Howdy, Stranger!

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

Welcome to the Edmunds forums! Sign-in process in our forums has changed. Click here to learn more.

Lexus RX Transmission Problems



  • do you actually think i'll be able to sell it???? with all those miles and being 12 years old???
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Oops...I missed the part about not having yet installed a new transaxle.

    Lexus sharing the cost on a 230,000 mile RX more likely than not is the result of THEIR regular price being 200% of reasonable.

    I would bet that their 50% is at least $3,000.00 or more.
  • How right you were. Now they are telling me the price they quoted me is only for the transmission, not including labor. They have had my car for three weeks and still can't give me a definitive price. The service rep said he'd take it off my hands for $500 cash! Sure, he'll turn around, put a rebuilt transmission in it and sell it for $6000!
    I think I'll donate it. At least, I'll be able to deduct it off my taxes and it will, I hope, be going to a good cause.
    Unless anyone can think of anything better to do with it.
    So frustrating!!!!
  • The ck engine light on my RX300 goes on for a day or so and then off for a week or two.. I had it cdiagnosed, and it was the nox sensor. when the light goes on, my transmition does not up shift from 3rd to 4th gear.. I was told that on the RX300, when the nox sensor is activated, it does not allow the car to upshift from 3rd to 4th gear. I had my transmitton rebult and the company that rebuilt the trans, also told me this after I had the job done. they claim they rebult the trans. and it is now in good condition. However, I had the trans rebult because it was not upshifting to forth gear. Can anyone varify the nox sensor causes my RX300 to no upshirt when activated?
  • I had posted previously we had 70,000 miles with no issues. All good things have to come to an end. We now have 89,000 and the transmission is starting to slip. Can't afford to trade it in and can't afford a new transmission. Any suggestions? Live in San Diego, close to the border. hehe :confuse:
  • mike886mike886 Posts: 2
    Well it happened to me as well ... I bought this 99 RX with 80,000 miles for a good price last year ... bought it for my wife so she has something big and roomy for our newborn baby girl ... the condition was great inside and out ... car ran beautiful ... we were at a friends house tonight in Conn ... we live in NY ... Sure enough as we are coming back home at 10 pm ... Tranny starts bucking on the Merrit Highway ...lucky enough I bucked it all the way to an exit and parked it on the street ... called insurance and got it towed to the nearest Tranny repair shop ... Have to call them tomorrow and see what they say ... but after reading all the posts that this a common problem ...I pretty much know what Iam going to do since everyone gave the solutions ... 1st tell the place to put in a Jasper rebuild with the updates and call Lexus Customer Satisfaction to see if I can get some money out of them for the tranny .... guess thats about all I can do ... I wish I would have looked up these problems before buying the car .... I paid $9000 for it and thought it was a sweet deal because of the condition of the car ...and how it drove ... guess now Iam looking at over $4000 for this job ... sucks but at least if I get this rebulid in it seems like it will last .... thats what everyone is saying ... hey, at least I got free towing from gieco ... tryin to stay positive
  • My uncle had the same problem. He got stuck in the middle of busy highway.
    It cost him a fortune to fix his RX300, but now he switched to Lincoln MKT and looks like he is happy with it.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    edited May 2012
    Your uncle will love his brand new car. The RX is a good car, but it's not new.

    I still have my RX; I bought it new in March 1998. I'd love to replace it with something modern but that's not going to happen for a long time. In the meantime, the RX does everything nicely and reliably (especially since I don't have transmission worries) although the fuel economy isn't great by today's needs. And I miss having a car with sharper handling and a manual transmission. So my next car will probably be a step down from the RX with better fuel economy. I don't feel the need to move to progressively heavier and bigger cars, but I want to stay with small to mid size feature-rich wagon/hatch, and reliability is important.
  • asiaviajeasiaviaje Posts: 1
    The transmission of my 01 RX300 jerks when goes from 2nd to 1st as it slows down to stop. The jerk is quite noticeable when I brake hard, but is less noticeable if I can anticipate the slow-down and start to de-accelerate! Is this something I need to worry about? My car has about 129K miles and has had no transmission service up to now!

  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    I would say "yes". The lack of service specific to the transmission is often deadly to these FWD engineered transmissions. What does the fluid look and smell like when you pull the dipstick?

    I would get it evaluated quickly while the car is driveable, so you don't get quoted the highest cost if the transmission needs to be replaced or rebuilt if it were me. I am under the impression that once there are symptoms, the damage has been done. But at least you still have the option of driving the car elsewhere if you get a high quote.
  • My '99 RX300 Transmission failed at 101,000 miles last year. Had a brand new OEM transmission installed by a third party mechanic for $4900. Had I known my local dealership would have helped me out or gave me a generous trade in, I would have tried it. I plan to keep this car forever. 12 or 13 years old and only has 127k miles on it. Drives perfectly (now).
  • cudacobracudacobra Posts: 1
    I ran across this thread because my 2000 RX300 transmission just failed while we were on vacation visiting family. Lasted 280,000 miles, so I can't complain. It's been a wonderful vehicle with very few problems. No leaks and it doesn't burn any noticeable oil. My brother in-law is a mechanic at the local shop so I trust what he is telling me. He is replacing my transmission with a Jasper re-manufactured Transmission. 3 year/100 mile warranty and it is a much better transmission than the original. They fix the weaknesses in the original design. Total is $4600 parts & labor. It's a tough job because they have to completely remove the engine with the transmission to do the job. A lot of money, but I think my RX has good karma :-) and is worth fixing and keeping forever.

    My 2 cents worth!
  • norbyonenorbyone Posts: 1
    My Transmission just failed today. I was curious to see if other have had this failure too. I have roughly 120,000 miles on the car. I bought used in 2007 from a Toyota Dealer. This is not acceptable. I have my car at the AAMCO now the extended warranty ended last year. I would not expect a failure like this on what is thought to be a luxury brand.
  • glad so many of you made it to over 99 RX300 AWD tranny quit at 71,000 miles....on vacation...200 miles from home...with my 87 y.o. Mom with us....had to rent a car for a week...3 Lexus dealers told us they would not help or prorate a tranny as "we had not had our car serviced by them".....we had the car for under 6 months, bought at 50k miles and only to date had oil changes and tire rotates....since, certified mechanics have done regular maintence and service items....EVERY thing on this car has crapped out....timing belt at 50k miles, antenna, door locks(twice), window motors, ujoints, O2's, OCv's, Mass air flows (30k miles apart) never quits....have 151,000 miles on piece of high-priced junk! It is almost as if we got some sort of prototype that should not have been sold!!?? Unfortunately....retired/fixed income...can't afford a new car...but, can't afford this one any more!!
  • I have a 2005 RX 330 and at 30,000 miles the transmission failed and had to be replaced. The service dept at the time told me they had heard of some problems with the transmissions but they had been resolved and I shouldn't have any other issues. Now the car has just under 70,000 the transmission failed again and needs another transmission!!! The car has been at the dealer's service dept for over 2 weeks now while I've been trying to get Lexus to cover the cost of the new transmission. After 2 weeks of no response their customer no-satisfaction finally called me back yesterday and said they will only cover part of the repair but only because no one had responded to my calls. Not that they think anything is wrong with the transmissions. I left a message with Toyota USA exec offices two days ago, and although someone was supposed to respond within 1 day, no one has called me back. I told the customer no-satisfaction that I had seen complaints online about problems with the transmission in these vehicles and they claim they don't know anything about them. I've filed a complaint with the BBB but I'm sure i won't get a response for a few weeks. Any suggestions on how to get Toyota/Lexus to cover this repair? There is no vehicle that should require 3 transmissions with less than 70,000 miles on the car, especiallly a Lexus. I think the way they are handling this is really poor and aren't taking responsibility for a problem with their transmissions. I want my car back but I want them to pay for the repair. You can bet that I will never buy another Toyota/Lexus product ever again after this experience. Thank you for any good suggestions.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "99 RX300 was a "prototype". It was 2001 before the early bugs were ironed out, and the RX330 before the DBW "fix" was adopted.
  • I and other people also didn't expect that lexus Will get some problem like transmission. as my information Lexus is brand one of that their cars get in problems after releasing in market. If they will recall all models and gives free replacement then it can good for them other wise it will damages company's reputation.
  • kwhkwh Posts: 68
    ? for wwest:
    What model year RX's would be ok to buy that would not have the transmission problems. My 2000 RX now has 190,000 miles. Although I have never had a transmission problem I am still concerned because at this point I couldn't see that the car would be worth a $4000 repair. I was thinking of trading the car for a RX 330 but wanted to know when the transmission problem was fixed.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited September 2012
    First, I am really not a fan of FWD nor even F/awd other than the Acura SH-AWD.

    Overall I wouldn't buy anything earlier than a 2010 and I would even recommend several DIY modes for it. I would add an off/auto/ON switch for the rear drive clutch circuit. There is NO need for rear drive torque except on known or expected slippery driving surfaces, it only serves to decrease, possibly severey so, the duty life of the drive components.

    Insofar as I am concerned the automatic climate control system is the "pits" as shipped from the factory. Lexus has added a few C-BEST aspects that help but still needs a few engineering fixes.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited September 2012
    "..not have the transmission problems.."


    2001 MY: the VC was made non-functional and TC was added to simulate both a locked center diff'l and/or a rear LSD, reactively, after the fact.

    RX330: VC was dropped entirely and DBW was (is now) used to "protect the drive train". Prevent the engine torque from rising upon accelerator pedal depression at timeswhen the transaxle could not quickly engage the proper gear for the circumstance. Random 1-2 second quick sequential downshift delay/hesitation become standard.

    RX350: Transaxle shift pattern was revised to respond to the probability of driver intention based on accelerator pedal use.

    2010 RX350: Adoption of Venza (Ford Escape) style rear drive engagement clutch. Rear drive automatically, pre-emptively, engaged during low speed acceleration regardless of roadbed tractive conditions. Tractive roadbed = SEVERE driveline component STRESS, tire SCRUBBING.
  • Hey, what did you ever do with the Lexus 300? Guess what? Mine 2002 just broker down. Dealer wants $7,000 plus $1000 for coil packs, plugs etc.

    Did you get any satisfaction from Lexus or the class action lawsuit?

  • codym1codym1 Posts: 1
    Our RX300 with 48,000 just had the transmission self destruct. Lexus/Toyota refused to acknowledge any problem with their transmissions. They said that since the U.S. government didn't issue a mandatory recall, they are not responsible for anything. They heavily advertise Lexus as their luxury brand. Maybe it is if you are just sitting in it in your driveway.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited October 2012

    '99-'00 consider yourself lucky, F/awd, even moreso.

    '01-til RX330, you should have gotten at least 80-100,000 miles, greater if only FWD.

    RX330-on, DBW was adopted and used to "protect the drive train" prevent the engine torque from rising, ~2 seconds, until downshift could be fully completed.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Transmission failure is never pretty, regardless of the age of the car. I didn't like it any time it's happened to me, either. However on a car of this age, I've never heard of it being a recall, either. Lexus has never said they are responsible for failure except during warrantee, but they have offered assistance to some regular customers who show maintenence at their shops in order to earn continued "loyalty".
    It's possible you can get a "deal" elsewhere and come out just as well cost-wise. However, it's important that your transmission rebuild includes all updates appropriate to your model so that you don't have continued problems like some on this forum report.
    I got a really good one - a durable transmission that has endured and I am confident will continue to last based on a variety of factors. I am an original owner and my trans was replaced under warrantee. Others have had rebuilds that were problematic from the start, so apparently there is a difference between "fixing" a problem transmission and rebuilding or replacing with updated components appropriate to your exact model. A good trans shop should definately know the difference. Also, regardless of what the owners manual or the Lexus/Toyota dealer says, service the TRANSMISSION (specifically, because the dealer ripoff "packages" don't address the issue until failure) at least every two years, especially considering the type of mileage use your car gets.
    Please keep us posted how it goes for you to help others.
    BTW, I'm assuming this has nothing to do with the actual title so I changed it for the reply.
  • tainguyentainguyen Posts: 1
    edited November 2012
    Hi all,
    I am new to this forum and I need all the help I can get.
    I have a 2001 RX300 with about 55K miles and recently I got a CEL with error code P1780 which indicates the Park/Neutral/Position switch malfunction. I took a stupid route to replace the PNP switch and rebuild the ECM without doing the diagnosis properly so I still get the CEL P1780 today. My guess is the PNP harness could only be the culprit now. Please let me know if you have similar problem and how to fix it.
    Thank you.
  • I have 99 RX300 purchased with 75,000 miles ... it was in near perfect condition when I got it .. bought off an older woman ... thought I had a great deal .. until it hit 80,000 miles and without any warning at all, transmission failed on a parkway ... end result was $4000 dollar updated tranny I had to replace ... I then saw I was not alone with the failed tranny problem ... Thousands of people had the same problem ... The only thing I can tell you is be very careful ... if you feel any type of slipping or riding out 1st gear longer than usual ... sell the car or throw a match to it lol ... The updated tranny will cost you no less that 4 grand ... unless you know someone that will put it in labor free ... but it will still cost you over 3 ... very expensive fix ... so far I have over 95,000 miles on the new tranny and it seems to be working fine ... I hope it lasts ...
  • My transmission just went out at 90k. I am the original owner and car is regularly serviced. I own a 2003 RX300. I see there may be a known defect with this year's transmission. Where could I find out more information about this? I would like to get a refund from Lexus. Thank you!
  • mdamesmdames Posts: 79
    edited December 2012
    Although it's unfortunate and I commiserate with your problem, it's unreasonable to expect Lexus (or any car maker) to refund you for a transmission failure after 90,000 miles. There is no guarantee that any car component will last 90,000. I know you would expect that from a quality car brand, but I wouldn't expect any car company to do what you are requesting. You will be hard pressed to prove that the transmission has a "defect" after 90,000 miles of use.
  • My car was parked in one spot for 36 hours. This morning, the temperature was 34*, when I put the care into gear it would not start moving right away. It felt as if the transmission did not catch. I shifted down and it still did not move. When it finally started to move it felt like the transmission was slipping. Has anyone had such an experience?
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Have you checked the fluid level?
    The transmission fluid level is checked when level and cool, after engaging each gear, then returned to "park" and with a clean paper towel, re-wipe the transmission level dipstick (the yellow one on the right side of the engine bay, I think).
    If the fluid level is too low, a transmission will be more likely to "slip" after sitting when the temperature is cold.
    If you get your car serviced at a shop regularly, they will usually perform this check for you, and many times they will top off the low fluid level for free.
    The question then becomes, why was the fluid level low?
Sign In or Register to comment.