Electrical and fuel system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
Luxury sedans are meant to make a statement, just like the 2019 Lexus ES 350 does. The automaker claims that it is “Boldly styled. Meticulously refined.” However, customers are struggling with the electrical system, engine and air bags on these models.
Problems with the Electrical System
A properly functioning electrical system is a key component of any vehicle. With the Lexus ES 350, customers are spending a lot of money for premium sound quality and not getting it.
Here’s one Edmunds review out of many. “We purchased this car without having had an opportunity to listen to the stereo (long story). Unfortunately, even with the upgraded stereo it is absolutely un-listenable at low or normal conversational volume levels. There is no sound coming from the back speakers – everything sounds like it is coming from the center dash speaker only. Now you may be thinking: “you need to adjust the fader and balance”. No go. Even adjusting the fader all the way to the back and the right, the sounds will still sound to the driver like it is coming directly from the front center speaker and is terribly disorienting. There are multiple threads online of people with similar problems. It isn’t clear to me if this is a hit and miss issue on these cars, or if it impacts them all. But what is clear, is that our Lexus dealer was unwilling to do anything about it, despite having come back with the car within the first few business hours of driving it off the lot.”
Lexus isn’t trying to hide the troubles. Even Service Bulletin #L-SB-0021-19 talks about trouble with the hands-free operation, display messages, Spanish translation, voice recognition, automatic navigation and more. It appears that the refinement that went into this vehicle only went so far, and didn’t extend to the radio. Hopefully, customers don’t mind listening to the road noise instead of their favorite tunes.
2019 Lexus ES 350 Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Fuel System, Gasoline|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Vehicle Speed Control|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking|
Problems with the Air Bags
In any vehicle, luxury or not, the air bags are expected to protect occupants and help them avoid injury. Yet, there seem to be some real problems with the ES 350.
One NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owns a 2019 Lexus ES. While pulling into a parking spot, the contact attempted to depress the brake pedal and it traveled to the floorboard. The vehicle crashed into the side of a building. The vehicle continued to coast forward despite pumping the brake pedal. The contact placed the vehicle in Reverse to move the vehicle from the side of the building. Afterwards, the contact quickly shifted the gear into Park and turned off the vehicle. The air bags did not deploy. The contact received bruises to the chest. Medical attention was not received. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a collision center where it was diagnosed that the parking brake assist failed and needed to be replaced. The front end of the vehicle was severely damaged. The vehicle was repaired. The contact was informed of NHTSA Campaign Number 19V544000 (Electronic Stability Control, Service Brakes). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and provided case number. The dealer was contacted. The approximate failure mileage was 3,636.”
Imagine if a pedestrian had been standing in front of this vehicle when the braking system failed. While the current situation is bad, it could have been far worse. However, Lexus isn’t taking the proper precautions when it comes to safely protecting occupants. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V288000 states that vehicles equipped with driver knee air bags mounted on the lower instrument panel might not have been installed correctly. In the event of an accident, these air bags might not deploy at all, further leaving occupants at a greater risk for injuries. While the styling of this vehicle might be bold, there’s nothing exceptional about getting hurt in an accident that could have been prevented.
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Problems with the Fuel System
Finally, a look at the fuel system shows the same level of defects that customers have been complaining about.
Here’s one more from the NHTSA website. “2 incidents – July 2020 driving on city streets, car would not move/accelerate after stopping and had to turn off engine and restart engine. This happened twice on our way home. August 2020 – driving on city street, car was at a stop signal and would not accelerate after several attempts the acceleration did resume.”
It turns out there is yet another recall for this Lexus that might illustrate some of the issues. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V012000 states that nearly two million vehicles might be equipped with a fuel pump that fails. If this does happen, the engine could stall, thereby increasing the chance of an accident. If this vehicle is truly “meticulously refined,” the engineers missed all of the major components in the process. It appears they were only focused on the styling and forgot that real people would be driving in these cars. Customers might as well have bought the cheaper Toyota models instead.
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Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Lexus pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.