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2007 Rx350 - Transmission Shot


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I have a 2007 RX350 with around 265,000 miles.

I had the car serviced including a minor transmission service about 10,000 miles ago at a Lexus dealer. A couple of days ago, the clutch started slipping really bad, so I took it to a local mechanic and he said the transmission had virtually no fluid in it, what existed with black and gunky. They tried flushing it and refilling it to see if the transmission could be saved, but the replacement fluid turned black, too. My only option to save the car is to replace the transmission. The mechanic said Lexus considers the transmission fluid permanent so they generally just drain some and add some during a service, so it just gets dirtier and dirtier. He said if I had been maintaining the transmission properly, it wouldn't have failed. But I have always taken it to the dealer for service on a regular basis!

My question is, if I just had the car serviced 10,000 miles ago, wouldn't they have noticed how bad the fluid was? I just don't understand how I could have gotten to full fluid, even dirty, to almost no fluid in 10,000 miles.

Thanks --

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Hi Karen, I have the same Lexus as u with many less miles on it. What confuses me is (1) why a dealer would drain just a little trans. fluid out & just put a little in when all the fluid could come out and be replaced. It takes around 4 qts. Why would anyone, especially a dealer stop any sooner especially if the fluid was discolored. My theory is they did not touch your trans. drain plug and had no clue as to the condition of it. (2) Why a dealer would not replace any trans. fluid with 265,000 k on it. It should have been replaced at 100,000 or around that milage in my opinion. Their defination of "permanant" is very loose indeed. U could call a professional trans. shop & ask if there is any trans. fluid that "never needs to be replaced."

My solution is this; Go talk to the dealer where the car has been serviced, and explain your situation, and ask for some "goodwill" as to the repairs. If they do not agree to help u, explain to them that u are very dis-satisfied with their "service" & that u will call Lexus customer service with a very pointed discussion as to their service on your vehicle. Of course the dealer won't like it, but the alternative is a huge expense for u. Good luck, Steve

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No auto transmission fluid is "permanent". My question is this: Was the fluid ever changed before? If not, you were very lucky to get that many miles out of it, and if the cost to replace it exceeds 50% of the value of your vehicle, your best bet is to consider your vehicle as scrap. Move on and consider this to be a lesson well learned.

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I would contact Corporate Lexus and show that you had all service at the dealership and ask why your transmission was serviced or not serviced properly. This should be on their dime. You trusted the dealer to do the right thing and they failed.

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FWIW, we did have the car serviced on a regular basic at Lexus dealerships. Yesterday I talked to the dealership where the most recent service was done, and they told me that what probably happened was that the clutch pack inside the transmission probably failed. I got 260K+ miles out of it, and that's doing pretty well.

They said it is Lexus's policy not to ever flush and fill the transmission since it stirs up the accumulated crud from normal wear and tear and may distribute it in parts of the transmission where it won't be flushed out. In other words, it might do more harm than good.

Given that it probably needs another $6500+ in maintenance (including transmission replacement and other stuff), I guess it's time to bid farewell to the old girl.

Thanks for all your responses --

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