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03 Es Lazy Start...


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Hey everybody.

Up until about a week and a half ago my ES has always started crisply and quickly. Slowly over the last week and a half it has begun to start lazily, the starter cranks and it sounds weak and then it starts up. It just hasn't been sounding right. All the way until this morning when it barely started at all. When you shut the car off and restart it starts the same way, doesn't improve or get worse. It was so weak this morning I was afraid to drive it in case it left me stranded somewhere.

Any ideas? Doesn't seem like the starter to me, battery is about a year old, alternator maybe? Last night we drove back from a wedding in West Virginia so it ran on the highway for an hour, so the battery should be fully charged. It runs great once its on.

Premium weird fuel or anything like that.

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First things first:

1- Check the battery voltage when the engine is off. Should read approximately 12.6 volts.

2- Check the battery voltage with the engine running. Should read approximately 14.4 volts at idle.

3- If you get these approximate voltages than you have to get the battery "load tested".

4- Make sure the battery terminals are clean & tight.

These are the first tests you should perform before you look further.

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Its gotten the car won't start at all. Its definately a battery problem because everything's depowered, only one of the HID lights was firing now none, clock is dim, keyless entry is sluggish. Whether its the battery or an alternator problem I don't know.

The car was in the shop 3 weeks ago and the battery passed a load test just fine...

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I am thinking it is time for a new battery. Even though you load tested fine a few weeks ago, today's batteries will die or drop a cell at a moments notice without any indication before hand. Expected battery life today is only about 5 years, anything beyond that is a gift.

Do you know anyone with a portable jump box. If so, hook it up and see if you start right up.

(Do you have AAA?, if so, call them, they will jump you with a portable unit.)

If you start right up, then it must be your battery.


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I hope its only the battery. I went back through my maintenance records and the battery was replaced on 11 May 2006, so almost exactly 2 years. Its an 84 month battery...I SHOULD be getting some prorated replacement cost. Genuine Lexus battery.

I have a portable jump box, I'll try it in the morning. I plugged it in to charge up.

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I know on the LS, quite often the terminals cannot be securely

tightened because there's a plastic bracket on the top of aftermarket

batteries that prevents them from going far enough down on the

battery posts. I don't know if there's the same issue with the ES.

If your battery holds a charge and has passed a load test, then the

charging system is suspect. A load test on the alt will tell you if that's

the problem.

Another cause could be a slipping serpentine belt. Yet another problem

could be something like a short discharging the battery overnight.

A test you can do for this without using a meter would be to fully

charge the battery, start the car to ensure the battery is charged

and you have no problems starting, then turn the car off and

disconect the battery until the next morning when you try starting

it again. If it starts ok, then you have a short in the system somewhere.

If it gives you a weak crank, then the battery is not holding the charge

and has an internal short.

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I would say a battery too....You might want to invest in a cheap voltmeter, (sears, harbor frieght etc) handy for these times and checking fuses, batteries, and wall sockets....

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Guess what it was? The battery!

It fired up just fine with the jump box this morning and I drove it over to the dealer. They surmised that it had to be a bad battery they installed 2 years ago and they replaced it free of charge.

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Now that that's fixed, it's time for you to go to Radio Shack and pick up an inexpensive voltmeter. It could have saved you the aggravation of wondering where the problem was. :D

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