NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Lexus ES 300

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2003 Lexus ES 300, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. UNWANTED AND UNINTENDED ACCELERATION NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP09001

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: April 08, 2009
    • Date Closed: October 29, 2009
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control

    Summary: The Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened DP09-001 on April 8, 2009, to evaluate a defect petition requesting additional investigation of potential throttle control system defects unrelated to floor mat interference with accelerator pedals in model year (MY) 2007 Lexus ES 350 vehicles.the petitioner referenced an earlier ODI investigation concerning floor mat interference with accelerator pedal return (PE07-016/EA07-010), which he stated was too narrow in scope as it did not include all incidents of unwanted acceleration and consider all potential causes of vehicle speed control concerns.the petition also requested an "investigation of MY 2002-2003 Lexus ES300 for those 'longer duration incidents involving uncontrollable acceleration where brake pedal application allegedly had no effect' that were determined not to be within the scope of investigation PE04-021." As background, the petitioner owns a MY 2007 Lexus ES350 that allegedly experienced an unwanted and uncontrolled acceleration event (ODI complaint number 10261660).Toyota concluded that the incident was caused by an unsecured floor mat. To assess the petitioner's request, ODI interviewed the petitioner, inspected his vehicle, reviewed information submitted by Toyota, reviewed owner complaints alleging incidents of unwanted acceleration in the subject vehicles and material related to the investigations cited by the petitioner.ODI identified 64 complaints alleging incidents of unwanted acceleration in MY 2007 Lexus vehicles, resulting in 8 crashes and 15 injuries.ODI's analysis of these complaints determined that 50 (78%) involved incidents of floor mat interference, including 7 (88%) of the crashes and all 15 injuries.therefore, ODI's analysis found that the only defect trend related to vehicle speed control in the subject vehicles involved the potential for accelerator pedals to become trapped near the floor by out-of-position or inappropriate floor mat installations. On October 5, 2009, Toyota initiated a safety recall (recall 09V-388) to address concerns with potential accelerator pedal entrapment by floor mats in approximately 3.8 million vehicles, including the subject vehicles.except insofar as the petitioner's contentions relate to that recall, the factual bases of the petitioner's contentions that any further investigation is necessary are unsupported. In our view, additional investigation is unlikely to result in a finding that a defect related to motor vehicle safety exists or a NHTSA order for the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect, as alleged by the petitioner, at the conclusion of the requested investigation.therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the Agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.this action does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by future circumstances.please see thefederal register notice for further details.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP09001 »

  2. VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05002

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: August 05, 2005
    • Date Closed: January 05, 2006
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control

    Summary: In a letter dated July 8, 2005, and after experiencing two incidents (and one crash) where he alleges his model year (MY) 2002 Camry accelerated without driver input, Mr. Jordan ziprin petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) to commence a proceeding to determine the existence of a defect within the etc system in MY 2002 to 2005 Toyota and Lexus vehicles, or to reopen a prior investigation preliminary evaluation (PE) 04-021.in a letter dated August 18, 2005, Mr. Ziprin amended his petition to include allegations of interrelated brake and acceleration problems that allegedly result in inappropriate and uncontrollable vehicle accelerations.the 1172 vehicle owner questionnaire reports cited by the petitioner involve 4 Lexus and 15 Toyota models defining a population of 7 million vehicles.the reports typically alleged a defect in the brake system, the throttle control system, or a combination of both systems.in its review of the reports, ODI a) failed to find evidence to support the existence of a brake related defect in the cited models, and B) determined that many cited products were not equipped with etc.accordingly, ODI restricted its analysis to the 432 petitioner reports involving MY 2002 to 2005 Camry, Solara, and ES models (all equipped with etc) that alleged an abnormal throttle control event (see the January 3, 2006 federal register notice for further details).about 40% of the 432 reports involve a driveability concern where the operator intentionally applies the throttle pedal, in expectation that the vehicle will accelerate, and then experiences a delay or hesitation in vehicle response.these reports involve vehicle response to intentional driver commands which ODI considers unrelated to the allegations raised by the petitioner.therefore, the reports do not provide support for the investigation requested.about 20% of the reports involve incidents where operators allege vehicle acceleration without driver input and an inability of the brake system to control the vehicle when applied.neither the reports, nor the interviews conducted by ODI, identified any vehicle-based cause to explain the incidents or disclosed evidence to support that a failure of the brake or throttle control system had occurred.because these reports do not indicate a distinct safety defect for investigation, the reports do not provide support for the investigation requested by the petitionerthe remaining reports (~ 40%, similar to the petitioner's and those of PE04-021) typically describe incidents where a vehicle is being maneuvered at slow speed in a close quarter situation at which point the operator alleges that the vehicle accelerates without driver input and crashes.in the aftermath, operators are unsure of whether the brakes were applied or not, sometimes stating there was insufficient time to use the brake; a crash occurred and the operator believes an uncommanded acceleration caused it.in spite of the effort expended during PE04-021 and during this analysis, ODI has not identified any vehicle-based cause to explain the reports, or uncovered any evidence to indicate that a throttle control system failure occurred.therefore, the reports have ambiguous significance and do not constitute a basis on which any further investigative action is warranted.based on the analysis conducted, it is unlikely that the NHTSA would issue an order for the notification and remedy of a safety related defect at the conclusion of the investigation requested in the petition.consequently, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the Agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP05002 »

  3. THROTTLE CONTROL SYSTEM NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE04021

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: March 03, 2004
    • Date Closed: July 22, 2004
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control

    Summary: The Lexus models were the subject of defect petition (dp) 04-003.twelve ODI complaints are duplicative to Toyota reports, including the two minor crashes.the V6 equipped Solara models have been excluded because they do not contain the subject throttle control system.Toyota introduced electronic throttle control (etc) on the subject vehicles beginning in model year (MY) 2002.ODI opened the investigation to determine if the system could be the cause of complaints alleging the engine speed increased, or failed to decrease, (for a short duration) when the accelerator pedal was not depressed (the alleged defect).during the course of the investigation, ODI analyzed Agency data and reviewed vehicle owner questionnaire (voq) reports, conducted interviews involving 113 voq and 36 Toyota reports, inspected two complainant vehicles, reviewed relevant Toyota service and new car feature documentation, reviewed and analyzed Toyota's responses to ODI's information request letter, conducted a limited control pedal assessment, and attended a Toyota technical presentation that included the assessment of two demonstration vehicles.through interviews, ODI identified 14 voq and 6 Toyota reports (20 unique vehicles) where complainants report multiple occurrences of the alleged defect.in some cases the condition was experienced by different vehicle operators or was witnessed by other occupants.ODI was unable to make a determination as to the cause of 9 Toyota and an additional 37 voq reports (which describe 28 unique incidents) due to insufficient information.the remaining complainants interviewed (62 voq, 21 Toyota) described conditions not caused by a failure of the throttle control system and were thus considered unrelated to the investigation.none of the complainants interviewed reported a component failure (or other indicator of a system failure) as the potential cause of incidents relevant to this investigation.in many cases, the complaint vehicles were subsequently inspected by dealership or manufacturer representatives who also failed to identify a fault within the vehicle.Toyota identified 43 related warranty claims, 24 of which were for diagnostic purposes only (no repairs performed).ODI found nothing abnormal in the control pedal configuration of the subject vehicles.a defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.see the attached summary for further detail.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE04021 »

  4. THROTTLE CONTROL SYSTEM NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP04003

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: February 17, 2004
    • Date Closed: March 05, 2004
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control

    Summary: The population number noted above is estimated.in the January 15th, 2004 petition request letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the petitioner identified 37 voq complaints as related to vehicle speed control issues similar to those the petitioner allegedly experienced in their own vehicle on multiple occasions (as described in the petition request letter).during it's consideration of the request, the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) reviewed the 37 complaints and concluded that 34 of the complaints did not involve a throttle control issue as described and alleged by the petitioner; three voqs (one of which is the petitioner's) do allege a throttle control issue.however, the throttle control issues alleged by the petitioner are similar to those alleged in the supporting voqs for preliminary evaluation PE04-021 which involves the throttle control system on model year 2002 and 2003 Toyota Camry and Camry Solara models.based on ODI's review of available service information, it appears the throttle control system manufactured on the Lexus ES300 models is the same as, or similar to, the throttle control system used on the Toyota Camry and Camry Solara models.accordingly, the ES300 models will be added to the scope of PE04-021 and the petition is granted.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP04003 »

Browse Other ES 300 Years

Become a Fan & Spread the Word