In 2002, Lexus recalled the ES300 due a potential problem with the vehicle's driver's side brake module. The problem stemmed from a spacer placed on the wheel's coil spring to prevent damage during transportation from the manufacturer to dealerships. The spacer could have caused the wheel's brake tube to deform, eventually leading to brake fluid leakage and brake failure with extended use. Lexus recalled the ES300 the same year for a defect in the driver's airbag.
For the brake problem, ES300 owners could take their vehicles to participating Lexus or Toyota dealerships for free repairs. If the spacer deformed the brake tube, the dealership removed the faulty part and replaced it with a new one. The repair was not necessary for every ES300 recalled, as the spacer did not deform the brake tube on every vehicle during transport.
On some 2002 ES300 vehicles, the lower portion of the driver's side air bag cover was not sufficiently attached to the steering column and could potentially detach when the airbag deployed. Normally, the cover breaks, allowing the airbag to safely deploy; on defective models, however, the cover could detach along with the airbag, potentially causing serious facial injuries for the driver. As with the brake recall, owners could take their vehicles into any participating dealership and have the defective airbag module replaced with a working part.