really awful
Crashes / Fires:
28 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
14 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,725 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #40

Aug 082014

ES 300 6-cyl

  • 175,000 miles


I own a 2002 Lexus ES300 and am the original owner. I have enjoyed the experience of driving the car to around 175K miles in nearly 12 years. So far, I did not have any major problems with the car until recently. Last Friday, Aug 8, 2014, my wife drove the car to a friend's place and was parked in a parallel parking area. There were 3 cars in that parking area including my car in 5 car parking area. The two parking spots behind my car were vacant. My wife was trying to back up to a spot right in front of another car which was parked there. While trying to backup, there was a sudden acceleration of the engine and hit the car right behind and that car went and hit another car that was behind that car. The impact was so much that there was significant damage to my car and another car that was right behind and minor damage to the third car. Not only the damage to one car right behind but displaced its position and direction that it was parked. The third car was pushed over to the curb and was about to hit the pedestrians that were nearby. There were eye witnesses and police were called to the accident scene and reported the incident. After the incident occurred, I was looking to see if there were any issues with sudden acceleration of the cars and any safety recalls. I did notice that there were quite a few complaints about the sudden acceleration and safety issues on 2002 Lexus ES300. I am kind of disappointed in the way the car malfunctioned and I want to know what NHTSA is doing about it and how it can help victims like me. Thanks and appreciate your response.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #39

Jul 122011

ES 300

  • 83,207 miles
Several times when I accelerate from a stop sign...car surges.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #38

Oct 122011

ES 300 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
I was backing into a parking space at my town's transfer station. As I came to a stop, I began to shift into park with my foot on the brake, the car suddenly accelerated out of my control. The vehicle smashed into a three foot concrete wall coming to a stop. The car suffered extensive back end damage. I was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for xrays of my neck and spine. Thankfully I am not injured. This vehicle was not under my control. It was as if it had a mind of it's own. I am a clear headed, forty eight year old female. I have a perfect driving record. This was the result of something out of my control. I believe this 2002 Lexus ES 300 is a dangerous car. I have only had the vehicle for two years. It was purchased as a second car for my husband. The car does not have floor mats nor did I confuse the accelerator and brake.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #37

Aug 162011

ES 300

  • 139,450 miles


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 #36

Aug 042011

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES300. The contact stated that while at a stand still and depressing the brake pedal, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The vehicle continued to accelerate until crashing into the vehicle in front of the contact. As a result, the contact experienced pain on the right shoulder, chest and upper arm. The driver of the vehicle that was crashed into was transported by ambulance to the hospital because she experienced back pain. The police reported to the scene and a report was filed. The vehicle sustained damage to the front end and was towed to an auto body shop. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and a complaint was filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 74,000. Updated 08/30/11 the consumer also stated the air bags failed to deploy. Updated 11/30/11

- Missouri City , TX, USA

problem #35

May 102011

ES 300

  • 95,000 miles
I was stopped at a red light approximately 3-4 ft. Behind a utility truck. Suddenly the car surged forward and hit the rear end of the truck in front of me.

- Orland Park, IL, USA

problem #34

Dec 142009

ES 300

  • miles


2002 Lexus ES200. Attorney writes on behalf of client in regards to unintended acceleration the attorney stated his client was injured when the vehicle accelerated on its own and crashed into wall and metal fence, even though the brakes were being applied.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #33

Jul 212010

ES 300

  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES300. When he drove out of the parking approximately 10 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. He began to panic and crashed into a parked vehicle and a fence. The vehicle stopped when he crashed into a tree and the left front tire came off. He received injuries to the left side of his body. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The police report is available upon request. The manufacturer stated that an engineer will examine the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were 58,000.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #32

Jan 272010

ES 300

  • miles
I owned a 2002 Lexus ES 300 which in January 2010 before the craze of the acceleration became popular, it took off, without provocation, shift locked, acceleration locked, and brakes didn't work. I filed a BBB.org complaint, I faxed, emailed, facebooked, and twittered Toyota Lexus concerning my concerns, and the fact that as a disabled vet, who spent his entire earnings on a car for his family, and that vehicle crashed without provocation, and asked for their help. They never answered the BBB complaints with the usa location or North american, from facebook, they said to contact the customer satisfaction department, which I did. When contacting the customer satisfaction department, their jobs are to attempt to talk fast, in the attempt to say it was drivers error. I told them that I wasn't interesting in suing, wasn't interested in placing blame, just interested in their help in assisting me in repairing my garage, and their assistance in me getting a new used vehicle, that's all. I informed them that while hurt by the accident, I wasn't nor didn't seek a attorney, or legal representation, and that I would think that they would want to assist this veteran as a act of kindness. I only asked that they assist in my home repairs, and getting another same like vehicle, in alternate, helping me with my home repairs deductible and assisting me in getting another vehicle, and as a last alternative, I asked them if they would issue a non-qualifying certificate so other than income, I could purchase a vehicle from them, to accomodate my families needs, they just ignored me, now I want justice, because my request were not outrageous. If they would help me get another vehicle for my families needs, I would be totally satisfied, I don't believe in always going through the courts what people can do.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #31

Aug 132009

ES 300

  • 60,000 miles
I had just left my doctor's office and gone to a parking structure where I had parked my car for the visit. I paid the parking charge, got back my validated ticket, and inserted the ticket in the gate-arm machine. The gate lifted, and I put my foot lightly on the accelerator to exit from the parking structure into the street. The car then picked up speed, well past what it should have picked up based on the light pressure I had put on the accelerator, and the brakes had no effect. The car went faster and faster, crossed a street, and crashed into a concrete wall. On impact, the airbags were deployed. I suffered serious back pain, and my wife was in the hospital for three nights with two broken ribs. The car was totaled.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #30

Sep 122007

ES 300

  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES300. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle accelerated and crashed into the back of a vehicle.the contact and a witness were surprised that the wheels continued to spin after the vehicle had stopped moving. A week later the vehicle accelerated again without warning and crashed into the side of a bank. A police report was filed. There were no injuries. The failure mileage was 40000 and the current mileage was 78409, the VIN was not available.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #29

Oct 222007

ES 300

  • 30,000 miles
Sudden acceleration leading to impact with home. Police report dated 10-22-07 indicates sudden uncontrolled acceleration. Scared to drive vehicle again.

- London, KY, USA

problem #28

Oct 222007

ES 300

  • 30,000 miles
Sudden acceleration leading to impact with home. Police report dated 10-22-07 indicates sudden uncontrolled acceleration. Scared to drive vehicle again.

- London, KY, USA

problem #27

Mar 072010

ES 300

  • 84,500 miles
While pulling into a parking space the car engine revved higher and car jumped forward. My foot was already on the brake so I pressed brake all the way down. The car stopped but the engine kept revving at just over 3000rpm. I put car in neutral and engine remained at just over 3000rpm. I then put car in park and engine RPM shot to over 6000 at which I immediately tuned key to off. I never took foot off brake during this time. I then turned car back on and everything was back to normal. This has never happened before and we have had the car since new from dealer.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #26

Aug 142007

ES 300

  • 135,000 miles
Sudden unintended acceleration of 2002 Lexus ES 300. My wife was operating her vehicle when it suddenly accelerated to 95 mph the brakes did not stop the vehicle and my wife applied the emergency brakes. Fortunately traffic was light on the wb 101 w/of 405 fwy in los angeles ca she pulled on the shoulder passing numerous vehicles she placed the car in neutral and with full brake applications the car slowed after a few miles. I contacted Lexus dealer who advised me this vehicle wasn't included in the recall and that I would have to pay for the diagnostic and I am appalled at this it occurred once and I feel its electronic the mat was not a factor.

- Pico Ri, CA, USA

problem #25

Jul 112007

ES 300

  • 65,000 miles
Sudden acceleration from a stop in a line of traffic resulted in collision with vehicle in front. Vehicle was 2002 Lexus ES 300. Several prior sudden acceleration events had previously occurred. Contact with Lexus dealer resulted in no assistance.

- Hurricane, WV, USA

problem #24

Jan 292010

ES 300

  • 27,200 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES300. The contact stated as he backed out of a parking space the vehicle accelerated and crashed into a parked vehicle. No one was injured. A police report is available if needed. The back end of the vehicle was damaged in the crash. The vehicle was able to be driven to contact's home and later to a body shop for repair. The Toyota manufacturer was called and now the contact was waiting for a representative to return his call. The contact stated prior to the crash he had the acceleration problem, he took the vehicle to the Lexus dealer they checked the vehicle but found no failure with the vehicle. The failure mileage was 27,200.

- Bethpage, NY, USA

problem #23

Nov 222009

ES 300

  • 92,000 miles
I experienced the problem after my 90,000 scheduled major maintenance. On 11/22/09, I returned to my car and found the windows and sun roof were opened. I had not engaged the remote to do this. I got in the car and closed the windows and sun roof. I drove approx one and a half miles. I slowed the car to prepare to park. I turned into the parking space and noticed that the car was not stopping. I pressed on the brake and the car suddenly surged forward crossing over a curb and striking a parked car. While at the body shop a Lexus technition went in to check the car and said he found everything to be within specifications. Previously reported by phone but the account was not complete.

- Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #22

Jun 152009

ES 300

  • 73,000 miles
I was driving my 2002 Lexus E300 on rte95 in providence R.I. I was in the middle lane traveling at the speed of the traffic--65mph. Suddenly T check engine warning light came on and without warning when I stepped on the gas pedal there was no response. I was in the midst of heavy traffic losing speed rapidly. Fortunately I was able to coast to the edge of the road. The chip which feeds gas to the engine failed.

- Milton, MA, USA

problem #21

Feb 122009

ES 300

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Lexus ES300. While driving approximately 5 mph out of a parking space pressure was applied to the accelerator pedal followed by an unintended increase in speed. The vehicle failed to slow down and crashed into the residence home and a tree. There were no injuries. The police was notified. The vehicle was completely destroyed and it was towed to an auto collision facility. The vehicle identification number was unavailable. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

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