RX300 - Check Engine Light related to Oil Sludge?

I have a '99 RX300. I try to change the oil every 3000 miles b/c of the much discussed oil sludge problem. At about 85,000 miles I let it go to 5,000 miles
between change. The Check Engine light came on. I made sure that the gas gap was on tight but the light stayed on. I made an appointment with the dealer, and while waiting for that day, I changed the oil and the light went off 10 minutes later and has stayed off. Sure seems related. I'm wondering if there may be a problem with oil sludge even though the light has stayed off and it's running fine.
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discussed oil sludge problem. At about 85,000 miles I let it go to 5,000 miles between change. The Check Engine light came on. I made sure that the gas gap was on tight but the light stayed on. I made an appointment with the dealer, and while waiting for that day, I changed the oil and the light went off 10 minutes later and has stayed off. Sure seems related. I'm wondering if there may be a problem with oil sludge even though the light has stayed off and it's running fine.

My 2000 ES 300 had a brief (half-day) epsiode of intermittent Engine Warning light with the Traction Control warning light recently. The engine oil was about 2K miles old.
I don't know why it started, and why it went off all by itself later that day. The dealer couldn't identify what might have caused it because everything looked OK to them.
I am losing confidence in my 2000 Lexus ES 300 Platinum Series vehicle. I am going to buy an extended warranty on this car. Any recommendations?
If I have to pay full-price to fix anything on this car, I am going to wish I had bought a Ford.
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CELs are generally triggered by issues associated with the FI system, ignition system, or other system that could affect emissions. (CELs came about through the requirements of emissions regulations.) I doubt there is any sensor associated with the lubrication system that would trigger a CEL (except, of course, if you had oil pump failure or something equally catastrophic). Therefore, I'd view it as highly unlikely that the CEL was caused by oil problems or solved by changing oil. The most likely culprit is that you have something like an O2 sensor that is starting to get marginal or was briefly contaminated by some bad gas or other factor.
CELs can come/go on many cars and I would rate this on the scale of car problems as "small potatoes". I certainly wouldn't lose confidence in a vehicle because of a glitch like this - overall, the reliability of the ES300 (and the Camry it is based on) has been exceptional, perhaps the best of any recent car.
Drive on.
- Mark
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Thanks for that piece of information, Mark!
I had been using 91 Octane all along except for the last 2 or 3 tankfuls before the Engine Lights came on (I switched to 87). But why the Traction Control warning light as well as the Engine Warning Light?
And why didn't the Lexus Service Consultant tell me this? The Consultant seemed more sympathetic than diagnostic. And that Lexus dealership refused to sell me an extended warranty because I didn't buy the car from them, and/or because my car is over 3 years and has over 36K miles. (Or is there some other sinister reason behind their decision not to sell me an extended warranty, I wonder) My car is under 4 years and 50K miles, and is still under factory warranty, but not for long :(

Not in my 1988 V6 Camry (basically, very similar to the Lexus ES250) Not once in the almost 16 years I have owned it (except momentarily, when you start up the car) Not even once! Beat that.
Lexus messed up a very good car (the ES250) by turning it into a 300. Then, they introduced brakes that squeal (for the ES300, Camry and Sienna). Then, they embarked on screwing up the transmission by introducing 5-speed with "intelligence". Keep up the good work, Lexus.
My 1988 Camry still uses its original suspension. I've read many suspension problems in Camrys 10 years newer than mine.
All my power-window motors still work. As do all the power door locks.
My illuminated dash/controls are not as bright as my Lexus display, but the display is still visible after 15 years, unlike many Lexus owners whose displays are completely gone, and who need to spend quite a lot of money getting it fixed.
Original Alternator and Compressor.
I did replace the timing belt, thermostat and the water pump on the recomendation of a mechanic, but I think they would have lasted too. I had the radiator re-conditioned, and the hoses replaced.
My tail/brake lights are the original bulbs (15+ years old and still working!). I've replaced 1 of the headlamps.
My 1988 Camry still uses its original muffler and catalytic converter. And it passed California Emissions last year.
4 new brake rotors though.
Has anyone here owned a Lexus ES250 with similar problems as the ES300? I bet not.

If my ES300 lasts 15 years like my 1988 Camry, I'll be back here eating my words. But I doubt it will. Too much high-tech junk that WILL go wrong in due course, as some other owners have encountered.
I guess Toyota can't survive if everyone keeps their car for 15 years and refuses to buy a newer model like me. So the solution must have been obvious.
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before
Light?
I'd use what the manual recommends. TC lights have two modes: one to tell you that they're working and another to tell you they're malfunctioning. See what the manual says.

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has
I believe this is standard policy on extended warranties. They don't want people deferring a decision on an extended warranty to the last minute when problems are looming.

you
They're much more common on today's cars becuase they're required by emissions regulations to monitor a great many more parameters. For example, the CEL system to detect vapor leaks in the fuel tanks was a recent requirement and leads to a lot of CELs. But you're right - some cars never seem to have them. Luck of the draw. My point is that they are not usually an indicator of serious problems - usually they detect some sensor that is not working correctly, an electrical connnection that is intermittent or a vacuum hose that is leaking.

The ES250 was a good car, as has been the ES300 and ES330. A bit overpriced IMHO vs. the equivalent Camry, but value is a relative that only the individual can determine. The issues with more electronics and complexity in today's cars is basically complaining about the weather. The objective data is that today's super-complex cars have never been more reliable, trouble-free, or long-lasting. But if you want to keep an older car running, certainly cars like the ES250 are good candidates - it just takes a generous maintenance budget and willingness to keep putting money in a car beyond what you can get back if you were to sell it.
Good luck,
- Mark
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Manual says 87 is OK, but to use 91 for "improved performance". I am very happy with my 1988 156HP 2.5L V6. A 210HP 3.0L V6 is overkill for my driving needs, and I don't need any "improved performance". If I ever did, I'd get myself a Corvette or a Viper.
For the record, I do notice a slight sluggishness compared to the days I used 91 Octane in my Lexus. Gas mileage has not noticeably improved/declined since I switched to 87 Octane.

I have the instrument cluster known as "Type B" for USA. The malfunction indicator lamp (page 42 of the user manual) supposedly illuminates under 1 of 3 conditions: 1. fuel tank completely empty 2. fuel tank cap not tightened securely 3. problem somewhere in engine or automatic transmission electrical system
The light came on in the middle of my trip, so I think it is #3.
The "TRAC OFF" warning lamp (page 43) also came on by itself while I was driving. "... problem somewhere in the traction control system."
"... contact your Lexus dealer as soon as possible ..."

I bought this "non-certified" vehicle from a private party at around 42K miles,
so I didn't have the option. If it wasn't for these warning lights, I'd probably skip an extended warranty. Most Extended Warranty companies can't sell their services in California because of some new State law here.
Maybe I'll just take my chances, and post more messages here if my engine blows up.

You mean like those Lexus owners with the burned-out instrument clusters? (I'm keeping my settings away from the maximum brightness/intensity)
Or the 400-series owners with the power steering / alternator problems? (What would we do without these newsgroups?)
Not to mention the premature aging of the turn signals (the infamous "Turn Signal TSB").
I'd be pissed if I spent $30+K on a car and had those problems before the car was 10 years old.

A generous maintenance budget is what one would need if 1. you lost all your keys to your Lexus 2. your instrument cluster burned out and you want Lexus to fix the problem
Either of the above "budgets" exceeds the Blue Book value of my 1988 V6 Camry.

Thanks! I'll be needing that for my 2000 Lexus ES 300 since I can't get an extended warranty, not my 1988 Toyota V6 Camry that has proven its worth :) (Damn! I only paid under $11K in cash in 1991 for that 1988 V6 from a Toyota Dealer)
Did I mention that my power steering fluid in my 15+ year old vehicle still doesn't leak ;) And the power steering and alternator (original components) still work fine. Now there's the real "Pursuit of Perfection" that somehow got lost in all the high-tech junk we seen in finicky new cars today.
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This is because Lexus has preprogrammed mileage checks that maybe different from the owner, as well as the dealer service some dealers provide. The dealer can show you how to cancel the check engine light particularly when for example you take it in for a 1500 mile check up, and they change oil, and then are suppose to report back at 5000 mi. Lexus preprograms 3000 miles in, so the check engine light comes on as a reminder.

much discussed oil sludge problem. At about 85,000 miles I let it go to 5,000 miles between change. The Check Engine light came on. I made sure that the gas gap was on tight but the light stayed on. I made an appointment with the dealer, and while waiting for that day, I changed the oil and the light went off 10 minutes later and has stayed off. Sure seems related. I'm wondering if there may be a problem with oil sludge even though the light has stayed off and it's running fine.

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I don't believe Lexus cars are set up to show CELs as normal maintenance reminders.
- Mark
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