Lexus RX 300 Door Won’t Lock or Unlock

Lexus RX 300 Door Won’t Lock or Unlock – The passenger door lock recently stopped working. A local car repair shop (much cheaper than Lexus) wants about $500 to replace the actuator. Would it be wise to try to find a used one. Hard hard is it to take off the door panel and install this device?

“All the initial lights comes up which means there is nothing wrong with the battery (hopefully) but it just gives a kind of choking noise after that.”


The RX300 uses a combination door latch, switch & solenoid/motor mounted to the latch. The mechanical key lock is separate, as I remember. Does the key turn, but doesn’t move the lock? You may have a problem where it connects, and not the motor/latch/switch. But with the door panel removed, you will be able to check it out and replace the faulty component.


Lexus RX 300 Door  – The power required to run the lights, etc is much, much lower than what is required to turn a starter motor. It is entirely likely there is enough battery voltage to allow instrumentation and lights to work, but not enough amperage to crank a motor. You might be describing a battery failure. I’m not sure about the choking noise.

Does the starter turn the motor freely at a normal speed?

I would try jumping it with a known good battery, preferably an idling motor. Connect the cables carefully. The tow truck should be able to do this. If it starts from a jump, you may want to consider replacing the battery.


Actually, WWest is right to check the corrosion on the terminals first. Any auto parts store (or Walmart) sells tools to do this yourself if you want, and it needs to be done on a regular basis.

Only the ’99 and ’01 had an option for a rear LSD and if you only have 60,000 miles on one of those…

The RX300’s and (maybe) the RX350’s have a VC, Viscous Clutch or Coupling, supposedly to distribute engine torque to the rear with semi-continous front wheelspin/slip.

For ’01 and after TC, Traction Control, is used to make the VC pretty much totally non-functional so it was dropped entirely for the RX330 product run. As to the RX350 Lexus marketing materials state that it has a VC again but the factory service/shop manuals do not bare this out.

In any case the VC fluid is hermetically sealed within the clutch case and cannot be serviced. If you’re asking about the PTO lubricating fluid in which the VC runs then there is NEVER a need for changing that fluid, as indicated in your owners manual, since there is no stress within the PTO that would warrant same.

I now have ~75,000 miles on my ’01 F/awd RX300 and nothing has been done under the factory recommended scheduled maintenance requirments other than oil and filter, air and oil, changes.

In order to test the functionality of the VC in my ’01 on a 4 wheel dyno I had to disable TC and even with than no more than 25% of the engine torque was routed to the rear driveline.

Which is probably why the 2010 RX350 has now adopted the more functional F/awd system the Ford Escape/Marinerand the Mazda Tribute/CX-7.
Be careful not to get the corrosion (or anything from the battery) on yourself or other parts of the car. When it’s not freezing out, you can use products to thoroughly clean and protect the terminals. The cleaning products require thorough rinsing with a hose, so skip those for now.

For now, just remove the cable clamps by loosening the bolt, then use a screwdriver to widen the clamp to loosen it’s grip (and a little wiggling) and use a rough wire brush (battery brush) to clean off corrosion, then re-seat the cables tightly. Be careful around the connections and cables. Don’t drop any tools where they can touch both terminals (that would be really bad) and don’t get any stuff on you or other parts of the car. It’s no surprise battery corrosion is corrosive and will burn through paint and/or cause stains.

The rear doors are much less complicated than the passenger front. And the passenger front is much less complicated than the drivers door (with lots of extra internal switches built in the lock and the extra switches on the armrest)

generated from edmunds forum

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