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Need Your Input Please/ 99 Rx 300

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New to site; just put a deposit on 1999 RX 300. It had two previous owners, clean car fax, and a *maintenance record from both owners. It has 139,000 miles on it and appears to be very clean-(Paying $6,800). My local lexus dealer will do a free 99 point inspection so I am taking it there. After doing some research, it appears the transmission and an issue with the keys are areas of concern with this vehicle. (I checked the tranny fluid and it was a clean/light pink and the keys seemed fine, but I am far from being a mechanic)

I would greatly appreciate your input on the following and anything else that you think may be helpful. Thank you in advance.

What other areas may be of concern?

Does anybody have a 99 RX300 without transmission issues/concerns?

Is there anything I can do to prevent transmission issues?

Is there anything I should ask the mechanic to give special attention to when doing the inspection?

Is there a timing belt? If so, how can I tell if it has been replaced? *(not specifically noted on records; only states maintenance completed.)

Does the vehicle require high octane fuel only?

Do you recommend synthetic oil/high mileage oil from this point on?

Is it true Lexus will replace transmission fluid for free on this vehicle?

Suggestion for maintenance?

How is the 99 different from the 2000-2002?

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Is your Rx AWD or 2WD? The AWD version is the one that you should be worried about. Watching the transmission fluid is about all you can do, just as long as it stays pink and doesn't smell burned you should be OK. There have been owners on here that had transmission failures below 100k miles, while other owners are still trouble free at the 200k mark. If the fluid begins to appear dark, do a drain and fill every once and a while and you should be OK.

There is a timing belt, which should be changed anywhere between 90k miles and 120k miles. At the same time it's recommended that you replace the water pump since it's in the same general area. Take a look at it for wear and tear...

The Rx300 does not require high octane gas, but it might help prevent build up, causing premature sensor failures. When i had my Rx300 i would always put the mid-grade gas in. Never had any problems... And you can choose whichever oil you like, just make sure to change it more often with non-synthetic.

I've never heard Lexus doing ANYTHING for free though... I had the transmission fluid on my Rx300 flushed at a toyota dealer for a lot cheaper than what the Lexus dealer was asking.

There were a lot of changes to the 01-03 Rx300. It's believed on here that the transmission was somehow "fixed" for the 2001/2002 model year, but personally i think it's a load of bull. Pretty much only cosmetic changes for 2001-2003 such as headlights, taillights, spoiler, colors, interior chrome, wood, optional nav etc...

And not sure what issue about the keys you're speaking of... Do you mean programming? As long as you have one master key, you can program up to 3 additional master keys. Just don't lose all of them or you're in trouble.

Welcome to the site and good luck with the RX :) It's a beautiful car, and as long as you keep up with the maintenance it should last you a good while.

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I was told by a friend who happened to be a Lexus Tech to stay away from the 99's due to the trans issue. I purchased a 2000 model year. He told me when I was looking to buy, to start the car up and throw it into drive or reverse, while the car is cold. There should be no hesitation whatsoever. He also mentioned for me to stay clear of Rx's with the towing receiver. I had the timing belt and water pump done at 94K. I think 90K is the service interval. I almost forgot to mention that I had the rear main seal done at about 60K. Apparently that is about how long they last... Also, you want to make sure that the oil and filter is/was changed every 5,500 mile as these vehicles have sludge issues. He pulled the valve cover off the day I took it for a test drive and said that the camshafts looked great (eg. no signs of sludge). Good luck and welcome!

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bought the '99 AWD RX300 in 2003. had some issues, but the extended warranty took care of it up to 100k. no transmission issues so far (~125k miles).

the car is great, and as long as you properly maintain it (oil changes every 4-5k miles as Nelli mentioned), then the car will take good care of you. I'm hoping that car will give me another 5-6 years or 100k miles.

the only downside to this car is lack of in-dash nav and AUX unput. however, mounting a GPS to the windshield is not too difficult and someone on here showed how to install a AUX input.

no issues with the key (just make sure that the battery is fresh).

oh, one other item - make sure that the heated seats work. these tend to burn out around 100k, and replacing a new one is about $1k. so when testing the heated seats, make sure that the bottom heats as well as the back. if the bottom gets too hot too quickly, then that means it is going to burn out real soon.

hope this helps....

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