What kind of problems does a Lexus ES 300h usually have? In this blog, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for an ES 300h. However, let’s first start with a quick answer:
Earlier models of the Lexus ES 300h have problems with the vehicle speed control, which results in unexpected acceleration when parking. Furthermore, the car will brake unexpectedly or not at all. Also, this model year has problems with a delay in acceleration. Newer models have problems with the car not starting after standing still or coolant leaks in the 2.5L engine.
However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every problem in detail. Furthermore, we’ll let you know how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!
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1. Vehicle Speed Control Malfunctions
One of the most complained about problems of the Lexus ES 300h is the vehicle speed control system. As the name suggests, this system controls the vehicle’s speed and ensures that it’s not going too fast or too slow in certain situations.
One recurring problem this car has (which has also been reported in other Lexus and Toyota vehicles) is that the system malfunctions severely. This typically happens when the driver is trying to park the vehicle. Reports paint the same picture repeatedly: the driver is pulling into a parking spot, they push the brake pedal, and instead of stopping, the car accelerates rapidly, which results in a crash.
Interestingly, this problem is that Toyota (the owners of Lexus) has never admitted to their cars having this problem. However, the Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, and Avalon Hybrid also have this problem which means something has to be structurally wrong.
In the case of the Toyota Camry, the company even settled a few court cases regarding issues with the vehicle speed control. In these cases, lawyers argued that the electronic throttle-control system software was at fault.
In the case of the Lexus ES 300h, this problem is mainly reported with the 2013 model, although some 2014 and 2015 models still seem to have hiccups.
2. Unexpected Braking
Unexpected braking is another common with both Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The Lexus ES 300h is undoubtedly a model included in that list. In these cases, the vehicle owners will be driving along the highway without a vehicle in sight. Suddenly, the vehicle’s alarm systems will go off, followed by emergency braking.
It goes without saying that this creates extremely unsafe situations. The problem became so common that Lexus even had to issue a recall for it in the case of the 2013 – 2015 models. The recall was carried out under numbers F1V and F2E.
It turned out that the affected vehicles were the ones equipped with the optional pre-collision system. The system would identify a steel plate or joint in the road as an object that must be avoided. This would cause the vehicle to initiate emergency braking.
Models manufactured after 2015 don’t seem to have this problem anymore.
3. Coolant Leaks
Certain 2020 models of the Lexus ES 300h were recalled under number 20LA02 for potential coolant leaks. The engine casting of 2.5L 4-cylinder engines was susceptible to cracking, which would lead to both internal and external coolant leaks. When coolant leaks onto or into parts of the engine, this causes a fire hazard. Lexus cars with such an engine were recalled, and the engine block was replaced.
4. Car Refuses To Start
Another problem that seems to appear now and again with 2019 – 2021 vehicles is the car refusing to start. Several owners have indicated they’ve had to tow their car to the dealer, after which the dealer said everything was fine. The problem reoccured, and it went to the dealer again.
Dealers have repeatedly told owners that they were ‘driving the car too little’ and that this was causing the battery to die. However, as many people pointed out, having a $50,000 car stand still for 3-4 days shouldn’t be a problem.
Lexus never issued a recall for this problem, or at least not yet, and therefore owners have had to figure it out with their dealers. One owner reported that the following fixed the issue for him:
The dealer changed the battery in late March and so far all is well. Apparently, the original battery had a bad cell.Source
5. Loss Of Braking Assist
Another recall involved another widespread problem across both Toyota and Lexus models. The symptoms of this problem typically include a lack of braking power because the braking pedal can barely be pressed. Lexus issued a recall for this problem under the code K2F/KLF, which involved the 2019 model only.
It turns out that the brake booster pump is the problem here. This part of the car simply malfunctions, making braking impossible or near impossible. The solution was replacing the brake booster pump, which was done free of charge for the recalled models.
If you’re looking for a 2019 model, ensure that this repair has been carried out. Otherwise, replacing a brake booster pump on this vehicle will cost around $1,000.
6. Hesistation During Acceleration
Owners of the early version of the Lexus ES 300h (especially those that own a 2013 model) complain about a profound hesitation when accelerating. This hesitation occurs randomly and is not something they can rely on, making driving all the more difficult.
Unfortunately, there’s no actual recall for this problem, and Lexus dealers seem to stand by their point that there’s nothing wrong with the vehicle. This also means it’s challenging to figure out what the problem here truly is.
What’s The Worst Year Of The Lexus ES 300h?
Finally, we have to answer the question of which model year of the Lexus ES 300h is the worst and which one is the best. After reading through several forums, data of the NHTSA, and deallerrater.com, we have come to the following conclusion:
The 2013 Lexus ES 300h is the worst model year of this car since it has a failing vehicle speed control system that causes unexpected acceleration. Furthermore, the pre-collision system is too sensitive, which causes emergency braking on the highway. Finally, the car hesitates for 1-3 seconds when accelerating.
2016 – 2018 of the Lexus ES 300h are the best model years. This is because these cars have very few reported problems and zero recalls. At this point, Lexus had fixed the issues of the 2013 – 2015 model years, whereas they hadn’t yet run into the problems of the 2019 – 2021 model year.