really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,108 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Lexus ES 300 Owner Comments

problem #13

Nov 202009

ES 300

  • miles


2002 Lexus ES300 with unintended acceleration. Consumer states that the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly and the brakes would not work to stop the vehicle. The consumer stated when she placed the vehicle into drive, it accelerated quickly and crashed into another vehicle.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #12

Nov 222009

ES 300 6-cyl

  • 92,388 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES300. The contact stated as she came to a stop with her foot on the brake pedal, there was a bump in the road and the vehicle lurched and accelerated forward. The contact stated as the vehicle accelerated it hit another vehicle and there was extensive damage to both vehicles. There were no injuries. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was repaired and checked by a mechanic who stated there was no problem and everything was normal with the accelerator pedal. The mechanic also did a computer check showing no code problem. The failure mileage was 92,388. Updated 03/04/10. The consumer received a letter from Toyota stating upon examination of the vehicle, it was discovered that the after market floor mat that was on top of the factory floor mat was preventing the accelerator from reaching the floor. And it was not recommended to stack floor mats on the drivers side because of interference with the brake and accelerator pedals. Updated 04/06/10.

- Ft Washington, MD, USA

problem #11

Nov 122009

ES 300 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES 300. While entering a parking space, the vehicle accelerated without intention. The vehicle went over the side-walk and crashed into a parked vehicle. After hitting the vehicle, she put the vehicle in reverse, but the vehicle then accelerated into a tree. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a collision center. The current and failure mileages were approximately 45,000. Updated 12/16/09 pictures received. Updated 12/16/09

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #10

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 #9

May 152004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,900 miles
When driving a speed and the accelerator is pressed hard to pass or to enter a highway, the engine ravs but the car does not accelerate. The dealer tells me that is how the car is designed. I have a 2002 Lexus ES300 but have driven the 2004's and they act the same way. When you stump on the gas and the car does not go. It leaves you in a very procaries situation.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Mar 102004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • miles


While backing out of the parking space at work, the car went around a bend and continued to the stop sign. Approximately 250 feet. I never pushed on the acceralator at all during this time. The car went by itself. Whatever was happening, the computer evidently was telling the car to move without pushing the acceralator.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #6

Apr 132004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • miles
There were two such incidents. Upon coming back at lunch time to work, I turned to pull into a parking space. The angle of the car necessitated me to turn the steering wheel very tight to the right. With the pressure on the brake released but with foot in brake position the car surged almost hitting the parked car in front of me. It definitely a surge, a person can feel the sudden energy. In becoming more aware of the car after I had an accident doing this same type of maneveur, there seems to be a problem when trying to maneveur the car for parking and at the same type of the steering wheel turned very tight in one direction.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #5

Feb 202004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,800 miles
While on the way to work at approximtely 8:45 am, and shortly after leaving home, I stopped at a stop light at the intersection O muncaster mill road and bowie road. When light turned green I took my foot off of the brake and the car suddenly surged ahead without pushing on the acceralator. I missed the car ahead of me by inches. The brake stopped the car. This is the fourth incident with this car. Other incidents have been reported.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #4

Mar 082004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,005 miles
The Lexus ES300 was driven at almost 0 mph speed to get ready to park outside the garage. The car continues accelerating even after the driver was hitting the brake to stop the car. The car smashed the car garage door, and everyhing on the way. There was more than $5,000 damages to the car and $1,250 on real property. There was no major injuries to the driver, but body pain on soft tissues occurred after the accident.

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #3

Mar 012003

ES 300 6-cyl

  • 22,300 miles


I puchased a 2002 Lexus 300 from westside Lexus in houston, Texas. Since purchase the vehicle has surged when shifting at lower speeds numerous times and has surged when the vechile is on cruise control. I have complained numerous times to westside Lexus about the problem but they aways say that Lexus is aware of the problem and is trying to come up with a fix. Last year they adjusted the engine control module (ECM) calibration and Lexus said the car should drive better - it did at first but is now back to the same old surging at slow shifting speeds. I believe Lexus introduced the ES330 model this year to avoid a problem with the ES300 they could not fix. I am drivig an unsafe vehicle that Lexus makes no effort to fix except have the service tech. Give lame excuses. I thought I was purchasing an upscale car to drive instead it has turned out to be a miserable unsafe experience. Please make Lexus fix the defect or make them refund me my purchase price. Thank you.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #2

Nov 102003

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12 miles
1. while pulling into a parking space, at 2-4 mph, with my foot on the brake, the car suddenly accelerated at full speed, jumping the curb and hitting a tree with full force. Because of previous concerns with throttle problems noted with the dealership at 1000 and 5000 mile check, I immediately called the Lexus dealership. After a conference call with Lexus roadside assistance and the dealership, my car was flat bedded to the dealership. The frontal crash rendered the vehicle un-drivable. Radiator damage with leakage of fluid covered a portion of the parking lot. The Lexus dealership said they was no problem with the car. I could have been killed or somebody else live could have been in danger. 2. the front air bags did not inflate. 3. the brake rotors had to be corrected at 1500 miles and a "part" was ordered and put on the care to correct this problem. 4. the car when driving at above 50 pulls to the left and from the beginning it felt as though the car was uneven even when not moving. At that time I requested a written explanation of this problem and told my record at the dealership would substantiate this. On the night of the accident I learned by reviewing complaints from the office of defect investigations on the NHTSA web site that the problems have been known by the corporate office of Lexus from as early as January, 2002 in regards to all of the above problems. I also found out there have been two recalls on this vehicle that I was not informed about. I will be requesting an investigation with the Lexus East regional office and discussing this with the rockville Lexus office. I believe that this car is unsafe to drive. I brought the Lexus vehicle even with it's price tag because of its reputation and to drive my 3 year old grandson and 1 year old granddaughter in the safest manner I could facilitate. I am sure that my son and daughter-in-law will not allow this after this crash!!!! updated 7/3/12

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #1

Aug 072003

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
When pulling into a parking space traveling at less then 10 miles per hour, the car suddenly accelerated, proceeded forward hitting another parked car head on. The vehicle then jumped a curb and hit a second car. When attempting to stop the car using the brakes, the brake pedal was depressed but the car did not stop. In addition the air bag failed to deploy. Significant damage was done to two other vehicles beside mine. Updated 7/3/12

- Naperville, IL, USA

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