2021 Lexus RX Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Structure and fuel system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Customers that purchase the 2021 Lexus RX are excited at the possibility of a luxury SUV that impresses. After all, the automaker claims new models are “even more refined.” However, the 2021 RX continues to have many of the same problems as the previous years, including a defective structure and dangerous fuel system.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2018   2019   2020   2022

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Lexus RX

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Seat Belts
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Service Brakes

Problems with the Structure

People pay a premium price for the 2021 Lexus RX. They expect to get more than what would be received from a Toyota model, but they are sorely disappointed.

Here’s one NHTSA complaint worth reading. “I was driving home on US Highway 82 and my driver side door opened while I was driving. I know the door was completely closed before I began driving. There were no warning lights or audible alarms until the door automatically opened while I was driving.”

This isn’t the only latch or hinge that is causing trouble. Service Bulletin #L-SB-0042-20 states that the hood release cable is prone to seizing, sticking and binding. What is causing this issue? The cable assembly has already started to corrode, even though it is a newer model. This doesn’t sound very “refined” and is sure to cause an uprising of loyal Lexus owners. Whether it is the hood that isn’t secured or doors opening on their own, this Lexus RX is a rolling nightmare.

Problems with the Fuel System

Lexus has been dealing with fuel system issues for many years now, so why would the 2021 RX be anything different?

Read this Edmunds review to hear about the fuel economy. “With a new vehicle, I’ve been driving very conservatively, yet I’m averaging 16 mpg. WTF???”

Previous models have been part of a class action lawsuit related to the fuel system. While the 2021 RX hasn’t been included yet, it’s probably only a matter of time, especially when considering NHTSA Campaign Number 21V043000. This must be one of the fastest recalls to show up after the release of a new vehicle. If a rear-end crash occurs in the RX, a transport hook that was left on the fuel filler pipe from the factory could damage the pipe and create a car fire. Only an automaker like Lexus would forget to remove a part that was only meant for transport. Yet, it’s pretty clear that the company doesn’t know the first thing about fuel systems, which will be evident when this “refined” lemon also ends up with massive lawsuits.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

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.

Complaint Data

CategorySeat Belts
DateSep 30, 2022
Motor vehicle accident with damage to vehicle front end and drivers side quarter panel. Vehicle was not drivable and required towing service at the scene. Front seat belts of the vehicle failed to engage resulting in the driver being bounced up in the seat and then down resulting in a serious compression fracture of the vertebrae of the spine. An inspection was completed of the vehicle by a third party and reported to the toyota claims department on august 19, 2022. Toyota did respond with notification related to the results of the inspections to include: "the seatbelts were found to be operational. The front drivers' and passengers' seatbelt elr (emergency locking retractor) were tested and found to be operational. The edr readout recorded that the drivers' and passengers' front seat belts were buckled at the time of the incident, and the seat belt pretensioners were not commanded to deploy. The owners manual advises that the pretensioners help the seat belts to quickly restrain the occupants by retracting the seat belts when the vehicle is subjected to certain types of severe frontal or side collision or a vehicle rollover." the owners manual related to seat belts on page 28 also documents that "the pretensioners do not activate in the event of a minor frontal impact, a minor side impact or a rear impact." ntsb safety alert sa-005 july 2012 documents "what can you do to save lives and reduce injuries? Make sure seat belts are worn by everyone in your vehicle and talk to your state and local lawmakers and urge them to support ntsb recommendations for seatbelt use laws." why encourage all to use seat belts if they do not engage in the event of an accident and the general public believes that the seat belt will engage in the event of an accident, again to help prevent not only death but serious injuries... Al law related to seatbelts, section 32-5b-4; requirement of front seat occupants of passenger car must be fastened about body when car is in motion.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
DateAug 27, 2022
The pcs detected another car in front and my car went into park, but kept rolling and the engine revved to 7500 rpm.
CategorySeat Belts
DateAug 11, 2022
I was involved in a single car accident in which the vehicle went off of the road hit an embankment and the vehicle bounced. The front drivers side hip and shoulder seat belt did not engage, and sustained a compression fracture to the vertebrae. The passenger front seat belt at the hip did engage with the sudden stop but the shoulder harness did not engage. The back seat passenger seat belt did fully engage and resulted in seat belt markings to the right shoulder and clavicle area of the passenger requiring evaluation at the emergency department. The rear seat passenger did have the live 360 app and the mobile app did respond to the sudden stop and alerted the passenger if 911 was needed.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Service Brakes, Unknown Or Other
DateJul 28, 2022
The sole occupant driver drove into a slightly elevated driveway and stopped. The driveway is maybe 5 degree incline. The shift select lever was placed in park and the driver visually confirmed it was in park. Driver sat in the car for 12 seconds before exiting the vehicle with the engine running and ac on. The driver exited and was standing outside of the vehicle with both feet on the ground for 6 seconds reaching back inside at which time the vehicle began to suddenly roll down the driveway causing injury to the driver. This seems to be a failure of the parking system of the vehicle causing serious injury to the driver. The vehicle has not been inspected yet and investigation is ongoing. It is unknown if there were any warning lamps, messages or other symptoms of the problem prior to the failure, but there was no prior service work performed on the near new vehicle. There is a video of the incident.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 31, 2022
While driving on the interstate the moon roof exploded into little glass fragments. It sound like a bomb going off. If the slider would have been open, it would have been critical for anyone sitting in the back seat there was no other cars around me or in front of me. It was day light and nothing hit the car
DateJan 12, 2022
I had previously owned a 2018 lexus rx350l that came with oem michelin premier ltx tires. That car handled very well on rain, snow and ice. I eventually replaced those tires with continental crosscontact lx25 that were even better to the point that I woud say they were excellent on snow and ice. When I purchased my 2021 lexus rx350 f sport, it came with bridgestone ecopia h/l 422 plus tires in 235 / 55 r 20. The bridgestone tires were more prone to hydroplaning but I was able to adjust driving in wet rainy situations. The bridgestone tires however are absolutely useless in even the slightest dusting of snow. They are prone to locking the anti-lock brakes at single digit speeds and are resistant to making even slight turns or steering corrections. On the morning of february 6th 2021 I experienced driving in light snow for the first time with new car equipped with the bridgestone tires. While making a right turn, I noticed that there was a multiple car accident on the road I was entering. As I had only begun to enter the turning lane, I decided to abort that turn. I attempted to ease the car back to the left but it would not correct. At this point, I was at single digit speeds already and I pressed the brakes. The anti-lock brakes locked and the car began sliding forward regardless of steering input. I released the brakes but they remained locked which I assume is because the car kept them applied because it was sliding. I slid into a car at the opposite stop light. After the accident, I drove to an empty parking lot and attempted snow driving maneuvers such as stopping slowly and making gentle turns. These tires proved incapable of the slowest, gentlest of maneuvers in a light snow situation. I am attaching both the review and ratings from the tire rack website which support that these "all season" tires should likely not see rain and are most definitely dangerous if not deadly on snow and ice.
DateAug 03, 2021
The drain system failed to properly route water out of the car after heavy rain and an automatic car wash in two separate incidents. The water would leak through the sunroof along the edges and leak down into the passenger side compartment and land on the floor mats.
CategoryStructure:body, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 13, 2020
I was driving home on us highway 82 and my driver side door opened while I was driving. I know the door was completely closed before I began driving. There were no warning lights or audible alarms until the door automatically opened while I was driving.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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