Lexus GS AWD - Tires & Wheels

evelevel Member Posts: 9
edited April 2014 in Lexus
I have '06 GS300 AWD w/the 18"wheels & run-flat tires from the GS430 since Feb. with 5500 miles. After about 2-3 weeks of purchase, I noticed the car seems to drift & require a lot of steering wheel correction to prevent the car from drifting out of my lane. Lexus corrected a slight steering wheel mis-alignment during the 5K maintenance & I had an alignment performed also, which seems to improve the tracking, but more times than not, the steering wheel & tracking of the car feels disconnected. The Lexus suspension drove the car & suggested the light feel of the steering wheel is normal & that the run-flat performance all-season tires that came with the 18" wheels may be contributing to the erratic tracking, because the rubber on the corners of the tires are harder than regular tire. He said, it takes time for the rubber to heat up, soften up, thus a smoother ride the longer you drive at a continuous pace vs stop & go traffic. Anyone else having this problem?


  • priorityv6priorityv6 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2006 IS350 with the 18" wheels. It has the same drifting problem. It is no fun to drive on the highway. I have to work to hard. I do not have the run flat tires. As to the light feel on the wheel being normal, that is just wrong. I drive all kinds of cars every year and I have to say I have never driven one with a problem like this. Lexus would never produce a car that responds to road imperfections and requires so much driver input. For example, I drove a Toyota Solara yesterday for a couple hundred miles and marveled that it was more enjoyable (and restful) than my new lexus. Lexus will fix this problem for me or I will get rid of the car.
  • evelevel Member Posts: 9

    Thanks for the feedback. I test drove the BMW 530, GS300, & M35xi as part of the 3 cars I considered, the Infiniti handled the closest to the BMW, but none of the GS300 AWD I test drove had the 18" wheels with run flat tires from the GS430. The alignment done last month helped, but it definitely "drifts" on certain "worn" road surfaces. Lexus steering wheels never had the tighter/heavier feel to it like a BMW, thus the reason the Infiniti & Lexus competitors are trying to match (to a degree) the characterics of the 530i. I too, will continue to nag Lexus on this issue until I am satisfied. Hopefully it is just a matter of changing tires & not something inherent in the suspension, which means Lexus will get it right in subsequent GS model releases. Keep me up to date on your attempt to get it corrected & I will do the same.


  • towner54towner54 Member Posts: 1
    I don't know whether to feel happy or sad! Lexus keeps telling me that I am the only one complaining. I,too,have a 2006 Lexus GS 300 - 18 inch wheels and have had constant steering problems. In 16 months (24,000 kms) the car has been in the shop 7 times for corrective steering problems.
    The Lexus dealer swears that it's only the bumpy roads where we live, but you are constantly fighting this car on every inch of the road. My family refuses to drive it anymore!

    I can't believe that Lexus would turn out a product like this. My other Lexus was absolutely the best car I have ever owned, but this one is a complete pain - a complete disappointment. I also use 4 winter snowtires each winter and this makes the problem less troubling but its still an issue.

    My question is, " Is this just a tire issue or is it a problem Lexus didn't catch?" If it's tires, does anyone have a solution to what would work?

  • evelevel Member Posts: 9
    To: towner54,

    It has been about 3 months since I had the alignment done on my car & to date, the car continues to track & handle well, with the exception of one road a have to travel daily which has deep groves/ruts in the asphalt due to heavy use of the road by by dump trucks, cement mixers, & light industrial type trucks. So I believe the combination of the 4-wheel alignment & having the steering wheel aligned has addressed the tracking/drifting problem I experienced during the first 5 months of ownership. I still have the high performance all season run flat tires that came with the 18" wheels from the GS430 model. It should be interesting to see how they handle during the winter months in the Northern Virginia suburb of Washington,D.C. area.

  • evelevel Member Posts: 9
    Is it me or does anyone else believe the trajectory of the lighting on low beam is too low (i.e., does not cast light far enough out in front of you). I find it necessary to use high beams to see what I consider a normal distance on roads that are not lit with street lights.

    Is this something the Lexus dealership can & will adjust at no charge during the warranty period?

    Thanks, Evel
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    The new HID headlamps are much brighter than the old incandescent type headlamp. So the government has mandated auto-leveling along with a much lower, sharper, and more definitive forward lighting "cutoff", shading, in low beam mode to prevent "blinding" of oncoming traffic.

    So your dealer cannot legally adjust the headlamps' beam height beyond the factory specification.
  • evelevel Member Posts: 9

    Thank you for the info & explanation for why the headlamps are angled so low out in front of the car.
  • cypresslexuscypresslexus Member Posts: 2
    I have a 06 GS300 ...almost one year w/ 17,000 miles..and the steering feels like it's disconnected on a variety of road surfaces. Very my most recent vehicles have been S430 mb...Infiniti G35...Lincoln Navigator...and a Ford Taurus....none of which has had this strange detached feel. Also..the tire noise is the worst of any car I have ever owned. Anyone else w/ similar experience?
  • rodagu116rodagu116 Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased a "certified" pre-owned Lexus GS about 10 days ago and have complained almost from day one that the tire noise is really bad (worse than my cheap 2001 Chevy Impala).

    I also complained about the car tending to veer left or right in quick jerks while I am trying to keep the car going straight. I also noticed that the road (minor bumps) can cause the steering wheel to move. It takes too much effort to simply have a relaxing drive -- I have to work too hard keeping the car from going into other lanes.

    My car also has a problem with a jerky acceleration (below 20 mph) which I was told (a couple of times by JM Lexus technicians) is normal for Lexus. ...since my family (including me) has had many GM cars/trucks, I recognize this feel as a slipping transmission (like when there is low fluid).

    Now for my Lexus ??!! I am getting more frustrated. :mad:
  • evelevel Member Posts: 9
    I've had my GS300 AWD w/18" wheels & low profile low-flat tires pulled from the GS430 since Feb. '07. I now have a little over 7,300 miles. I assume you have the standard 17" wheels & all season tires that come on the GS300 line. If so, I am surprised you are experiencing the same "tracking" issues I experienced the first 6 months of ownership. I say this because, I assumed my issue was primarily caused by the low profile all season performance tires (hard rubber) which run somewhat rough until the tires heat up & the rubber softens. Within the first two weeks of ownership, it pulled to the right, while braking & it was corrected by Lexus per a TSB for this problem. I assume it was a camber adjustment on the right front brake. The drifting/tracking issue continued & I returned it to Lexus a few weeks later, & their suspension/alignment tech drove it with me riding along, on several roads (crowned, flat, rough, smooth) & he noticed the slight drift, but told me it is tracking properly & said this is how independent suspension cars handle vs. the double wishbone suspension my previous car had (Acura CL). At the free six month svc (August), Lexus corrected the mis-aligned steering wheel & told me the tire alignment was off. I took it to a nearby Goodyear for alignment ($90-lifetime) vs. $160 quoted by the Lexus dealer; and it has been tracking fine since the alignment. This past weekend, I got it out on the interstate for a short drive (under 100 miles)& the suspension & handling felt great. Once the tires heated up, the was very smooth & what is expected from a Lexus. Also, the tire noise is not bad with the tires I have & I've shut the radio off & listen on various road (ashphalt & concrete)surfaces, but then again, my previous car was a '98 Acura CL I had for 8 yrs, so a new Ford F-150 would probably sound quieter than an 8 yr old car. ( :

    As for the jerky acceleration below 20 mph, I noticed it too, while driving in heavy morning rush hour traffic. I nearly rear ended a few people early on during the period of ownership, I guess I have gotten accustomed to it now. I tend to have a heavy accelerator foot (speed demon (: ), so I've learned to tap on the accelerator & coast more vs. trying to apply a light - constant accelerator pedal in slow rush hour traffic. If you get Lexus to address this problem, please let me know what they identified the problem to be & how the fixed it so I can do the same.
  • newgsownernewgsowner Member Posts: 3
    It's been exactly one year since I purchased my 2006 GS330 AWD. At my first six month maintenance I had the alignment checked and sure enough, they said "it was really off." Since then I feel my car drifting to the right and the wheel sharply turns when I step on the brake. I had them check this during my most recent one year maintenance. They said my tires are "feathered" and the only way to fix it entirely is to replace all four tires. They said this was likely caused from when the car was first out of alignment. I was livid! I didn't pay this much money for a car to have to replace the tires 10k miles later. It's not like I'm jumping curbs or hitting trees, this wasn't anything I did. The service guy advised me not to buy four new tires, get some more use out of my tires, then replace them. No! You don't buy this kind of car to have to drive it with a problem! So he said at least give it a couple weeks and if I'm not satisfied, to call him back and he'll talk to his manager to see what he could do. The only thing they can do to make me happy is replace all four tires for me. Like I said, this wasn't caused by something I did and by reading this forum, apparently other Lexus owners have had the same problem. So we'll see how it goes, it's only been a few days, the problem does not feel any better, so I'm going to give them a call next week.
  • evelevel Member Posts: 9
    Did you see one of my earlier memos? During the 1st 2 to 3 weeks of ownership, my car pulled to the right when I applied the breaks. I took it back & they fixed it stating there was a factory TSB (service bulletin)out on this problem. I did not get an exact explanation what was done, but I believe they either replaced or adjusted the camber on front right or both front brakes. This took care of the pulling during when braking.

    When I purchased the car, a sales rep, who was not assisting me advised me to check the alignment frequently. I can't recall if he said 4WD vehicles get out of alignment more frequently than FWD or RWD cars; or if it was to extend the life of the performance run-flat tires w/the 18" wheels pulled from the GS430 & installed on my car. I would press Lexus for a new set of tires. I don't which wheel & tire set you have, but the run-flat tires w/the 18" wheels priced out at $299/each online from The Tire Rack, who are usually cheaper than the brick & mortar tire shops. When the time comes for new tires, I will probably switch to another type of all season performance tires with a longer tread life & higher profile to reduce the amount of fender gap (raised look) that the low profile tires created on my car. If you have the standard 17" wheels/tires that come with the GS300, what was the advertised tread life for them? It should be more than 10K miles.
  • newgsownernewgsowner Member Posts: 3
    Yes, they have the standard 17" wheel/tires. I'm not sure what the advertised tread was, I'm sorry I don't know too much about this stuff, but I would definately think it's more than 10k. They never mentioned anything about a service bulletin on this problem. The service rep was adament on me continuing to drive with this problem, but as I clearly stated to him, I did not buy such an expensive car to drive it with this problem. So I'll give them a call next week and press for a new set. I'll let you know how it goes!
  • rodagu116rodagu116 Member Posts: 2
    As for me, the dealership gave me new tires. That didn't solve anything :-( So as for the veering (jerking) left/right, I received no solution. {My GS is RWD}. I noticed that my father's new Chevy Silverado (truck) has that problem also (the steering is rather sensitive and when I try to react to that movement I tend to over react -- blaaah). That truck has run-flat lower profile tires (of course, not as low profile as on the GS). My car costs twice as much and should be smoother riding (?), easier to drive, ...
  • evelevel Member Posts: 9
    Well, I had the next 6-month/ service performed in February (oil change & tire rotation) and noticed a slight return of the drifting problem again, so I went back to Goodyear & had the alignment checked. One of the rear wheels toe was slightly out of factory spec. On yesterday, I had the Virgina State safety inspection performed & the technician commented that I should check the alignment, because my front tires showed were from the inside out. I went to the Lexus dealer & complained that I had the car aligned when suggested in August & again a month ago, only to have visibly worn tires at only 10K miles within a 13 months period. They checked the alignment, said it was again out of spec., & said the realignment should help, but recommended replacement of the two front tires (18" run flats) @ $299 each. They accepted their discounted cost alignment offer, but felt they should pick up the cost of the tires. They refused stating since the alignments in August & February were done by someone else, they cannot be held responsible. Goodyear naturally defended themselves, saying factory specs are factory specs & each time they aligned the suspension within the specs. Also, Goodyear said the factory specs call for the wheels to be pitched slightly inward (top of tire & wheel)towards the engine; thus per the specs, this would cause wear to occur on the inside area of the tread. I escalated to Lexus Customer Svc on the grounds the car has a suspension flaw which causes it to become mis-aligned easily & frequently, but they refused to replace my two tires, but are currently considering refunding me the cost of the alignment performed by the Lexus dealer on yesterday. In closing, I understood the performance tires would have less treadlife under normal driving, but the wear I experienced within 10K miles was definitely caused by the suspension alignment problem & not hard driving & cornering. Based on the comments of other owners, it is apparent the problem is not caused by the wheel size or type of tires, but a steering/suspension problem. If you or anyone is lucky enough to find the magic bullet cure with their dealer, please share your success.
  • evelevel Member Posts: 9
    Follow-up: Well all was well between Aug. 06 & Feb. 07, when I had the tires rotated (10K miles svc) and a week later during safety inspection was told I had unever wear on my tires. So long story short, I immediately complained to the nearby Lexus dealership, who escalated it up to Lexus. Lexus checked the entire suspension system (no trouble found) & concluded I received a bad set of runflat tires. The replaced all four & peformed an alignment again in June & so far, no more drifting/tracking problems.

    Now, if only Eibach or some other suspension manufacturer would design lowering springs for the AWD version to lower height to eliminate some of the wheel well gap that take away from the sporty design of the AWD vs RWD. I heard of a company (racing products) located in or near Baltimore, but has been unable to find them.
  • wpewpe Member Posts: 9
    I have a 2006 300GS AWD w/32000miles.

    I need to replace the tires. I want to replace run flats with regular tires.

    Other than not having spare tire has anyone experienced any downsides or negatives of doing this.

    I'm looking for a better ride and spending 50% less $.
This discussion has been closed.