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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,936 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Lexus ES 300 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Lexus ES 300 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

May 052004

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Lack of response between the transmission and the engine. The consume explained that there is a lag time between stepping on the gas an the transmission responding. This hesitation was most pronounced when braking and then needing to rapidly accelerate, such as when merging into traffic. The consumer feels the vehicle inability to respond in a timely manner is a hazard. The consumer contacted the manufacturer who indicated that he vehicle was performing with in their specifications. The problem is so bad that the consumer intends to get rid of the vehicle.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #19

Aug 012002

ES 300 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
2003 Lexus hesitates on acceleration when slowing ( e.g., making a turn) and then proceeding to full speed. The manufacturer was aware of the problem in press reviews on release of the car, and took 2 years to provide a software patch that was alleged to have corrected the problem. The patch does not work, and the condition is a safety problem.

- Germantown, TN, USA

problem #18

Dec 012001

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Power train: Automatic transmission. Vehicle speed control: Accelerator pedal. Ar hesitates on acceleration, lunges at times, searches for proper gear and shifts hard. The heistation can be quite dramatic; enough to lose confidence in critical situations. The car has been "re-programmed" by Lexus, but problems continue. Lexus denies there is a problem and says the car functions as designed. Problems surfaced shortly after purchase and continue.

- Beavaerton, OR, USA

problem #17

May 192004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,900 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Dangerous condition exists with 2002 Lexus ES300, where a severe hesitation exists when accelerating at slow roll (< 5mph) at intersection turns, exiting driveways, and generally anywhere when trying to get into flow of traffic when nearly stopped - especially when a turn is involved along with the acceleration. Very dangerous condition exists when trying to enter lane, or make a turn, in front of fast-moving traffic. It seems the car's electronics does not regognize the accelerator's request for fuel under those conditions. This is exactly what complaint /case #100375515 listed and I have the exact same problems. I have taken it back to the dealer twice and another one sheduled for 5/21/2004.

- Chantilly, VA, USA

problem #16

Mar 232004

(reported on)

ES 300

  • miles
Brake rotors were replaced, entire new brake kit installed and all four tire were replaced prior to reaching 20K miles. The consumer has not been pleased with the shifting performance of the vehicle. The automatic transmission demonstrate erratic, rough and inconsistent shifting. The manufacturer installed a software upgrade but it only slightly improved the performance. The consumer also had a 2000 Lexus gs 300 which had a more dramatic transmission problem. The local dealer insisted that nothing was wrong with the vehicle.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #15

Aug 282002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Lexus ES300 had a major surging problem at approximately 40 mph. After a year of promises, Lexus came out with a computer upgrade that changed the problem from annoying to dangerous. The 1/2 and 2/3 shifts are wildly inconsistent, sometimes taking 2/3 seconds and feeling like a slipping transmission. When acceleration, as in a passing or avoidance situation, is called for the motor revs up and the car goes nowhere while the transmission searches for a gear. This can take 3/4 seconds and has already almost caused a accident. Lexus customer service says the car is performing as designed and no further modifications are planned.

- Georgetown, MA, USA

problem #14

Mar 012003

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,108 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Transmission is unreliable. Since March 2003, when accelerating the transmission slips. Updated 7/2/12

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 012002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,200 miles
The 2002 Lexus ES300 has a significant flaw in the new electronically controlled transmission system. This flaw has been recognized by multiple dealerships and by Lexus customer service. I have been waiting for a resolution to this problem since December 2002 which is shortly after I purchased the vehicle. There are three very obvious symptoms that have been occurring ever since I purchased the vehicle. Depending upon fuel and driving conditions, the car will develop a neck jerking shutter as it violently shifts between gears. This usually occurs anywhere between 40 and 50 mph, but most often when you are trying to maintain a constant speed. The second condition occurs when you go from a slowing situation into an acceleration situation. During this time, the car often goes into a neutral condition and takes a couple seconds before power is returned to the wheels. This condition is very dangerous when moving into traffic or turning a corner. When turning, you will nearly coast around the corner until the power is returned to the wheels. When the power is returned, it is very abrupt and lunges the car forward. The third condition occurs during full throttle acceleration. This is most evident when accelerating onto a highway. The car seems to shift into a very low gear where RPM is nearly red-line and power is almost non-existent. The car then jerks into a different gear where you may get more power, but it doesn't usually stay in that gear either. It then shifts back to the low gear, red-lines again and repeats the process. This will often occur 2 or 3 times before a good gear is found and you can then proceed with normal driving. At this point, Lexus did make a couple lease payments for me in exchange for waiting a few more months for the fix. Unfortunately, that was nearly a year ago and I'm still waiting. We need to get this fixed before someone gets injured, not after!

- Viera, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 012002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,500 miles
When the accelerator is pressed for the purpose of passing or for merging into traffic at varying speeds between 25-50 mph, the vehicle "lags" or encounters a dead spot before responding (by suddenly speeding off). The vehicle seems to be attempting to decide how to respond to the action of the accelerator being pressed (whether to remain in the current gear, or down-shift for quick acceleration). The 'rpms' will rise extremely high, before the transmission figures out what gear to shift into in order to comply with the request of the driver's action. This 'lag period' is an extremely dangerous time for the vehicle's occupants as the vehicle does not respond like normal vehicles confronted with a "wide-open-throttle" request do. If my wife, who is no "car buff" and generally does not pay attention to anything but starting the vehicle, has also brought this issue to my attention, then I know there is definitely a problem. As the problem presents itself as a serious safety issue for my family, I have contacted Lexus customer service who have advised me that "Lexus is attempting to develop a fix for the concern that many of our customers have brought to our attention". I have been waiting for this "fix" for over 7 months now, and the expected date keeps being pushed back! please take some action regarding this serious issue, as there are many other Lexus owners who were in the "passionate pursuit of perfection" (Lexus slogan), but have not taken the time to file a complaint!!

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #11

May 012002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
I have experienced significant delay in downshifting when attempting to merge with traffic in my 2002 Lexus ES300. Following the delay, the transmission shifts to the top of the RPM range effectively resulting in no acceleration, then it up shifts to an appropriate gear. This is a dangerous condition. I have had several near misses from being rear ended as a result. The dealer has duplicated this problem on other 2002's and Lexus in California admits there is a problem but has no fix. I have been told for almost a year now that a fix is coming but still no fix. I hope someone does not get killed from this defect before it gets fixed! please do something.

- Fincastle, VA, USA

problem #10

May 012002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

1. shuddering transmission in stop/go traffic. 2. when at a complete stop, car nudges forward even when brakes are fully depressed. Notified dealer as well as Lexus Corp and was told no fix is available at this time.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #9

Oct 302001

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
1) stumble - this occurs when you quickly accelerate and the car hesitates for 1-2 seconds before it kicks in. 2) shudder - with no pattern, the car will suddenly shudder. This occurs with no/little acceleration. 3) surging - the car surges approx. 1/2 foot when the air conditioner is on. I have noticed that this problem is intensified when the car is slowly (e.g., in traffic) moving down hill.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #8

Jan 082003

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150 miles
The transmission had a jerk in the transmission, the dealer told the consumer it was the design the of the vehicle.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #7

Dec 102002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 228 miles
Transmission gets confused when shifting into and out of the lower gears, then spends too long trying to figure out what gear to be in. This causes dangerous delays in acceleration, the effect is the same as a momentary engine stall. We have had this happen on several occasions, freeway ramp entrances are certainly the most dangerous place that this has occurred. Dealer acknowledges that there have been complaints about the shifting delays but they say no fix is available. This is our third ES300, the previous models used a cable between the gas pedal and the throttle, this new one uses what is called "fly by wire", a position sensor on the accelarator that a computer is supposed to use to figure out what to tell the engine and transmission. It isn't working very well. If not rectified this problem will certainly lead to a crash someday, then we'll get to see how good the safety equipment is.

- Worthington, OH, USA

problem #6

Nov 122002

(reported on)

ES 300

  • miles
Shift comfort issue exists at somewhat predictable driving conditions that cause the driver to handle the car in a cautious manner to avoid vehicle malfunction.

- Devon, PA, USA

problem #5

Aug 252002

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at 20mph and with no warning making a turn and vehicle will stall. It will be hard for consumer to control vehicle. Dealer notified.

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #4

Jul 202002

(reported on)

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car has very poor shifting characteristics. It is always annoying and sometimes unsafe. Twice I have started to quickly accelerate from a stop to turn left and had the transmission start to downshift then wait through a delay as if the software was confused. The result was the car sitting in the intersection with the accelerator depressed but no power to the wheels for around 1 or 2 seconds. Dealer acknowledges "shifting comfort" issues are the number one complaint for the car but says no fix is available. I have been in discussions with the service manager on this issue for over 8 months and have had no help.

- Evans, GA, USA

problem #3

Jan 012002

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
We have an escalating shudder when down shifting the transmission. The dealer acknowledged that they have a problem with software between the engine and the powertrain/transmission. They do not have a fix and are asking customers to drive the vehicle for another possible 45 to 60 days until the fix is issued. We have requested another car since this is our 4th ES400 in the past ten years and the 97 Lexus we traded was in perfect condition. We are not willing to wait for a repair and have notified the company that they need to resolve our problem caused by their defective product with a new vehicle.

- Lake Mary, FL, USA

problem #2

May 222002

(reported on)

ES 300

  • miles
The car stalls and pauses in traffic. The car has rough vibration when the gears shift. The dealer said the computer was designed to operate in that manner and that there is presently no correction for the problem. The dealer acknowledged the problem, but refuses to replace the car or to buy me out because this problem has not resulted in any fatalities.

- Menomonee Falls, WI, USA

problem #1

Mar 252002

(reported on)

ES 300

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Car won't go into gear properly during stop-and-go traffic or pull out into traffic while turning a corner, resulting in unsafe situations as noted by other cars' horns honking and brakes being applied. Dealer says it performs as designed by factory, and there is no way to fix it.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

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