really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,127 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.

2005 Lexus ES 330 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Lexus ES 330 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #51

May 012006

ES 330 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


Transmission shifts very rough, up-shift and down-shift since vehicle was new. Documented/reported problem at every service check. Was told software had been 'adjusted/reset' and that this is normal for the car. As the car is aging problem is becoming more pronounced and rough/hard shifting is escalating.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #50

Sep 202010

ES 330

  • 60,000 miles
Lexus ES330 transmission. Surges.

- Northridge, CA, USA

problem #49

Jan 282005

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Lexus ES-330. The contact stated when shifting gears, the vehicle would abnormally jerk. When accelerating, the vehicle was hesitant to respond. In addition, the vehicle would intermittently lose power as if it were attempting to stall. The dealer advised they were aware of the failure in his year and model vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 25 and the current mileage was 20,000. Updated 10/25/10 the consumer also stated the vehicle stalled in traffic. Also, the vehicle would move forward on its own at times. Updated 10/27/10

- Peadody, MA, USA

problem #48

Oct 222005

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Lexus ES330 sedan. While driving approximately 45 mph the vehicle down shifted intermittently into a lower gear and began to lunge forward. The contact was able to continue to drive the vehicle to his destination. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and the failure could not be duplicated. The failure was diagnosed by the dealer five times. The contact stated that the failure had begun to occur more frequently. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that after speaking with the dealer they confirmed that they were unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The service manager advised him that other customers had experienced the identical failure; however, unless Lexus advised him, there was nothing he could do. The approximate failure mileage was 5,000 and the current mileage was 59,496. Updated 9/1/10 updated 09/02/10

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #47

Jan 012006

ES 330

  • 1 miles
My Lexus ES hesitates when I try to accelerate. Started when I took ownership of the car.

- Studio City, CA, USA

problem #46

Apr 012007

ES 330

  • 10,000 miles
2005 Lexus ES330. Hesitation & stumbling on acceleration. Also transmission will not downshift. This is a well documented problem with the 2005 model year ES330. There was one revision of transmission software/firmware provided but it did not fix this problem. After several complaints the Lexus dealer stated "there's nothing more we can do." Several internet postings suggest that this "delay" or hesitation is designed in. Also, if while entering a highway, for example, the gas pedal is depressed, released and depressed again there is a much longer 2-3 second delay until power is delivered and to get proper upshifts and downshifts I have to shift the automatic transmission manually. The Lexus dealer was/is very familiar with this problem but has no fix beyond what was provided for back in 2005 by Lexus. This should be further investigated along with the current crop of Toyota/Lexus throttle problems. Thanks!

- Hawthorne, NJ, USA

problem #45

Sep 252004

ES 330

  • miles


We purchased a 2005 330 Lexus, Sept, 2004. We had trouble with the auto de-accelerating during left turns. The dealership said it was a problem built into the system and couldn't be fixed. My husband thought it wasn't safe so less than 8 months later we traded it in for a 2005 430 Lexus which has given us no problem. There was something definitely wrong with the system. It almost stopped making turns.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #44

Feb 032010

ES 330

  • 68,500 miles
Acceleration problem with Lexus ES 330 (year 2005). Having been experiencing this problem for some time (have taken my car to dealer ship numerous times and filed law suit through the lemon law) and Lexus continually advising that car is working properly. I was almost in a very serious accident last night as a result of the acceleration hesitation problem.

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #43

Jul 012005

ES 330

  • 1,000 miles
I had purchased a brand new 2005 Lexus ES330 in 2005. The car started exhibiting transmission hesitation problems almost immediately. I brought it to the Lexus dealer in cerritos, ca many times, and asked them about this behavior as something they should look at and fix. I was told it is how the computers are in the car and they refuse to acknowledge this problem. The car hesitates to pick up speed while you ar on stop sign or more importantly when changing lanes on freeway or at times you need to accelerate the car suddenly. You will get a jolt and lack of power for a second and then quick speed. Now with all of the problems coming out of this company, I think it is important for me to bring this issue and I am sure there are many people who have complained about it. I use this car but try to use sparingly as much as possible.

- Cerritos, CA, USA

problem #42

Feb 252005

ES 330

  • 1,000 miles
We purchased our Lexus 2005 ES330 brand new. We noticed the hesitation and jerking when accelerating immed after buying the car. It was taken back to the Lexus dealership for the complaint two or more times. When we recieved normal services, I would ask about the acceleration and I was told that there were not any bulletins issued for the issue in which I spoke of. We were told that the car would adjust to the driver over a period of time. Presently the car shifts improperly when driven at 20-35 mph, unexpected up shifts that occur to early and down shifts while slowing down causing the driver to have to modulate the braking to avoid either coming up to cars in traffic ahead to quickly or traffic coming from behind so as to avoid an accident from behind as you slow to quickly. Constantly scares me when I drive it because of the non responsive and quick acceleration.

- Collins, MS, USA

problem #41

Dec 222009

ES 330

  • 66,500 miles


I purchased my 2005 Lexus ES330 as a certified pre-own in September 2007. After driving it for a month or two. I experience a consistent hesitation issue. I took it to the local dealership and they said they would reset something in the computer to adjust to my driving style. It did not appear to help. So I've taken it back 2 times since and they say it's the normal function of the drive by wire and nothing they can do. The problem is the transmission in my Lexus ES330 appears not to shift down normally unless the vehicle is brought to a full stop. When slowing down for traffic then accelerating and/or slowing down to make turns at intersections or corners results in gear hesitation and lurching forward. At intersections when making left hand turns it appears to slip [no power for a brief moment). I feel the car is now unsafe to make left turns because the car may not have acceleration when needed. I have already had the car repaired for this type of issue when the Lexus ES330 lost all power. And since the repairs I am still having the hesitation issues and brief loss of power. I have been told by the hendrix Lexus service department that this "hesitation" issue is a normal function of the drive by wire system. I cannot agree with that conclusion. There is a definite problem with the ES330 and a possible safety issue. If I was to bring my car in for this issue, it would be the 3rd or 4th time at that shop for the same issue. This is a daily occurrence for my Lexus ES300. Please let me know what you recommend or if there is a solution at this time. Again, let me stress, I feel that the car is unsafe in making left hand turns with oncoming traffic. Thank you for helping with the safety issue.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #40

Jun 262009

ES 330

  • 30,057 miles
My 2005 Lexus ES330 has had transmission problems since we bought it on 9/22/2008 with 30,057 miles on it. The transmission will at times hesitate and/or seem to be unable to find the correct gear to be in for the situation.it shows up most of the time in the 30-45mph range but it also hesitates from a standing start. At times it "looks" for a gear to be in and hesitates then hard shifts in to a gear. I also own a 2000 Camry and a 2008 corolla and their transmissions work just fine. The Lexus transmission just will not shift correctly for the speed and throttle input. I see this has been quite a problem with this year, make and model of Lexus cars. The Lexus dealer says it is "normal". this can not be normal. Since I get to drive two other Toyota cars with auto transmissions and they work just fine I can tell quite easily there is a big problem with this transmission. It needs to be recognized by Lexus before their is a fatality due to the extreme lag at start from stop conditions. I have had the gas pedal one quarter of the way depressed before the car even recognized I had applied the throttle. This could easily cause an accident either starting from a stop sign with traffic crossing your route or the vehicle "jumping" at a start because you have the pedal part way down before the engine/transmission gets the signal and you accelerate rapidly from a dead stop. Corporate Toyota needs to recognize this problem and come up with a fix. It may have to be a recall or perhaps just a service notice to all 2005 Lexus ES330's owners. Whatever it takes it needs to be done soon. This is a safety related issue it can cause accidents.

- Burlington, MA, USA

problem #39

Jul 172008

ES 330

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Lexus ES330. The vehicle hesitates abnormally when the contact attempts to accelerate. Prior to the failure, she did not notice any warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. She took the vehicle to the dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure and provide a remedy. The manufacturer did not assist. The failure mileage was 30,000 and current mileage was 57,000. Updated 12/08/09. Updated 12/10/09.

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #38

Jan 202009

ES 330

  • 85,000 miles
Lexus ES330 2005 car shifts improperly when driven at 20-35 mph, unexpected up shifts that occur to early and down shifts while slowing down causing the driver to have to modulate the braking to avoid either coming up to cars in traffic ahead to quickly or traffic coming from behind so as to avoid an accident from behind as you slow to quickly. Happens only about 20% of the time but forces the driver to be vigilant constantly to avoid problems.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #37

Mar 012005

ES 330

  • miles
Re: Lexus ES330('05)delays in acceleration, lurching with stops and starts, unpredictable transmission shifts, when braking car feels like it is slipping forward. Lexus first denied problem but I showed them internet blog and NHTSA complaints, then admitted to software problems. 3 or 4 attempts to change software helped temporarily. I was told I would get used to this. After 2 and half years of erratic shifting and several near misses on lane changes (car refused to accelerate) I threatened legal action. Lexus reluctantly change the transmission. I could not believe the difference, thought they changed the car!it finally drove the way the demo car did. More consistent acceleration, albeit still had somewhat of a delay. I no longer felt every gear shift. Stops and starts much smoother. The internet discussions are right. Some of the Lexus ES330 models have a serious transmission defect, but it appears to be a mechanical, not a software problem. I read the NHTSA response to a complaint lodged against this same vehicle in 2005. The conclusion was that there were not enough complaints to launch an investigation. I would hope the NHTSA would rethink this position. There are alot of complaints registered on the internet (I.e. edmunds.com).I worried every time I got behind the wheel. When Lexus finally changed the transmission, I felt it was finally safe to get rid of the car. I strongly believe that Lexus does know about the transmission problem and how to fix it but will not voluntarily fix it unless forced to do so. They would not fix my car until I threatened legal action. Many of these cars will be going off lease and the general public is not aware of this problem. It is unfair to these buyers, not to mention risky to their lives, not to have this situation rectified. I believe that only an organization such as the NHTSA can force Lexus to remedy the situation. The only other way would be a class action law suit but I doubt enough people would come together for this. Thank you for your attention.

- Toronto, 00, USA

problem #36

Jun 052008

ES 330

  • 29,000 miles
Almost collision. While pulling into traffic, car hesitates, creating hazard. Transmission does not shift properly.

- Pembroke, MA, USA

problem #35

Aug 182007

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2005 Lexus ES330 transmission "hunting" for proper gear when slowing down then wanting to immediately speed up before coming to a complete stop.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #34

Apr 082007

ES 330 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Leased Lexus 2005 model ES330, there is a problem with the transmission where therewas a delay in shifting and the engine raced at 4000 RPM S before the transmission downshifted very hard. This acted like a major transmission slippage and a hard shift, the car hesitates as you are pulling into traffic and in a split second I have almost been hit from behind because the car did not respond normally. Lexus admitted that they have this problem in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 models. Dealer had a service rep look at it and state they cannot put anymore computer programs on the car and it's driving as it was designed.

- Houston , TX, USA

problem #33

Aug 252005

ES 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
I purchased the 2005 Lexus ES 330 in August of 2005. Since the time of purchase I have experience a noticeable hesitation and lurching of the transmission when accelerating from slow speeds. The hesitation and subsequent lurching is very noticeable when accelerating from 24 mph. Since the purchase I have researched the problem through the internet and learned that there are literally thousands of complaints about the transmission in this model going back to 2002. Several web forums, such as edmonds.com and Lexus owners club show over two thousand postings on the problem. Even the NHTSA has complaints. Lexus refuses to acknowledge the problem. I have sent numerous E-mails and letters to both Lexus and my local dealership. They have feigned surprise at the problem, and then have told me that there is no problem to be found. They have recommended premium fuel, rebooting the transmission computer and waiting for the transmission to "self adjust". nothing has helped. Lexus will not, or cannot, fix this problem. The hesitation and lurching is noticeable when entering a highway or doing a "rolling stop". it is hazardous. Lexus has known about the problem since it first existed in 2002. This is not only an uncomfortable problem in this so-called luxury car, but it is a danger.

- Shrewsbury, MA, USA

problem #32

Jul 192006

ES 330

  • miles
2005 Lexus ES330 hesitates when shifting gears. Upon inspection mechanic determined that the code in the tcm needed to be updated. Since the tcm has been updated the hesitation has become much worse. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer and told that the manufacture is aware of the problem.

- Duluth, GA, USA

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