Car seems "raised" after 180K maintenance

Did 180K maintenance on my 2002 RX300 a few days ago. Didn’t notice at first but on seeing the car from the side it appears the car has been raised. Can see a lot more of the wheel wells than before and see springs, etc. that didn’t before. Is this a cause for concern? It seems to drive fine.

Although very rare,the shocks could have seized in the extended position. To test,press on each corner of the car and check for movement in the suspension.Good shocks will compress and rebound.

Are all 4 corners affected?

Yes, all 4 wheels though the rear 2 seem higher than the front ones (can see more spring coils anyway).

Additionally, if the OP’s vehicle is now riding like a truck, rather than a luxury SUV, that would be another indication that the shocks/struts overextended when the vehicle was put on a chassis lift. In view of the high odometer mileage, this wouldn’t be really surprising.

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what all was done as part of the 180k maintenance?

Well clearly the springs were not changed since they are not nice and shiny black.

It is very improbable that all 4 dampers locked in the extended position. If that happened the SUV would ride like a cement truck and be very obvious.

Are you sure it sits higher? Drive it for a few days and see if it settles back where it was.

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On old shocks, its quite possible they have frozen in a higher position than before. I had that happen with both rear shocks when the car was raised on a lift. Yeah it’ll ride a little rough and there won’t be any give to the shocks. The other thing of course is if you have a leveling system, they may have knocked the levers loose that control the level of the shocks. Had that happen too hitting a chunk of ice.

Service included timing belt, oil change, radiator flush, transmission fluid, brake fluid, throttle body intake service. When I sit on front bumper it seems to move okay. When I sit on back bumper not much give, though I only weigh 120. I’m taking it in tomorrow. I know the last time the brakes were done they said I needed struts or shocks.

Well, I think that–at this point–you almost surely need them.


It does indeed look like it is riding too high. Unlikely to be related to any of the stuff in the list. But very well could be a strut problem that occurred when the car was lifted up by the chassis, leaving the wheels to hang free. On some older vehicles as I recall they’d have to place a special gadget on the suspension system to prevent that before lifting the vehicle. I doubt that’s necessary on an rx300, but it could just be the rear struts are shot.

In the meantime suggest to be overly cautious when driving, avoid freeway driving, until this is checked by your shop. A locked up suspension can make the vehicle difficult for the driver to handle, especially in emergency situations where you have to turn and/or stop quickly.

Wait a few days and see if it settles back down. If it does, get it in for an alignment and they will check things out. Sometimes when all four wheels are hanging in the air the suspension will “relocate” a little. That would suggest that something may be too old to work without distorting. Also look to see if the tires are the same distance behind the front of the wheel well, especially the rear wheels. They may have bent something.

This same thing happened to me once with a Subaru Outback, but only one side was higher. I told the service manager and we measured it (and confirmed it) with a tape measure. They had no idea why one side was higher. So I traded it for a Honda. I’m not bragging, the Honda’s transmission went at 59K. Sweet Blizzaks by the way. I own a similar vehicle, '07 HighlanderHighlander fall 2016 34

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Blizzaks and green grass?? A foot of snow here but even with blizzaks I wouldn’t have been fool enough to try it before the plow came through. Once the snow is higher than the under carriage, you aren’t going anywhere regardless of tires.

If the shocks/struts are original, and you’re planning to keep the RX, new ones would be worthwhile. 180k is plenty.

Even with almost-new Michelin X-Ice tires, my Outback couldn’t make very much progress on an unplowed road where the accumulated snow was over 8 inches deep. I wound-up turning around and heading back home.

I drove home from a sporting event in a lowered 84 Corvette with dry weather tires. I ended up plowing the 6 inches of snow we got while I was inside watching a basketball game. I got home but ran a red light on the way since there was no traffic. The stop was uphill and if I stopped, there would have been no more “going”