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Lexus RX 330 Maintenance and Repair



  • This happened on my 2004 RX330 last year. I caught the problem before the molding fell completely off, so was able to save the piece. I went to a body shop yesterday, who glued the piece back on for no charge! Took them about 15 minutes. I won't do any business with Lexus ever again. Too many issues with a 'luxury' car to suit me. :mad:
  • Hi: I've searched the posts already and didn't find exactly what I was looking for. So, here I am.

    I installed a hitch on my 2004 RX 330, and I intend to tow a small 14-foot travel trailer (guessing the weight is ~1,500 lbs). The towing capacity of the vehicle and hitch is 3,500 lbs.

    1. Has anyone had any issues with towing under similar conditions? Any tips/advice?

    2. The tongue of the trailer pushes the back end of my vehicle down. I looked into installing a distributing hitch, but these types of hitches are not allowed for this vehicle. Does anyone have any information about reducing the pressure on the back of the vehicle, redistributing the weight, or adjusting the vehicle suspension?

    Thanks in advance.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Often trailer towing weight capacity of the vehicle assumes only driver and nothing else in the car. Once you have passengers, luggage, and some loading in the trailer you are at 3500 pound limit.

    How much back of the RX is lowering? You think a 1500 pound trailer should not cause any noticeable lowering. Anyway, assuming you are not towing more than 2-3 times a year, less than 2000 miles each time, and not through hilly train, it is not worth getting into weight distribution or suspension modification. I would worry about the transmission than anything else in RX.

    Make sure your transmission fluid/filter is changed every three years. Do not use cruise control on inclines, lower your speed if you notice too much down shifts, and you should be fine.

    These FWD biased SUV/LUVs are not built to pull anything serious. They can handle a bike rack comfortably and that is about it.
  • Just purchased a 2010 RX and the dealer said to avoid the car wash and wash by hand. There are times, particularly in the winter, where I'd prefer a good car wash. I understand the potential for damage, but does a normal car wash damage the clear coat?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The RX transaxle is well known to be more than a little fragile so I wouldn't tow at all unless the RX came from the factory with the towing package that includes an external ATF cooler.
  • calxcalx Posts: 1
    This just happened to me. My right rear moulding came off too. Is it only defect on the right side? BTW who did you contact from Lexus? Your local Lexus dealer or Lexus of N. America customer service? Unfortunate for me, I did not even see it coming off, so I have no part to glue back on.
  • Haven't experienced a problem on the left, just the right. Dealt with my local dealer, who initially replaced the moulding. Had the problem recur, and they then replaced the window and the moulding. No problems since - it has been about a year and a half since the repair.
  • I purchased my 2004 RX330 in 2005 with 22000 mi from a dealer. This vehicle is rare having the leveling device that normally available only on GS or larger SUV's.
    Yellow OFF light started flashing, and after 2+ hours of "diagnosis" my dealer says the module has to be replaced for $1700. I have 96000 miles on this car, no one warned me the leveling thingee is no no. Car is comfortable on highway but after spending $2000 last month for the 90,000 check, it is WAY too expensive to own. I feel I have no choice here....cannot replace system with regular because cost more than fix....So much for the high rated dependable car reputation....(should have kept my '96 Camry) Any suggestions?
  • I have the same nightmare. I purchased my 2004 RX330 in 2008 at 67k miles, and a year later, at 93,000 miles (I drive all over the state!) the leveling system is not functioning properly. My car rode a bit rougher than our RX300 when we bought it, but NOTHING like it rides now. It rides as if if has no shocks, a constant bounce. A dump truck would have a smoother ride, seriously. I have spent $1500 at Lexus during the first two trys to fix it, then the third and fourth trys were free because Lexus does not know how to fix their own car. They basically admitted they don't know how because that option was so rare and only put on in 2004 - go figure! They had my car a total of 8 weeks and like you, I'm not spending 4k to switch it to a regular suspension system/shocks. My advice to you is get rid of the car BEFORE it starts riding like mine, at which point you'd take a huge hit when trading it in. I'm getting a new car (will probably go back to a Toyota 4-Runner) and my husband will keep mine as he drives a whopping 2k miles a year. Good luck to you!
  • Thank you for your input....sadly in these times I guess we both take a hit,
    Lexus is going to be hearing from me lots, and your experience adds to building a case for commonality. One would ask, why did they only offer the leveling system in 2004? They knew.
    I like your 4-runner idea...
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    The Edmunds Maintenance Schedule for the RX330 shows oil changes at 7500 mile intervals. My service manual says 5000.

    What gives?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Seems like all Toyotas and Lexuses went to 5,000 mile intervals after the sludge/gelling debacle back in '02.

    Please report it so the data people back in the home office can check it out. Thanks!
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    OK! I reported it!
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    Below is the reply I got from Edmunds. As you can see, they are INSISTING that the normal oil change interval is 7500 miles and claiming the manual says such...and that the manual differentiates between "normal" conditions and severe useag. Mine manual says NO SUCH THING. And the scheduled service "book" shows a place for the dealer to confirm an oil change (plus whatever else) every 5000 miles. No where, anywhere, is there any mention of any sort of 7500 mile schedule, under ANY condition.

    Am I crazy? I need more support here guys so they can see they are posting wrong info. Here is what Edmunds said:

    Thank you for contacting

    The frequency of service depends on your individual driving conditions. Our Maintenance Guide is based on "Normal" driving conditions. Here is an excerpt from the 2006 Lexus Maintenance Guide:

    Depending on your circumstances, you should obtain maintenance for your Lexus every 5,000 miles or every 7,500 miles. Follow these guidelines to determine which interval to use.

    5,000-Mile Intervals
    Use 5,000-mile intervals if you primarily operate your vehicle under any of the following conditions:
    - Driving on unpaved or dusty roads.
    - Towing a trailer or using a camper or car-top carrier.
    - Repeated trips of less than five miles in temperatures below freezing.

    7,500-Mile Intervals
    Use 7,500-mile intervals if you primarily operate your vehicle under conditions other than those listed above.

    Most drivers will operate their vehicle in "Normal" conditions (the 7,500-Mile Interval conditions in this case). However, if you are driving in more severe conditions, including those not listed above, you may consider following the 5,000-Mile interval.

    I hope this information was helpful to you. Please let us know if we may be of any further assistance.

    Kind regards, Customer Support
    Where smart car buyers start®
  • Who paid for window replacement??
  • Lexus paid for it as a warranty item.
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    I've only had this happen two times in the three years that I've had my'07 RX. Luckily, I wasn't on a busy road and would pull off to the side of the road and turn the car off and turn it back on, and then it was fine, and all of those lights would turn off. Must be an ocassional computer glitch or something.
  • rvm1rvm1 Posts: 15
    Mine have been going on for over a year and a half now. All idiot lights suddenly come on. I turn the engine off and it clears itself and when I restart they are fine. This is now beginning to happen more frequently. Its worth noting that my daughter has an 04 Sienna van with the same power train and she has the same problem only not as frequently. I suspect that this is a systemic problem but have not found any TB's on this issue. I also suspect that Toyota has probably done a masterfull job at concealing this as they seem to do on most systemic problems that could require a substantial number of no charge fixes.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Remove the batteyr connections and clean and burnish the posts and connections. If the problem continues replace the battery. So much on-board electronics these days more sensitive to low battery voltages.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    I can not put more than 17 gallons of gas in our RX330 no matter how dry it is. The owners manual says 19 gallon. Is it possible that FWD tank holds 19 gallons and AWD version can only hold 17?

  • rvm1rvm1 Posts: 15
    Battery is only 11 months old. Its a top of the line battery and the post connections are always kept clean. Ditto on my daughters Sienna. Still think its a systemic problem and would like to know if anyone elses has this issue on either the van or the RX.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The fill tube into the tank is intentionally designed to be somewhat below the top of the tank. On the chance gasoline expands there is room. Pumping gas from underground into a tank with the OAT above 100F.....
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...11 months old..."

    Batterys are subject to infant failure as are all electric, electronic components. Or maybe you alternator is only charging the battery "just enough".
  • I am considering purchasing a pre-owned 2006 rx330 and have been reading the posts here to get an idea of the problems with this vehicle. The majority of the issues seem to be with the 2004 model year. Have most of these bugs been worked out by 2006 or am I in for more headaches than I need. I love this car, but have been driving a 2003 Explorer (107,000 miles) and have had 0 problems with it. I am a widow and don't have anyone to work on it and really need a reliable vehicle. Any reassurances or should I keep looking. The 2006 has only 35,000 miles on it.
  • mmm1mmm1 Posts: 54
    I would not hesitate to buy that car assuming that there are no known problems with it. . I have a 2004 RX 330 which I have driven all up and down the East Coast and it has been absolutely flawless--58K miles so far. Absolutely no problems, no warranty work needed and expect to have it to at least 100K miles. Also had RX 300 which was flawless. Keep in mind that, although this is a very worthwhile forum for deseminating information it also tends to deal with problem cars to the exclusion of trouble free cars which I believe are the norm. Best of luck.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Lexus RX330s are decent vehicles. We had a 2001 RX300 and currently have a 2004 RX330 AWD. Both excellent and reliable. Check for evidence of regular maintenance and ensure it has not been in any accidents. If both check ok, go ahead and buy.

    The RX330/350 is one of the most reliable, well built, well appointed luxury rides out there. I bought a 2004 for my sister in 2006, and last year bought a 2004 for my wife. The luxury, soild build/feel, and smoothness will spoil you.

  • Thank you so much for your responses! I have done a great deal of research and I really believe the Lexus is the best car for my money and it is great to have that feeling confirmed. I can't wait to get behind the wheel!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your Explorer is a "base" RWD vehicle, even if it only has RWD the driving dynamics will differ radically from a FWD or F/awd vehicle. If your Explorer has any additional drive modes, AWD/4WD, then the RX will not, CAN NOT compare.

    With the Explorer if you happen to inadvertently use too much engine torque for roadbed conditions you will still have front traction with which to maintain directional control. With the RX's front torque biasing it will ALWAYS be the front wheels that first lose traction in this instance and absent TC intervention you will also have lost directional control.

    That's why you will find TC, Traction Control, so horribly aggressive in the FWD or even the F/awd version of the RX, or any base FWD vehicle for that matter. Once the front wheelspin/slip is detected, the very instant front wheelspin/slip is detected, TC will dethrottle the engine and apply braking to the slipping wheel(s).

    Meaning, in most cases....YOU'RE STUCK....!!

    Public outcry about this shortcoming has been so widespread that later models, perhaps this one, have a TC off function. But it is worth keeping strong in mind that with TC turned off the RX may instantly become a horribly DANGEROUS vehicle when operating on the slippery stuff.
  • rvm1rvm1 Posts: 15
    I don't want to rain on your parade but this has been my personal experience. Had moisture penetration to the inside of the HID headlights while my 04 was under warranty. They replaced both at no cost under warranty. Two years later and just after the warranty expired one of those had the same issue. I did some research and found that several other owners had the same moisture problems including an owner of an 06. Lexus refused to do anything about it even though this was an obvious systemic problem. I was able to locate the leaking area and seal it myself to avoid almost $2000.00 for a new headlight.

    The random idiot lights turning on are also some sort of Toyota problem on the 04 Lexus and the 04 Sienna. Lexus/Toyota refuse to do anything about it. Although the vehicle drives wonderfully the manufacturer is no better then any other when it comes to owning up to systemic product defects. If you can get some sort of coverage included in your purchase you might want to do so if its at a reasonable price.
  • To wwest: Thanks for the heads up. My Explorer has automatic 4 wheel drive. I bought it when I lived in the snow because I almost died on the interstate in a rear wheel drive Mountaineer. My daughter had a front wheel drive Mercury Sable and it handled quite nicely in the snow. However, I now live in California and do not have to worry about snow, ice or even much rain to speak of and when it does rain in California I just stay off the roads because people here are CRAZY when it rains!!!!

    To rvm1: I have read about the headlight moisture issue and also about some issues with the "idiot" lights. Would it be wise to go ahead and seal them as a preventative measure or just wait and see if it happens? I will keep those things in mind and make sure I buy a certified Lexus with a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty so they will be covered.

    Thanks for your input! I really love the vehicle and understand that there are issues. Just hope the good outweighs the bad.
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