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If you’re looking for a compact SUV that combines sport, utility, and comfort—you can never go wrong with the Lexus RX330. While its latest model rolled out in 2006, it remains a good pick in the used vehicle market, thanks to its top-notch interiors, superb fuel efficiency, and powerful engine. Whether you own a Lexus RX330 or have plans to buy one, it’s crucial to read up on this model’s reliability ratings and issues.

Are Lexus RX330s Reliable?

The Lexus RX 330 has a good reputation in terms of reliability. reports that owners scored the 2006 model 4.8 stars out of 5, while the 2005 model got 4.7. The used 2004 Lexus RX330 reliability ratings are not far behind with 4.7 stars. With these ratings, it’s apparent that the RX330 can easily enjoy a long service life with proper handling and regular maintenance.

Lexus RX330 Common Problems

Just like any other vehicle, the Lexus RX330 may develop issues as it racks up mileage. Here are some of the most common RX330 issues per model year:

Radiator Issues

Radiator issues top the list of 2006 Lexus RX330 common problems. According to reports, the first thing the owners of the affected units noticed was a radiator leak. Upon investigation, most of them found a split or crack on the bottom seam of their SUV’s radiator.

Most owners were able to solve the issue by replacing their faulty radiator. If your SUV develops similar issues, don’t worry. There are many top-notch yet affordable aftermarket radiators on the market, so finding one for your Lexus will be easy.

Delayed Shifting

Several owners of the 2004-2006 model have complained that their SUV shifts lag when they’re accelerating at certain speeds (10 to 20 mph). To solve this issue, Lexus has released a software update for the transmission control module.

2004 2006 Lexus RX330 Wikimedia
Several owners of the 2006 model have complained that their SUV shifts lag when they’re accelerating at certain speeds (10 to 20 mph). Image source: Wikimedia.

However, in some cases, the delayed shifting was caused by a faulty component (not an outdated model). So if you encounter this issue, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop immediately. A mechanic would know how to diagnose the problem correctly and rule out underlying issues.

Vehicle Won’t Start

Several 2005 Lexus RX330 owners have also complained that their SUV won’t start for no reason. According to reports, this usually happens at around 24,000 miles. Some drivers also had difficulty starting their car after pumping gas.

There are many possible reasons why a vehicle won’t start. A faulty car battery and fuel pump are the most common culprits. If you’re struggling to start your Lexus, take it to an auto repair shop right away for proper diagnosis and repair.

Windshield Issues

There were also many complaints involving the 2005 Lexus RX330’s windshield. Several owners have reported that their vehicle’s window trim fell off at around 92,000 miles.

2005 Lexus RX 330 Wikimedia
There have been complaints involving the 2005 Lexus RX330’s windshield. Image source: Wikimedia.

In some cases, trim sealing the rear side window just fell off completely. The trims that seal the back doors in most of the affected SUVs came loose, giving way to leaks. The problem with this type of issue is that replacing the trim alone won’t cut it. Most drivers had to get a window replacement to repair their windshield.

Cracked Dashboard

Many 2004 Lexus RX330 owners have complained about cracks on their dashboard after around 85,300 miles. Some of them had high-quality sun shields to protect their dashboard from the sun’s heat. In some cases, the dash started peeling near the airbag and around the key switch at around 73, 000 miles.

According to reports, some Lexus and Toyota models have dashboards that are prone to cracking. In fact, a lawsuit was filed in 2014 regarding the issue, which led Lexus to cover expenses for some of the affected models through a “Warranty Enhancement Notification.” You can check with your local dealer if your Lexus RX330 is part of this update.

A dashboard replacement usually solves the issue. However, if you’d rather keep your stock dash, you can get a high-quality aftermarket dash cover to hide the damaged part.

A/C Heater Issues

Some owners of the 2004 Lexus RX330 have also complained about A/C heater issues. Several of them noticed a burning smell coming from their vehicle’s A/C while the engine was running. Others report hearing rattling noises coming from behind the glove box or dashboard. In some cases, the A/C stopped blowing cold air after about 72,000 miles.

Fortunately, 2004 Lexus RX330 common AC problems can usually be solved by replacing faulty A/C components.

Steering Problems

Many 2004 Lexus RX330 owners have also reported experiencing steering-related issues. In most cases, drivers noticed stiff steering at around 29,500 miles. Most of them traced the issue to a bent pinion that needed replacement.

Aside from stiff steering, several owners have also complained about oil leaks and unusual noises when turning the wheels.

Pulsating Brake Pedal

Several 2004 Lexus RX330 owners have also reported brake pedal pulsation due to warped front brake rotors. Fortunately, replacing the damaged rotors usually resolved the issue.

The Lexus RX330 remains an excellent choice for drivers looking for a used vehicle. Choosing it comes with little risk as long as you’re aware of the potential problems it may develop. Just follow your regular maintenance schedule and replace faulty parts right away, and you’ll surely make the most out of your Lexus RX330’s service life.

About The Authors
Lisa Conant, Automotive Features Reviewer at
Lisa Conant

Automotive Features Reviewer at

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

CarParts Research Team Research Team

Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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