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LexusRX 400h Hybrid Battery Failure

johnt7johnt7 Posts: 3
Our 6 mos old 2007 Lexus RX400h has apparently experienced a hybrid battery failure. I'm told that this is an $8000 part and we are the first in-warranty hybrid battery failure that Toyota/Lexus has experienced.

Has anyone heard of this?


  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    1. Sounds about right on the price.

    2. You are not the first. You might be the first RX400h, but you are not Toyota's first hybrid battery replaced under warranty.

    Good luck with the replacement and I hope they give you a suitable loaner for the long repair delay. :)
  • I experienced battery failure in a 2.5 year old RX400h with 29,000 miles. I was told by the service people that they have seen a "handful" of battery failures. I live in Houston with an extremely hot climate, so that may be a factor. This raises big questions to me about the battery reliability. With a small sample, they have already seen a number of failures in a short amount of time? This could imply the probability of battery failure is much higher than previously thought.

    Also, when battery failure occurs, it can be very dangerous. The car totally shuts down, power steering, engine, the works. My failure occurred at 60 mph on the highway, and I was lucky I was able to coast to a stop on an inner median. It was a very dangerous situation. Has anyone else experienced this?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Heat is not a failure factor. Government fleets of hybrids were tested in the hottest parts of Arizona and the cars averaged 160,000 miles and had no failures.

    I live in Phoenix and have owned both an HCH and now a TCH and have combined 46,000 miles on those two cars and have had zero battery issues.

    The "complete" battery replacements for any of the hybrids are few and far between.

    So far to my knowledge there have been zero reported accidents due to battery failures.

    Not to say it can't or wont happen, but it's really far less likely than just having a normal traffic accident.
  • ktwsocalktwsocal Posts: 1
    This just happened to us also. We have a 2006 model wit 54K miles. We are in humid Louisiana and until now no problems. We were on freeway going 65 and the car just shut off. It's now at the dealership being repaired. I shudder at what the bill will be.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,788
    "This just happened to us also. We have a 2006 model wit 54K miles. We are in humid Louisiana and until now no problems. We were on freeway going 65 and the car just shut off. It's now at the dealership being repaired. I shudder at what the bill will be. "

    The hybrid parts are covered by a 7 year, 120K warranty. It should cost you nothing to have any part, including the battery, replaced or repaired.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,788
    "The regional lexus rep. informed my dealer that these batteries have not failed anywhere else in the country. I know this total not true based on the following forum posts. "

    You don't indicate where you live, if you live in the United States, you are in luck:

    It doesn't make any difference if yours is the only one. You don't say where you live, but at a minimum you have an 8 year / 100K warranty on your hybrid components. The dealer should know this. CARB states are 10 years and 150K.

    This has nothing to do with your 3 year / 36K warranty on the other parts of your 2006 vehicle.

    This is from the Toyota website, but it covers all Toyota products:

    "Hybrid-Related Component Coverage: Hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles. The HV battery may have longer coverage under emissions warranty. Refer to applicable Owner's Warranty Information booklet for details."

    Toyota Hybrid Warranty

    Here is the Edmunds website:
    "And there doesn't seem much reason to worry. All the hybrid-specific components in every hybrid vehicle currently on the market are covered under warranty for eight years/100,000 miles or 10 years/150,000 miles, depending on the state, but these components have been shown to have a much longer lifespan in testing. "

    Hybrid Costs

    I went to the Lexus site and noticed that they indicate that hybrid components are covered in certain "Platinum" extended warranties. While this is true, it is deceptive - those parts are covered by the basic hybrid warranty, regardless of "extended warranties".

    Lexus pays for the repairs, not the dealer, so they should not give you any trouble.

    BTW: If possible, find a different Lexus dealer, those Bozos don't even know their warranties (or they are trying to get $$ out of you in a dishonest fashion, which is worse).

    NOTE: If you have already paid, contact Lexus for reimbursement. Tell 'em you'll call in the FBI to enforce Federal law!
  • I have 2007 Lexus RX400h - hybrid. It has gotten water damage to the hybrid system and we do not know how. It was not flooded but was outside during a heavy rainstorm in the Boston area on 9/6/08. The windows were not open. The "Check Hybrid System" warning light came on within driving 5-6 miles of starting to drive on the Monday after the rainstorm. There had been no sign of any water in the passenger part of the car. I stopped for gas and after that the car would not start. Lexus examined it and said there was significant water damage to the hybrid system (hybrid batteries are under the rear seats). Lexus Service said the interior of the car below the carpets was all wet & that it "looked like I had parked in a river". The car was not parked in a place where that much water could accumulate or pool to flood the car. The insurance company wants to repair it, but Lexus Service says it "should be totaled", that it will never be the same again, even after repairs, that I will always have problems with it, etc.

    The car was previously rear-ended and was repaired at body shop authorized by my insurance company to repair Lexus cars. It's possible that that body shop failed to seal something properly. But Lexus Service has at least initially said that they cannot determine how so much water got in the car to cause such extensive damage. This seems odd to me. If Lexus Service & the Insurance Company can not figure out how this happened, then I really think it does not make sense to repair the car, as it's likely to happen again.

    The car is usually garaged, but has been outside all summer due to other stuff being in the garage. Car has been unaffected by rain up to this point and I have loved the car.

    I have 2 questions: #1: Has anyone else experienced problems with this car on any Lexus getting water in the car as a result on just heavy rain that somehow got into the car and could not get out thereby accumulating on the floor of the car and causing significant electrical damage? Specifically in the hybrid models?

    #2: Lexus Service man said his advice about "totaling the car" was "off the record". This really has me annoyed. I paid Lexus $50,000 for a car that has suffered a catastrophic failure because it was left outside in a rainstorm and they will not go 'on record' to help me to get the insurance company to total the car. Has anyone had similar unsatisfactory experience with Lexus Service in such a situation and what advice do you have?
  • I own a Lexus RX400h - hybrid. I took it in for a oil change were the car setout side overnight in the rain. I thought the service people had left the sunroof opened or cracked because I smelled carpet mildew coming from the rear when I picked the car up. I felt the rear passenger side of the floor and it was soaking wet. The car started ok and I drove it home. Little did I know that this was only my first encounter with water. The car is usally in a garage, however another occasion during a heavy rain, the car failed to start. The car had to be towed to the lexus dealrship for repair, initally I thought it was the battery, however the service people said the car had severe water damage to the hybrid system, and that there was dampness inside the car rear passanger side of the seat flooring. This was similar to what I thought was the sun roof being left open, however this was not the case, some how when it rains, the water was finding its way in and damging the hypbrid battery to propel the car. I decided to serach to see if anyone else had experinced the same issues and found this blog. This is very strange that leaving a car in the rain would cause such damage. My RX400h has not been in any accident resulting in repair and I purchased it brand new off the show room floor. It is now being totaled becuase it was left out in the rain is bazare. I like the RX400h however, I do not want the problem again especialy since this could have occured while driving the vehicle as in other cases.
  • I'm considering purchasing my 2007 400h off lease in December. My biggest concern is future battery issues. Any input on battery issues is greatly appreciated.
  • johnt7johnt7 Posts: 3
    Our RX battery failed a month or two after we bought the new car and the replacement has been trouble free since--two years ago. Hybrid batteries has a reputation for being very reliable. Toyota guarantees them for eight years. The Prius has been around for several years and its batteries enjoy a good reputation.
  • Actually the warranty on the Hybrid system is 8 years or 100,000 miles but yes your repairs should be covered.
  • sam614sam614 Posts: 1
    I experienced a similar problem with my RX400h. I was driving around 70 mph on the highway in rush hour traffic, and my car just shut off. I had heard a clanking sound (like a belt being hit by a fan), and all of the lights on the dash came on. Everything just shut down. No power steering. No brakes. Nothing. After three weeks of the dealer trying to find the problem, we still don't have the car back. So far the inverter has been replaced. It was "fried." The high voltage fuse was blown, and the relay connector was burned up. They think that this will have resolved all of the problems, but we won't know for sure for several more days.

    It was a rather uncomfortable situation to be in with my car just shutting off while driving 70 on the highway in rush hour while in the left lane. I, fortunately, was able to get the car off the road without hitting someone or someone hitting me, but let me tell you it was just luck. Not to mention the hour spent waiting for the tow truck to come and rescue us. Fortunately, I wasn't alone when this happened.

    My concern is that there is something more wrong with this hybrid system, i.e. battery problems that might not surface until sometime later (hopefully not when I'm on the highway again). I'm actually looking to trade the car in on a non-hybrid.
  • I am the owner of a 2006 Lexus RX400h. After 51,000 miles, I did notice the electric engine is barely running. Most of the time the gasoline engine is running. It used to run mainly electric and now I am getting very poor mileage. I don't know if this is normal, but can someone clear this up for me?

    The driving condition and styles are the same, so I did not change anything.
  • gilogilo Posts: 3
    We have an rX400h and 2 weeks ago, it just died on us as my husband was pulling away from the lights. We bought the car second hand in July with 66k miles on it (its a 55 plate) but we did not buy from a Lexus dealer. Lexus have told us that the warranty for the hybrid is out of date as it is a 5 year 60k warranty. The cost for a new inverter is £5000 - yes that is thousand not hundred. What an absolute joke. We bought a lexus thinking they were reliable and now it is completely bust and to get it working again we are going to have to pay the equivalent of a small run around!
    BE VERY WARY OF BUYING A SECOND HAND HYBRID OUT 0F WARRANTY! I still can't believe this is happening to us! :sick: :sick: :cry: :mad:
  • In the US, the battery system is warranted for eight years. I'm assuming you're quoting the price in pounds and that you're abroad. It's seems odd that Lexus would have a much shorter warranty in other countries.
  • I had a similar problem with a 2006 RX400h. I was accelerating on an entrance ramp and just as I merged and going about 60 mph, I felt a severe shudder, thud then nothing, no power. The dash lit up like a pinball machine including messages like "Check Hybrid System" and something about a VSC failure. Not a pleasant sensation. I coasted off the highway and called a tow truck. The dealer checked it out, determined it was a bad inverter, they ordered a new one, installed it and had the car back to me in two days. There was no charge since the car has 64,000 miles and is covered by warranty. I inquired as to what the cost would have been if the car had been out of warranty (96mo or 100k miles). On the paper work that the service desk kept, I saw that the inverter alone was $9,355. There was also a part or labor for about $300 bringing the total to $9,700 without tax. In the paper work they did not give me I also noticed there was a 2007 technical bulletin referring to a shudder at 60 to 70 mph. Sounds like Lexus knows about the problem.
  • gilogilo Posts: 3
    Hi, yes I have the misfortune of owning a Lexus in the UK. Here it is only a 5 year warranty and 60k miles. This of course is real bad news as mine has done 70k. My advice to anyone in the UK would be not to buy a lexus hybrid anywhere near 60k could cost you the equivalent of a small car to fix it! It clearly must be a faulty part as it is a sealed unit. Maybe Lexus think it is acceptable to have to replace an inverter after 60k miles!! :sick:
  • gilogilo Posts: 3 bet they probably know about it!! Unfortunately, they are only a multi million pound company and so won't help. The UK seem to get a worse deal on the warranty for some reason :sick: :cry:
  • Am I the only one who finds it astonishing that Lexus Service will charge a customer $9,700 to fix a bad inverter that goes out at no fault of the customer?
  • I just had this HUGE problem last night driving my 2006 Lexus Hybrid 400H down the freeway at rush hour traffic on hwy 680 freeway at 70 mph in the left lane, and my car just shut off. The dash lights lite up saying" CHECK HYBRID" "VSC FAILURE" I had no power steering. No brakes. It took all of my strength to just to move to the slow lane as my car went from 70 MPH to 30 MPH There was no area to pull over to the side of the road becauseuse of road work. As I started to panic I glided slower and slower to an off ramp. I am so lucky that I was not killed or that I did not kill someone. I waited for the tow truck driver and my husband to rescue me an hour of sitting. Thank god for cell phones. Yes, I was alone when this happened. I called my dealer in Monterey they said tow it to the nearst dealer. The Lexus manufacture says $9,000 for a INVERTER! No Way am I paying this. I service my car on a regular basis. This is my third Lexus that I have owned and my first Hybrid . What is the point of buying a HYBRID??? Lexus / Toyota needs to step up to the plate as I see others have had this same problem.
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