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Lexus Recalls 138,000 Cars—Including LS 600h—For Engine Defect

July 2, 2010
2008 Lexus GS 350

2008 Lexus GS 350

2008 Lexus IS 350

2008 Lexus IS 350

Lexus has announced that it will recall about 138,000 of its luxury sedans in the U.S.—including the 2008 model year of its flagship Lexus LS 600h L hybrid—due to a potential engine defect.

In some 4.6- or 5.0-liter V-8 engines, along with some 3.5-liter engines, valve springs might be contaminated with foreign material, leading to—based on the automaker’s description—severe and costly engine failure.  In a Toyota Motor Sales description, the company says that “If a vehicle is affected, there is a remote possibility that abnormal engine noise or idling may occur. In extremely rare instances, the engine may stop while the vehicle is in operation.”

Only a very small fraction (two-tenths of one percent) of vehicles—or about 276 vehicles—are affected, Lexus says, but it will inspect and diagnose all vehicles potentially affected and replace engine valve springs at no charge.

Vibration, rough idling, unusual engine sounds, or poor performance—all quite unusual from a Lexus, based on our experience with these phenomenally refined cars—are indicated as likely tip-offs that there’s a problem. Otherwise owners are advised to continue driving their vehicles.

In the U.S., Lexus will be filing a Defect Information Report (DIR)—formally initiating the recall—with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the week of July 5.

The recall is part of a larger global recall of 270,000 cars that parent company Toyota Motor announced earlier in the week; and it’s not the only engine-related recall for Toyota in recent months. In March, in addition to its accelerator-related recalls, the automaker announced a service issue pertaining to the V-6 engines on many popular models including the Toyota Camry, Avalon, and RAV4, as well as the Lexus ES 350 and RX 350, for an issue with degrading oil lines that could also lead to engine failure.

The fact that Toyota announced its recall on a Friday afternoon, before a major holiday weekend, wasn’t lost on the press. Many in the media had anticipated such timing earlier in the week.

Only certain vehicles of the following models and model years are affected:

2007-2008 Lexus GS 350
2007-2008 Lexus GS 450h
2008 Lexus GS 460
2006-2008 Lexus IS 350
2007-2008 Lexus LS 460 L and LS 460
2008 Lexus LS 600h L


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