1999 Lexus RX 300 from North America


Until about 5 days ago I loved this car. Never had a prob with it. We have bought Toyota products out entire lives. From what I hear I should be happy that I made it to 135000 miles. Granted most were highway until I passed it to my wife. But transmission has gone. Same as what others are saying. starts to really shift hard, and then just stopped. Push the pedal down and the RPM's go up, but the car doesn't move forward. Same quote as others, around $4000. Best of luck to others. I assume because it was their first couple of years doing this the trans is not engineered correctly.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th August, 2006

1999 Lexus RX 300 from North America


The RX300 is an excellent SUV, but seems to have reliability issues after 70K miles


My transmission went out at 75,000 miles without warning. Transmission would not engage when put into reverse. When I put into neutral to push from my garage, the transmission was "locked up" and vehicle would not move. Fortunately, I purchased an extended warranty with the car so the replacement cost was covered.

Two weeks later the check engine light came on while on my way to emissions testing to renew my registration. The vehicle failed emissions testing. I returned to the dealer and was told that I failed the emissions test because of a faulty value in the transmission that is a part of the emission control system. The dealer informed me that they would again have to replace the transmission because it is the policy of Lexus to replace not repair the transmissions. Again, this was covered under my extended warranty.

It is now about 6 weeks later and the check engine light is on again. I was due for service anyway so I took the car in to the dealer today 8/14/06 and requested they service the car and resolve the check engine light issue. I have 88,000 miles on the vehicle currently and the service adviser suggested that they should do the 90,000 mile service. I agreed.

I received a call from my service adviser stating that I need to have the timing belt replaced ($1,500.) and new spark plugs ($500.). I was shocked that spark plugs could cost $500 and asked why so expensive? He explained that in 1999 Lexus used both high mileage and low mileage spark plugs on the RX300 and mine has the low mileage plugs. He told me the high mileage plugs are more expensive and that the manifold must be removed to change the spark plugs resulting higher labor charges. My response was that Lexus should replace the plugs at their expense since they should have installed high mileage plugs in the first place. Needless to say, the advisor did not agree, said "it is what it is" and told me I would have to pay for the new plugs.

The timing belt is a potential problem that can be much worse if it actually goes out during operation. I have owned Mercedes that have required timing belt/chain replacements for about the same expense.

General Comments:

I have really enjoyed my RX300 up to the time the transmission started failing. I have had friends who have owned SC300's, GS400 etc and driven them for 200,000 plus miles with great performance, reliability and reasonable maintenance and replacement costs. I had hoped to keep my RX300 that long, but I am having serious second thoughts because of all of these problems - both my own and those I'm hearing and reading about.

I am concerned about the long-term viability of my RX300 and wonder if I should get rid of it while I can rather than wait until it leaves me stranded somewhere and becomes worthless or worse yet a money pit.

Can anyone relate long-term, high mileage experiences with the RX300 that are similar to the good feedback I've heard on other Lexus models?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th August, 2006

17th Aug 2006, 11:22

There aren't any high mileged RX300s out there without a new transmission. I got rid of mine at 42000 miles and still had to replace the transmission. My original LS400 has 190000 on it and still drives like the day I drove it off the showroom floor. I think the RX was the only Lexus model that has a faulty transmission. Its like the early Lexus all had Air conditioning problems. Cost me $2000.00 to get my AC rebuilt on the LS400. I'm driving a LS430 right now, but have had the new RX330 for a service vehicle and they seem a lot better. I'm going to look into buying one of those because my LS430 makes me feel old when I'm only in my early 30s.