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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 1 of 2)

problem #40

Aug 162011

ES 300

  • 139,450 miles

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

My 2002 Lexus ES 200 was dying or not starting at all. Suddenly, it was working fine. 2 days later, while idling or when my foot was on the brake, it would lurch forward and start accelerating at sometimes 40mph. I had to slam on the brakes, then emergency brake to stop, then after I turned it off, it would shake forward.

- Mcminnville, TN, USA

problem #39

Aug 282010

ES 300

  • 20,000 miles
Lexus (2002 ES) has dramatic transmission stutter at low or high speeds, jerking occupants and making quick starts (turning across lanes) very dangerous.

- Beachwood, OH, USA

problem #38

Feb 132010

ES 300

  • 48,800 miles
I have a 2002 Lexus ES300. My car at slower speeds has been jerking/surging at lower speeds and lurches forward without notice. It is a nightmare to drive this car in traffic. I keep being told its normal, it seems hundreds of others have complained, but I'm not getting anywhere. The Lexus dealership did a software upgrade recently, it only made the matter worse. I hate driving this car, everyone in my family avoids driving it, as we just don't feel comfortable in the way it accelerates and shifts gears. Its a 2002 model, with 49K miles. I avg 25K miles a year driving, do the math, this car sucks, and I avoid using it out of fear/annoyance.

- Battle Creek, MI, USA

problem #37

Jan 052003

ES 300

  • 500 miles

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

I present this as information to complement the present issues with Toyota motor company and its institutional failure to respond to safety related incidents. I owned a 2002 Lexus ES300. The mechanical/computer problem with this car involved the failure of the transmission to downshift effectively when merging into traffic at 40-50 mph. This issue was first observed when I attempted to merge into the freeway in front of a fast moving truck. The transmission downshifted but did not engage in 3rd gear, but simply disengaged the engine from the wheels; the engine rpms increased, the tachometer went to the red line and the computer shut off fuel to the engine. Thus the car decelerated in front of the truck. This was easily replicated, and many similar stories filled the auto chat rooms at that time. Lexus response at the dealer level: " you use the wrong fuel; you have driven incorrectly and programmed the computer to respond this way; this is the only car behaving like this" the shop foreman drove with me, observed the problem and wrote an incident report to Toyota. I demonstrated the effect on a new Lexus with the service manager, who still was not able to admit that a serious problem existed. Lexus response at the national level: "no problems have been reported on a problem you describe." Finally a service rep showed me a print out from national Lexus service, "tell the customers that the transmission is behaving the way that it was designed! " of course, it was incorrectly designed and it behaved that way. After two years, a partial computer upgrade was sent to the dealers and installed. Mine was the second car with the fix, the Lexus dealership owner was the first. My point is that the Toyota/Lexus corporate response to safety issues at the national level has been to stonewall and deny the existence of problems even when they could produce potential catastrophic results. This historical policy of denial existed long before the present issues gained notoriety.

- Oxford, MS, USA

problem #36

Feb 292008

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
Lexus 2002 ES 300 82,000 miles transmission went completely out with no warning and was serviced on 02/28/2007 with 58995 miles as an oil change attendant notified my that my transmission fluid looked completely worn out. My starter was replaced by Lexus of tulsa on 01/29/2008 the service manager said he had never seen one completely worn out as this with so few miles. I wonder if I have a lemon. Lexus of tulsa has quoted a transmission replacement of 4200-4600 dollars this is unacceptable. My wife and I have a new baby at home and this is our only car that the baby's car seat can travel in. We need help.

- Claremore, OK, USA

problem #35

Sep 142007

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,300 miles
Car accelerates when not appropriate and shifts very poorly especially when the air conditioning is on. Seems to be stuck in gear when trying to accelerate to pass another vehicle. Hesitation. Bucks and shifts really hard intermittently.

- Riegelsville, PA, USA

problem #34

Oct 152006

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Transmission shifts roughly and sometimes abruptly in the lower gears. The downshift at times is very hard. The vehicle will also surge forward at times or will not accelerate for several seconds after the accelerator is depressed.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #33

Aug 122006

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
The transmission on this vehicle will hesitate and surge causing erratic behavior. This behavior is dangerous and annoying. One never knows how it will react. I would like this fixed once and for all. The dealer has not been able to fix after several attempts. The Lexus user group has many complaints regarding this behavior. This is a problem that may get someone injured.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #32

Jun 012006

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,900 miles
When my vehicle is immediately put in drive gear from reverse gear, foot taken off the brake and tap the gas pedal, my vehicle surges forward as if it is in full throttle. As result, my vehicle jumped the curb and impacted a brick wall. I suffered a bloody nose and a cut on my hand. The vehicle suffered frontal damage and is undriveable. I have contacted the auto manufacturer. They will tow and inspect it.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #31

Apr 122006

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
Dangerous hesitation in the transmission when stepping on the gas after decelerating. Nearly caused an accident. Lexus has tried 2 times to fix and nothing has helped.

- Portland, TN, USA

problem #30

Feb 012006

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

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

This vehicle hesitates intermittently in traffic and has a dangerous loss of power. When I pull out into traffic, or turn a corner, the vehicle occasionally loses power and will not engage for several seconds, then the vehicle will proceed. I have also had the transmission completely blow up and the vehicle completely lost power, and had to be towed. The dealer has denied that this problem exists, and that I am the only one that is experiencing this problem. They have refused any assistance.

- La Quinta, CA, USA

problem #29

Dec 152002

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
The flaws and failures of the transmission in my 2002 Lexus ES300 were noticeable within 500 miles of driving the new car off the lot. I now have 47,000 miles on the car and Lexus has performed re-programming of the transmission logic. However, that has not helped. It seems that as I drive more mileage the problem of the transmission not knowing what gear to be in is becoming worse. The resulting hesitation is dangerous for the driver and occupants of my car as it results in close-calls with other vehicles hitting me from behind during hesitation.

- Oakley, CA, USA

problem #28

Aug 042005

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Lexus 300 has a dangerous and significant hesitation and shifting problem. Acceleration is sluggish and then surges forward suddenly causing the vehicle to move forward unexpectedly. In addition, there is a repeated shifting problem at low speeds wherein the vehicle continuously shifts in and out of overdrive, again with unexpected and uncontrollable results. The dealer indicated this was the way these cars were engineered and did an firmware upgrade. However, the problem persists in much the same way.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #27

Jun 302004

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When accelerating in my 2002 Lexus ES300, I experience hesitation of a few seconds before the vehicle begins to increase in speed. This did not seem to be a problem when I first got the vehicle, but over time has become extremely noticeable and dangerous since I drive on the major highways in the Washington, DC area. When it was reported to my dealer a few months ago they explained it away and took no action.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #26

Feb 052005

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Lexus ES300 has had continual transmission and shifting problems. We took it in for the update but that did not fix the problem. When I asked again I was told I already had the update and there was nothing else that could be done. I believe Lexus needs to take responsibility and fix this issue. Often times I will press the gas pedal to quickly get out of the way and the delay is not only annoying, it's dangerous.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #25

Dec 212004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
Rough shifting/slipping in lower gears (1,2). When accelerating in stop and go traffic car seems to stall before it suddenly bumps into gear. Intermittently - when accelerated suddenly (moving steady at about 10 miles per hour) transsmision slipped out of gear, engine RPM reached about 4000 RPM. It engaged in gear after I released accelerator.

- Andover, NJ, USA

problem #24

Sep 162004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
I own a 2002 Lexus ES300, and the car is dangerous! I've taken it to the dealer many times to have the transmission checked out, because it hesitates in traffic when you press the gas.they just say some babble about the "transmission just needs to get used to the driver", im sorry but just because we can afford an expensive car doesnt mean that we're stupid. This is my wife's car, and I really don't think there needs to be any injuries or fatalities to have something done about this wide spread problem.

- Fort Worth , TX, USA

problem #23

Nov 092004

ES 300

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,600 miles
When accelerating or decelerating vehicle shifted violently. Dealer stated they knew about the problem, but could not find a solution at this time.

- North Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #22

May 112004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
2002 Lexus ES300 with about 18,000 miles has a problem with hesitation when accelerating after slowing down, especially after completing a turn. It is like the transmission doesn't adjust with the pressing of the gas pedal. Almost had an accident because of the hesitation. Also I have had problems with the car down shifting as I come down a hill. Also a problem with the car trying to decide what gear to be in when going around 20 to 25 miles per hour. You can feel the car change gear. Passengers even have asked what was that? complained to dealership, and was told it was the way I drive. I had the sb-TC004-03 performed after receiving the letter from Lexus, but it didn't help. May have made it worse.

- Valrico, FL, USA

problem #21

Jul 292004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at any speed, transmission slipped while shifting from third to fourth gear. Also, there wa S hesitation, and the rpms went way up. Dealership replaced a chip and calibrated the transmission, and problem recurred.

- Rowlett, TX, USA

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