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Snow Problems? Rx330


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I have a '04 AWD 330. Have been very surprised with how badly it performs in snow. A couple times there were only 2-3" on the ground and I really felt that I didn't have much control over the car. Breaking was also very very bad.

Am I the only one out there? I live in the Northeast and didn't want to take any risks during the recent big snow storm (if 2" won't work, 2+ feet won't help either). The dealer did check and said the AWD is "functioning properly as designed." ECT Snow mode didn't quite help.

Having owned a Subaru before, I do know how that car feels (great in snow) and the big difference I am experiencing.

Any feedback would be great.

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DOnt know what you are refering too! I live in Alaska and have tons of snow and mine is Flawless--Tons of control and no problems what-so-ever thru a 6-8 inch dump we had!!

I tell ya it handles and performs better than my 4-Runner only because of all the electronic wizardry working---I love it!

As far as braking on snow and ice nothing is going to be That Great!! Buy you some nice snow tires or studs.....

This car is Great in my opinion....

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You need to turn off your ECT snow mode which is only designed for starting up the engine during cool days in accordance to the owner's manual.

WHAT :blink: I think you misread something there!!

You keep that on for snowy days as it helps for taking off in the slick stuff by taking off in 2nd gear and trust me it works really well.......

Im going to have to read my manual on what you just said---but that is wrong!!

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Same problem! I live in the Northeast too, and the traction is very poor, pails to my old Audi A6 Quattro, most likely due to the tires more than anything else. Tire options are not that great for snows, trying to find some, $1,000 for 18" without rims, $1,800 for 17" snows + aftermarket rims, anyone have better ideas for snows?

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I have to admit that given all the known RX problems, handling in the snow is not one of them (as long as the driver has sufficient snow-driving experience). Our 2000 RX300 AWD does just fine as long as the snow depth is no more than 5 or 6 inches. Ice is a different story altogether. You must have chains installed to have a chance to successfully deal with ice.

I'd say that your problems have more to do with your tires than with your vehicle's snow capability. If your vehicle came equipped with the OEM Bridgestone Duelers, you unfortunately have a soft-riding, narrow-siped, lousy-handling set of rubber. I was glad to get rid of my wife's Bridgestones back in December when they reached 42,000 miles. I knew they couldn't get through another winter driving season without putting her in jeopardy.

When it's time for new tires, I recommend the Yokohama Geolander HT-S G051 as an excellent all-around choice. It's priced far better than either the Michelin Cross Terrain or LTX M/S, and is actually rated higher in rain and snow conditions than either of those. It probably won't deliver quite the mileage longevity of the LTX M/S, though. But I think the Yokohamas are the best tire deal on the market right now for small-to-medium SUVs. Check them out at www.tirerack.com.

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Our 98/99 RX AWD was great in a 23" snow that caused schools to be out two weeks back in 2000. It did have a new set of Michelin LTXs on it. Our 01 RX AWD did as well during a eight inch snow with Michelin Cross Terains. This was not flat land driving. We live on a steep hill and a deep cul de sack with another steep hill.

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Do you have the 18" wheels? I think a lot of it is the tires, unfortunately the higher diameter wheel designs lower the vehicle's performance in the snow. It may be just as simple as switching to another all season tire on your rims or getting some snows.

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We have owned our 01 RX 300 Silversport with new OEM Bridgestone Duelers for less than 6 months. We bought it so we could drive Mammoth Ski area as well as Yosemite and not have to put chains on (unless it gets too deep or icy).

We have been in the snow twice. I frist drove on snow covered parking lots to see how it handled: it was great for steering as well as braking. But, I did not try it on slipery steep roads.

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You need to turn off your ECT snow mode which is only designed for starting up the engine during cool days in accordance to the owner's manual.

WHAT :blink: I think you misread something there!!

You keep that on for snowy days as it helps for taking off in the slick stuff by taking off in 2nd gear and trust me it works really well.......

Im going to have to read my manual on what you just said---but that is wrong!!

Why don't you go read your manual before making your comments. On both page 393 and 404 of the owner's manual, "USE THIS MODE WHEN STARTING YOUR VEHICLE IN ICE AND SNOW"

:cheers:

And it was never mentioned that you need to turn on while driving while I have spoken to numerous drivers aggreed that the car will get more slippery when the mode is on!! Moreover, a Lexus technician has confirmed the above!!!!

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You misunderstand what they mean. They mean when starting out from a stop, the ECT SNOW mode simply deletes first gear, it makes the car start accelrating in second which reduces wheelspin. The car having reduced traction when its on doesn't make any sense, as all it does is keep the car from using first gear when accelerating from a stop. How would starting the car in the snow need any special mode? That doesn't make any sense. If they meant that they would have said "during the winter" or "when ambient temps are below zero". It can be 0 degrees farenheit and no ice or snow, whouldn't you need the mode then? It doesnt help you to leave it on when driving, but it doesnt hurt either as once you have accelerated the car drives normally.

Also don't believe everything Lexus techs tell you, In my experience they're often less than knowledgable about these cars, or since you misunderstood the manual you may have misunderstood him. No reason to get defensive, but you're definately wrong. Think about it, why would there be a mode on the transmission for starting the car? The transmission has nothing to do with that, "ECT" means Electronically Controlled Transmission. ECT SNOW means a transmission mode for driving in snow. Other Lexus models have two modes, ECT PWR which increases acceleration and ECT SNOW which works just as it does on the RX.

What you're thinking of is something like an engine block heater that warms the motor up before starting. The main proof that the ECT SNOW button is not supposed to work as you claim is that the switch is inoperable with the car turned off!

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This is from the Lexus website:

Five-Speed Automatic 

 

  To ensure the most comfortable driving experience, the RX comes standard with a five-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT), which provides improved acceleration at lower speeds. And on the highway, a smoother, quieter ride.

As you see ECT stands for Electronically Controlled Transmission. I have dispatched an email to Lexus customer care asking for an explanation of the snow mode, which I will post here.

This is an exerpt from a review of the RX330:

Available in two- or four-wheel drive configurations, the Lexus RX 330 is powered by a strong 3.3L V-6 VVT-i DOHC engine, bolted to a five-speed ECT automatic transmission with snow mode. A multi-mode sequential automatic gearbox is optional.

Transmission with snow mode, meaning a mode in the transmission designed for driving in snow.

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SW03ES,

Yes, all of the RX comes standard with a five-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT) which is a built in feature and no need to turn it on and off by switches. In fact, the ECT snow mode switch is not come with all the RX, this is an addition options that some RX has and some without. Even the RX without the ECT snow mode switch, it still comes with the Elctronically Controlled Transmission (ECT). Is it mean that if I did not turn on the ECT snow mode, I am driving without ECT??? This is not the case here.

""USE THIS MODE WHEN STARTING YOUR VEHICLE IN ICE AND SNOW", this is all they defined in the owner's manual. So, lets use your own imagination, I guess.

I was used to own a 4Runner with ECT Power switch which increases acceleration with higer RPM each shifts and which did not delete the 1st gear and is definitely not the same as ECT snow mode when I drove my RX.

For your due respect, your ES also equipped with ECT (intelligence) but do you find that there is a ECT switch for you to turn it on and off?? My one last question, did you ever experienced with a drive of RX with ECT snow mode switch on??? But from my numerous friends who owns a RX and happen to claim that they all feel the cars are out of control when the switch is on during snow.

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LOL, you can believe that if you want, but thats not true. All RX330s have the ECT Snow switch, its a standard feature. If they make them without that switch I have never seen one, and I've been in probably 50 RX330s all different packages. I have driven numerous Lexuses with the ECT Switch in the snow mode, both in the snow and not in the snow and it DEFINATELY starts the car in second gear, if yours doesn't it is defective. My dad had a 98 LS400 with an ECT snow switch for 5 1/2 years and I drove it several times in the snow, he has an 04 LS430 that also has this switch and I drive RX330s with it all the time as I always request an RX330 as a loaner. I'm not saying the ECT PWR and ECT SNOW modes are the same, they are two seperate selections within the ECT system. My ES has the ECT system as well I simply don't have selectable shifting modes, older ES's do. No the PWR and SNOW modes are not the same (hence why most Lexus vehicles have both modes) but they're both selectable shift modes and have nothing to do with starting the engine, they change how the transmission shifts.

Your numerous friends are as mistaken as you. All the switch does is defeat first gear when accelerating, there is no reason the vehicle feels out of control when that switch is activated, thats purely psychological.

Look around the internet, search for ECT SNOW and Lexus. Are you really so arrogant to believe all these people, including magazine editors are wrong and you're right? Come on now.

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Here are numerous threads nd links in which the ECT SNOW mode is discussed:

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...38&hl=ECT++SNOW

This is straight from Lexus of Australia

http://www.lexus.com.au/news/stories_show.asp?id=156

An exerpt:

All Lexus models have traction control and a “snow” mode throttle system for increased driveability in low-traction conditions.

A post on our UK site:

http://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/lof...php/t10024.html

A review:

http://www.autorevista.com/articles/99lx470.htm

An exerpt:

The Power mode delays upshifts in the transmission, letting the engine rev up higher than normal. This allows better towing performance and quicker acceleration to get the mighty LX moving. By switching into the 2nd mode, acceleration on snow, ice or wet pavement is safer as the transmission starts the vehicle off in second gear as opposed to first. This prevents wheel slippage caused by the high-torque first gear.

Another review:

http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/02is300_sptx.htm

An exerpt:

There's also a Snow mode which starts out in a higher gear to prevent wheel slip.

ANOTHER review:

http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/jedlicka...d=10986&src=vip

And an exerpt:

Only a 5-speed automatic transmission with that manual shift feature is offered, although it's a smooth, responsive unit that even has a "snow" mode for getting started better on slippery roads.

So, as I said the ECT SNOW mode helps improve traction when accelerating from a stop by affecting the transmission's gearing. It has nothing to do with starting the engine.

If your RX does not start in second gear when the snow mode is active it needs to be looked at by a Lexus dealership.

I love these cars, and I know how the features work ;)

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SW03ES,

I am not saying that you are wrong, its no need to get upset here. I am just simply brought up the exact wording which the RX owner's manual quote "USE THIS MODE WHEN STARTING YOUR VEHICLE IN ICE AND SNOW". This is exactly what it states in the owners manual, so how confuse that Lexus made its manual. My RX does eliminate the 1st gear when ECT switch was pressed. I do remember that I have tested drive one RX without the ECT snow switch during the time when I bought my car. So basically it reduce the possibility of wheelspin when accelerating in snow by starting at shift 2nd. Traction is more relies on the VSC system. Should blame the Lexus by providing such a confuse manual.

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From the 2000 RX300 manual. Your transmission has a driving pattern selector switch which allows you to select power, normal or snow mode to suit your driving condition.

For starting your vehicle in sand, mud, ice or snow, use the "Snow" position. For details see (K) Driving in Snow mode on page 182.

p182 (K) Driving in snow mode

in the Snow position the transmission system shifts up from the second gear.

To set the snow mode push the snow switch. In the snow mode the ECT SNOW indicator light comes on. To cancel the snow mode push the snow switch again. The power mode is automatically cancelled when you push the snow switch.

I haven't used the snow mode yet however I use the power mode once in awhile in the hills.

Jeff

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The PWR mode doesn't do much, but the snow mode works very well and I wish my ES had it.

04- I didnt mean to come across as upset but its frustrating when people hang so tightly onto incorrect information and refuse to believe multiple sources that try to show them the right way something is done. Not so much shame on the owner but shame on the Lexus salesperson that sold you your car, they're supposed to sit you in the car when you take delivery and show you and explain all of these functions.

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SW03ES,

Yes, all of the RX comes standard with a five-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT) which is a built in feature and no need to turn it on and off by switches.  In fact, the ECT snow mode switch is not come with all the RX, this is an addition options that some RX has and some without.  Even the RX without the ECT snow mode switch, it still comes with the Elctronically Controlled Transmission (ECT).  Is it mean that if I did not turn on the ECT snow mode, I am driving without ECT??? This is not the case here.

""USE THIS MODE WHEN STARTING YOUR VEHICLE IN ICE AND SNOW", this is all they defined in the owner's manual.  So, lets use your own imagination, I guess.

I was used to own a 4Runner with ECT Power switch which increases acceleration with higer RPM each shifts and which did not delete the 1st gear and is definitely not the same as ECT snow mode when I drove my RX.

For your due respect, your ES also equipped with ECT (intelligence) but do you find that there is a ECT switch for you to turn it on and off??  My one last question, did you ever experienced with a drive of RX with ECT snow mode switch on??? But from my numerous friends who owns a RX and happen to claim that they all feel the cars are out of control when the switch is on during snow.

Given the apparent fact (from reading your writing) that English is not your primary language, I think the probability that you misunderstood both the tech and the manual is very high. The ECT switch is exactly what our esteemed Administrator says it is, and his arguments supporting his point are compelling to anyone with a functional cerebral cortex.

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I would (and did) interpret it as meaning when accelerating from a stop. It honestly would not have occured to me that it meant when starting the engine as that doesn't make any sense. Why would the car need a special mode to start just because its snowing and not when its not snowing? And why would that mode be part of the transmission which has nothing to do with the ignition system?

What images are you trying to attatch? I'm just getting a blank paint screen.

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Here are numerous threads nd links in which the ECT SNOW mode is discussed:

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...38&hl=ECT++SNOW

This is straight from Lexus of Australia

http://www.lexus.com.au/news/stories_show.asp?id=156

An exerpt:

All Lexus models have traction control and a “snow” mode throttle system for increased driveability in low-traction conditions.

A post on our UK site:

http://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/lof...php/t10024.html

A review:

http://www.autorevista.com/articles/99lx470.htm

An exerpt:

The Power mode delays upshifts in the transmission, letting the engine rev up higher than normal. This allows better towing performance and quicker acceleration to get the mighty LX moving. By switching into the 2nd mode, acceleration on snow, ice or wet pavement is safer as the transmission starts the vehicle off in second gear as opposed to first. This prevents wheel slippage caused by the high-torque first gear.

Another review:

http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/02is300_sptx.htm

An exerpt:

There's also a Snow mode which starts out in a higher gear to prevent wheel slip.

ANOTHER review:

http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/jedlicka...d=10986&src=vip

And an exerpt:

Only a 5-speed automatic transmission with that manual shift feature is offered, although it's a smooth, responsive unit that even has a "snow" mode for getting started better on slippery roads.

So, as I said the ECT SNOW mode helps improve traction when accelerating from a stop by affecting the transmission's gearing. It has nothing to do with starting the engine.

If your RX does not start in second gear when the snow mode is active it needs to be looked at by a Lexus dealership.

I love these cars, and I know how the features work ;)

Wow, very thorough Steve.

I would (and did) interpret it as meaning when accelerating from a stop.

Ya when I first saw read what that manaul said, I thought the same thing. Granted the manual did not have the best wording. It would have been better understood if the manual said "use this mode when accelerating your vehicle from a complete stop in ice and snow", versus "starting."

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Actually, there are ppl out there get confused with the ECT snow mode. Maybe, the salesperson also forgot to go over the feature with them when they took delivery.

QUOTE from the Edmunds discussion board for RX 330:

ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? by lovingmylexus Dec 26, 2004 (8:31 pm)

I have the RX 330 and its less than a year old. We live in a very snowy climate and my Lexus is AWFUL in the snow. I have the all season tires, 17 inch and LITERALLY if I go to stop and there is a tad bit of ice the car does not stop. I have tried driving in 1,2,3 gear and still the same problem happens. Anyone else experience slipping problems?? I am scared to death to go out in the snow and ice now! HELP!

Thanks

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [lovemylexus1] by nw1997 Dec 28, 2004 (10:46 am)

Actually, the ECT button should be used in snow/icy conditions. When selected it reduces the throttle response, e.g. if you floored it with the ECT button pressed the vehicle should not take-off as usually. It helps to prevent wheel spin. Plowing through deep snow, I am not to sure about that, I tried that with about 8-12 inches of wet snow and got about 12 feet into my driveway before the vehicle would not go further, and yes it was the AWD with the Limited Slip Differential rear end.

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [nw1997] by lovemylexus1 Dec 28, 2004 (7:41 pm)

As I said, I don't understand the science of this. But, my experience with the ECT is the exact opposite of what you describe. For me, having the ECT mode engaged when driving on ice and snow is much, much more dangerous than leaving it off. It helps when plowing through snow piles but makes ice even slicker than glass when engaged.

Re: lovemylexus..... [wwest] by lovemylexus1 Dec 28, 2004 (10:15 pm) Reply

You are correct. I tested the snow mode in a local parking lot after noticing that the RX wasn't stopping well on ice. The parking lot was basically a sheet of ice. When the snow mode was engaged... the RX acted like a skater on a skating rink. In my youth I would have loved it but I didn't like the idea of skating around a parking lot in my Lexus. I immediately performed the same test without the snow mode engaged and the RX was much easier to control and stopped with very little problem. The symptoms described in the previous post are similar to the ones I experienced when I tested my own RX.

I have used the snow mode when trying to get up our unplowed street after 8 inches of snow. It does help when I first accelerate but I turn off the mode once I get going.

I must say I was surprised because I thought the snow mode would make winter driving easier. Personally, I have concluded the snow mode isn't necessary on my AWD but it is when I drive my husband's rear-wheel drive sport sedan.

I'm confused..... by wwest Dec 29, 2004 (12:23 am)

I wouldn't have thought that ECT snow mode would have had any adverse effect during stopping or coastdown on a slippery surface....

I would have thought that the RX, in snow mode, would start off in a higher gear (it does) and maybe a little detuning of the engine. I would also have thought that in snow mode to prevent too much engine braking on a slippery surface the transmission would not downshift as quickly, remain in the higher gears for a longer duration during coastdown or stopping.

It sounds as if the opposite is true, too much engine braking during coastdown/stopping especially in snow mode.

Makes no sense at all.

And now this, coupled with the hesitation issue, makes me wonder if the Toyota engineer in charge of software/firmware specifications has gone off his nut.

Kinda makes me glad my next purchase is a BMW X3.

I'll likely be back after Toyota straighteneds out these kinks.

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [04rx330] by lovemylexus1 Dec 30, 2004 (10:43 pm)

Exactly my point from earlier. I re-read the manual after my experiment and concluded that keeping ECT snow mode engaged while braking was the reason why the RX skated on ice so easily.

I do think this is confusing. Our Mercedes has a "winter" mode...and it is supposed to be engaged at all times during snow and ice driving. So, that's why I engaged the ECT button and kept it on until I realized that I had almost no braking control with it on. I think Lexus should either redesign the button or have more than one sentence about it in the owner's manual.

So? by bennb Dec 31, 2004 (3:38 am)

What should a guy do in snow? Have it engaged or not?

Re: So? [bennb] by lovemylexus1 Dec 31, 2004 (10:28 am)

I say no. This is based on my own experiences. It may not be the "correct" way in the eyes of Lexus but their engineers are not in my car when I am driving on snow and ice.

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [lovingmylexus] by jr59 Dec 31, 2004 (1:59 pm)

I am so pleased to read this as I had exactly the same problem with the same vehicle. I thought I was over reacting. I am a former diver ed instructor who trained drivers in advanced driving maneuvers (skid control, etc.) and I could not control my Lexus in the snow. This truly shocked me. Thank you so much for making me feel better. By the way, last night I traded it for a 2005 Nissan Murano. My husband has the Murano and had no trouble in the snow.

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [jr59] by lovemylexus1 Dec 31, 2004 (8:30 pm)

Sorry to hear you traded your Lexus. But, thanks for checking back in. Now I don't feel crazy for having the what I think are the same experiences you did.

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [lovemylexus1] by

lovingmylexus Jan 11, 2005 (12:25 pm)

Yes I have the AWD and I hate it at this point I am ready to turn my car in for a Subaru!! I just read the posts about turing the ECT button off and I will do that and see if it works any better.

I didnt see any problems with driving but when you need to stop at a light or a stop sign watch out because its not gonna stop!

To be continued.....

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [jr59] by lovingmylexus Jan 11, 2005 (12:28 pm) Reply

I am glad I am not the only one, I swear my family thinks I am bonkers for talking about it but in truth its a really terrible car in the winter and seeing as I live in the snow belt I need a car that will get me through the snow. I will try the suggestions of turning the ECT button off and see if that helps any, otherwise I am trading it in, its unsafe in my book and I have a 4 yr old in my car at all times and I am not willing to risk her life or mine

Re: ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [rcr24] by lovingmylexus Jan 11, 2005 (12:32 pm)

Let me tell you how lucky you are to not have problems. I am not scared to drive in any weather but after the last two experiences I have had I will tell you that if the roads are not completely clear I will not drive this car, its that bad......

ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS DRVING IN SNOW? [lovingmylexus] by lovemylexus1 Jan 12, 2005 (12:02 am)

We have had two big ice storms in the past week. I have had no problems driving my RX on the ice. My ABS brakes have only engaged one time in the past week and that was when someone pulled out in front of me. And I have had ZERO problems with slipping, sliding or stopping. But, as I mentioned in previous posts I do keep the ECT button off.

My RX is the best vehicle I have ever driven in winter weather and I now know I will only buy AWD vehicles in the future.

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