Lexus ES Problems: 7 Known Issues (Explained)

The Lexus ES has been in the market since 1989. With seven generations in its lineup, the mid-size car has now taken up an awe-inspiring, sporty exterior design with a posh interior.

However, Lexus ES is notable for a series of issues, like the vehicle speed control, melting dashboard, defective airbags, and a few others.

We discuss the most common issues with the car in this article to get you informed about what you can encounter.

1. Defective Fuel Pump System

The engine of a car requires the fuel pump system to move gas from the fuel tank to the injectors. Any vehicle that works with the injection system will need the injectors to deliver fuel to the cylinders in a well-timed manner.

For this process to be efficient, the fuel pump system needs to be in a good state. Otherwise, it may fail to give the required fuel pressure needed by the combustion engine to run the vehicle efficiently.

Although the fuel pump system of many vehicles becomes weak over time, there have been numerous complaints about this particular component in the Lexus ES.

Several owners have reported issues with the vehicle stopping suddenly and refusing to start afterward. To some other drivers, the accelerator has failed to respond on numerous occasions, especially when stopped by the traffic lights.

This issue has been traced to a defect in the fuel pump system of the vehicle, and it is most prominent with the 2019 Lexus ES 350.

It’s quite unfortunate that the average mileage for the drivers who have reported issues with their fuel pump system is just 2,955 miles, as indicated by Car Complaints.

2. Problem With the Acceleration System

Another notable issue with the Lexus ES is the unexpected acceleration made by the vehicle and you’d agree that this is a risky issue.

In fact, many drivers who have experienced the acceleration issue claim that the brake becomes non-functional whenever the issue occurs.

This is a problem common to the Lexus ES 330 and ES 350, especially the 2005, 2007, and 2008 models. Don’t forget to explore some Lexus models that you can lease.

3. Problem With the Transmission System

The transmission system of a vehicle helps to transform the electrical power created by the engine into mechanical power needed by the wheel to move the car.

The transmission works with the acceleration system and the gearbox to manage and regulate the movement of a vehicle either forward or backward.

Just as the engine is highly important in a vehicle, the transmission system is equally essential.

However, there’s been a series of reported issues about the transmission system of the Lexus ES.

The most common among these complaints is the delay experienced by the transmission when shifting between gears.

This often makes the car refuse to pick up speed when you accelerate. Not only that, but it also makes the transmission shift incorrectly.

Many drivers have complained that this issue mostly occurs when accelerating at slow speeds, specifically around 24 mph.

Mind you, this problem is most expected with the 2005 Lexus ES.

Moreover, several owners of the 2007 ES 350 have also complained about how the transmission of the car slips between gears. This makes the vehicle fail to accelerate or decelerate in the most unexpected situations.

4. Issues With the Airbag

Another significant problem with the Lexus ES is the unreliability and concerning issues with the airbag. Airbags are a highly important safety instrument in modern vehicles.

They work with an inflator and a crash sensor, which makes them pull out of their chamber whenever there’s a serious collision or a crash.

There have been two major areas of concern with the airbag of the Lexus ES:

  • First is the failure of the passenger airbag to deploy when needed,
  • The other is the cracking and bulging appearance on the dashboard where the passenger airbag lies.

No doubt, a vehicle will be highly vulnerable when the airbag system becomes faulty and undependable. This is because it’ll leave the head of the occupants unguarded against sharp and hard objects when a crash occurs.

Owners of this vehicle have expressed their concern about the protruding appearance of the passenger airbag on the dashboard. Their major fear is the possibility of the protrusion compromising the airbag and the safety of the passenger.

5. Recurring Brake Failure

An important aspect of every vehicle is the brake. It is a vital component that makes one feel safe whether on highways or in heavy traffic.

Unfortunately, the brake of some of the Lexus ES models is not always reliable. Several drivers have reported the failure of the brake to respond when depressed. This most usually happens when driving between 15 to 20 mph.

While you expect the brake to respond, it is also possible that it gives off a squealing noise instead of taking the vehicle to a stop.

Mind you, the brake issue is most prominent in the 2005 Lexus ES. For a broader view of the Lexus brand, explore some problems with Lexus cars.

6. Melting and Distractive Dashboard

The dashboard of a car serves as a house for the control panel console. It lies just beneath the windshield, directly ahead of the driver.

Because dashboards could be vulnerable to direct sunlight, as they are most exposed to it, they are best made with sun-proof materials. Otherwise, they could react to the heat of direct sunlight.

Actually, this is the case with some of the Lexus ES models. Many owners have complained about how the dashboard of the car melts through exposure to sunlight.

This might look like the mildest among the common issues with the Lexus ES; however, it can make the road less safe for drivers.


The dashboard gives off a shiny surface when it gets melted and when the sun shines on this surface, it distracts the vision of the driver.

You’ll agree that this could lead to reduced focus, distraction, and possible accidents.

Note that this problem is most common in the 2007 and 2008 Lexus ES 350.

7. Issues With the Headlight

If you hardly drive at night, you may not hold the significance of a headlight on a high scale. The truth is, many drivers can hardly drive confidently during dark hours if the headlight of their vehicles is not in place.

In this regard, you may have to deal with flickering, unresponsive, and erratic headlights when you drive the Lexus ES.

This issue is most common with the 2007 Lexus ES 350.

Different drivers have expressed their frustration with how the headlights of their cars often go on and off unexpectedly. It is inarguable that this is a dangerous situation, which makes the vehicle unsafe to drive at night.

Most annoying is the fact that changing the headlight of the car doesn’t fix the problem. Well, some drivers have claimed that changing the headlamps of the car fixes the problem for about six months before it resurfaces again.

The problem is most often attributed to the electrical system of the vehicle and to fix it effectively, you may require the attention of your dealer.

General Pros and Cons of the Lexus ES

The issues highlighted above are not enough to conclude that the Lexus ES is a bad car. The truth is, most of its issues are even relative to some of its models; not all.

The car still boasts some impressive models with raving critical reviews.

That said, here are the pros and cons of the Lexus ES:


  • It offers a quiet and pleasant ride
  • The touchscreen interface is easy to use
  • The acceleration of the ES 350 is smooth and swift
  • Lexus ES has the ability to absorb bumps
  • It offers a comfortable entry due to its wide door opening
  • The infotainment system is enhanced in the car with a 12.3-inch touchscreen display
  • Lexus ES offers efficient fuel economy for a vehicle of its class


  • The rear seat of the car doesn’t fold down, making the cargo space limited to just 13.9 cu ft
  • ES 350 has no all-wheel drive
  • The headlight of some ES models is not always reliable
  • The dashboard seems to have been made with low-quality materials
  • You can’t always rely on the passenger airbag
  • Many Lexus ES have issues with their drivetrain

What Do the Reviews Say?

The Lexus ES is one of the most popular cars around. Being a luxurious ride, many customers love the fact that they can rely on the vehicle for a long while.

The Lexus ES 350 has made a reputation for being one of the most reliable cars in its class. It was beaten only by the Toyota Avalon, which has an average mileage expectancy of 250,000 miles.

Source: Motorbiscuit

Unlike most new modern cars, even the 2023 Lexus ES 350 doesn’t offer extraordinary features, but it maintains a quiet cabin and comfortable ride.

The ES doesn’t bring whiz-bang innovation or extraordinary features, but that’s not a bad thing. The ES’ stock-in-trade is a predictably pleasant ride from the base ES 250 to the more powerful ES 350 to the 300h hybrid.

Source: Forbes

For 2021, there’s a new ES 250 all-wheel-drive model, as well as the ES 350 F Sport black line… But don’t let those aggro looks fool you. Despite its sporty appearance, the ES 350 is a comfy-cozy cruiser above all.

Source: Cnet

No vehicle is absolutely free of issues. It is common to see some models better than others, and this is just the case with the Lexus ES. In this regard, you’d love to check out the best and worst Lexus ES models.

2007 was a bad year for Lexus, and this vehicle suffered from many of the same problems as other vehicles in 2007.

However, unlike some other Lexus models, the ES 350 did see a surge in consumer complaints and parts failures in 2013 that lasted for a couple of years.

Source: Copilotsearch

What’s the Resale Value of the Lexus ES?

According to, the Lexus ES 350 will depreciate by 27% after five years and it’ll have a resale value of $34,124. In this regard, it’s important to note that the depreciation of a car also depends on the mileage it has covered.

That said, check the resale value on different Lexus ES models below:

Year Mileage Price
2013 Lexus ES 350 158,173 $9,750
2015 Lexus ES 350 57,282 $23,499
2017 Lexus ES 350 108,681 $20,328
2019 Lexus ES 350 29,379 $30,739
2020 Lexus ES 350 37,773 $35,488
2021 Lexus ES 250 22,006 $34,932
2022 Lexus ES 250 6,624 $39,998

GO BACK: Problems for all Lexus models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.