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Transmission Slips When Very Cold


1st Lexus
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I have 2007 ES350 with 5000 miles on it. I've had it back to the dealer 3 times to correct a transmission problem. If the car sits outside and the temperature is below 15 degrees or so the transmission will slip when accelerating. This usually happens to me after I leave work, drive about one mile, wait in line at a metered on ramp and then TRY to accelerate to 55 MPH. It also happened to me after the car sat at the airport. I could hardly pull away after paying. It seems like ideling the car while it's in "drive" has something to do with it. Of course, the dealer hasn't been able to figure it out. I guess I'll have to video tape it before the dealer will believe me. Does anyone else have this probelm? :angry:

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I have 2007 ES350 with 5000 miles on it. I've had it back to the dealer 3 times to correct a transmission problem. If the car sits outside and the temperature is below 15 degrees or so the transmission will slip when accelerating. This usually happens to me after I leave work, drive about one mile, wait in line at a metered on ramp and then TRY to accelerate to 55 MPH. It also happened to me after the car sat at the airport. I could hardly pull away after paying. It seems like ideling the car while it's in "drive" has something to do with it. Of course, the dealer hasn't been able to figure it out. I guess I'll have to video tape it before the dealer will believe me. Does anyone else have this probelm? :angry:

I had the same problem, when it is very cold and i drive while the engine is cold (for example, if i am going to get something to eat on my lunch break) the car would be in drive and idle when i hit the gas. I took it to the dealer who told me the transmission is getting stuck in 3rd or 4th gear. The dealer told me it needs a new transmission and is in the process of fixing it. Hope this helps.

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Are you sure it is the transmission and not that the engine is stalling? What kind of gas are you using? I sure hope my car never gets exposed to 15 degrees or less!

I'm positive the engine isn't stalling, the tach was at 5K and the car was barely moving. It took about 30 seconds before it got up to 20 MPH. Regarding the temperature, I live in southern WI but have a cottage in Northern WI where the temp was -27 last year (without the wind chill). This car to work at those temps. Never had a problem with my GMC truck at those temps!!

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Thanks for the reply. My Lexus dealer hasn't done anything yet. Lexus called me and asked what it would take to "settle". I thought that was a strange question at such an early stage. I wonder if they have a larger problem on their hands. Hopefully they will replace my transmission also. Please let me know if the new transmission has the same problem or if it takes care of it. Thanks!

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Thanks for the reply. My Lexus dealer hasn't done anything yet. Lexus called me and asked what it would take to "settle". I thought that was a strange question at such an early stage. I wonder if they have a larger problem on their hands. Hopefully they will replace my transmission also. Please let me know if the new transmission has the same problem or if it takes care of it. Thanks!

I have not seen or heard of problems with cold quiet so serious. I would say your tranny has a major issue and needs repair or replacing.

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Just as a follow-up my car has been back from the shop for almost a week now, and works great. I have even noticed a smoother transition between gears that before. I think the new transmission fixed the issue.

Thats good to hear. Lexus (not the dealer) is supposed to be calling me back by tomorrow to discuss what the next step is. I'm hoping to get a new transmission with the same results as you. I have been looking at the problem and I really think I have identified some of the items that trigger the problem. First, it has to be cold, second, the car needs to run for a short time, 3rd, the car needs to be accelrated or be on a slight incline. I tried to capture this on a video but all I can get is the gauges so it's hard to see what's really happening. Let me know if your tranny starts acting up again. I have to believe there are more people out there with this problem.

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  • 6 years later...

I am having the same problem with my 07 ES350, when it is cold and 15 deg outside. The car has been good to us and now has 145K miles on it. I had the trans flush completed at the Toyota dealership at 120K. I am at a cross roads here as what to do with it. Any ideas? I could fluch again with Amsoil or try to sell it when it is warm and dicslose cold starts are hard run until up to temp. All of that rather than replacing the transmission.

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The 2007 ES350 model year had a lot of shift flare issues with the transmission programming. Ask your dealer to re-flash the transmission ecm. See if that helps.

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  • 7 months later...

Just moved to CO from California, where the car has lived for 8 years...this past week the temp got down to -15 in Denver (why did I ever leave Cali???), and I had this problem for the first time (and 5 times since!). Other than a new transmission, is there a reasonable fix? I have 88K miles on the car, and it has been a gem--until now...

Thanks for any help you may be able to give.

Alan

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I have this same problem with my 2008 ES 350. If the temp is below 28 degrees and the car has been sitting for several hours, like overnight or during work, I have the same issue as described in the post. It idles fine, it goes in and out of drive/reverse fine,it runs forward and back ward fine on idle or slight acceleration, it goes slow fine, it is only when I attempt to accelerate, like pulling out into traffic, and then the tach goes up but the car barely moves. After about 30-45 seconds of this, it is fine and once the temp gauge gets moving, it is ok. It never does it above 30 degrees and is otherwise fine.

This started last year with about 90,000 miles on the car. I took it to both a Lexus dealer and a Toyota dealer and left it over night last winter and they say they could not find anything wrong with it and could not replicate the problem. They said they hooked it up to the diagnostics and everything checked out. I am sure they did not try to accelerate because the problem occurred the next morning. They just idled around the parking lot, which you can do all day and not notice the problem. The fluid level is fine and the fluid has been replaced. Otherwise once it is warmed up it is fine with no problem.

I decided it was just something that happened due to extreme, prolonged cold last winter here in Northern Ohio. Now it has started again this week as the temp has dropped into the teens for a few days. The car has 99,000 miles now. It is my uneducated belief that it is a software problem of some type, otherwise if it was a mechanical problem, wouldn't it occur with greater frequency and gradually start happening regardless of temperature? My other thought it possibly the wrong transmission fluid was used by the local shop? Any further thoughts? Thanks

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