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Toyota Service
Toyota Service, Lexus and Toyota expert
Category: Lexus
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Is there an auto default that prevents a lexus ES300 from

Customer Question

hello, is there an auto default that prevents a lexus ES300 from going into overdrive?
transmission checked out...had a tune up; replaced coils 3 & 5. It's still not shifting into overdrive.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Lexus
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you.

There are two things on a Lexus vehicle that cause the overdrive to be inoperative.

1) Check Engine light. If the check engine light is on, for any reason, the OD is prevented. The cause of the check engine light being on would need ot be rectified (if it is on).

2) Engine coolant temperature. If the engine coolant temperature is below 177 degrees F, the OD is prevented. This is by design. OD is prevented form happening on a 'cold' engine because this could cause excess tailpipe emissions. After the temperature reaches 177 degrees, the engine is sufficiently warmed up, the air-fuel sensors are now modifying the fuel mixture; this is when the OD is allowed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thanks for that. I did notice yesterday that it seemed to not shift into 2nd or 3rd, which should happen soon after I leave my driveway. Eventually, it shifted, however, but that's not even overdrive. I guess it needed to warm up. It is colder these days.
So, and the best way to have warm engine coolant is....because even after driving for half an hour it still doesn't shift into overdrive and there is no check engine light happening. There was before we had the tune-up, but he said there were no codes afterwards.
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

If your thermostat is faulty, which is common on a 15 year old car, the coolant is allowed to pass thru the sealing portion unimpeded. This prevents the coolant form reaching the desired operating temperature of 192 degrees F. A thermostat that is not closing properly can easily allow the coolant temperature to be 160-170 degrees F. Add in a cooler day, and the cool air is rushing thru the radiator (cooling the coolant even further), no overdrive shifting is common. A thermostat replacement is not that expensive of a repair; I would recommend you replace the thermostat.

Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

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