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LexusRX 400h Hybrid Battery Failure



  • So... I'm considering buying a RX 400h it is a 2006 with almost 70k miles. After reading all these posts I'm a little concerned that it could be a bad idea. Thoughts or suggestions? The car has been well taken car of, with no issues and every service performed.
  • missmomissmo Posts: 2
    This inverter problem happened to me last weekend while in Mexico. $300 tow back to the states, then another tow by AAA to get to the Lexus dealer. I received the recall notice, took my car in, but they said I didn't need the part. My VIN is below the break as mentioned by another post. It will be covered as the warranty is 100,000 miles, not 70,000 as skycaptain posted. I'm hoping to get the $300 back from corporate Lexus. It was scary, and I didn't really know about this problem, (just a single chick living in San Diego) just trusted the notice and the mechanic.
  • skycaptainskycaptain Posts: 33

    Glad to hear it worked out so well for you. I'm also glad to hear that the inverter is warranted to 100k miles.
    Just a quick question about your car. What year is it and how many miles at inverter failure?

    Luke :shades:
  • missmomissmo Posts: 2
    Hi skycaptain - are you a pilot? My car is a 2006 with 80 something miles on it (couldn't read the exact numbers when I turned it in for service because it was dead). I had a GS 300 for 9 years and loved it. When I heard they were coming out with a SUV Hybrid I got on a waiting list and had to wait 10 months to get one, so I'm pretty sure it's one of the first ones off the line. I've had it new since October of 2005. This is the first time in 15 years I've ever been stranded by a Lexus.

  • Yes, I flew Jets for many years. yes buy the Hybrid...I love mine...:shades:
  • momoftmomoft Posts: 2
    edited October 2012
    Hi, I am glad that I found this forum. However my car is 2008 model about 38k miles and had the same problem as I read. The car stalled in the middle of intersection. Just went dead. The accelerator didn't work, the handle was locked. But the radio was on, the windows go up/down, AC was on. I couldn't even turn on the hazard light. I managed to push the car with the help to the side and 15 minutes later I was able to drive back again. About 10 months ago, the car didn't turn on and the next day we managed to turn on so we brought to the dealer and they replaced the battery. The car is in the dealer now and we are waiting for the answer. We are not sure what the problem is but after I read 2006 models stalled on highways... that could happened to me too... so scary.
  • voicedvoiced Posts: 8
    I too was concerned about this poorly designed inverter problem. I opted to purchase an RX330 with 103k miles instead of a hybrid. Runs beautifully. She still can use unleaded vs. premium fuel and gets around 25mpg if we baby her.

    The only downside to purchasing a used Lexus is if the previous owner has not done their regularly scheduled maintenance. Repair costs are, well, shall I say significant at Lexus Service centers?
  • The inverter has been recalled, and Lexus will replace for free. At least on the 2006 model.
  • After learning that the inverter is a ten thousand dollar part, I would no longer buy the hybrid model either. Apparently, going green has it's downsides. Wind power also uses inverters (solar too), if the wind speeds are too high for a sustained period of time, you can burn out a 4-6 thousand dollar inverter. So, for wind, you have to really match wind speed to the inverter (for efficiency). This means "dumping wind", during highly sustained gusts or storms.

    I wonder if high sustained freeway speeds can cause these inverters to burn out. If they built these to have a maximum efficiency at 60 mph can 80 mph over time burn out the inverters?
  • who can we contact at Lexus? we have the same problem.
  • Last Thursday I had the very unpleasant experience of having my 2006 Lexus rx400h completely die while I was on the freeway. It was towed to Lexus and I was told my inverter water pump is dead. They are quoting me $1200 to fix it. They won't be able to tell what else might be wrong, such has the inverter itself completely failing, until the pump is installed.

    I called cooperate lexus and as of right now, I'm not overly thrilled with their response. I flat out asked that if once the new pump is installed and we find that the inverter is still working, will they not replace it in spite of the many documented failure cases? No was the reply. So essentially the inverter will need to completely fail, possibly while I'm driving and not able to pull over with possibly hurting someone or myself. Nice lexus . . .
  • For a while I have had a rattle/rumble from the rear of my car especially when going over bumps. No one could diagnose the problem and eventually I took it to a Lexus dealership (there isn't one in Charlottesville!) who told me that I needed to replace the rear brake calipers which were loose. Apparently they couldn't tighten them as a rubber bushing had failed. So $1,200 later I have new brake calipers and rattle has gone. The service dept. said they had never seen this problem before. Of course it's out of warrantee by about 12 months! Why should I need to replace the calipers just because a bushing has failed? Anyone else have this problem?
  • I did not have chance to update about our car but the dealer kept it for about 3 weeks, said drive fine everyday, could not find a problem and could not simulate the problem. They said the battery was actually fine but they changed it anyway (changed it twice within a year). Meanwhile we talk to the corporate to sell the car. Although the car is certified pre-owned, they couldn't help much. We told the dealer that they can't simulate the problem is already the big problem. They gave us a low price, we lost a lot of money but we just felt bad to sell this kind of car directly to someone by ourselves. The dealer even said 'Now we can't tell this problem to the sales person!' and put 30% mark up on and is selling it. I can't trust this model. We owned Prius twice, never had any problems. One has 120k miles on, still fine. Prius has been made a lot and been around long time, probably more reliable. Guess what? We purchased Prius again. I will report this Lexus to the government. We should not bare this kind of problems for such expensive cars!!
  • Long term results report. I had my invertor replaced september 3, 2010. So far it has been bullet proof. Toyota fixed this $10,000 repair for free. Basically it is a faulty invertor , recall # 87559 June 29, 2011. This was at 64,000 miles and I am now at 96,000 miles with everything working well. I had to do the timing belt, tensioners, water pump , as part of the recommended 90,000 mile maintenance. I also had to do a radiator and front control arm bushings so this was a major bill. I did switch tires to Yokohama Parada's so the car rides very well but they are not the longest lasting tires. Gotta figure if there is a cheaper way than a lexus dealer. But in thinking of doing all this work I decided this is a overall very reliable car and worth doing as the car rides well, looks good, and is nice to drive. I figure the Prius 's I have seen used as cabs are going over 300,000 miles so there is some precedent for long term ownership. Yes I would buy one again ( and I guess by fixing it I am planning another 90,000 miles , I hope ! )
  • Our Lexus displayed a check engine warning and P0AA6 Code and then immediately stopped working. Upon inspection at dealer, the entire bottom floor of the cabin (under the floor boards) was flooded without any visible water damage inside the cabin or any visible point of water entry. We were given an estimate of approximately $11,000 to repair because the entire hybrid battery system had to be replace, inverter and other components along with the interior carpet had to be ripped up and replaced in the process. It turns out water was entering from very small fractures in the seams by the trunk door stays. These are not visible to us unless you are trained to know to look there as Lexus mechanics have been trained. Upon researching this because to me this indicated there was a manufacturing defect if the seams do not stay sealed and over time separate, there are two TSB's specifically addressing this issue. L-SB-0019-09, issued March 10, 2009 and L-SB-0045-09, issued April 29, 2009. In order for a TSB to be issued Lexus has to receive a threshold number of complaints on this issue. Lexus then investigates and comes up with a solution to correct this problem. TSB's are part of a computer data base available to service technicians so they can look it up and determine what may be allowing water intrusion and how to repair. Apparently, there were enough complaints of flooding and it was determined these seals were not holding and allowing water to come in over a period of time. The problem is Lexus did not issue these TSB's until well after most of the covered vehicles (2004-2009 models of three different Lexus cars) were out of warranty. Lexus also chose not to tell its customers of the potential for the separation and magnitude of damage that can happen from this defect. The repair to seal the seams is only a few hundred dollars compared to the damage you may suffer, in the thousands of dollars, if the leak goes undetected until the hybrid system shorts out. There are no warnings and your vehicle can shut down abruptly with the potential of severe harm to you whenever water gets into an electrical system. Lexus really dropped the ball on this one but is benefitting greatly by having you over a barrel once the damage is done and you have to pay for the repairs. Lexus did immediately agree to cover the battery without a complaint from us. However, when we went to customer care and complained that Lexus knew of this defect and refused to do any preventative notification or recall we only received a token $600 more. I then went to corporate who flat out refused to help us and would not accept responsibility since the car was out of warranty. We did not want to put the claim through insurance since the car would then be labeled as water damaged/flooded and be of no value on a trade in/resale. We got stuck with a $4000 bill for damages that could have been prevented by a simple notice from Lexus advising of the potential for damage and suggesting we have the seams resealed. We would have gladly spent a couple hundred dollars in preventative care then face the damages we just had to assume. Anyone who has experienced this needs to complain to Lexus and voice their disappointment!
  • dmbfloridadmbflorida Posts: 38
    58,000 miles, excellent condition and maintenance for my 2006 400h Lexus then a flooding at an intersection caused hybrid engine and hybrid battery to need to be replaced which is being done now. my insurance covers these costs but I am concerned that the Lexus dealership in Florida will use refurbished or recertified parts instead of new parts. The car has been in the "shop" for 5 weeks so far and expectations are that more weeks will be required before the replacements have been received. Is this unusual ?
  • my car, lexus RX400h has done exactly the same thing. check hybrid, check vsc, and has shut engine. It's only 46,000 miles on it have had it for 3 months. Bought it from a dealer here in Kenya, no one can fix it here. please advice
  • Back again after 2 1/2 years after the initial inverter failure. Good news was that Lexus subsequently replaced it FOC, after which I received a recall notice regarding, yes you guessed it, inverter problem. Well confident that I had just had mine done, I politely declined to visit, but after a second recall notice was issued, I decided to get it booked in. 1st available date January 2014. No problem. No issues, I can wait……. or so I thought. Today the VSC and Hybrid check system lights came on….. so tomorrow morning, I'll be contacting Lexus, two days before Christmas. This should test their Customer Service to the limit!

  • Turns out the fault is 'water in the hybrid'. Apparently its got in round the rear light cluster seals and blown the fuse board underneath the actual hybrid batteries…. quote is for £1000+ and its now the 8th of Jan and still no car…. they say possibly by the weekend as they need to get the seals in and fit them.

  • @johnstuart said:
    For a while I have had a rattle/rumble from the rear of my car especially when going over bumps. No one could diagnose the problem and eventually I took it to a Lexus dealership (there isn't one in Charlottesville!) who told me that I needed to replace the rear brake calipers which were loose. Apparently they couldn't tighten them as a rubber bushing had failed. So $1,200 later I have new brake calipers and rattle has gone. The service dept. said they had never seen this problem before. Of course it's out of warrantee by about 12 months! Why should I need to replace the calipers just because a bushing has failed? Anyone else have this problem?

    yes, the rear pivot pins seize up and this causes the callipers to freeze rather than float, resulting in initial uneven wear on the discs and pads, but also causing heat issues with the callipers. Strip down using a blow torch to free off the pins, new pins, discs and pads with all rubber seals, and all running fine. Bit of a mucky job, and advise you wear goggles and a mask when dealing with brakes and dust….

  • jbw2009jbw2009 Posts: 3

    I live in Michigan and own a 2007 RX400h with about 70,000 miles on it.

    Last November (2013), while in Toronto, after parking following a 20 minute evening drive in light snow, I was unable to restart the vehicle. The "READY" light would not appear and the normal indicators prior to start-up were displayed. Frustrated, I spent the next 30 minutes trying to find the local Lexus dealership and was about to search for a towing service. Giving it one last try, the "READY" light appeared and we were able to return to our hotel. During the next maintenance, I informed the Michigan dealership of the problem and they said there was no problem with the battery or the charging system.

    In January, I took the vehicle in for the Inverter Recall, but did not realize until I checked this forum what impact it had with the operation of the vehicle.

    Today, around 4:30PM, my RX400h did the same thing after it was parked at local post office following a heavy rain storm. I do not know if this moisture has any effect on the situation, but I thought I would mention it.

    Unfortunately, it would not restart (i.e.available "READY" light) like it did in Toronto. I gave it an hour before trying it again, but without success.

    After a 6PM call to the local Lexus dealership, one of the service guys said that the battery needed a jump charge-- but that did not work either.

    So tomorrow I expect to have the vehicle towed to the dealership for some of the same inverter maintenance.

    Fortunately, I purchased the extended warranty for the vehicle, so I do not expect to have any costly support problems in that area. (I do understand that there is a 100,000 mile warranty on some parts of the vehicle, but never sure if I will get nickeled-dimed for associated items during maintenance). My vehicle has been serviced every 5,000 miles by the Lexus dealership.

    I will update this saga after the problems have been resolved.

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,770

    Electrical gremlins always seem tricky to pin down. Definitely keep us updated on how things are going. Sharing these "adventures" will be very helpful to others I'm sure!

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,770

    @jbw2009 said:
    Update: The good news is that after the vehicle was sitting for 17 hours, I was able to get a "READY" light on the first try with the key. It appeared that the RX400h is charging the batteries, so I cancelled the tow truck and drove the vehicle about 15 miles to the dealer. They were given the link to this forum and three examples that seem to match my situation.

    Interesting use of the forums! I know that some users have printed out forums posts to take with them to dealers to show that they're not the only one experiencing a problem. Let us know if they actually check out the posts.

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  • jbw2009jbw2009 Posts: 3

    Update: After checking the RX400h out for an entire day, the dealership called to inform me the vehicle can be picked up-- they could not find a problem and recommended I drive it more to charge up the battery. (I was told the battery was low and there were no error/problem codes recorded). No cost for their efforts. Since I am retired, I do not drive as much, but I do drive the SUV several times a week, which I thought was adequate for my primary vehicle. It sounds like I need to go to the stores on the other side of town. (smiles)

    I did bring to their attention that this problem happened after driving 200+ miles to Toronto, so I am not whole-heartedly convinced that there is no problem. However, it is what it is.

    As for accessing the edmunds forum on this topic, I did provide the link info to the service agent and he said he would pass it along to the mechanic. However, I do not know if they really followed up in this manner.

  • A lot of "war stories." I've driven our 2006 RX400h (we bought new) 150,000 miles without a single battery problem. Many sound like no-no's for ANY car, i.e. driving into/through too much standing water.

  • Hi, Is the inverter replacement discussed in this thread included in the sept2013 recall?  

    My 06 RX400h is now having problems, "VSC System" error momentarily flashing while the car tries to turn on.  It is eventually turning on after holding the key 15-30 seconds.

    I had the recall done last year.

    Car has 108k miles.  I found the 12v Battery had drained. I trickle charged, no luck. Tried a brand new 12v battery, still same issue starting.  No water/moisture in hybrid battery area (carefully checked access hole). 

    Found this thread and now trying to not spend $9000!


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Here's the recall information we have:

    Lexus RX400h Inverter Recall

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  • Mr_Shiftright said:

    Here's the recall information we have: Lexus RX400h Inverter Recall

    Thanks.  The technical specifics of the recall say they replaced the IPM module, apparently just a part of the inverter.  Not sure if this is replacing the whole plastic case thing with a new one in a metal case, as discussed here.  Will ask dealership today.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    edited October 2014
    Ok, let us know and good luck with it!

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