Car Questions

Clear all

2004 Lexus RX 330 179K Transmission Problem


Topic starter

Hi Scotty,

Here in Puerto Rico cars are so expensive that we are trying to make them last for as long as possible. I just got single owner lexus RX 330 from 2004, replaced a timing belt and breaks on it. It's been driving fine for 3 weeks. 

This weekend I took my car into the mountains of Rincon and all of a sudden the car was parked overnight and in the morning any of the driving gears would not engage except for the reverse. I was able to move the shifter into any gear but the pressing gas pedal only yielded RPM's going up as if it was in neutral. It was parked at small angle with the rear of the car down at an angle. Eventually after some time the drive would slowly start coming back. Initially with a lot of wheel spin — barely catching on to drive and afterwards if you start driving it around it gives you no issues at all. The same happened today parked at the same angle. I an experimenting tonight by parking in the opposite direction (front facing down the angle).

I checked the transmission fluid when it was the cold and it was red (not black) at the bottom of the tip. Once warmed up the fluid was almost clear and was up to the "hot" mark it seemed. I'm freaking out about the transmission going out but it is a Toyota made in Japan that should last especially since it was serviced at the dealer I thought by the owner who did scheduled maintenance. 

Please help, I'm so scared about what to do! 

Thank you greatly for your advice. 


I forgot to mention it's an AWD model.. The mechanic that was replacing the timing belt also replaced stabilizer bar bushings. Could it be something that he didn't secure that's causing the transmission issue?

It makes front suspension noise over uneven pavement at slower speeds so I thought it was bushings and they were indeed worn according to the mechanic and were replaced. They told me to replace both front suspension struts

2 Answers

Well unfortunately everything wears out eventually and I've seen those transmissions go out at 180,000 miles. That's really the only thing that can make it slip like that you might try to change the filter and fluid and put it in a quart of Lucas anti-slip treatment and pray that fixes it


You never know how the previous owner used the car. Check out this one: