really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,602 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.

2003 Lexus ES 300 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Lexus ES 300 Owner Comments

problem #6

Sep 192008

ES 300 6-cyl

  • 44,916 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Lexus ES300. The contact stated that when the driver was shifting into reverse gear, the vehicle suddenly accelerated and he lost control of it. The driver crashed into another vehicle and a tree. There were no injuries. A police report was filed. There were no previous acceleration failures. She took the vehicle to the dealership and the dealer told her that they could see nothing mechanically wrong. She called the manufacturer and the representative told her that they could not assist her because they had no related reports. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was 49,094. The failure mileage was 44,916. Updated 04/19/10.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

problem #5

Feb 082004

ES 300

  • miles
When making as low turn, at under 5 miles per hour if the accelerator is depressed there is a significant lag before the car reacts and moves. Dealer claims that is the way it is an can't fix it. Also happened with a 2007 Lexus ES 350 as a dealer loaner and this time resulted in an accident with $3,700 damage to Lexus.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #4

Sep 252005

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles
While driving at 70 mph in the fast lane on the freeway, my car suddenly lost acceleration and the check engine light came on. I was able to get my car to the right and get off the freeway to a gas station. As I was slowing to a stop, the car was shuddering before it came to a complete stop. I checked the owners manual and it said it was probably the electronic throttle control. I followed the instructions in the manual and was able to drive the car at lower speed to get home and then get it to the dealer the next morning.

- Pacific Palisades, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 012004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,698 miles


I have now sent my car in for service twice to Lexus of orlando about unexpected surging of the vehicle and vehicle hesitation when the accelerator is pressed. This is an intermittent and dangerous problem, as I do not know when it will occur. When it does occur the upshift is harsh, the downshift delayed as if the transmission is confused about the driver's intention, and there is pronounced hesitation when the accelerator is pressed. This lack of responsiveness leaves both the vehicle and passengers exposed to accident and injury. On my first visit, I was told the vehicle computer would be reset, as the vehicle learns your driving style in the first 30 or so miles, and I must have driven the vehicle harshly. This so called reset did nothing to fix the problem; less than a week later, I narrowly escaped a crash after my car hesitated while crossing an intersection. I promptly returned the vehicle to the dealer for service. Upon completion of the second service, which included a drive with the technician, Lexus service now says these problems are inherent to the model and they can't fix them. In addition, I am aware that numerous owners frequently complain of hesitation and surging in 2002, 2003, and 2004 models and many complaints (over 100) of the same nature have been filed with the NHTSA. This statement is to issue notice that I am not satisfied, and the problem has not been fixed.

- Lake Mary, FL, USA

problem #2

Jul 252004

ES 300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Ongoing and worsening lack of accelleration predictability. Car will hesitate especially when power is required (such as merging traffic, left turns, etc.) automatic ransmission sounds like it delays engaging when necessary.

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

problem #1

Sep 222003

ES 300

  • 2,000 miles
Upon stopping, and when consumer removed foot from the gas pedal vehicle surged forward before the brake pedal was depressed. This occurred numerous times. Once, resulting in consumer's vehicle crashing into a concrete pole while pulling into a parking lot. Also, starting at 5000 miles battery had to be replaced 3 times because it died. This was due to an electrical short.

- Louisville, KY, USA

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