to my usual mechanical shop that charged me $200. The dealer also told me I needed :) tires at $1300! I priced the same ones at Costco for $780. Shop around. The dealers get commission for service work.
  • I just replaced my front pads at 52,000 for the first time, rear pads are still the original. My driving is 1/2 freeway, 1/2 city. 11 stoplights and 6 miles of freeway on my daily commute each way total distance is 8 miles.
  • I have an '05 RX330 and recently the Nav system stopped working properly. The display reads "Can't find DVD".
    This doesn't happen every time I try to use the Nav system -- happens sporadically.
    I took it to the dealer and was told that when this happens the (whole) Nav system needs to be replaced. As you might guess, it's a very expensive item, and with labor the total is even higher.
    Has anyone had any experience with faulty Nav systems in their RX330? What was the fix? Any input or suggestions are appreciated.
  • Can anyone recomend a good independent Lexus repair shop in the greater West Chester, PA area? Wilmington/Newark DE area would also be considered.
    I'm looking for a mechanic that does good work at a fair/reasonable price (and doesn't replace parts that don't need replacement). Basically, a shop with a reputation for good work and integrity. (Dealers need not apply).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Check out Get ratings & reviews on car dealers & repair shops in your neighborhood.

    If you find a good one, please post in there too (or even if you find a bad one!).
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Just a note - if you're running behind a proxy you may need to turn it off to view the maps.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You may have water in the wheel well for the spare tire.

    The DVD player is on the right side, to the right of the tire jack. You can easily eject the DVD and clean it.
  • rvm1rvm1 Posts: 15
    In april of 2005 I had both headlights replaced in my 2004 RX330 due to accumulation of condensation inside the headlight assembly. This was done under warranty. I am now faced with the same problem on the driver's side headlight. Of course its no longer under warranty. Knowing the stock answer I would get from the dealer I spoke directly to Lexus seeking help in replacing the assembly. I understand that dealers quote about $1700.00 to replace one assembly so its expensive. I have stayed away from the local dealer because of the atrocious service I received in 2005/2006, which I documented in a letter to Lexus. As expected Lexus checked with the dealer to see if I was a good dealer customer before commitiing to an answer. As expected they declined to do anything.

    I am very disappointed since of all the auto manufacturers I thought Lexus would stand behind its product when it appears to be a recurring problem. I since discovered that several other owners have the same failure. My conclusion is that these headlights have a residual defect. Its too bad that Lexus will not take steps to maintain brand loyalty when they are faced with what is without doubt a latent defective product.

    Let me know if anyone in this forum has had to deal with the same issue.
  • mmm1mmm1 Posts: 54
    I too had a defective headlight assembly and it was replaced under warranty. Just passed 50K so am very concerned about the other one going bad and getting screwed for $1,700.
  • mmm1mmm1 Posts: 54
    I just returned to Virginia from Florida and had a Thule cargo carrier on the crossbars of the luggage rack. I drove 10 hours straight through and it rained the entire time.
    When I took the Thule carrier off about two days later I discovered that the cross bars could not be moved. When I pulled up on the little lever that releases the pins on both sides of the cross bar the bar would not budge. I tried a few squirts of WD 40 on each of the four levers and problem was solved. Not sure whether the weight of the cargo caused the problem (I was very careful to not exceed max weight listed in owner's manual) of if it was due to 10 hours of heavy rain or a combination of both.
  • eyedoc4eyedoc4 Posts: 3
    Add me to the list of 2004 RX 330s with air suspension problems. I got the same blinking on and off light that coyera reported. Mine occured at 40,000 miles and 5 months after the warranty expired. My RX has been far from flawless. Very few RXs with air suspension were sold so if there are several people reporting problems then satatistically the percentage of failure could be high. This may be my last of 6 Lexus products and certainly the last with an air suspension. I will also never buy a new model in its first yearafter a major revision, like this 2004 RX or the new 2010 RX. I'm tired of being Lexus' rolling testbed.
  • I have a 2004 RX 330, and had a headlight condensation problem as you describe. I placed an electric space heater on a step ladder about two feet from the headlight, and heated the assembly with low heat for about 1.5 hours. The condensation disappeared.

    I have also had the moldings from my rear quarter windows blow off. The first time it happened, I had the window replaced (expensive). This time, after the weather warms up a bit, I am going to glue the molding on.

    I had the pump on my air suspension replaced at about 40K miles.

    I am still a fan of Lexus.
  • Re #1662 My headlight 'repair' with heat was short lived. The moisture is back. My dealer told me it will cost $1K to replace now, or $1700 if the ballast goes bad.

    The solenoid on my air tank (air suspension) is noisy. Est $975 to replace. This is the second major repair on the air suspension system @ 64K miles.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    The owner's manual says the gas tank capacity is 19.5 gallons. On the only road trip that I took since we bought in Dec, the low gas light was on for some 20 miles, thinking it had to be dry, I was able to put only 17.3 gallons in it. Do these RX330 AWD really hold over 19 gallons?

  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    You can get used HID non-AFS or AFS type headlights on E-bay for about $150 each. The problem with these RX's is that you have to take the bumper cover off to get to the headlight.

    If you keep getting too much condensation in the headlight, you could loose the bulb too.
  • I just bought a lexus RX 330 2005 with 60,000Km (certified by the Lexus dealer) . I find it has wierd AC behaviour. It was very hot two days ago, around 33 degrees celsius (90 F) and the AC was fluctuating between very cold air and mild cold all the time. The cold air output was not sufficient to cool the car confortably. Both sides were on LO and I tried recirculate and no recirculate and the effect was the same

    I pushed the fan to maximum speed and heard a distinctive groaning noise
    coming from the fan. (When I shut off AC the fan noise remains there so no link with the AC )

    AC and fan are not covered by waranty in on certified lexus in Canada
    I do not know what is going on. and before I go to the dealer for a costly
    repair could you help me if any of you have a RX330 with those three questions:

    1- When your AC is on do you feel the compressor is constantly starting and stopping and the air outlet temperature is constantly fluctuating from very cold to "not so cold" .

    2- in very hot weather do you have enough cooling in the cabine (i suppose yes since i did not see any complaints in the forum on that)

    3- When your fan is at the highest speed , do you hear a groaning noise , or is it really silent. Noise is distinctively higher and groaning than when fan is at low speed. (This is independent from the AC on or off)

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Check that the pollen filter is installed otherwise something may have fallen into the squirrel cage blower and is the source of the blower noise. The sunlight radiation sensors, left and right, can, will have, a significant effect on the level of cooling routed out of the ducts.

    For quick cooldown on a hot day I always turn the system to max cooling, 65F, and adjust the fan for an "acceptable", lower, noise level.

    You can increase the A/C cooling efficiency significantly, and get a slight gain in FE, by blocking the hot water flow to the heater core during the summer.
  • Thanks wwest
    I will check the pollen filter I think it must be recheable through the glove box
  • Been having a rattle noise in the back of the car
    Tried to find out where the rattle was coming from
    It turned out it is the two latches on the rail that hold the trunck cover
    I squeezed two small pieces of soft plastic behind the latches and the rattle disapeared. You can use cloth or paper and it will do the job
  • lakeituplakeitup Posts: 1
    I am having this exact issue with my 2006 RX330 and it is driving me crazy. What exactly do you mean by the two latches on the rail that hold the trunk cover?
  • Hello Lakeitup
    Sorry for the delay ,
    The two latches are in the back of the car where you slide in the tonneau cover
    (the cover that you put in the trunck to hide your stuff inside)
    What I did is insert (squeeze) a thick carton in the space behind the latch so that the latch will not move anymore.
    The ratlle disapeared. It used to be very annoying when driving over a bumpy or rugged asphalt street

    I lalso found out there is a TSB for this.
    let me know if you are able to fix it
    Or I can send you a picture
    I dont know if PM is available on this forum
  • briegelbriegel Posts: 139
    On my RX 330, assuming you are not using the tonneau cover, I found that if you push the latch buttons to the position towards the front of the car the rattle goes away. Good luck!
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