really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,984 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.

2004 Lexus RX 330 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Lexus RX 330 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #58

Dec 282010

RX 330 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


2004 Lexus RX330 transmission jumps and will accelerate when depressing brake pedal. Has almost caused a few accidents. Lexus will not honor any tsb's due to the age of the vehicle. There are thousands and thousands of complaints about this same issue.

- Berea, OH, USA

problem #57

Apr 102010

RX 330

  • 85,684 miles
I bought my Lexus in 2007. It is a 2004 rx Lexus 330 it had 31,000 miles when bought. Since I had the car my radiator was broken and the Lexus dealership repaired it under warranty. Before this I remember stopping to the dealership because felt the car was stalling and was told that nothing wrong its just I have to be consistent the way I drive with speed. Now in 2010 I'm experiencing the same problem with the car stalling or lagging with the RPM and a little noise coming from the transmission. I really think they should recall this or do something about it because I read alot of reviews that this is happening and the car doesnt even have that many miles. I spent alot of money on this car and they should take this problems in consideration really.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #56

Mar 122010

RX 330

  • miles
Vehicle periodically (approx. Weekly) surges between 2nd and 3rd gear (automatic transmission). Has been doing this since purchase in Oct. 2003, as a brand new vehicle, up through the present date. For years I complained verbally, and wrote letters and E-mails to Lexus. They first denied there was a problem, then changed tactics and blamed it on me, then said they didn't know what the problem was or if there was a problem, then Lexus finally admitted there was a problem--"off the record, " but didn't know how to fix it. Every time I brought the car in for routine service, they would install computer updates to see if that would fix the problem--which it did not. Years ago, I researched through government records and found numerous complaints of the same kind with 2004 Lexus rx 330S. In light of recent recalls of Toyota vehicles, I am concerned that this may someday turn into the same unintended acceleration problem that is happening with other Toyota. I do not feel safe in my car!

- Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #55

Jan 022004

RX 330

  • 200 miles


Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) I have my dream car, 2004 Lexus RX330. I have had same trouble. I am afraid of the car. I have an old Ford rv, I drive instead of my beautiful Lexus. People ask why, I tell them I'm afraid of it. It lurches forward, and also jumps back and forth between gears @ 20mph. This is after 5 updates in the computer of the car. I have put 200K miles on my other 5 Toyota, and all went beautifully! then the demon car as I refer to it. I reported it repeatedly, and was told by everyone, including long beach Toyota headquarters, that it was working in the manner it was designed, it was learning how I drive. Horse pucky. I am a retiree of att. I had defensive driving every year to drive their co. Vehicles. I know how to drive and am very experienced. I also know when there is a bad problem. I have 48K miles on my runaway car. It's only tried to really run away twice, but somehow I got it stopped, I stuck it in neutral, for some unknown reason. Back then no one heard of this "mess". I never complained to Toyota about my cars, because they were wonderful. Then, after saving for 10 yrs, bought my dream car. The killer. I hate it, I am beginning to hate Toyota. It's very disheartening to me, to have the car company I thought so very highly of, is trying to save their [xxx], by giving America these defective cars. When our hwy patrol officer and his family, was killed, I cried. All these years of saying they will get caught, they will see. Who is they" Toyota, and when they heard about it in 04, hushed it up. I know, if a hwy patrolman can't stop a runaway car, how the [xxx] can the normal guy driving it" someone please listen, someone, please help fix this mess. Shame on you, Toyota! shame on you! dealers, headquarters, employees that lied all these years to us. Shame on you! man up, and tell the truth.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #54

Aug 152003

RX 330 4WD

  • 130,000 miles
Purchased a new 2004 Lexus rx 330 in August of 2003 and repeatedly brought the car to dealerships complaining of a disconnect between the electronic accelerator and the transmission. When attempting to accelerate in an intersection or on a freeway entrance ramp, the car will hesitate for a few seconds and then catapult forward. Also, when driving at low speeds, the transmission will erratically jump between different gears, as if looking for the optimal gear. I can best describe this transmission as schizophrenic. I have contacted multiple Lexus dealers over the years from minneapolis, to Chicago to salt lake city and they all told me they are aware of the problem as many customers have complained. However, Lexus has never offered service or a recall to fix the problem. They have reprogrammed my transmission on 2 occasions and told me to use premium fuel. None of these actions corrected the situation. I feel that in a busy intersection, the unpredictable acceleration of my vehicle provides no assurance that my car will move forward when the accelerator is pressed. This can lead to collision and injury.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #53

Jan 022004

RX 330

  • 200 miles
Someone needs to listen! I have a 2004 Lexus RX330. It's had trouble from day one, and I got nowhere! they have done 5 updates on the computer. Now it only seems to have trouble at 20 mph, instead of 40-50 and 65-80, of lurching, hesitating, then taking off like a bat out of hell. It's had a "bulletin" on the front brakes, and shimmied all over the road. I have paper work on all of this and more. You, the ntsb, can take the car and go thru it, I'll give you the repair records. I've called the Toyota headquarters in 04 or 05 begging them to help me. A woman said, the car was, "performing in the manner it was designed:" I saved a long time to buy my dream car when I retired, now I have a defective car, with only 48K miles because of fear of driving it. Please please, listen to what people wrote back in 04 about this car. One man said a friend worked for Lexus and told him that his boss said there will never be a recall on this car because of the amount of cars sold in the us and Canada. We need help. My car is a lemon. I've mentioned numerous times of painting it yellow and putting lemon all over it. Please try to pull up records back then, all these people were writing in with the same problems. No one listened then or now! please, I'm begging you. I've had 4 Toyota's in the past, and all 4 totally, never had the trouble this 1 Lexus has. They were actually Toyota. Their complete stature has gone from years of loyalty by me and others, after all the built up trust, gone in an instant! one runaway car is enough! it's now killing people. I bought it for it's comfort, looks, but mostly for safety, and trustworthiness! gone. All gone! I have a 91 Ford van I drive instead of the Lexus. I call it a piece of junk, nothing but trouble, and Lexus had it more than I did the first 4 yrs. Please look into this all you can. All these people can't be wrong. I can't even sell it now. Shame on you, Toyota. Shame on you! greed! that's what it is, greed.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #52

Sep 152009

RX 330

  • 47,000 miles


Transmission initially fails to engage in gear causing driver to increase acceleration upon which gears suddenly (and sometimes dangerously) engage & jerk vehicle forward.

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #51

Jun 182009

RX 330

  • 82,151 miles
I was traveling South bound doing the speed of 70 on the expressway when all of a sudden my power was lost it dropped to zero, it could have been a very bad accident, but I thank god it was not, I had to coast and try to get off the freeway onto the side of the freeway.

- Stow , OH, USA

problem #50

May 242009

RX 330

  • 49,000 miles
Transmission jerk, lags and hesitates, car looses power when shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear. On going problem, had dealer perform ECM reprogramming as per technical service bulletin, condition persists, get worse. Safety issue when trying to accelerate out of traffic or avoid an object on the road. Brought car back to dealer service, they stated condition is "normal". many many more similar complaints on several blogs and message boards on the internet. Car not safe to drive. Should have the transmission replaced.

- Pacifica, CA, USA

problem #49

Sep 152005

RX 330

  • 17,000 miles
Lexus has had problems with brake vibration, they have issued a tsb but all they are doing is throwing new rotors and pads. This is not addressing the real issue at hand. Brake vibration can cause a car to go off the road when there is ice or snow on the ground and once the car starts slipping in ice or snow you will not be able to regain control of the vehicle. My complaint is regarding a 2004 Rx 330 that only has 34K on and I'm going on my third set of brake pads. The caliper is hanging up causing uneven pad wear, causing brake vibration. This is not only compromising the safety of the passengers, but my entire suspension wear and tear, cause premature wear. This problem has caused my tires to feather at the edge. I think if Lexus issued a tsb for this issue they need to go to the root cause of this problem rather than just throwing new parts and calling it good for another 15 to 20K. All my suspension is tight and I have no runout at the hub, just on brake pads. The dealer keeps saying that everything is okay and that there is no problem with my vehicle. My car is properly aligned, but we keep having this problem. This ongoing brake vibration problem needs to be looked at cause I don't feel my wife is safe driving this car on bad weather. This vibration can cause car to loose control on bad weather or driving at highway speeds. Plz look at all complaints regarding brake vibration. I have gotten on Lexus web forums and there is a good number of people with this complaint. I feel that by Lexus putting out a service bulletin they know that there is a problem but they are just covering up the problem and not going after the root cause. Thanks for your time angel.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #48

Sep 012008

RX 330

  • 68,000 miles


Vehicle keeps making noises at around 30 mph. Root cause is that a transmission cooling line on my 2004 when under pressure bangs against the body of the vehicle. Lexus was well aware of this issue, so they re-designed the line on newer vehicle. Lexus is willing to replace the part but at owner cost. I believe this is a defect and Lexus need to replace the part under their own cost.

- Dearborn Heights, MI, USA

problem #47

Sep 132007

RX 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
Upon acelleration, this vehicle sometimes hesitates and at times almost causing an accident. I have taken this to the Lexus dealership and they are aware of it. They say there is no fix. I was told to use premium gas, and I havebeen told that the new software is in and that is all they could do.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #46

Aug 162007

RX 330

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On several occasions, I get a lot of hesitation in the transmission during high speed driving on the freeway and also driving in the city. There has been times when I try to accelerate and the transmission struggles to increase in speed and chokes up but it doesn't cut off. I've noticed that when I drive on the freeway at speeds of 55 or 60 and try to increase the acceleration, the vehicle will not accelerate when you press on the gas pedal. It will take 5-10 seconds to think about increasing and then it revvs up in rpms and then just kicks in. You can hear the engine making all of hesitation noise and also seeing the hesitation on the RPM and speedometer reading. I've taken this issue into the dealership several times and they told me that is operating per the design specifications and that it is not out of specs. They then tell me that there is an update to the transmission software so they supposedly update it to operate better. I have never seen a difference after the update.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #45

Jul 142007

RX 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,500 miles
Transmission hesitation on 2004 Lexus RX330 nearly resulted in high speed accident on several occasions. On July 14, 2007 while merging from I-75 in tampa on ramp into rush hour traffic, the Lexus at first failed to slow (to match speeds) when gas pedal was released, then when the pedal was depressed to accelerate after the merge (traffic flow was erratic), it failed to accelerate for about 2 seconds, and we had to drive off the pavement to avoid a rear end collision. We have reported the transmission hesitation problem to Lexus 5 or more times so far, and they say it is operating as designed. This situation is hazardous under certain common traffic conditions. The July 14, 2007 incident was one of several where we nearly had a serious accident because of the transmission delay. Updated 01/09/08. The consumer stated in heavy rain defogger turned to keep windows clear. While driving if vehicle hits a large puddle A/C will turn off and no way to restart the A/C other than to turn the ignition off. Updated 12/12/07

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #44

Feb 252007

RX 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,489 miles
I own a 2004 Lexus RX330. Since I have owned it, there has been a power "fade" when I make sudden speed changes usually from a slow down to quick acceleration--say a lane change to avoid slower traffic. There is approximately 2 or 3 seconds when there is no response from pressing the accelerator. It feels like all power falls away. I am left like a sitting duck until the vehicle decides what to do with my command. If I am crossing a median, I must allow for this delay. However, if I have to change lanes to avoid another vehicle making an unsignaled turn or sudden stop, I am putting myself and others in danger because I cannot count on having the power to avoid the vehicle in front of me by changing lanes and then I risk an incident in trying to match the speed of the vehicle that is now behind me. I have addressed this with Lexus on several occasions including one trip where I demanded that the master mechanic ride with me. He explained that Lexus is aware and that it is a computer problem for which there is no patch available. As of today, there is still no cure. The last update my vehicle received was in Sept 2006.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #43

Jan 082004

RX 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,400 miles
: the contact stated while driving 10 mph on normal road conditions, the automatic transmission hesitated when making the shift from first to second gear and from second to third gear as well. There were no warning lights indicating a failure in the automatic transmission. The vehicle had been taken seven times to the dealership where the software had been reset several times however, the defect was not corrected. The manufacturer was not alerted. The contact was very concerned because there was no satisfactory resolution.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #42

Sep 152006

RX 330

  • miles
I leased a 2004 RX330 in January, 04. Immediately I began having difficulty predicting what the transmission was going to do next. Shift points all over the place. The "upgrade" was performed, provided temporary adjustment. Merging is deadly. I thought perhaps I was slipping off the pedal, but now know it wasn't responding. The driveline has always had a "clunk" or "thump" that occurs when lifting from the throttle. We have reported this to our local dealership (tom wood Lexus, indianapolis) on numerous occasions. The first diagnosis was "rocks under the seat!!!!" each time, another service writer would experience the thump/clunk, agree that that was not supposed to be there, and claim "I'll get to the bottom of it." In every instance we received the standard response, "it's a normal noise. They all do it." In mid September, the vehicle was in service for another issue, and a new, eager service writer drove the vehicle for several minutes, absolutely agreed that the noise was causing wear on something and that he wouldn't want to buy this vehicle when it comes off lease, if it does that!" after having the vehicle for 10 days to fix the other problem, the previously eager service writer told us he had driven other Rx's on their lot, and apparently the problem is a "normal" one. Obviously, we have been driving a very unsafe vehicle and Lexus/dealer don't care. Until somebody dies, potential Lexus customers beware!!

- Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #41

Sep 222006

RX 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
2004 rx 330, still having trouble from day 1. I almost got slammed into by a truck 2 days ago. The have flashed the computer, for transmission hesitation, but insist it is performing the way it was intended. It is a design flaw, and Lexus won't do anything about it! someone is going to be killed! this is very serious, it happens at about 20 mph, when you need to accelerate to get on freeway, etc, it will hesitate, and act like it died, or revs up, and does nothing. Then you let off pedal and hit it again, and it hesitates a sec then goes. I already have been to the dealer 6 times for this, and called 80025lexus twice, and they are not doing a recall they say. It is performing to the specs of the transmission.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #40

Aug 112006

RX 330 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
Hesitation, jerky when shifting. Took to dealers 3 times and unable to resolve issue. They stated that vehicle is operating within parameters. Now it is jerky when shifting most of the time.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #39

Feb 202004

RX 330 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
I'm encountering the same transmission hesitation, jumping and revving when shifting in the lower gears as many others have reported. I have had the software update without effect. The dealer now is insulting me by claiming the use of regular gas may be the cause.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

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