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10 Common Problems Of A Lexus ES350

10 Common Problems Of A Lexus ES350

What kind of problems does a quite-reliable Lexus ES350 usually have? This blog lists the most critical issues you should consider while buying an ES350. First, let’s take a look at a quick answer.

The most common problems of the ES350 are found in the 2007 – 2012 model years, which have a melting dashboard, leaking evaporator core, and malfunctioning electronic throttle body. Other problems include a jerky transmission (2018 – present) and infotainment system blackouts (2008 – 2014).

That was the most straightforward answer possible. In the article below, we’ll outline all the problems in detail. This includes identifying it, fixing it, and how much it costs to fix. Read on!

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Melting Dashboard

Consumers now give a lot of importance to the car interior when shopping for a car. Manufacturers also provide a lot of thought when designing a car’s interior. The interior of today’s car has an impressively laid-out dashboard with well-placed displays and buttons. Any issue with the interior is a massive turn-off.

Although Lexus is a renowned manufacturer of luxury cars, the 2006-2008 ES 350 models suffer from an issue that has dented its reputation quite a bit. There have been numerous complaints about the dashboard, with issues such as dashboard chipping, getting stuck, and releasing odor because of heat and sunlight. The plastic gets soft and sticky and feels as if it is melting. Because it gets sticky, it is hard to clean it.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Toyota and Lexus in 2017. It was claimed that the manufacturers misled the customers with a warranty program that charged the owners for an inherent defect and delayed repair of the affected part. Unfortunately, this lawsuit was dismissed, and users have to bear the cost of fixing this issue.

Faulty Evaporator Core

The car air conditioning system is essential to the cabin ecosystem, especially in summer. A good–and working air conditioning system is necessary for a comfortable ride. Unfortunately, issues with the air conditioning system are among the most common ones reported in a vast range of vehicles.

Lexus ES350 (especially the 2007 – 2009 model years) are also susceptible to cooling loss due to a faulty evaporator core or coil. The ambient air from the area to be cooled is pulled in a pass over the evaporator core, which absorbs the heat contained in it. It is where the air becomes cold, and this cold air is then recirculated into the area that is being cooled. An issue with this element then leads to loss of cooling.

An evaporator core may become faulty because of poor manufacturing or with normal wear and tear. The result is the evaporator’s aluminum coil cracking, which leads to a loss of cooling. It may also lead to compressor failure, a further financial blow. Replacing your ES 350’s evaporator core can cost anywhere between $80 and $100 plus labor costs.

Airbag Issue

Airbags are now a standard safety feature along with the seatbelt harness. Luxury cars have frontal and side airbags for all occupants. Many deaths have been averted because of the airbag. But as with any other component, the airbag assembly is liable to fail.

ES350 model years 2010-2017 had issues with the driver side frontal air bag inflators and were recalled because of the inflator exploding due to propellant degradation due to long-term exposure to high humidity and temperature. This isn’t the only Lexus with airbag issues, as problems with this safety feature are common in the Lexus RX350, too.

Oil Leak Problems and Loss of Oil Pressure

When buying a car, especially a used car, buyers pay the most emphasis on the engine condition. The importance of a well-maintained car engine cannot be overemphasized. The performance of the other systems is directly dependent on the engine’s performance.

As a result of the constant use, there is going to be some degradation even in very well maintained cars. Carbon deposits and sludge build-up are expected and deteriorate the car’s performance. When buying a used car, look for the following when inspecting the engine.

  • Starting problem.
  • The smell from the engine.
  • Oil leaks.
  • Bottom of the car inspection.
  • Coolant leakage.
  • Belts and hoses.
  • Unscrew the oil cap and inspect for sludge build-up.

Follow the guidelines below for maintaining a healthy engine.

  • Change engine oil and oil filter as per maintenance schedule.
  • Ensure the cooling system is operational.
  • Ensure the air filter is clean. Change it as per the maintenance schedule.
  • Be on the lookout for any oil leaks.
  • Do not run the car low on fuel.
  • Avoid sudden acceleration and braking.
  • Change spark plugs regularly.

Sometimes because of a glitch in the manufacturing process, an issue appears to be inherent to a model year or years. One such problem that plagues ES350 models 2007-2016 has to do with a massive oil leak. It is due to the VVT-i oil line puncture. If the oil loss is quite a bit, then a low oil pressure message and engine oil pressure warnings will be lit, and continued usage can lead to engine failure.

It is a known defect, and a revised part has been issued, but unfortunately, the modified component is also known to rupture. After the line is replaced, inspecting the engine bay and the undercarriage thoroughly is essential.

Check Engine Light Issue With Code P0505

The modern car now has the accelerator pedal electronically connected to the throttle. The unit that electronically controls this mechanism is called the Electronic Throttle Unit, or ETU for short. It is made up of the accelerator pedal with several sensors, an electronic throttle body, and the engine control module (ECM)

The throttle body’s function is to control the amount of air that is let into the system based on the pressure exerted by the driver on the accelerator pedal.

.A faulty throttle body can have one or more of the following consequences.

  • Check Engine Light is lit.
  • Poor engine response.
  • Engine misfiring during acceleration.
  • Rough idle.
  • Rough acceleration.
  • Unstable RPM.

Model years 2007-2011 ES350 are prone to electronic throttle body failure, generating a fault code P0505. If this happens, the only remedy is to replace the throttle body. The average ES350 throttle body replacement cost is $443, with $301 for parts and $142 for labor.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Lexus ES 350 Takes (Explained)

Blown Cylinder Head

The cylinder head is an essential component of the engine. It sits on the engine, and its placement is such that it closes off the combustion chamber. The head gasket goes between the cylinder head and the combustion chamber and acts as a seal.

The cylinder head ensures the constant lubrication of the cylinder. Well-oiled cylinders ensure a smooth operation, which is why the cylinder head is an indispensable part of the function of the engine. The following are the common reasons for cylinder head failure.

  • Loss of coolant or restricted coolant flow
  • Head gasket failure.
  • Detonation.

Cylinder Head failure symptoms are

  • White smoke from the exhaust
  • Coolant loss
  • Engine overheating
  • Bubbling in radiator and coolant bottle.

Lexus ES 350 model 2007 owners have complained of the blown head gasket with the accompanied check engine light and vehicle stability control light. Once this happens, the cylinder head can either be repaired or replaced. The replacement cost is between $2,800 and $3500, including labor.

Jerky Transmission

ES350 has a significant problem with downshifting—it happens when you put your foot on the gas while the vehicle moves moderately at low revs. The problem occurs due to the number of gears it has, meaning the 8-speed automatic in the vehicles from 2018 onwards.

As there are so many gears to choose from, the ECU gets overwhelmed with which gear to choose. In this overwhelming ordeal, the whole system stumbles a bit; thus, you experience the jerky transmission. The six speeds are luckily free of this issue; it’s the 8-speed that is the culprit.

With its pros, we also have to deal with the cons. The thuds you feel are nothing to worry about; there is no repair either—it is what it is. However, updating the system to the latest software might solve the issue. Sometimes the driver’s input is also saved over time, which might work in accordance with the normal wear and tear.

It’s best to let the system slowly learn your way of driving. If you seldom floor it, this might also feel jerky; however, frequent flooring might not feel jerky because the system knows that you are going to the floor it at some point, and it prepares itself. 

Steering Issue

The steering allows the driver to control the vehicle and maintain the desired travel direction, not hit a tree. It converts the rotation of the steering wheel into the corresponding movement of the wheels. Loss of steering control can be disastrous—you might hit a tree.

Lexus ES350 of the model year 2017 has been recalled for issues with the steering. The problem is the right-hand side tie rod assembly because of improper installation. The driver may initially hear noise coming from the steering assembly, which may be aggravated by the car drifting to the right or the left and, in the worst-case scenario, to loss of steering control.

Infotainment System Issues

More than ever before, car manufacturers are being pushed to provide smart, efficient, and feature-rich cars with systems that seamlessly blend information and entertainment. This demand has resulted in the evolution of the infotainment system. Consumers now emphasize the infotainment system when shopping for a car.

The infotainment system not only displays essential data such as weather updates, traffic alerts, and maps readily accessible and viewable, but it also lets the occupants listen to their favorite music and connect their devices via Bluetooth.

With so much dependency on data and entertainment, the breakdown of the infotainment system or part of the system is considered a significant issue. Lexus ES350 models 2008-2010 and 2014 are known to have infotainment system black-out issues that cause loss of Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, radio, and in some cases, heater. The remedy is to contact the dealership and get the appropriate software updated.

Unintended Acceleration

One of the most challenging issues reported for the 2015 ES 350 is the unintended acceleration of the vehicle even when braking. Unfortunately, this has resulted in minor accidents due to this problem.

The issue is reportedly due to an electronic defect that causes the throttle to expand, resulting in sudden unintended acceleration without pressing on the gas pedal. Immediately take the car to a qualified mechanic for inspection if this happens.

Closing Thoughts

In wrapping up, we’ve provided a comprehensive overview of the key issues commonly associated with the Lexus ES350.

If you’re on the market for a Lexus car you might want to consider checking our other articles showcasing issues with other models like the Lexus RX450h Hybrid, and many more.

In conclusion, while Lexus ES350 has its fair share of problems, being informed and proactive can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Happy driving!

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