The Lexus ES 330 is a mid-size luxury sedan with a powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine. Although Lexus continues its line of ES sedans to this day, the ES 330 only ran for three years, from 2004 to 2006, and was replaced by the ES 350 in the next generation. Don’t leave without first reading our list of common Lexus ES 330 failures .
Due to its age, the ES 330 has already lost most of its value. ES 330s made between 2004 and 2006 are only worth about 15% of their original value. They predict that it will continue to depreciate an additional 6% of its current value in five years. While this may be bad news for current Lexus ES 330 owners looking to sell theirs, it could be a fantastic deal for people looking for a used luxury sedan.
How good is the Lexus ES 330?
There is not enough data to give an overall reliability score for the model or its annual cost to repair. However, Lexus vehicles are generally reliable, just like their Toyota counterparts. The ES 330 is built on the same platform as the Camry, which is very reliable, so there’s a good chance the Lexus will be just as reliable , if not more so.
Most of the owners claim that the car is fantastic. One owner on cars.com has even called the Lexus ES 330 “the best car he’s ever owned.” This is due to its overall reliability and ride quality. Several owners had issues over its many years of use, but these were easily fixed and could be dismissed as normal wear and tear.
The main common faults of the Lexus ES 330
The ES 330 is known for being suitably sporty, while still having a quiet and comfortable ride. Although famous for its overall reliability, the Lexus ES 330 does have a few issues, one of which is particularly serious. Here are some of the most common failures of the Lexus ES 330:
1- Problems with the mass air sensor (MAF)
A faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor can cause various engine problems, including lack of power, low gas mileage, and lag acceleration, on some 2004 to 2006 ES 330s. This may be accompanied by a light illuminated check engine light. When checked with an OBD2 scanner, it can throw up the P0171 or P0174 error codes, which indicate that the engine has been running on a lean fuel-air mixture.
Replacing the MAF sensor fixed the problem for some owners . The air mass sensors on the Lexus ES 330 can cost between $30 and $100.
2- Worn brake rotors
There were several reports of vibrations coming from the ES 330’s steering wheel or brake pedal. This is because the car’s brake rotors are warped. While the cause of this roll is unclear, there are also numerous NHTSA reports in the US of various brake problems. Among them are brake failure and brake noise. This problem can occur on any of the 2004 to 2006 models of the ES 330.
Replacing warped brake rotors or reworking them should fix the problem. A replacement Lexus ES 330 brake disc and pad kit can cost anywhere from $70 to $200.
3- Failures in the air bags
The airbags in some ES 330s have been reported to be cracked and expanded. Aside from the cosmetic issues, it has also been reported that the airbags do not deploy upon impact . Several owners were injured due to their bodies hitting the steering wheel when the airbags should have cushioned them.
This has been of particular concern to owners as they have to deal with the possibility that their airbags could pose a hazard.
The only possible solution for the owners seemed to be the replacement of the faulty airbag. However, since there is no recall for the ES 330 airbag, owners are unfortunately left with no choice but to replace it with an airbag they have paid for themselves.
4- Sudden and involuntary acceleration
Several 2005 Lexus ES 330 owners have reported that their vehicle accelerated more than it should when pressing the accelerator.
An LA Times article published in 2010 stated that this issue occurred in various Toyota and Lexus models, with the Camry and ES 330 being one of the affected vehicles. The article says that the problem has led to 34 deaths in different models made by Toyota. In one case where the problem occurred, the driver struck and killed a pedestrian before the sedan drove through a fence and into a concrete pillar.
A month before the accident, the owner had the vehicle checked and Toyota wrote in the report that “the car was in good working order.”
The problem is suspected to be caused by the vehicle’s floor mat causing the accelerator pedal to get stuck. Initially, the mats were withdrawn from the market. However, even after replacing the original mats or removing them completely, the problems persisted.
Toyota then announced that the problem could be caused by the accelerator pedal . According to Toyota, the pedal mechanism wears out, and under certain conditions, the accelerator pedal can become harder to depress, return more slowly, or in the worst case, get stuck in a partially depressed position. Therefore, Toyota has initiated a second recall to address the tendency of the pedal to stick.
If you are looking for a second-hand Lexus ES 330, you should know that it is one of the models affected by the accelerator pedal problem. However, this bug does not seem to recur once it has been fixed. For this reason, it is always good to seek advice on what are the common faults of the Lexus ES 330, before purchasing one.
If you want to buy a second-hand Lexus ES 330, we recommend that you check the vehicle’s repair history to see if it was part of the recall and if the accelerator pedal has already been replaced. Learning from the experience of other drivers can help you decide if the car you want to buy is worth it or not.