My 1997 ES 300 now has 320,000 miles on it.
Runs like a dream, and the only non-preventative maintenance has been a thermostat, which I probably should have replaced long before 310,000 miles!
It just has a small exhaust leak, and the struts are getting old. Best cars on the road. Period. I bought a 2007 Toyota RAV4, and find myself driving the ES instead!
Refer my earlier comment on Oct 21st, 2009. Canadian ES300 97 model. Car is now at 271K km. Battery died a few days back, but other than that, the car is running smoothly and without any issue so far.
LUCAS did not help stop the power steering but instead started making the power steering super jammed and noisy on freezing nights. I got the steering fluid flushed and refilled with normal recommended fluid and it started functioning OK. Leakage is still there but it is like couple of drops every day. I have planned to continue using it as is until either problem gets bigger or there is a break down. Right now couple of drops does not bother me. LUCAS does not work... (for those who may want to try it for similar issue).
Same guy who wrote Nov 3rd comment.
Canadian Lexus ES300 with 278K kilometers on it now. Car is going great, and recently I found a Mobil1 full synthetic 0-30w at Walmart. After reading its reviews and purpose of 0W, I wanted to try it out on my car. Walmart guys refused completely, so I bought it and got the oil change done by a local mechanic. It gets really cold in MN during the winter time, so 0W is a recommended good oil for colder places. This oil made tremendous difference to performance of my car. It is running so silky smooth like I never experienced before. WOW. And the cold start in freezing time is also so smooth, I can't believe that it is such an old car with so much miles on it. Running like a champ. Steering working smooth too as per my last steering oil change.
Overall the whole car is working great. Will keep on coming back to this forum till I possess this car.
I have just joined the 97' ES 300 club. I found a single owner with 38k at a Honda dealer (looks and sound new). All records came with it. My original 2001 PT w/164k has just about worn out. This is quite an upgrade.
From the comments I have read, I have either bought into a very good vehicle (hope I hope) or?
Quiet, smooth, my cassettes sound great, the smell of leather is unreal and it has great visibility. I even find myself wanting to drive slower just to enjoy the experience.
Thank you all for your comments.
Same guy owning the Canadian 97 ES300, and left few comments earlier too. I am returning to share something new that I learnt just now. I had been hearing squeaking, crunching sounds from under the hood most of the time driving over rough roads or bumps etc., as if the car has become really old and squeaky. Did some net research and concluded that need to replace struts etc. front and rear and almost made up my mind to do it at cost of nearly 1400$. It was turning really bad in winter as temp goes -20F here. Then a comment by someone on the net caught my attention, where in he tried silicon spray under the hood - on the strut mounts at both sides. I tried the same thing on both the sides under the hood, and sprayed lot of silicon right in center of the nuts holding the struts, and guess what -- all noises went away immediately. Car is driving smooth and silent. Worked like a magic, saved me so much money, so I thought I will share with my friends here. If any of you hearing shockers/squeaking sound etc. then try this solution, it may save you some money too.
It makes feel so good to hear all the positives about the 97'ES300.
I have recently (Jan.- 11') traded up from my original 2001 PT to a 97' (single owner) with only 38k original miles from Palos Verdes. Pinch me, but this is such a step up from even my 85' 5000S, which didn't have nearly the creature comforts of this.
Other than a front suspension slight rattle up front (the car is so quiet, you notice everything), it looks as if it just came off the showroom floor.
I am impressed by the MPG, actually better then my PT. The extra HP makes it hard to keep your foot out of it, it is so effortless. Makes me wonder why anyone would want/need more HP. Love the CD changer, great sounds. I'm already saving up for my first timing belt changeout, I hear it won't be cheap. Then again, it's great to have no car payments.
Thanks for letting me share.
The ES300 is a re-badged Toyota Camry. Why would you expect it to be reliable? The Camry is rated "average" in reliability.
I have a 1997 Lexus ES300. I bought it in Dec 2001 with 49k. I now have 180,000.
It runs like a champ. I replaced timing belt and water pump at 117k. It's so quiet. I need to replace the struts. I hope I can get 300k, but from what I'm reading, it looks like I will hit that 300 mark. This car has been so good to me.
I own a 97 Lexus, and it is best car ever. It was bought new 1 owner has 300,000, and runs like new. Just keep up the the oil changes, tire rotation etc. and you'll have a car for life. I'm going for that 1,000,000 miles (LOL).
My 1999 ES 300 had a "clunk" in the front on the driver's side, around the wheel, when I hit a road bump sharply only - not a gentle one. It got worse when the weather was cold.
Mechanics couldn't tell for sure, but suggested replacing the struts for $2000.
I deluged the top of both struts with silicone spray/lubricant. The clunking stopped. Apparently the rubber grommets at the top inside the hole where the strut attaches to the frame had dried out. That was year ago, and it's still quiet up there.
Now I'm getting a a "creak" sound out of the rear, which gets worse in cold temperatures, and I'm going to do the same thing to the rear struts once I get the time to take out the back seat and expose the tops.
Hope this is your issue as well - it's a quick and easy fix in the front.
I have the same problem, and it drives me nuts. I replaced the struts, and the front right is still making noises. I even replaced the strut support bar on the side too!
The car is now at 310,000 KM. The leak I mentioned above eventually was detected wrongly. It was not a power steering leak at all. It was a rear valve cover leak (very common in this model as per Internet research). I am trying some leak stop products, but no success so far. The car is running super smooth and well so far; no other issues.
I own same model and recently faced a similar issue where my car's trunk stopped opening from the remote or internally. I put in few drops of WD-40 from the key hole, lubricated it nicely and opened /closed it a few times with the key. After that issue was gone, it started opening nicely with the remote as well as the internal button. Just FYI...