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Need Advice For Rx 300 - 2003


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I have a 2003 RX 300 with 22,000 miles. A friend told me that there had been several reports of this model having transmissions problems. When I got on the various sites I saw that this was true.

Does anyone know if these problems were rectified in later model RXs?

Thanks!

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Does anyone know if these problems were rectified in later model RXs?

I was told the other day that the newer models have corrected the problem. I was concerned that I would have problems with my '04 RX330.

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I'm not convinced there have been widespread transmission problems on the RX300. I always check Consumer Reports before I buy a car and it's almost never steered my wrong. Their used-car ratings (which are compiled directly from feedback from owners) rate the RX300 transmission as follows:

1999 - good

2000 & 1 - very good

2002 & 3 - excellent

2004 - good

2005 & 6 - excellent

Furthermore, there are amazingly few areas that are rated just "good" or less. They are:

1999, Exhaust - fair

2004 - Brakes, Body Integrity, Power Equipment - good

2005 - Body Integrity - good

Everything else, on every single year is rated either "very good" or "excellent."

Now, one thing you definitely need to bear in mind regarding newer used models is that it may take awhile for the problems to surface. So, while CR may rate everything good, very good, or excellent on a certain late-model used car, that may well change as the years pass and things start breaking down. Which is why I said CR has "almost" never steered me wrong. My last car was a '99 Subaru Outback and it had stellar marks on CR when I bought it in 2000. But as the cars got a year or two or three older, owners started reporting problems and when you look at their ratings for the 99 Outback today that is clearly evidenced by the revised "poor" rating it gets for major engine problems, among other things. (Which is why I finally traded the sucker in on an RX300 yesterday!) But, while I don't consider a 2003 to be a "newer used model," I also know from experience with my Outback that it may take more than a couple of years for problems to surface. I didn't start having serious problems with my Outback until 2002-3 when it was almost five years old.

So I was at first a bit concerned when I got online last night after driving my "new" 2003 RX300 home and saw numerous complaints about the transmission on various model years. But if it really were a widespread problem I have to believe that would be reflected in the CR ratings by now, and it clearly is not.

Another thing to keep in mind is that unhappy people are much more likely to gripe and moan and complain on internet boards than happy ones. CR's owner surveys are, by their very nature, going to gather a much greater cross-section and will, therefore, give you a much more balanced assessment.

All of that said, I gotta admit I'm glad I popped for a 4-year/48,000 mile extended warranty that covers virtually everything so I don't have a lot to lose if the car does turn sour on me. ;-)

Mags

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I'm not convinced there have been widespread transmission problems on the RX300.

So I was at first a bit concerned when I got online last night after driving my "new" 2003 RX300 home and saw numerous complaints about the transmission on various model years. But if it really were a widespread problem I have to believe that would be reflected in the CR ratings by now, and it clearly is not.

I believe your heart is in the right place here but what you're saying is you believe what a magazine tells you other people are saying rather than believeing the people who tell you directly on this forum

Another thing to keep in mind is that unhappy people are much more likely to gripe and moan and complain on internet boards than happy ones. CR's owner surveys are, by their very nature, going to gather a much greater cross-section and will, therefore, give you a much more balanced assessment.

In this instance, happy people are irrelevant, you don't need to know that XX% of owners are happy, what you need to know is that there have been YYYY number of failures of a certain part or parts. There may well be 100,000 perfectly happy RX300 owners out there but what is important is to know if/that there are 1000 reports of transmission failures, and that after xx date there are only 25 (or however many) failures . By homogonizing the data CR minimizes the seriousness of those failure. IMHO forums like this one are far more valuable then CR for making car buying decisions.

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I'm not convinced there have been widespread transmission problems on the RX300. I always check Consumer Reports before I buy a car and it's almost never steered my wrong. Their used-car ratings (which are compiled directly from feedback from owners) rate the RX300 transmission as follows:

1999 - good

2000 & 1 - very good

2002 & 3 - excellent

2004 - good

2005 & 6 - excellent

Furthermore, there are amazingly few areas that are rated just "good" or less. They are:

1999, Exhaust - fair

2004 - Brakes, Body Integrity, Power Equipment - good

2005 - Body Integrity - good

Everything else, on every single year is rated either "very good" or "excellent."

Now, one thing you definitely need to bear in mind regarding newer used models is that it may take awhile for the problems to surface. So, while CR may rate everything good, very good, or excellent on a certain late-model used car, that may well change as the years pass and things start breaking down. Which is why I said CR has "almost" never steered me wrong. My last car was a '99 Subaru Outback and it had stellar marks on CR when I bought it in 2000. But as the cars got a year or two or three older, owners started reporting problems and when you look at their ratings for the 99 Outback today that is clearly evidenced by the revised "poor" rating it gets for major engine problems, among other things. (Which is why I finally traded the sucker in on an RX300 yesterday!) But, while I don't consider a 2003 to be a "newer used model," I also know from experience with my Outback that it may take more than a couple of years for problems to surface. I didn't start having serious problems with my Outback until 2002-3 when it was almost five years old.

So I was at first a bit concerned when I got online last night after driving my "new" 2003 RX300 home and saw numerous complaints about the transmission on various model years. But if it really were a widespread problem I have to believe that would be reflected in the CR ratings by now, and it clearly is not.

Another thing to keep in mind is that unhappy people are much more likely to gripe and moan and complain on internet boards than happy ones. CR's owner surveys are, by their very nature, going to gather a much greater cross-section and will, therefore, give you a much more balanced assessment.

All of that said, I gotta admit I'm glad I popped for a 4-year/48,000 mile extended warranty that covers virtually everything so I don't have a lot to lose if the car does turn sour on me. ;-)

Mags

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I'm not convinced there have been widespread transmission problems on the RX300.

So I was at first a bit concerned when I got online last night after driving my "new" 2003 RX300 home and saw numerous complaints about the transmission on various model years. But if it really were a widespread problem I have to believe that would be reflected in the CR ratings by now, and it clearly is not.

I believe your heart is in the right place here but what you're saying is you believe what a magazine tells you other people are saying rather than believeing the people who tell you directly on this forum

Another thing to keep in mind is that unhappy people are much more likely to gripe and moan and complain on internet boards than happy ones. CR's owner surveys are, by their very nature, going to gather a much greater cross-section and will, therefore, give you a much more balanced assessment.

In this instance, happy people are irrelevant, you don't need to know that XX% of owners are happy, what you need to know is that there have been YYYY number of failures of a certain part or parts. There may well be 100,000 perfectly happy RX300 owners out there but what is important is to know if/that there are 1000 reports of transmission failures, and that after xx date there are only 25 (or however many) failures . By homogonizing the data CR minimizes the seriousness of those failure. IMHO forums like this one are far more valuable then CR for making car buying decisions.

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sorry to hear you have 03-RX300 transmission problems. 47K on my 03 RX-300 with Zero transmission problems. Great new Lexus certified mechanics for Palm Beach County @ Eric's Wrench, 175 South Congress, Delray Beach. They keep my RX in mint condition!

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Have a 2001 RX 300 with 139,000 miles with "zero" transmission problems with the majority highway miles. Take it in every 5000 miles and follow Lexus maintenance schedule religiously.

Dale

read under the RX300 forums about tranny problems. You will be enlightened. good luck
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  • 3 weeks later...

We had a 2001 AWD RX300 with 66,700 miles showing symptoms. They were as follows: hesitation between 2nd and 3rd gear, shuddering while

engaging from park to reverse. When brought to the dealers attention they could not duplicate the problem hot or cold. At 70,395 miles the

transmission failed completely. Keep in mind the factory warranty on the power train is 6 years/70,000. I had the car towed to a Gibraltar Transmission

outlet in Van Nuys. The manager showed me that I was third RX300 in two weeks to need repairs. While purchasing a new RX400h I saw the power train

warranty in the sales brochure. I was not aware that I might have a possible warranty claim. We had the car picked up by the dealer. At first they would

not pay for the repair. With some good natured persistence we were able to get it resolved. Make sure you have all symptoms documented. I am a Consumers

Reports subscriber and used to believe everything they said. I bought a bad JVC television and now this. Also, if you were not aware, CR uses outside

labs to do some product testing. They had to retract an article about bad child car safety seats.

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  • 1 month later...

I was curious about this since I own a 2000 RX300, so I contacted Lexus. Thier reply

"Lexus does not have any information in regards to the failure rates of transmissions in the early RX 300 models."

I find it difficult to believe that with a focus on customer satisfaction that they would not track failure rates of major components. Even Kia probably does that!

I would have felt better if they told me something like x% had major problems requiring major repair or replacement, and y% had minor problems resulting in repair for less than $1000. Their response seems to indicate they have something to hide.

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Have a 2001 RX 300 with 139,000 miles with "zero" transmission problems with the majority highway miles. Take it in every 5000 miles and follow Lexus maintenance schedule religiously.

Dale

read under the RX300 forums about tranny problems. You will be enlightened. good luck

I think here the key is highway miles, Those reflect that the tranny is not constantly shifting into overddrive. Commute city traffic seems to be a major culprit in failures....Best of luck to you

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I was curious about this since I own a 2000 RX300, so I contacted Lexus. Thier reply

"Lexus does not have any information in regards to the failure rates of transmissions in the early RX 300 models."

I find it difficult to believe that with a focus on customer satisfaction that they would not track failure rates of major components. Even Kia probably does that!

I would have felt better if they told me something like x% had major problems requiring major repair or replacement, and y% had minor problems resulting in repair for less than $1000. Their response seems to indicate they have something to hide.

Yup, that is what they do best, hide their heads, and hope problem goes away....they know, but will not admit the failure rate.

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I was curious about this since I own a 2000 RX300, so I contacted Lexus. Thier reply

"Lexus does not have any information in regards to the failure rates of transmissions in the early RX 300 models."

I find it difficult to believe that with a focus on customer satisfaction that they would not track failure rates of major components. Even Kia probably does that!

I would have felt better if they told me something like x% had major problems requiring major repair or replacement, and y% had minor problems resulting in repair for less than $1000. Their response seems to indicate they have something to hide.

I have had Porsche service managers tear up and discard written shop work orders once it was discovered that the "work" involved a problem apparently widespread but not addressable via the factory, "operating as designed". Purchased my first Lexus in '91, a new '92 LS. You wouldn't believe the measures a Lexus service manager, or even a service writer, will go to prevent writing up work in this category.

I'm quite sure these dealer's service managers are given a head's up very early on when there is something the factory doesn't want recorded.

If records are made/kept then there is no plausible denial on the part of the factory.

And by the by there are circumstances, circumstances that occur in an entirely normal situations, wherein your VSC will be disabled but with no obvious warning or indication to you.

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