Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Check Engine, Trac Off on Lexus ES 300

A week ago, on my Lexus ES 300 (2001), "Check Engine" and "Trac Off" lights came on. This coincided with me filling the gas tank to the brim to round the dollar to be paid. Some websites suggested that the "Trac Off" is related to the gas tank cap not being tight. I cleaned the gas tank cap and the tank opening. However, both lights persisted. On the same day, when I turned on the car again, there was a hesitance, a stuttering to come on, like the battery was going down. Both "Check Engine" and "Trac Off" lights were still on.

If you take the car to a shop at this point, their computer check can cost you hundreds of dollars. I have seen many advices posted on the internet with conflicting diagnosis, but none conclusive. So, I decided to research further.

The next day, the car wouldn't come on at all. It sounded as the battery was dead. I couldn't even jump start the car. Usually, if the battery is completely drained, jump starting will not work. So, I got a new battery from Costco ($56.99) and put it in. (There is a $9 fee if you do not turn in the old battery).

It took 15-20 seconds of cranking to get the car started. Once it was started, the engine sounded fine and the RPM was normal. The "Check Engine" light was off. However, the "Trac Off" was still on. I cleaned the gas tank cap one more time.

The next morning, when I turned the car on, there was no problem at all. It came on instantly as it used to be, didn't have any warning lights, and drove smoothly.

The gas tank cap getting dirty and the battery being down are unrelated things, which just happened on the same day. I do not know which one caused which warning light to come on though.

14 comments:

  1. hi, i am a auto mechanic .let me tell about this. i think it is only coz of your ABS system / ABS sensors got dirty (It sits in every axles).. so the Traction control system got some false code ..May be coz of dirt or coz or ice .. normaly each turn it automaticaly cleaned. but some cases it wont .. thats y it happend (Trac off).. & Battery .. may be any of your lights (Trunk,Radio etc) is on it happens
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  2. The easiest and fastest way to solve this problem is under the hood in the fuse panel.....with the car off, pull out the "efi" fuse, try to start the engine for 1 second with the fuse out.....turn the key to off position, put the fuse back in and then start the car....you'll be pleasantly surprised.....takes 10 seconds of total work!!!! Email thanks to pvoots007@ gmail.com

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    1. Pistol Pete, Thanks for this information. My wife took my car to work this morning and when I woke up there was a text describing these exact problems. I read your post (among others) grabbed my portable toolbox and headed her way. When I got there I pulled out the owners manual and looked up the #18 fuse. In my 2000 es-300 #18 is the overhead lights so I kept looking. #19 was the EFI so I pulled the fuse, turned the ignition over for only 1-2 seconds, replaced the fuse and BAM, Problem solved! Great post bud. I wish I knew how to return the favor. Thanks!

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  3. Replies
    1. Fuse box No:18 fuse. It's Multiparty fuel injection.

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  4. The easiest and fastest way to solve this problem is under the hood in the fuse panel.....with the car off, pull out the "efi" fuse, try to start the engine for 1 second with the fuse out.....turn the key to off position, put the fuse back in and then start the car....you'll be pleasantly surprised.....takes 10 seconds of total work!!!! Email thanks to pvoots007@ gmail.com

    Fuse #18. Remove & replace. Start the car. It works.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, magic. It works
      Almost spend $980 for repair at local mechanic shop per their estimate. Thank you.

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    2. On my 2001 ES 300 it is #19. Pulled and reset as directed. Drove around 5 miles, shut it down, re-started, drove some more. Lights out! Thank you John!!

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    3. 99 es300 same codes and just worked perfect for mine as well!Thanks!

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    4. Outstanding! Fuse 19 on my 2000 ES300 and it worked like a charm. Thanks!

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I second this. 2000 Lexus ES-300 127,000 miles Very well maintained. Today, while driving, the TRAC and CE (check engine) lights both came on. NO discernible change in the engine performance. . After reading several forums, I saw this suggestion twice. Turned car off. Under hood, removed the 15 amp fuse for the EFI (electronic Fuel injection). Left it out for about 15 seconds. Turned ignition and cranked engine for 3-4 seconds. Put fuse back in. Started car, Both lights out, No more issues. I'll log back in if it recurs soon.

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  7. Ok - here's the update. the lights stayed off for 3 miles, then came back on. No discernible issues with performance. I took out EFI fuse for 30 sec, cranked engine for 5 seconds twice, put the fuse back in. Lights stayed off for 3 miles, and back on again. Oh well, can't blame me for trying. I was going to make a big donation to the interweb if it had worked. Millions!

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    Replies
    1. Did you ever find and fix the problem? This just happened to me. 01 ES 300 123k. I just did a routine oil change and replaced the rear brake pad. In addition I bled the rear brakes. Once I started the car after about a minute CEL and Trac Control light came on. I disconnected the battery for about an hour and restarted. The light cam back on about 30 min later. I tried the fuse 19 trick. Light went off but comes right back on. I think my code was P1135. I went back and bled all the calipers in case that may have triggered the CEL. Same thing.

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