Lexus RX 350

What Are The Worst Lexus RX 350 Model Years To Avoid?

Lexus has earned itself the oft-unbeatable and otherworldly reputation for bulletproof reliability. If you ever needed a car that could last you till the end of time, Lexus might be right up there. Among the many cars that Lexus makes, the RX 350 is one of their most popular. Nevertheless, despite its dependable image, there are some Lexus RX 350 model years to avoid.

In fact, since its introduction in 1997, the Lexus RX family of SUVs has been recalled 113 times across all model years. So far, 2019 had the most recalls, 10 thus far. These include recalls for issues like sticky gas pedals, and fuel system faults (which impacted nearly 1.8 million vehicles), as well as removing a transport hook that was left on by mistake, among others.

So far then, not invincible, though it’s still way more dependable than most other cars. The Lexus RX 350 isn’t immune to problems either, like battery issues that required replacing it with a new one. As we’ll see later, some model years used plastic construction for the dashboard that’s prone to cracking. The steering system is vulnerable to leaking steering fluid, too.

Not to mention, the Lexus RX 350 had other sporadic problems, like persistent oil leaks, engine problems, and faults with the all-wheel drive system. Regardless of all these woes though, the Lexus RX 350 still ranks highly on the reliability front. If you’re thinking of buying one though, maybe avoid these model years:

  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2016
  • 2017

2007 Lexus RX 350

The 2007 model year Lexus RX 350 is regarded by many owners to be one of the two worst and most unreliable years to avoid. This particular model year suffers from a slew of issues related to different systems. One of the main issues that make 2007 one of the most unreliable Lexus RX 350 years to avoid is the dashboard. You see, the dashboard is known to crack easily.

Furthermore, these cracks sometimes spread throughout the entire dashboard. Sometimes they can obstruct the dials, making driving the vehicle difficult. The only way to fix this issue in your RX 350 is by replacing the entire dashboard. This is both expensive and time-consuming. This is due to the plastic construction used to make it, which is prone to cracking.

Another common issue of the 2007 Lexus RX 350 is oil leaks from the engine. Leaks of this nature can completely drain your engine oil in less than an hour. This means that an undiscovered oil leak can lead to catastrophic engine failure. Leaks in the steering system are also found in cars from this model year. This can be hard to diagnose and costly to fix.

2008 Lexus RX 350

Specifically, those steering fluid leaks on the 2007 RX 350 could cost upwards of $1,600 to repair properly. After considering all these issues, it is safe to say that as a buyer on the used market, 2007 is one of the Lexus RX 350 model years to avoid at all costs. Reliability improved quite a bit with the 2008 model year Lexus RX 350, but it’s still not perfect.

The reliability of the Lexus RX 350 for the 2008 model year was not much better than in the preceding year. Although it was less common, the engine oil leaks from the earlier model year remained. Not only that, the fuel efficiency and maintenance costs of the 2008 model year Lexus RX 350 were extremely high compared to other model years.

A new set of issues also reared their ugly heads during the 2008 model year. The gear shifts of the automatic transmission were laggy, and the power steering rack was prone to leaking. Not only that, the cracking of the dashboards continued as well. If you were looking for a reliable luxury SUV, you might want to steer clear of this model year as well.

2010 Lexus RX 350

Engine failures were the most common issue with the 2010 Lexus RX 350. Moreover, oil leaks and problems with the cooling system were also frequent. The air conditioning system also had some problems, as well. To fix this issue, the air conditioning and heating servo motor on the passenger side had to be replaced, to the tune of $2,000.

The 2010 Lexus RX 350 suffered from several build quality issues, too. The exterior paint discolored easily, and some body panels were known to rattle while driving. This included the doors and the front hood, not to mention other exterior body panels. Interestingly, all that rattling often happens when the temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

2016 Lexus RX 350

Lexus RX 350

The 2016 model year Lexus RX 350 suffered from major transmission issues. Shift delays were the main indication of these problems and early signs of transmission faults. Ignoring these issues for too long worsened the fuel efficiency of the vehicle and sometimes made it undrivable. There were some issues in the interior of the 2010 Lexus RX 350, as well.

The Bluetooth connection was unreliable and incurred many connection issues. On top of that, the sunroof of some models exploded while driving. This is sure to have been a terrifying experience for the passengers. At the end of the day, the harsh, inconsistent, and unreliable transmission marks 2016 as another entry in our list of Lexus RX 350 years to avoid.

2017 Lexus RX 350

Low brake pressure was the main concern regarding the reliability of the 2017 RX 350. Accelerating from a standstill between the second and fourth gears was troublesome for some owners as well. Specifically, when the RX 350 is running between 1500 – 1800 RPM, it shudders and rattles excessively. This makes the driving experience unpleasant.

If you are on the hunt for a Lexus RX 350, we advise you to refrain from buying vehicles that were manufactured in these model years. Although you may find a good deal now, you will have to go through many reliability issues down the line. Instead, my recommendation would be to go and look out for some of the more reliable, dependable model years of the RX350.

This included the Lexus RX 350s made for the 2011, 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2021 model years. Out of all these, 2018 is well-regarded as the most reliable model year thus far. It was a mix of reliability, safety, and power, all wrapped into a luxurious package. It had a four-star safety rating, and the number of customer complaints was lower compared to other years too!

With the introduction of the 2018 Lexus RX 350, the towing capacity was increased from 1,500 lbs to 3,500 lbs. This was great news for folks who liked to tow things. And, given an average lifespan of 250,000 to 300,000 miles (or about 16 – 20 years), the Lexus RX 350, with proper maintenance, ought to be a reliable companion for many years.

Lexus RX 350


  • P. HAR Says

    Great news bout not much on the lexus 450h hybrid 2018 please can you tell more on this car.

    • Rae Castillon Says

      Hi P. Har,

      The 2018 Lexus RX 450h hybrid is generally considered a good car by many automotive reviewers and owners. It’s known for its comfortable and spacious interior, smooth ride, and high-quality materials. The hybrid powertrain combines a V6 engine with an electric motor, providing good fuel efficiency for a midsize luxury SUV. However, like any vehicle, it’s important to be aware of common issues and potential drawbacks:

      Common Issues:

      1. Hybrid Battery: Hybrid batteries can be expensive to replace when they fail. While Lexus hybrids tend to have a good track record for reliability, it’s something to be aware of as the vehicle ages.

      2. Infotainment System: Some owners have reported issues with the infotainment system, including the touchscreen interface. These issues might include freezes, lag, or system failures.

      3. Suspension: Some drivers have noted that the RX 450h’s suspension can be a bit firm, which may not be to everyone’s liking.

      4. Transmission Issues: A few owners have reported problems with the transmission, including jerky shifts and delayed responses.

      5. Lack of Android Auto: As of my last update in September 2021, some Lexus models, including the 2018 RX 450h, did not support Android Auto. If smartphone integration is important to you, this could be a drawback.

      6. Limited Cargo Space: Compared to some competitors in the midsize SUV segment, the RX 450h may have less cargo space due to the presence of the hybrid battery.

      It’s important to note that these issues may vary from one vehicle to another, and not all owners will experience them. To get a comprehensive understanding of the specific vehicle you’re interested in, it’s advisable to have a pre-purchase inspection performed by a trusted mechanic. Additionally, you can check online owner forums and reviews for more detailed information on the 2018 Lexus RX 450h’s real-world reliability and issues that owners have encountered since my last update in 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *