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2003 Gs300 Handling In Snow?


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Hi Folks,

New to the forum and thought I would ask some experts (people who own GS300's) about the 2003 gs300 model car I am looking at buying. It is fully loaded and has everything, 75,000 miles. Any tips/points to consider would be greatly appreciated. My main concern is that it is rear wheel drive. However in looking at the car it has a couple of buttons that I don't know about, the VSC and the snow buttons. I believe from researching on the web that the snow button starts the car in second gear or something along those lines, I assume that happens transparently while I put it in (D)rive when the button is depressed. The VSC button I have no clue about I surmise that it is some kind of traction control or something along those lines? In addition what has been any of your experience with driving the gs300 RWD in snow and rain? I live in the northeast and it can get pretty sloppy up here. Should I think about a separate set of snow only tires for the winter months? Again please forgive my ignorance, I have been in love with the gs300 since the late 90's (my boss had one back then) and I have a chance to get one now (actually a choice between the '03 gs300 and an 04 'IS300) and I would really like to get it, but a lot of folks have told me to go with all wheel drive and stay away from the RWD cars. Thanks in advance for any help/pointers/advice you can provide, it is greatly appreciated.

DVCKev

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Hi Folks,

New to the forum and thought I would ask some experts (people who own GS300's) about the 2003 gs300 model car I am looking at buying. It is fully loaded and has everything, 75,000 miles. Any tips/points to consider would be greatly appreciated. My main concern is that it is rear wheel drive. However in looking at the car it has a couple of buttons that I don't know about, the VSC and the snow buttons. I believe from researching on the web that the snow button starts the car in second gear or something along those lines, I assume that happens transparently while I put it in (D)rive when the button is depressed. The VSC button I have no clue about I surmise that it is some kind of traction control or something along those lines? In addition what has been any of your experience with driving the gs300 RWD in snow and rain? I live in the northeast and it can get pretty sloppy up here. Should I think about a separate set of snow only tires for the winter months? Again please forgive my ignorance, I have been in love with the gs300 since the late 90's (my boss had one back then) and I have a chance to get one now (actually a choice between the '03 gs300 and an 04 'IS300) and I would really like to get it, but a lot of folks have told me to go with all wheel drive and stay away from the RWD cars. Thanks in advance for any help/pointers/advice you can provide, it is greatly appreciated.

DVCKev

VSC= Lexus form of electronic stability control. Your right in that the "Snow Button" starts the car off in 2nd gear to reduce the potential of spinning the tires when starting in 1st and a change in torque.

I too live in snow country, When all we had was rear wheel drive we always put on snow tires. Now, In moderate climates, I feel you can get by with a GOOd set of all season tires. I don't drive a GS, but from what my friends at the dealer tell me, a good set of snow tires on a GS will always be a good investment.

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Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I did buy the GS so that advice will come in handy. I talked the dealer down another $400 so that should cover the bulk of the cost of my snow tires. I'm gonna try and wait till next year as it is almost spring, hopefully it won't be that bad the rest of the way. I assume that people put the snow tires on themselves? I can't really see how to get them all in my GS and take them to a store lol.

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Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I did buy the GS so that advice will come in handy. I talked the dealer down another $400 so that should cover the bulk of the cost of my snow tires. I'm gonna try and wait till next year as it is almost spring, hopefully it won't be that bad the rest of the way. I assume that people put the snow tires on themselves? I can't really see how to get them all in my GS and take them to a store lol.

My dealer has a "price match" policy where in they will match any price from any one, even Tire Rack. In addition, they put them on and balance for $20 a tire and brought them to my home wrapped in individual plastic bags. You might check with your local dealer.

Paul

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I have a GS300 -00, living in Sweden, a lot of snow here more that 5 months per year.

Besides good winter tires, not "Mudd & Snow" tires, wrong rubber mixture. You need real winter tires.

And, you need a bag of sand in the trunk, just behind the rear seat, not much 40 - 50 kg will do.

The car i very capable compared to other rear wheel powered cars, due to the anti spin system that works very well when the switch is in Snow Mode. However the car is somewhat light in the rear when it is slippery.

/Råger

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I'm in Chicago and have been through 3.5 winters in my GS400. Don't know about where you are in MA, normally we have decent snow removal, but occasionaly the snow gets ahead of the plows. I haven't had many issues with the car in the snow. Only, 2, to be exact.

I definately have a love/hate relationship with the traction control/snow setting.

Once in a really bad storm, I had to stop before turning right and imediately procede up an incline overpass. I got about 30 ft. and then stopped dead! I waited until the trailing traffic passed, turned off the VSC, put it in power, got the wheels really going and "walked" it up the overpass at a 45 degree angle! That was so much fun I had to stop in a big empty parking lot on my way home and do it all over again in little safer environment.

Only other issue was another really bad dumping and had to try to power it up the driveway through 12 inches of the white stuff! Not really the best plan ... I got about 5 ft. in and damn if it didn't stay there until the next morning when I could shovel it out! Fun times. I love my GS and wouldn't trade it for the AWD version unnless they figure out a way to remove the "bump" next to the drivers leg.

It's a sweet ride! Enjoy.

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I'm in Chicago and have been through 3.5 winters in my GS400. Don't know about where you are in MA, normally we have decent snow removal, but occasionaly the snow gets ahead of the plows. I haven't had many issues with the car in the snow. Only, 2, to be exact.

I definately have a love/hate relationship with the traction control/snow setting.

Once in a really bad storm, I had to stop before turning right and imediately procede up an incline overpass. I got about 30 ft. and then stopped dead! I waited until the trailing traffic passed, turned off the VSC, put it in power, got the wheels really going and "walked" it up the overpass at a 45 degree angle! That was so much fun I had to stop in a big empty parking lot on my way home and do it all over again in little safer environment.

Only other issue was another really bad dumping and had to try to power it up the driveway through 12 inches of the white stuff! Not really the best plan ... I got about 5 ft. in and damn if it didn't stay there until the next morning when I could shovel it out! Fun times. I love my GS and wouldn't trade it for the AWD version unnless they figure out a way to remove the "bump" next to the drivers leg.

It's a sweet ride! Enjoy.

Thanks for the comments folks, I'm just a little south of Boston and the snow isn't usually real bad. However this year the snow was unbelievable, the 2nd most on record ever! But fortunately I just bought my GS a about a week and a half ago so the snow is hopefully all done now. My love of the GS outweighed the rear wheel drive issue lol. Also having a bunch of lexus owners such as yourselves to bounce things off of really helps, so thanks again to everyone!

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  • 2 weeks later...

VSC does a pretty good job. I use Snow Mode in traffic when it's slippery and also in stop and go traffic in summer.

One thing is sometimes you need to switch VSC to 'off' so that you can spin the wheels and not get stuck - a paradox.

THe best snow tires you can afford are a must.

Having said that, I'm looking for a used Jeep for next winter.

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