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Kudos (Maybe) To My Lexus Dealership (And Lexus Canada)


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So, my RX400h has been leaking inverter coolant (but not from the inverter - from the "transaxle" (transmission)- which has inverter coolant running through it to cool the electric motors). Having had the inverter replaced under warranty last year because it was leaking coolant, this has left me with somewhat of a low opinion of Lexus, so low in fact, that I test drove an Infiniti M35X yesterday (also a 2006).

First let me say that the Infiniti is much nicer looking inside than my Lexus. Google some interior shots and you'll see what I mean. Voice commands worked, Bluetooth worked flawlessly (which it doesn't on my RX). It's a big heavy vehicle, but surprisingly nimble. It's AWD, but geared for RWD performance (i.e. it's 100% RWD unless slippage is detected in which case it can vary up to 50/50. I drove it on a snow covered parking lot for kicks and it was easy to get the back end to slide before the AWD kicked in, but it had crappy tires on it and I have winter tires on my RX, so not an easy comparison for snow performance.

Mileage was nowhere close to the current (winter gas and cold weather) 8.9 l/100km the RX gives me. In the summer I'm closer to 8 l/100km. This was a BIG drawback to me, and also my snowboard wouldn't fit anywhere but the back seat in the M35X, meaning I'd need to cough up about $700 for a roof rack with snowboard attachments.

Anyway, before I 'almost' bought it, I thought I would call my Lexus dealership and price out a new transmission. Even though the dealership hasn't been able to diagnose my leak, another RX400h owner had a leak the same as mine and his dealership told him he needed a new transmission. The price was $4500 CDN, which was a lot less than I was expecting. I asked for the service department to get a labour quote.

I was told that they had NEVER replaced a tranny in a hybrid. I said I was glad I could offer them the training - maybe we could make a video, and then I went in to my usual rant about this stupid leak. The service advisor had to check with the service manager. Eventually the service manager came on the phone. This was not the 'assistant' service manager I had been dealing with, but a new head manager. He let me know that he had seen the pictures of my leak that I had sent and could understand why I was not happy (I was told the only way to diagnose the leak would be to take the inverter out and take the tranny off - at that point I'd be looking at $1000 in labour just for the DIAGNOSIS).

So he asked if I had the extended warranty. I gave him that sad story as well - in a nutshell, bought the vehicle used, previous owner had extended warranty, Lexus Canada told me they'd contact her to transfer it, never heard back, after two months finally called the owner myself (her number was still in the car phone book), she said she got a message from Lexus but never really listened to it because she didn't own car anymore, asked her myself to transfer the warranty, she was quite willing (and very pleasant I might add), I told her that, as per Lexus, the paperwork should be waiting at the dealership she bought the car just needing her signature, I called Lexus back and they told me warranty had to be transferred within 30 days, so I gave up in frustration, after pointing out that the delay was their fault for not following up on their first phone message.

The service manager said he'd call me back. A couple hours later, he called but I was out so he left a message stating he had the extended warranty paperwork in his office, he'd be sorting it out with Lexus Canada and by today I 'should' have the extended warranty in effect. Key word is 'should'. If it happens, the tranny (or whatever needs fixing for this leak) is under warranty. So is my headlight washer pump that doesn't work and my lumbar inflatable support in the driver's seat that doesn't inflate anymore.

If it works out for me, Lexus Canada and especially the dealership have cemented me as a customer.

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wow hopefully a great ending for you...I know your pain, I lost my transmission on my RX300 at 100k miles and was very dissappointed...Lexus said they would give me a break...After all said and done it cost me $4300....I love the car, but that really hurt...Still driving it almost 13years in November. I am looking at the 400h for a replacement. I noticed you are on here a lot..Do you still like the vehicle...sorry about stealing the thread.

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I wish you luck with the extended warranty SNAFU. You story has really made me reconsider getting one for my '08 400h before the factory warranty expires.

RE: the Infiniti; I test drove one of those awhile back. What about the ride? The early FX's were notorious were having very stiff ride which was verified by my test drive. It was one of the factors in me going with the RX.

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wow hopefully a great ending for you...I know your pain, I lost my transmission on my RX300 at 100k miles and was very dissappointed...Lexus said they would give me a break...After all said and done it cost me $4300....I love the car, but that really hurt...Still driving it almost 13years in November. I am looking at the 400h for a replacement. I noticed you are on here a lot..Do you still like the vehicle...sorry about stealing the thread.

Yes, I like it. Especially the mileage, and the fact that I can throw my snowboard in the back (i.e. I like the cargo space). Also, while others may disagree, it's snow performance was more than acceptable (keep in mind that I have winter tires, though). That's why I was so torn about buying the M35x, and after looking at the numbers, I thought I'd call Lexus and price out a new tranny. That led to the discussion with the service manager and the extended warranty fiasco coming to light.

Keep in mind regarding the 400h, that the majority of owner's are either not as anal as me about checking the vehicle for problems or truly the 400h is overall a dependable vehicle. There have been inverter failures, but my research seems to link them to early production models (like mine).

My current problem (leaking inverter coolant from tranny) I have only seen with one other vehicle (exact leak in exact spot as mine). His dealer told him he needed a new transaxle ($5000). My dealer says they won't know till they take it apart.

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I wish you luck with the extended warranty SNAFU. You story has really made me reconsider getting one for my '08 400h before the factory warranty expires.

RE: the Infiniti; I test drove one of those awhile back. What about the ride? The early FX's were notorious were having very stiff ride which was verified by my test drive. It was one of the factors in me going with the RX.

Sorry, it was the M35x, not the FX I drove. Hence, the problem with my snowboard not fitting in the trunk.

The ride was firm, which I like, but not unbearably so. The FX (especially the FX45 vs the FX35) was notorious for it's stiff ride (19" or 20" wheels - maybe 22"?)

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Wow! Good thing you have the extended warranty. I'm glad i've got it for my 400h as well- my mileage is getting pretty high and i can picture this happening to me. :wacko:

The Rx400h really is a reliable car though. <_<

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Just checked my account at lexus.ca and the extended warranty is now active on my vehicle. Good till May this year or 180 000KM. I'm going to see if I can buy the extension good till 200 000km or 8 years.

So, in the end, I'm a happy customer. First and foremost I have to thank the new service manager at my Lexus dealership, and secondly, whoever he contacted at Lexus Canada regarding this.

Yesterday, I almost became the owner of an Infiniti, and swore I would never buy another Lexus/Toyota (nor any of my descendants for at least four, maybe five generations). It's amazing the power of good customer service.

Bear in mind that this is not just me happy that this repair is not going to cost me money. To get into the Infiniti was going to cost me almost as much as the new tranny, so I was prepared to spend money - it was just a matter of WHERE I was going to spend it. I was just so peeved with Lexus and the whole leak situation, that I would rather have spent the money on a new (used) vehicle rather than fixing the 400h and be done with Lexus entirely.

Now, if I can buy the warranty extension, Lexus will be getting some of my money. The dealership will be getting some of my money in the future (I do oil and brakes myself - the dealer can do brake fluid flush, rad fluid change, inverter fluid change etc), and I can tell my family and friends a feel good story regarding Toyota/Lexus which may influence them towards buying a Toyota/Lexus vehicle.

Seems like a win-win situation for all involved, no?

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Wow! Good thing you have the extended warranty. I'm glad i've got it for my 400h as well- my mileage is getting pretty high and i can picture this happening to me. :wacko:

The Rx400h really is a reliable car though. <_<

That's just it. I almost 'didn't' have the extended warranty. Only an excellent service manager at the Lexus dealership and someone at Lexus Canada turned this into a happy ending.

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I hope it works out for you.

The Infiniti M is a nice car, they are very attractive to buy used because of terrible resale value...

I think the refresh in 09 did a lot for it, and the all new M is a great car. I would definitely buy one over a GS.

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