The Most Common Lexus Problems

Oil and water leakage are some of Lexus’ most common problems, but watch out for melting dashboards, brake issues, and infotainment problems as well.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
One of the most common problems across all Lexus models is oil leakage from the timing chain cover. This issue is followed closely by water leakage, cracking or melting dashboards, drivetrain issues, and brake problems.
Lifelong car owners can attest that there’s no such thing as a perfect car, regardless of the make and model. Even manufacturers with the best track records, which routinely produce efficient, reliable, good quality vehicles, are capable of producing cars that keep experiencing the same problems.
If you’re ready to learn about the most common problems in Lexus vehicles, keep reading. Licensed
car insurance
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has put together this guide—broken down by car model—detailing their worst mechanical issues. We'll also provide a way to save on
Lexus insurance costs
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What are the most common Lexus problems?

The most common problems experienced by Lexus owners are oil leakage, melting dashboards and door panels, repeated illumination of the Check Engine light, PCM storage of certain codes, and airbag-related issues.
Overall, the company’s worst offender is the 2009
Lexus RX 350
, with 122 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since its release. By comparison, the
Lexus GS
—across all model years—experiences few problems and is widely regarded as the most reliable model Lexus has ever produced, with the 2011 LS and the 2015 ES coming in at second and third.
Check out the table below for a more thorough breakdown of the most common Lexus problems in models still available to purchase.
Starting price
J.D. Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
RX 350
Oil leakage, faulty camshaft timing oil control valves, A/C issues
2007 - 2009
ES 350
Oil leaks, infotainment system issues, melting dashboard, faulty evaporator core
2007, 2008, 2011 - 2015
LS 460
$46,004 - $63,237
Clicking sound from brake actuator, failed “Push Start” switch, navigation errors, blank multi-cluster display screens
2007 - 2010
GX 470
Clunk noise from rear of vehicle, malfunction sunroof, faulty airbag wiring harness, Check Engine light illumination
2003 and 2006
IS 350
Discoloration of inside rear view mirror, clicking noise from suspension, Check Engine light illumination
2006 and 2015
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Most common Lexus RX 350 problems

Average annual repair cost: $550 complaints: 114
The Lexus RX 350’s propensity to leak oil from the engine is one of the most common issues across all model years, though it primarily affects those produced between 2007 and 2015. In many cases, this is paired with a ruptured variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) oil line and can cause the low engine oil pressure warning light and message, along with a persistent clicking noise while driving.
Faulty camshaft timing oil control valves and A/C issues are two other reoccurring issues with the Lexus RX 350, with models produced from 2007 to 2013 amongst the worst affected. The former issue results in repeated illumination of the
Check Engine Light
, traction control, and AWD lights and the latter commonly manifests as an error message and A/C vents that fail to blow cold air 

Most common Lexus ES 350 problems

Average annual repair cost: $468 complaints: 103
Similar to the RX 350, the
Lexus ES 350
’s most common issue is oil leakage and is known to affect all models between the years 2007 and 2016. Drivers report a burst VVT-i oil line as the typical source of the problem, resulting in constant “low engine oil” messages. If left unchecked or unaddressed, this issue can cause catastrophic and irreversible engine damage.
Infotainment system issues are another common occurrence for Lexus ES 350 models produced from 2008 to 2010 and 2014. Drivers report a blacked-out system screen that prevents them from using the radio, navigation, and Bluetooth.
Owners of the 2007 Lexus ES 350 model—the worst model year for repeat offenses—regularly have to contend with melting dashboards, blown cylinder heads, and faulty evaporator cores.

Most common Lexus LS 460 problems

Average annual repair cost: $767 complaints: 55
Overall, the most common issue across all
Lexus LS 460
model years is clicking or knocking sounds emanating from the brake actuator, either when the brake is pressed while the vehicle is stopped or when the brake is depressed slightly. This problem appeared in some cars within a year of purchasing and at least 10 model years have reported this issue.
Owners of the Lexus LS 460 may also have to contend with faulty “Push Start” switches. This issue results in intermittent no-start conditions, blank multi-cluster display screens, and navigation system errors.

Most common Lexus GX 470 problems

Average annual repair cost: $591 complaints: 39
When it comes to the Lexus GX 470, we find that the most frequent issue across all model years—specifically 2003 through 2008—is a clunking type sound emanating from the vehicle’s rear when stopping. This noise is most often caused by faulty rear suspension control arms and a defective rear driveshaft, with the earliest recorded occurrence starting around 17,000 miles.
Owners of the Lexus GX 470 face additional issues such as a sunroof that regularly jams or does not close properly and the illumination of the airbag warning light, accompanied by trouble codes B0111 and/or B0116. The latter issue is most often attributed to a faulty airbag system harness and can cost upwards of $2,500 to replace.

Most common Lexus IS 350 problems

Average annual repair cost: $543 complaints: 26
Out of the five cars listed, the
Lexus IS 350
has the least range of common problems. However, it still suffers from dashboard and door panel melting, particularly in the 2006 and 2007 models—in fact, nearly every common problem with the Lexus IS 350 affects these model years.
Owners of the Lexus IS 350 have also reported irregular discoloration of the inside rearview mirror, clicking noises emanating from the rear suspension, and regular illumination of the Check Engine light accompanied by trouble codes P0751, P2714, and P0894. The latter issue is prevalent in vehicles with an automatic transmission and may require a revised powertrain control module to fix.

Are Lexus cars reliable?

Despite some of the issues outlined in this article, Lexus is still considered one of the most reliable luxury car brands on the market and regularly ranks highest in vehicle dependability. According to J.D. Power, Lexus has ranked highest 9 times in the last 10 years, a testament to their manufacturing quality.
Overall, Repair Pal estimates the average repair cost across all Lexus models to be roughly $551 a year. And while this does put Lexus above the average yearly repair costs for most economy vehicles, they are well below the $726 annual average repair costs for other luxury vehicles.

The least reliable Lexus model: 2009 Lexus RX 350

Most common problem: Massive oil leakage
NHTSA complaints: 122
Coming in at #1 for least reliable, the 2009 Lexus RX 350 is plagued by a slew of issues. The worst is massive oil leakage from the engine and loss of oil pressure due to a burst VVT-i oil line. While this issue is shared with 8 other model years, the 2009 model has been the worst offender to date—Toyota had to address the problem with a revised part, but even the fixed part falls victim to the same issue.

The most reliable Lexus model: 2016 Lexus GS 350

Most common problem: Fuel system & engine problems
NHTSA complaints: 2
On the other hand, the 2016 Lexus GS 350 is widely considered to be Lexus’ most reliable model. However, it’s a slightly expensive model, having an average selling price of roughly $51,000. Overall, the 2016 Lexus GS 350 has received stellar ratings and a near-perfect reliability rating by drivers.

How to save money on car insurance

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In general, most Lexus models have a lifespan of approximately 250,000 to 300,000 miles, provided you keep your driving habits conservative and adhere to a proper maintenance schedule. Based on these mileage estimates and the average distance an American drives a year, your Lexus could potentially last you 20 years.
Lexus is considered a very reliable brand, especially among luxury car manufacturers. Although some of their models—particularly those produced in 2007—suffer from repeat problems, J.D. Power has awarded Lexus with the highest ranking for vehicle dependability 9 times in the last 10 years.
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