Lexus RX Problems: 9 Known Issues (Explained)

After a strong seven-year run, the RX is still one of Lexus’ best-selling midsize luxury SUVs. It has a lot going for it both aesthetically and in performance.

Even though it’s been around for quite a while, the RX has more competition in the segment than ever before. But with such a close eye on it, we are wondering if it has underlying issues.

This article reveals some known problems with the Lexus RX, so let’s jump straight in.

1. Oil Leaks

Oil leaks in cars are definitely not a new thing, regardless of whether the car is old or new. Even newer models of the RX only tend to have fewer cases of oil leaks than their older counterparts.

RX models with the most oil leaks reported are from the 2007 to 2015 model years. These models mostly leak oil when the car is being driven and not idle.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that an oil line had been faulty. And by replacing this oil line at around $30, the leak will cease.

An engine oil leak is serious because the engine can run out of oil completely and result in complete failure. This would then naturally set you on thousands of dollars to fix the engine.

2. Faulty Air Conditioning

Another issue that was common with older cars was that their air conditioning systems were unreliable at best. Multiple owners of the Lexus RX find themselves in hot or cold conditions because of this issue.

Air conditioning is great for those long summer drives, but only if it works well. Unfortunately, most RX models come into some trouble when it comes to air conditioning.

This problem mostly affects models from 2007 all the way to 2013 model years for the Lexus RX.

Owners of the RX who have this issue mostly look to a faulty air compressor or a simply compressed leakage.

Unfortunately, most of the models who experience this issue found that the culprit is the AC amplifier.

The AC amplifier is much like the computer of the car’s air conditioning system. If it is faulty, this might lead to the AC blowing hot or cold air, or simply just not working anymore.

3. Delayed Shifting

You’ll experience delayed shifting when the gear shifts into another, but the car has a delayed reaction to the change. This is quite an annoying problem when driving a vehicle because it sometimes feels like you’re not in control.

Another symptom of this issue is when the RX seems to delay moving from idle. This happens when you depress the accelerator but the car only moves off after a while.

This particular issue is usually due to underlying transmission issues or a faulty shift solenoid. A good service might just be what the Lexus RX needs.

Transmissions in today’s cars are mostly controlled electronically, so this could also point to the electronic computer unit (ECU) as the issue.

However, if the problem is found to be with the transmission itself, it could either be fixed or replaced. A replacement transmission unit for the Lexus RX can set you back at over $4000.

4. Faulty Infotainment System

Modern cars also take entertainment to the next level with techy touchscreen and premium audio systems. Unfortunately for the RX, most owners complain about its infotainment system a lot.

Lexus RX infotainment woes started in 2007 and it extends to some of the latest versions.

Most owners have complained that the system in the car is often glitchy and sluggish when responding to user inputs. This occurred even after a user had restarted the system.

Reports from Lexus say that the glitch happens due to the software for the infotainment system itself. The software must be updated and receive over-the-air updates to fix glitches like this.

Unfortunately, many owners have tried over-the-air updates that do not fix the issue. The system goes back to normal for a small time and then all the problems come back.

5. Faulty Rain Sensors

A malfunctioning rain sensor system can be quite dangerous if the car cannot control the windshield wipers. There are quite a lot of complaints regarding malfunctioning rain sensors on the RX.

A lot more complaints point to electrical issues because it looks like the rain sensor is not getting electrical power. This is common with electrically controlled components in the car, such as the sensors.

Rain sensors come into action when drops of rain are constantly hitting, and it activates the windshield wipers in return. That is, when the sensors detected raindrops, the wipers turn on automatically without the driver intervening.

Lexus RX models, such as the 2016 and 2017, have had many issues with their rain-sensing windshields. The issue is that the sensor does not automatically adjust the speed of the wipers effectively.

Rain sensors must change speed according to the intensity of the rain. If the wipers don’t work properly, it can be a problem, especially at night.

If it is raining heavily and the wipers are only at half speed, it will affect driving conditions of the driver. This is the major crust of most complaints regarding the rain sensors.

The most effective solution for this is just to replace the rain sensor so that it works as intended. Replacement can cost around $400 and it is not guaranteed that the problem won’t come back.

6. Airbag Warning Light Always On

An airbag light that’s always on and doesn’t turn off might scare drivers into thinking the airbag is malfunctioning. This is what happens with the Lexus RX model airbag light, which is constantly on.

This issue is mostly seen in some 2007 all the way to 2014 models of the RX. It mostly concerns the supplemental restraints system (SRS) warning light and indicates faults in the airbag system.

Airbag systems include parts such as airbag clock springs, backup batteries, airbag modules, and sensors. If something goes wrong with any one of these components, the warning light will come on.

Unfortunately, for some RX models, the sensors seem to be keeping the warning light on. Besides, some models also did come with faulty airbag system parts from the factory.

A proper diagnosis by a licensed mechanic would be the best bet to sort out the issue. Fortunately, parts and labor for replacing airbag system components aren’t very costly and shouldn’t take long to fix.

7. Wandering Steering Wheel

This issue has many many RX owners worried about what’s happening with their cars. The RX is quite a costly car and should not be having such an issue as a wandering steering wheel.

This issue happens when the car starts to drift from one side of the road to the other. While it can be annoying for drivers, it could also lead to a safety concern if the driver is not alert.

Wandering steering problems are likely caused by simple issues like uneven tire pressure or just suspension problems. However, on the RX, this issue seems to be caused by the rack and pinion steering fluid leak.

Leaking power steering fluid is a safety problem that can cause unpredictable steering. Another issue is that fixing this can eventually cost over $1,600 on the long run, if you fail to attend to it earlier.

  • It is best to first check tire pressure and suspension because these are the first culprits of leaking power steering fluid. Checking these is also relatively cheaper and faster to diagnose.

Another culprit would be the steering gear binding which can either become faulty or just need to be lubricated. You can, however, rectify this issue by checking for oil leaks and faulty wiring to get to the root of the problem.

On the Lexus RX, steering problems usually show up at around 80,000 miles on the clock. However, some owners have experienced these issues from as low as 50,000 miles.

In this light, make sure you check the best and worst Lexus RX years here.

8. Rattling Doors

This issue seems to be showing up mostly in the 2010 Lexus RX. The doors of the vehicle will make a rattling sound, especially when the car is being driven at really high speeds.

In extreme cases, the doors could even become loose while driving, which is a huge safety concern. It hasn’t been determined whether this is a factory fault or if it happens gradually.

The 2010 RX is a redesign of the previous models of the Lexus RX. However, the redesign seems to have brought about some misaligned doors or potentially faulty nuts and bolts.

This is a big safety concern for drivers and passengers because if the door becomes loose while driving, it can cause a collision. Therefore, it is best to get the vehicle checked if starts making rattling noises when the car is being driven.

9. Dashboard Cracking

A cracked dashboard is nothing new in the auto industry and is not really a huge safety concern. However, it can leave the interior looking shabby and lessen the resale value of the car over time.

A cracked dashboard is usually a result of being exposed to very high temperatures or sunlight. Usually, the materials used to make the dashboard shrinks and expands due to the effect of the hot temperatures.

Besides, without proper care, material such as leather will eventually show wrinkles and even crack over time. Routine cleaning and treatment can, therefore, eliminate wrinkles and crack on the dashboard.

Lexus RX models with leather seats, and backrests have also experienced cracking in these areas of the car.

A good idea is to also park your car away from direct sunlight if possible.

Sunlight and extreme heat can damage some internal components of a vehicle, and it can eventually degrade or crack the dashboard over time.

General Pros and Cons of the Lexus RX

The Lexus RX also has some raving features as well as a few downsides. Find them below.


  • Good Fuel Economy
  • Stellar Safety Scores
  • Comfortable Seating
  • Smooth and Quiet Ride Quality
  • Stylish Exterior


  • Oil Leaks
  • Faulty Air Conditioning
  • Delayed Shifting
  • Faulty Infotainment System
  • Faulty Rain Sensors
  • Faulty Airbag Warning Light
  • Wandering Steering Wheel
  • Rattling Doors
  • Dashboard Cracking

What Do the Reviews Say?

Critics and reviewers have some elevating notes about the Lexus RX.

There’s a reason the 2019 Lexus RX is regularly atop the sales charts in its highly contested segment: Its flashy styling and unperturbed comfort are two important attributes buyers of compact luxury crossovers want.


Comfort, quality, and a carlike driving experience are key strengths of the 2017 Lexus RX 350. Although it falls short of its competitors in some ways, it’s impeccably crafted and boldly styled.

Source: Edmunds

What’s the Resale Value of the Lexus RX?

In case you’re thinking of buying a used Lexus RX or you intend reselling one, find its resale value below.

Year Mileage Price
2010 Lexus RX 76,560 $12,334
2012 Lexus RX 92,262 $18,990
2015 Lexus RX 57,511 $22,898
2010 Lexus RX 99,236 $25,990

Make sure you also check out our post on the 5 common issues with Lexus cars.

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.