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00 Rx300 Need Advice Fast (tranny Concerns)


cfiiman
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Hey all,

You may have seen my first post introducing myself and my new (to me) RX300 with about 133K miles on it. I bought it at a dealer who has given me untill this wednesday to bring it back (and they will give me my money back). I wouldn't have even considered it until tonight when I ran across a thread about tranny problems or nightmares really, and the high cost of fixing them. I LOVE THIS CAR soooo much, but I am thinking that I should take it back b/c of the tranny issues alone. I spent 9 grand on it and I am not happy that if the tranny goes out I'll be spending another 5 grand, I would just have got a newer vehicle for that price. I am so torn up over this now b/c I have told/shown everyone my beautiful suv but I am thinking that this thing could turn into a nightmare. Most stories I've seen I'll be lucky to get 20K more miles out of it even though it is perfect now. Please some of you that are more experienced tell me what to do, I have never owned a lexus before and I am really nervous. Should I take it back, if so I'd like to do it tomorrow.

***Edit, I should mention that I did talk to the guy about "what if it goes" on the tranny as I am always concerned about that with any used car not just this rx300, and he said (and wrote into the contract) if the tranny goes within 2 years he will fix it for 1400.00 flat, does that change anything? On my search of people upset and having tranny problems the prices for fixing it ranged from 1700-6000, how in the hell is there that much of range on this? I will be contacting several tranny places tomorrow and asking them about how much it would be to fix an RX300 tranny. Furthermore, most people's complaints I read said that the Lexus dealer were !Removed! clowns at best when servicing their vehicles. I would like to know what percentage of RX300's have this tranny problem. I mean is there no one that has gone 200-300K miles without a problem anywhere in the world???? Maybe what I am reading on the internet is a small fraction of owners who are *BLEEP*ed (understandly so) and that is why it is all so negative. Isn't there any positive stories about the RX300 trannies?

THanks,

Jason

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Hey all,

You may have seen my first post introducing myself and my new (to me) RX300 with about 133K miles on it. I bought it at a dealer who has given me untill this wednesday to bring it back (and they will give me my money back). I wouldn't have even considered it until tonight when I ran across a thread about tranny problems or nightmares really, and the high cost of fixing them. I LOVE THIS CAR soooo much, but I am thinking that I should take it back b/c of the tranny issues alone. I spent 9 grand on it and I am not happy that if the tranny goes out I'll be spending another 5 grand, I would just have got a newer vehicle for that price. I am so torn up over this now b/c I have told/shown everyone my beautiful suv but I am thinking that this thing could turn into a nightmare. Most stories I've seen I'll be lucky to get 20K more miles out of it even though it is perfect now. Please some of you that are more experienced tell me what to do, I have never owned a lexus before and I am really nervous. Should I take it back, if so I'd like to do it tomorrow.

***Edit, I should mention that I did talk to the guy about "what if it goes" on the tranny as I am always concerned about that with any used car not just this rx300, and he said (and wrote into the contract) if the tranny goes within 2 years he will fix it for 1400.00 flat, does that change anything? On my search of people upset and having tranny problems the prices for fixing it ranged from 1700-6000, how in the hell is there that much of range on this? I will be contacting several tranny places tomorrow and asking them about how much it would be to fix an RX300 tranny. Furthermore, most people's complaints I read said that the Lexus dealer were !Removed! clowns at best when servicing their vehicles. I would like to know what percentage of RX300's have this tranny problem. I mean is there no one that has gone 200-300K miles without a problem anywhere in the world???? Maybe what I am reading on the internet is a small fraction of owners who are *BLEEP*ed (understandly so) and that is why it is all so negative. Isn't there any positive stories about the RX300 trannies?

THanks,

Jason

Do you know anything about the history of the vehicle? Is there any possibility the trans. has already been worked on? What does the trans. oil look like? You didn't say whether it was FWD or AWD. The AWD seem to have the most problems. Gone 200k- 300k Mi. with no tranny work in an RX? Probably not (miracles still do happen, maybe you'll be the 1st.) I don't think there are very many of any brand of car that the trans. goes that far with NO work- that's probably not very realistic. Toss a coin in the air- it's your money. How reliable is this dealer? Will he still be around if the car actually lasts 18 mo. and then the tranny goes? If he has guaranteed to do it for $1400. flat will he shop around for a place that will agree to do it for that price, but it's a cheap job? ANY car with 133k mi. is a crap- shoot. You may get another 100k care free miles out of it or it may blow up on you a month from now. There is a reason they're called USED cars. People don't trade in a car with 133k mi. on it because they wake up on Sat. morning and decide I have nothing to do today, I'll go trade this like new car in that I think I'll get another 150k trouble free miles out of because I like people so well that I want to spread this good fortune around. Like I said, flip the coin- it's probably as sure a thing as anything else on a car with 133k mi. Good Luck on your decision.

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Hey all,

You may have seen my first post introducing myself and my new (to me) RX300 with about 133K miles on it. I bought it at a dealer who has given me untill this wednesday to bring it back (and they will give me my money back). I wouldn't have even considered it until tonight when I ran across a thread about tranny problems or nightmares really, and the high cost of fixing them. I LOVE THIS CAR soooo much, but I am thinking that I should take it back b/c of the tranny issues alone. I spent 9 grand on it and I am not happy that if the tranny goes out I'll be spending another 5 grand, I would just have got a newer vehicle for that price. I am so torn up over this now b/c I have told/shown everyone my beautiful suv but I am thinking that this thing could turn into a nightmare. Most stories I've seen I'll be lucky to get 20K more miles out of it even though it is perfect now. Please some of you that are more experienced tell me what to do, I have never owned a lexus before and I am really nervous. Should I take it back, if so I'd like to do it tomorrow.

***Edit, I should mention that I did talk to the guy about "what if it goes" on the tranny as I am always concerned about that with any used car not just this rx300, and he said (and wrote into the contract) if the tranny goes within 2 years he will fix it for 1400.00 flat, does that change anything? On my search of people upset and having tranny problems the prices for fixing it ranged from 1700-6000, how in the hell is there that much of range on this? I will be contacting several tranny places tomorrow and asking them about how much it would be to fix an RX300 tranny. Furthermore, most people's complaints I read said that the Lexus dealer were !Removed! clowns at best when servicing their vehicles. I would like to know what percentage of RX300's have this tranny problem. I mean is there no one that has gone 200-300K miles without a problem anywhere in the world???? Maybe what I am reading on the internet is a small fraction of owners who are *BLEEP*ed (understandly so) and that is why it is all so negative. Isn't there any positive stories about the RX300 trannies?

THanks,

Jason

Do you know anything about the history of the vehicle? Is there any possibility the trans. has already been worked on? What does the trans. oil look like? You didn't say whether it was FWD or AWD. The AWD seem to have the most problems. Gone 200k- 300k Mi. with no tranny work in an RX? Probably not (miracles still do happen, maybe you'll be the 1st.) I don't think there are very many of any brand of car that the trans. goes that far with NO work- that's probably not very realistic. Toss a coin in the air- it's your money. How reliable is this dealer? Will he still be around if the car actually lasts 18 mo. and then the tranny goes? If he has guaranteed to do it for $1400. flat will he shop around for a place that will agree to do it for that price, but it's a cheap job? ANY car with 133k mi. is a crap- shoot. You may get another 100k care free miles out of it or it may blow up on you a month from now. There is a reason they're called USED cars. People don't trade in a car with 133k mi. on it because they wake up on Sat. morning and decide I have nothing to do today, I'll go trade this like new car in that I think I'll get another 150k trouble free miles out of because I like people so well that I want to spread this good fortune around. Like I said, flip the coin- it's probably as sure a thing as anything else on a car with 133k mi. Good Luck on your decision.

I get what you are saying, and my answer is I don't know. The shop has been around for 25 years and he does service/body work/sales. He seems like a good guy to me (the owner). I want this car but seriously I am not a guy who drops 20-30 grand on a car, so I have to get one with over 100K miles. I have no idea if the tranny was replaced. The car was bought at an auction (dealer auction) and he only buys the "best" so these don't come in often he said. I have the title with the previous owners name and address, I guess I could look them up and call them? As far as him being around in 18 months, I would say yes b/c he has been there 25 years, but it is possible he could shut his doors tomorrow I guess. And the quality of his fix, I have no idea, this is my first dealing with them but he is "packed" with customers so that says something to me. Also he is in perfect standing with the BBB with no complaints, that speaks volumes about an independent sales/service dealer. Question is, maybe I should just try to find an explorer or something, maybe I"m not the kinda guy that should own a lexus? Please anyone and everyone that can respond please do, I have a way out if I want it, honestly I love the car, but all these posts about problems have really scared me. Thanks,

Jason

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If the guy says if "anything" (i'm assuming this included total replacement) goes wrong with the tranny, he'll fix it for $1400, TAKE IT.

The failure happened to me, $4400 to replace/fix, whatever they did...

The 99-01 models have been the ones most prone to the failure, specifically the all wheel drive models (as opposed to FWD). Over 100k miles, anything can happen. A tranny failure can happen to an explorer just as easily (if not sooner), remember a 2000 model could be 9 years old (if made in Aug '99).

There really aren't any other major problems that have been known to happen on the 00 RX's, except for sensors going bad etc.

If he's agreeing to fix your tranny if it ever went for only $1400 that's a DEAL.

I'd keep the car under that circumstance.

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First get a car-fax report, even if you have to pay for the months worth of use, could come in handy if you turn this one back. Get the VIN number from the front drivers side lower windshield area and call Lexus with this number and they will tell you if the car has had any service done at a Lexus dealer and what service was done. Now call the original owner with the info you have and ask him if he had any problems.

Jeff

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First get a car-fax report, even if you have to pay for the months worth of use, could come in handy if you turn this one back. Get the VIN number from the front drivers side lower windshield area and call Lexus with this number and they will tell you if the car has had any service done at a Lexus dealer and what service was done. Now call the original owner with the info you have and ask him if he had any problems.

Jeff

Ok, I'll do that today and report back to you all later on today. And yes he did say if it needs a rebuilt transmission within 2 years he will do it for 1400.00, he even wrote it in the contract, but again, I'm sure there are different quality levels of a transmission rebuild and I don't know how "good" his shop would be. I do know from reading all the complaints on the net that most people are unhappy with their lexus dealer and just b/c you go to the dealer that is no guarantee of getting a quality rebuild either so maybe it is 6 to one half a dozen to another. I just want this to be a good experience that's all. I don't want to have to put a tranny in this car in 2 months or something, even if I can do it for 1400. And yes I know it can happen to any used car, but my wife has a 98 accord with 225K miles on it and that thing runs and drives like new. Now I know it is a 5 speed, but still. I just felt like the "lexus" name I would be fine then I read all this crap about the trannies. And who knows how trustworthy this small independent is, I mean I think he is, but until you "have" to have something done I guess you really never know if someone will be true to their word or not. Let me ask this, he told me that for anyone it would be 1400, not just me, so 5 years from now it would be that too theoritically, so why is there such a price difference? I have heard some people getting a rebuild for around 1700, that seems reasonable to me, but 4-6K???? That is bull$hit. Oh, and I have not got a carfax report, besides them telling you if it has been in a wreck or not, why get one???

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A couple of comments. You bought a car with over 100000 miles and yet you are worried that the transmission might be prone to failure? If the transmission was going to fail due to a design fault, I would bet that this would have already happened. Oth, you now have a vehicle whose transmission is more likely to fail, as compared to a new vehicle, just because of age and mileage. The seller has given you an addition to the contract for a replacement transmission that sounds too good to pass up.

In addition, how many RXs are out there that haven't failed? I call this "the squeeky wheel" syndrome in that you usually only hear about the vehicles whose components have failed prematurely, transmissions, engines, or whatever. But you usually don't hear about the vast majority of the fleet whose owners DON'T experience premature failures. For example, my other car is a BMW with run flat tires. If you read the BMW forum, you could easily believe that, because I now have run flat tires, it is just a matter of time before I get a flat tire due to a nail or screw. There are actually BMW owners who believe that these tires are all worthless because you will most certainly get a flat now. Weird logic.

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Grumpa, I agree with you, but since this is my first lexus I am just nervous, maybe too nervous. Here is the update:

I called Lexus and ran the VIN #, it has been in several times for alignments and trim things, just misc. stuff. There was only one "service" record the guy said and that was at 7K miles. So either nothing has ever been done to the car (not likely IMO b/c of how nice it is) or the maintenance was performed somewhere else like an independent or something. Don't know if this is any reason for concern or not.

Second, the dealer told me that just last month it was brought in and they found a rear main oil seal leak but the owner "declined" to have it fixed to the tune of 1225.00. I have no idea if it was fixed elsewhere, doubtful since it was just last month, but maybe it was fixed by this dealer, I do know a "major service" was just performed b/c the dealer showed me on the auction slip that is for dealer's use only. He said that runs about 1200.00. The Lexus dealer told me that if I bring it out today they would put it on the rack and let me know if it is still leaking or not for free, should I do that? Or am I being to particular based on the fact it has 133K miles on it? I spoke to my Father about the whole thing, and he said "any" car with that mileage will probably have a leak or two and could have problems with a transmission, that is just the way it is. I guess I know this, but this is the most expensive car I've bought as an "everday driver" so to speak. I thought maybe I should take it to the dealer, then if there is a leak, talk to the independent that sold it to me and ask him to fix it. Would that be wrong? Should I not worry about a small leak if it never drips on the ground? And no I have not seen anything leaking from this car on the ground.

Thanks for any help.

Jason

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Grumpa, I agree with you, but since this is my first lexus I am just nervous, maybe too nervous. Here is the update:

I called Lexus and ran the VIN #, it has been in several times for alignments and trim things, just misc. stuff. There was only one "service" record the guy said and that was at 7K miles. So either nothing has ever been done to the car (not likely IMO b/c of how nice it is) or the maintenance was performed somewhere else like an independent or something. Don't know if this is any reason for concern or not.

Second, the dealer told me that just last month it was brought in and they found a rear main oil seal leak but the owner "declined" to have it fixed to the tune of 1225.00. I have no idea if it was fixed elsewhere, doubtful since it was just last month, but maybe it was fixed by this dealer, I do know a "major service" was just performed b/c the dealer showed me on the auction slip that is for dealer's use only. He said that runs about 1200.00. The Lexus dealer told me that if I bring it out today they would put it on the rack and let me know if it is still leaking or not for free, should I do that? Or am I being to particular based on the fact it has 133K miles on it? I spoke to my Father about the whole thing, and he said "any" car with that mileage will probably have a leak or two and could have problems with a transmission, that is just the way it is. I guess I know this, but this is the most expensive car I've bought as an "everday driver" so to speak. I thought maybe I should take it to the dealer, then if there is a leak, talk to the independent that sold it to me and ask him to fix it. Would that be wrong? Should I not worry about a small leak if it never drips on the ground? And no I have not seen anything leaking from this car on the ground.

Thanks for any help.

Jason

A couple comments FWIW. I remember buying a used Dodge Dart in 1977. It was in beautiful condition and I wanted a car with the slant 6 engine. I had two slant 6's prior and they were virtually indestructible. I thought anyone who kept a car so neat, clean and polished must have done the same mechanically. Boy, was I WRONG! I don't think that guy had ever changed the oil plus many other big problems. So, without maintenance records I would be very leery of buying this vehicle regardless of how nice it looks. At the very least I would pull a valve cover and make sure you don't have any indication of sludge/gel. I haven't had any trans or rear oil seal problems YET; but, they are expensive to fix. You will have to pull the trans to install a $25 seal. Good news is that Lexus has improved the seal design so you should only have to do this job once. I don't know, but I just don't think I would buy a used RX with 133k miles no matter how nice it looked.

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Everyone's input on here has been excellent advice. Definitely run a CARFAX. It provides more information that just accidents. You can see where the vehicle has been, some service records show up, change of ownership, etc. I've found several 'red flags' hidden in CARFAX reports when I've searched a vehicle.

As to the leaky rear main seal, this is common for these engines. So is a leaky camshaft seal. Usually, the leak is very, very minor and it's more of a 'weep' with trace evidence of leakage, not actual dripping to where it will make a mess. For me, this wouldn't be a major concern... and if you or someone else was truly going to pull out the transmission (which is needed to repair the rear main seal) to do the job, then that would be an opportune time to rebuild the tranny for peace of mind.

It sounds like you are dealing with a reputable dealership, for that's quite an offer to give you a two year repair offer on a vehicle with 100+K miles on it! If the vehicle is truly in great condition all-around other than a concern for a possible tranny failure because of what you've read, even though no symptoms are present, then I'd say you got yourself a very nice deal. $9K is a good price for such a vehicle.

If you go on Carsurvey.org, and look up under any make/model, you'll find EVERY car and maker has problems. You'll see Acura has a lot of transmission failures on their MDX and TL's. You'll see Audi is flooded with electrical gremlins. You see people slamming the Honda Pilot because they got a bad batch of A/C compressors from their supplier and they have a whole wave of failures in the early 2000's model years. You'll find information on any vehicle enough to scare you. Well, with the exception of a 4Runner... I had a '97 and sold it with 120K trouble-free miles. Every report I've seen anywhere says nothing but rave reviews on reliablity for them, even Consumer Reports.... but I digress.

Unfortunately, purchasing a vehicle with over 100K puts the onus on you for nearly everything from making a diagnosis if the vehicle is in good condition to handling any repairs that come up. This comes from a guy who purchased a '99 RX300 FWD with just a little over 110K miles. 20K miles and a year later the tranny failed (but boy did it drive perfectly up till it failed). The car was perfect when I bought it, but you never know (unless you've owned the car its whole life) what the vehicle has been exposed to, how it's been driven, if it's been abused, and how it's been maintenanced... so even though it looks perfect on the outside, it's still a bit of a black-box on what you're purchasing (but then this holds true for anything used... boats, motorcycles, etc.). I ended up purchasing a completely rebuilt tranny from Howard Engineering, a specialty company with a division that does nothing but rebuild transmissions. The tranny was $2600, the install was about $1200. I had the shop (that I trust) replace the rear main seal in my engine, as well as a few other little things, and the total bill was right at $4000. But now I have a 'new' transmission with a 3-year/30,000-mile warranty. Anything goes wrong, and it's all covered... including labor and parts. Now I've got my vehicle back that I love to drive, it drives tight and smooth like new, and a big portion of the drivetrain is covered under warranty. Not too bad for $13,000 (cost of the vehicle plus the repair). I don't feel like I got ripped off... it's just a part of doing business when purchasing used vehicles.

Whether to keep the vehicle or not is your decision. It sounds like you've got a solid vehicle, and it sounds like you got it for a great price... plus you have a repair offer for 2 years from a shop/dealer that's been in business for a quite a while with a great rep with the BBB. I'd say that's pretty good piece of mind. Hey, you can't always worry about 'what could happen'... the car could get totalled in an accident a week after you bought it, but you can't just worry and fret over that. You just need to make the best decision you can with the information in front of you at the time.

Good luck.

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Hey all,

You may have seen my first post introducing myself and my new (to me) RX300 with about 133K miles on it. I bought it at a dealer who has given me untill this wednesday to bring it back (and they will give me my money back). I wouldn't have even considered it until tonight when I ran across a thread about tranny problems or nightmares really, and the high cost of fixing them. I LOVE THIS CAR soooo much, but I am thinking that I should take it back b/c of the tranny issues alone. I spent 9 grand on it and I am not happy that if the tranny goes out I'll be spending another 5 grand, I would just have got a newer vehicle for that price. I am so torn up over this now b/c I have told/shown everyone my beautiful suv but I am thinking that this thing could turn into a nightmare. Most stories I've seen I'll be lucky to get 20K more miles out of it even though it is perfect now. Please some of you that are more experienced tell me what to do, I have never owned a lexus before and I am really nervous. Should I take it back, if so I'd like to do it tomorrow.

***Edit, I should mention that I did talk to the guy about "what if it goes" on the tranny as I am always concerned about that with any used car not just this rx300, and he said (and wrote into the contract) if the tranny goes within 2 years he will fix it for 1400.00 flat, does that change anything? On my search of people upset and having tranny problems the prices for fixing it ranged from 1700-6000, how in the hell is there that much of range on this? I will be contacting several tranny places tomorrow and asking them about how much it would be to fix an RX300 tranny. Furthermore, most people's complaints I read said that the Lexus dealer were !Removed! clowns at best when servicing their vehicles. I would like to know what percentage of RX300's have this tranny problem. I mean is there no one that has gone 200-300K miles without a problem anywhere in the world???? Maybe what I am reading on the internet is a small fraction of owners who are *BLEEP*ed (understandly so) and that is why it is all so negative. Isn't there any positive stories about the RX300 trannies?

THanks,

Jason

Do you know anything about the history of the vehicle? Is there any possibility the trans. has already been worked on? What does the trans. oil look like? You didn't say whether it was FWD or AWD. The AWD seem to have the most problems. Gone 200k- 300k Mi. with no tranny work in an RX? Probably not (miracles still do happen, maybe you'll be the 1st.) I don't think there are very many of any brand of car that the trans. goes that far with NO work- that's probably not very realistic. Toss a coin in the air- it's your money. How reliable is this dealer? Will he still be around if the car actually lasts 18 mo. and then the tranny goes? If he has guaranteed to do it for $1400. flat will he shop around for a place that will agree to do it for that price, but it's a cheap job? ANY car with 133k mi. is a crap- shoot. You may get another 100k care free miles out of it or it may blow up on you a month from now. There is a reason they're called USED cars. People don't trade in a car with 133k mi. on it because they wake up on Sat. morning and decide I have nothing to do today, I'll go trade this like new car in that I think I'll get another 150k trouble free miles out of because I like people so well that I want to spread this good fortune around. Like I said, flip the coin- it's probably as sure a thing as anything else on a car with 133k mi. Good Luck on your decision.

I get what you are saying, and my answer is I don't know. The shop has been around for 25 years and he does service/body work/sales. He seems like a good guy to me (the owner). I want this car but seriously I am not a guy who drops 20-30 grand on a car, so I have to get one with over 100K miles. I have no idea if the tranny was replaced. The car was bought at an auction (dealer auction) and he only buys the "best" so these don't come in often he said. I have the title with the previous owners name and address, I guess I could look them up and call them? As far as him being around in 18 months, I would say yes b/c he has been there 25 years, but it is possible he could shut his doors tomorrow I guess. And the quality of his fix, I have no idea, this is my first dealing with them but he is "packed" with customers so that says something to me. Also he is in perfect standing with the BBB with no complaints, that speaks volumes about an independent sales/service dealer. Question is, maybe I should just try to find an explorer or something, maybe I"m not the kinda guy that should own a lexus? Please anyone and everyone that can respond please do, I have a way out if I want it, honestly I love the car, but all these posts about problems have really scared me. Thanks,

Jason

Jason- thanks for answering the questions in an informed (as much as possible) way. Those of us who are detail people and want to help are frustrated when there are no details to work with. You have not left us to be frustrated. It sounds like this is probably a pretty solid situation. I think if I were in the situation I would strongly consider keeping the car, especially since you like it so well. The only suggestion I might make is to call the former owner and question them about the history, especially the transmission. Even though I drive a Ford (pickup) I probably would think twice about buying an Explorer. With 100k mi. or more I think your chances are a lot better at having trouble with it than the Lexus. Ford is a good vehicle but the Explorer has a history of quite a lot of problems. If I were in your shoes, I would probably take the chance- given the answers you have been able to provide. The forums are your friend- a lot of help here and on the other major Lexus forum. We're here to help! Good Luck. :)

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In a nutshell, there's no way I would purchase this vehicle....

My wife's previous vehicle was a 2000 RX300 AWD. I took meticulous care of it as I do with all of our vehicles, but it suffered from ALL of the common serious flaws that are prevalent in the early RX models: transmission failure, exhaust manifold failure, rear main oil seal failure, rubber strut mount bushing failure, and premature multiple oxygen sensor failures. Some of these failures occured during the warranty period, and some occured after the warranty expired, but ALL of these failures occured within 80,000 miles. I thoroughly researched these issues and challenged our local Lexus dealer on every single one of them, refusing to let them off the hook. Bottom line - they fixed every one of these failures on their dime, provided my wife with a loaner vehicle every time, and treated us well. But they knew that I had spent significant time researching the problems inherent to these vehicles and they also knew that I wasn't going to back down. If I had been required to pay out of my own pocket for these repairs, it would have cost me more than $9,000 over the period of time that we owned the vehicle. That is RIDICULOUS for a vehicle as supposedly "upscale" as the RX series. We sold this vehicle at 130,000 miles and I was glad to finally dump it from our garage. I fully disclosed all of these problems (and fixes) to my buyer and was somewhat surprised when he bought it anyway....

I've been driving for more than 39 years and this 2000 RX300 AWD was by far the worst vehicle I've ever owned. My wife's current 2004 RX330 AWD (now with about 78,000 miles on the odometer) is a better vehicle than the 2000 RX300 AWD was, but keep in mind that the bar was set extremely low and that's not saying much in my opinion. But I think Lexus learned from the mistakes they made with the early RX design flaws and upgraded some of the components, especially the transmission. I still change the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles because of being snakebit by my wife's previous RX300, however....

I continue to find the RX series overrated, underpowered, and way overpriced. My 1999 Dodge Ram pickup has a much smoother-shifting transmission, is far more durable and much better engineered, never needs anything but routine maintenance, and is head and shoulders better than either RX we've owned. The only reason we still have an RX is because that is my wife's primary vehicle, it's her choice, it's her money that bought it, so she gets to drive what she wants just like I get to drive what I want. But unfortunately, I'm the one getting stuck with all the maintenance issues, not her....

My advice? Take it back. I can't advise you to do anything else based on the terrible experience we had with my wife's first one. I know it is not what you want to hear but I have to be honest with you....

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Thanks for your replies, well I am taking it back right after I get off the computer here. I saw today in the sun what appeared to be body filler in a small area under the rear door and 1/4 panel. Upon further investigation it seemes that several of the body panels on the driver's side didn't line up. The hood is cockide when you compare the gaps in the headlights and the fender buldges weird on the driver's side. I took it to a professional body shop and they said "yep, definately a lot of work has been done to this car, and it really is not that good either", that was the last straw, based on all this that I have read, the record that just last month the real main seal was leaking and the owner did not fix it, and now the body work after I explicitly asked this dealer about any to which he responded "no way, it is perfect, nothing has been done" and the mother F$#%#% owns a body shop so don't give me the "well I didn't know" routine. That's it, thank goodness we get 72 hours to change are mind, you know it really sucks, this is why I feel used car dealers are sleezy, and I really wanted to trust this guy. The short of it, I guess I was only an RX300 owner for a couple days, and I really loved this car, hopefully I'll find another in my pricerange. Anyway you all that think I should keep it, this changes your mind right?

Thanks,

Jason

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Ohh he'l only repair/fix the transmission within the next 2 years? I didn't get that part...

I guess then the decision really is up to you. Could you be prepared to spend $4400 on a new transmission if it decided to go, lets say 3 years from now? For all you know, the transmission could never fail on you, or it could fail tomorrow.

some members on this forum have had numerous failures (i myself have had one) and others are into the 200k range with no problems even with little care. No one really knows for sure why there's such an anomoly of failures, we all kind of pray for the best.

I would only get the car if you can put aside $4400 just in case it decides to fail after 2 years. If it doesn't fail, heck you've got a good start towards your next car.

Just my opinion.

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Well, it is official, I am no longer an RX300 owner. Much thanks to all of you on this board that helped me. I have no idea how it would have turned out, but there were just too many red flags on this seemingly perfect car. First it was finding out about the tranny problems on these, second was the fact that as of a month ago it had a leak at the rear main seal that was not fixed (apparently according to lexus computers), third was the body work, and the kicker that actually made me laugh was on the way back to the dealer to take it back a dash light came on that looked like a car with rear blinking lights or something (I don't have an owners manual so not sure what it does) I'm sure that light was something simple, but all this was just too much for me to stomach b/c when I made the purchase I was assuming it was all perfect with no body work/lights/possible tranny problems/etc. I'm sad, but maybe it will be fun to look for something else, I don't know. I did drive an MDX, it was an 01 with 116K miles at a reputable dealer, they wanted around 10K out the door, I really liked it, are they good cars? Do they have any problems?

Jason

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When we were looking, it was a toss-up between the MDX and RX. The MDX is a good vehicle, but it too has suffered from transmission issues, although I've read that Honda is stepping up and replacing/repairing them to some degree. It drives a little more 'truck-like' than the RX, but still very nice.

Yeah, if you found signs the vehicle has been wrecked, then take it back. You will be able to find a decent RX300 in nice condition for under $10K... without being wrecked. This is something that should have clearly shown up on a CARFAX report. If not, then it's totally shady (meaning the wreck was never reported and all was done behind the scenes).

If the vehicle was pristine like you first thought, I would have said hang on to it. If you see signs of damage and repair, then who knows what else is lurking in there. Collision damage screws up all sorts of things. I'd say you made the right choice in dropping it like a hot potato!

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You should still get the carfax service for a month, I think it's 20-25 bucks and you can check any car you are looking at. If you are car shopping it will come in handy.

Jeff

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Thanks guys, I just got back from test driving an 02 MDX w/ 116K miles. You know, it really was a nice car, the interior was just awesome and it had navigation too. The came down to 10.5k out the door which is probably an ok deal, but honestly there is just not the "wow" factor that I had with the RX, I"m really depressed over it all. The whole weekend I just would stare out the window at it lol, I really fell in love with it, damn I want it back so bad, but I know i'm asking for trouble...:(

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You know, they did make more than one RX300... so there are probably more out there :) I know that feeling of disappointment (we just lost a seller for our house over something trivial, and it's a huge downer of disappointment), but it just means there's another one out there that's in excellent shape and waiting for you... keep looking, follow JGR7's advice and get the CARFAX subscription to help you be an informed buyer (on any make or model you end up going for), and you'll find just what you're looking for!

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Well, I thought I was in luck today (sort of, finding out all this tranny stuff lol) and came across an ad at a local dealer (bigger one) with a 99 with 160K miles on it. I was thinking hopefully the tranny had already been done, so I go out to look at it and they say it didn't sell so they took it to the auction to be wholesaled. OK, well later in the day they go and get it b/c I said I was interested and drive it 25 miles back to the dealership for me. I take it around the block, it was not my first pick on color but over all a really nice clean rx300. So I tell them I like it and we start talking price. I'm thinking, "well it was going to the auction, so maybe wholesale with that many miles they would get in the 7's for it so maybe I could do ok here", well he comes back with an out the door price of almost 13K! I laughed out loud, my !Removed! out actually and said the manager must be either a) smoking crack in his office or B) think i'm some kind of !Removed!. I then proceeded to tell them that smaller independents are "buying" these cars at these auctions and putting 8900.00 on them and will come down almost 1000.00 dollars with cash, so I know what they are getting them roughly for at the auction. Plus I explained about the tranny issues and how this is on very "borrowed" time and I'll be having to spend 4K on that soon and did they expect me to put 17K in this 160K mile lexus with a rip in the leather? They said yes, I said good day, wow, I can't believe they came at me with that number, am I crazy here?

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Well, I thought I was in luck today (sort of, finding out all this tranny stuff lol) and came across an ad at a local dealer (bigger one) with a 99 with 160K miles on it. I was thinking hopefully the tranny had already been done, so I go out to look at it and they say it didn't sell so they took it to the auction to be wholesaled. OK, well later in the day they go and get it b/c I said I was interested and drive it 25 miles back to the dealership for me. I take it around the block, it was not my first pick on color but over all a really nice clean rx300. So I tell them I like it and we start talking price. I'm thinking, "well it was going to the auction, so maybe wholesale with that many miles they would get in the 7's for it so maybe I could do ok here", well he comes back with an out the door price of almost 13K! I laughed out loud, my !Removed! out actually and said the manager must be either a) smoking crack in his office or B) think i'm some kind of !Removed!. I then proceeded to tell them that smaller independents are "buying" these cars at these auctions and putting 8900.00 on them and will come down almost 1000.00 dollars with cash, so I know what they are getting them roughly for at the auction. Plus I explained about the tranny issues and how this is on very "borrowed" time and I'll be having to spend 4K on that soon and did they expect me to put 17K in this 160K mile lexus with a rip in the leather? They said yes, I said good day, wow, I can't believe they came at me with that number, am I crazy here?

Sounds to me like they had a rather large supply of crack because that whacked out, they've been hitting it pretty heavy for quite a while. :snoooorrrtttt:

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Well, it is official, I am no longer an RX300 owner. Much thanks to all of you on this board that helped me. I have no idea how it would have turned out, but there were just too many red flags on this seemingly perfect car. First it was finding out about the tranny problems on these, second was the fact that as of a month ago it had a leak at the rear main seal that was not fixed (apparently according to lexus computers), third was the body work, and the kicker that actually made me laugh was on the way back to the dealer to take it back a dash light came on that looked like a car with rear blinking lights or something (I don't have an owners manual so not sure what it does) I'm sure that light was something simple, but all this was just too much for me to stomach b/c when I made the purchase I was assuming it was all perfect with no body work/lights/possible tranny problems/etc. I'm sad, but maybe it will be fun to look for something else, I don't know. I did drive an MDX, it was an 01 with 116K miles at a reputable dealer, they wanted around 10K out the door, I really liked it, are they good cars? Do they have any problems?

Jason

See posts 2 through 13 above.

Unless you know everything there is to know about an intended purchase (carfax, all service records, body shop inspection, indy mechanic inspection, and even driving habits of former owners) any used car, but especially a luxury car with over 100K, is a crapshoot. And never, never even consider buying any used car without a thorough inspection by an independent mechanic very familiar with that particular model. Further, even if major mechanical items never give you a single problem, the minor ones will fail and are $$$$. Are you prepared for that? And avoid used car dealers buying at auction. The best go privately or even locally through dealer network. I have an '05 w/ 75K, perfect shape, all records, knew former owner, no problems, but am getting out of it simply because I don't trust it long term--tranny, HID beams, motorized everything. (I also have a '93 245 Volvo, 220K miles, original tranny, engine never opened, which I took on a 5K trip this summer because I considered it more reliable/easier to deal with if anything went wrong). All the whistles and bells are nice when working, but a total $$$ PITA when not. JMO

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I see your point, and as far as being prepared to spend $$$$ on stuff I'm up in the air. I mean it is one thing to have to fix something evey now and then, but quite another to be throwing loads of it at something that continually has problems. I fear that maybe I have let the "internet" and the complaints of upset rx300 owners dictate my purchase here. I am prepared to spend $$$ I just don't want to have to continuallly throw loads of money at any car b/c of maintenance issues, and anyone that says well that is just the way it is, is completely wrong. I understand a used car is a gamble, however that is all I have ever owned, and this is a matter of principle not b/c I can't afford a new car. Originally I was looking at lower end suv's, blazers and explorers to be exact, but it seems like to get a nice 02'ish or so explorer you have to spend high 5K's in my part of the country and it seems like if I put a little more with it you can get a lexus rx300, but maybe that is the wrong way to think about it, I'm not sure. All I know is it seems like lower miles on an RX300 doesn't protect you either according to what I've read, in fact I would be much more *BLEEP*ed off if I paid all the extra $$$ to get a lower mile rx300 with say 60K miles and then the tranny went as opposed to say a 100+ one for a lot less $$$ and it happened. I mean for a 60K mile rx300 we are talking almost 20K in my area, where 100+ mile one is more like 10K. Being that miles do not seem to be the reason the tranny fails why would anyone buy the lower mile one? This is strange b/c this rx300 purchase is so backward from every other deal I've made. I always just looked for a well maintained vehicle and if it ran/drove perfect, engine looked/smelled/sounded good, I've been confident in the purchase, but not with the rx300.

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