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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,952 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.

2004 Lexus ES 330 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Lexus ES 330 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #50

Jul 122010

ES 330

  • 97,834 miles


While driving, my transmission failed on my 2004 Lexus ES330 with 97,000 miles. Cars were swerving to avoid hitting me as my car almost came to a stop while driving on a busy road. Lexus corporate gave me half off the parts for the transmission and the dealer gave me half off of labor. However, transmissions are not supposed to fail on 1984 Buick, let alone 2004 Lexus' with under 100,000 miles.

- Rancho Murieta, CA, USA

problem #49

May 072010

ES 330

  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Lexus ES330. While driving at various speeds ranging from 0-10 miles per hour, the contact noticed that the transmission jerked, causing the vehicle to hesitate. The contact had not called the local dealer and the vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 42,000.

- Odessa, FL, USA

problem #48

Aug 302007

ES 330

  • 32,000 miles
My transmission feels confused in my 2004 Lexus ES 330. When slowing down to turn in the city or pull out of your driveway my car will hesitate and pause for about a second before accelerating. This seems to be very dangerous as I am afraid that someone will hit me in the back before I can get the car up to the desired speed. I find myself always double checking sometime triple checking beofre I pull out. I have looked online at many different websites and I have found about 1900+ people who have complained about this problem.

- Hamptonville, NC, USA

problem #47

Feb 172006

ES 330

  • 16,000 miles


2004 Lexus 330 since the auto was purchased and driven off the lot, there has been a noticeable delay from stop or slow speed acceleration from the time the pedal is depressed until the engine actually starts to deliver the power. If you stomp the pedal for a jack-rabbit start, the delay is not as noticeable. The dealer J and M, has been giving me the run-around since purchase with the "normal" party line.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #46

Jan 302010

ES 330

  • 64,500 miles
My 2004 Lexus ES 330 sedan has a transmission shifting problem that I have described to the dealer as "slipping". when the transmission is under load (going up a hill) and you accelerate or decelerate you feel and hear a definite abrupt shift in the vehicle. I have had this car to two separate dealers over the past 12 months and have been told that this behavior is "typical".

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #45

Dec 232008

ES 330

  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Lexus ES 330. While driving various speeds, the steering jerks, clicks, and feels as if it could detach from the steering column. In addition, transmission fluid is leaking and the computer reflash causes the transmission to fail. The contact stated that the computer needs to be reprogrammed for free so that the transmission will not fail. The contact was informed that the failure was common. The vehicle is currently in the repair shop for diagnostic testing, but they will not repair it because it exceeds the 50,000 mile warranty. The mechanic will only provide a temporary remedy. The failure and current mileages were 94,000.

- Desoto, TX, USA

problem #44

Jul 162008

ES 330

  • 55,500 miles


Due to a Lexus admitted transmission defect, at times you press the gas and the car simply doesn't go. It almost caused me to get crunched when pulling out into traffic. There's no doubt this will eventually cost someone their life.

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #43

Jan 242008

ES 330 6-cyl

  • miles
Car was purchased new in 2004. Problem started occurring shortly thereafter. Car has bad hesitation when accelerating creating a very serious safety situation. Car has been back to the dealer twice. Dealer, kenny kent Lexus in evansville, in will not or cannot correct the problem. They along with Lexus say this is the way the car was designed. What a joke they both are. Saying the car was designed with a safety defect is pure stupidity. Lemon law is our next option.

- Newburgh, IN, USA

problem #42

Sep 172007

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission issues and hesitation in acceleration. Have been back to the dealer 4 times since Oct 2006. Dealer "reprograms" the transmission but it does nothing.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #41

Aug 152007

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
The 2004 Lexus model ES 330 has a safety defect in the its transmission that the company refuses to fix. When the driver takes his foot off the gas and slows down, then steps back on the gas, there is a hesitation and at times a jerking in the transmission. Numerous complaints to Lexus have only brought the response that this is a known defect, but Lexus will not correct the problem. After spending 35,000 dollars for a car, this is not the response one expects to hear! as one's level of frustration with the problem increases, the temptation is to slam your foot on the gas to try to correct the problem, which could obviously lead to more serious issues. The service manager at the local Lexus dealership states he has had numerous complaints about the issue, but Lexus refuses to address the issue. The date referenced below is only one of continuous dates the problem has occurred; again Lexus has been non responsive and blatantly callous to requests to address the problem.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #40

Aug 302007

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles


Transmission shifting lurch between 30 and 40 mph still re-occurring after two software program updates.

- Friendswood, TX, USA

problem #39

Mar 312007

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Acceleration delay of up to 2 full seconds.

- Hercules, CA, USA

problem #38

Apr 252006

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles
Our 2004 Lexus E330 has exhibited many life threatening problems involving its automatic transmission performance. Of greatest concerns are life threatening instances over the two years. Hesitations occur when pressing the gas during critical entry attempts onto interstate hwys, etc. Where we have experienced near deadly transmission hesitations of needed power getting into oncoming traffic. My wife was almost killed by an 18 wheeler when she otherwise would have had adequate time to safely merge had the transmission not hesitated. She was fortunate to have survived. Just one of many close calls. Another ES 330 automatic transmission problem is the untenable, untimely, rough down and up shifting between the first and second gears that Lexus has advised has been corrected in the 2007 models which of course will not help with this vehicle I am stuck with. Such admittance support my argument that they are quite aware of this very un- Lexus type performance in the 2004. What a shame that Lexus would let the great Lexus name be so degraded by their failure to support their faithful customers in such justified complaints; this is our third Lexus!

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #37

May 012004

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35 miles
Very bad hesitation when accelerating. Took delivery 4/27/04 and found the problem immediately. Complained at 1000 mile checkup. Told to give it time. Complained again at 5000 checkup. They said they checked it out and it was operating as designed. Problem continued. Complained at 15000 checkup (9/28/05). Performed at this checkup per invoice: EG5017 26 99.9 perform tsb TC004-03. Recalibrate ECM engine and transmission. The problem is better but still exists. Have noticed via internet research that this is a widespread problem with the Lexus ES. Spoke today (11/28/05) with a service representative at my dealership and he acknowledges that this is a big problem they are dealing with and there appears to be no one good fix for it.

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #36

Nov 032005

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
We have a 2004 Lexus ES330 with 22,000 miles. We have been having problems with hesitation, hard shifts and missed gears for the last 10,000 miles. The dealer replaced the computer module at 16,000 miles and the car is a little better but not much. I took it back in for the problem at 21,000 miles and the dealer acknowledged that there was a problem with the car, but they did not know how to fix it. The dealer told me that Lexus told them that they were having trouble with a number of the ES cars after the module was changed but they did not know how to tell the dealer to fix it. I have spoken with Lexus and their representative again acknowledged that there was a problem with the shifting in the ES. Although both the dealership and the manufacturer have both admitted that there is a problem I have been unable to get them to even attempt to do anything about it. We have had this problem for over 1/3 of the time that we have had the car and now I have to wait 2 more weeks for a Lexus rep to come into town to "talk to me". the Lexus people told me they were going to look into my complaints and call me back in a couple of days and 10 days later I still had not heard from them. Not only do I find the problem very annoying I am very concerned that the hesitation problem could lead to an accident, and I am quite sure that the erratic shifting will lead to premature transmission failure.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #35

Sep 152005

ES 330

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004 ES 330 exhibiting transmission problems even after "dealer fix". there is sever gear hunting at every speed sometimes results in a lag of acceleration or acceleration lurches that result in close call accidents. Note that this problem did not start occurring until after 2,000 miles of driving after the car was purchased as brand new.

- Morton Grove, IL, USA

problem #34

Jun 042004

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
Transmission problems with my 2004 ES330 I am becoming very concerned with my new 2004 Lexus. I have had it in the service center four (4) times now with the same transmission problem. The service center keeps telling me that there is no problem with the transmission and that it is the way I drive... my 1999 Lexus did not have this problem and I am perplexed on why I am being told it is me and not the car. This last service call on August 22nd I was told to use a higher grade of gasoline. I have now gone through a tank of the high grade gas and my transmission is still slipping. I notice it when I slow to negotiate a turn, when I am driving between 15 and 20 miles per hour, also now when I am merging into traffic either slow or from a stop the car hesitates and then lurches forward with a kick.. I am beginning to be afraid to drive this car not knowing what will happen next. I have 3 children that need to be shuttled around every day and I am concerned for their safety as well.. I want to take it back to the service center but the feeling I am getting is that they think I am crazy. This is due to they say there is no problem with the transmission. Also, I don't need extra horse power with the higher grade of gas, the Lexus has plenty of power... can someone please help me in this matter? this transmission is junk... I have had my husband drive the car and he concurs that the transmission does slip and he feels it must be some type of modulator that is not getting the fluid to the torque converter or something like that.. I have less than 15,000 miles on my car and with this problem it feels like I am driving a car with 150,000 miles on it... I don't feel comfortable nor safe driving this car... please help... I have called Lexus 2 days after the purchase of my car when I first felt the irregular shifting patterns.. thinking it would get better I waited until my 1000 mile service check to bring it up a again.. it seems to be getting worse.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #33

Jan 012004

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles
The car hesitates when the gas pedal is depressed and then it lurches into gear. It has also pulled to the left since we bought it despites numerous repair attempts. We are currently enaged in a lemon lawsuit regarding this issue.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #32

May 162005

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
At low speed about 20-25 mph letting go of the gas pedal and press on again causes the transmission to hesitate for at least 1-2 second like it is searching for the right gear. This could cause an accident.

- Morganville, NJ, USA

problem #31

Feb 092004

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
When driving, the vehicle hesitated. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer, where the computer settings were changed, but the vehicle continued to hesitate. There were several close calls on the highway. The consumer would accelerate the vehicle but the vehicle would hesitate. Lexus did not seem to have a concern about the problem.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

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