Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SE Wisconsin
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Your car is out of warranty, so Lexus isn't under any obligation to fix your problem for free. It was actually nice of them to agree to pay to diagnose the issue. The powertrain warranty of your SUV was 72 months or 70,000 miles- so you are nearly 40,000 miles and two years out of warranty on your SUV. Better still, it sounds as if you got nearly ten years and 120,000 miles of trouble-free transportation out of your Lexus. Try that in a Lincoln, Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes, or Audi. Good luck. It sucks that you've got a bum engine- but that is a relatively rare occurrence with most Toyota/Lexus products.
As for your analysis about the use of the gasoline engine, I think you might not fully understand how your Lexus Hybrid works. The gasoline engine is powered on and runs until it reaches operating temperature each and every time that you start your car. In any engine, that's going to be the time when most wear and tear is experienced- during cold starts and when it's running to reach normal operating temperature.
In larger Toyota/Lexus SUV Hybrids, the gas engine actually runs a lot more than you'd expect, as the hybrid motor only provides enough energy to coast or accelerate slightly. It's not the same setup as a Prius, which weighs a lot less and can launch itself and drive using its electric motor a lot more often than the Highlander Hybrid or RX Hybrid. As a result, the gas engine actually cycles on and off a lot- which again, causes the engine to experience wear and tear. I think if you really found out how many miles your gas engine has run, you'd likely find that it is running 85-90% of the time your SUV is moving or warming up. It may stop in town at stop signs and red lights, but it's likely running the vast majority of the time your SUV is moving.
It does stink that your engine it toast. If you truly believe that your shop was negligent or falsely claimed that there was no engine damage after the repair, it seems like hiring an independent mechanic to inspect or hiring a lawyer that could attempt to prove that the shop was lying to you might be the answer.
I wouldn't spend anywhere near $9500 to put in a brand-new engine into an SUV with that many miles. You should be able to find a used engine for lots less. It also would likely be cheaper to have an independent mechanic replace your engine rather than the dealer, as Lexus dealer labor costs are likely astronomical. An independent mechanic might be able to research if you can use a Highlander Hybrid 3.5L engine rather than a RX450h engine- as it likely runs on the same Atkinson-style as your RX and might be cheaper to buy used. I'm not sure if the electronics would all hook up the same, but the engine itself is likely identical. That said, I'm not a mechanic, so you should ask the experts before looking into this.
In the end, it's a bit irrational to tell all Lexus RX Hybrid owners to run and sell their vehicles because they are ticking time bombs. The 3.5L V6 used in those hybrids is the same engine that Toyota has used in all Avalons dating back to 2005, Siennas and Camrys dating back to 2007, Rav4s from 2006-2012, Highlanders and RX models dating back to 2008, Venzas, ES350s, and others. They've likely sold more than 1.5 million vehicles with that engine since it came out in 2005. It's a solid engine that is one of the best on the market- even 15 years after it first came out. Yeah, it stinks that you got a bad one- one that the dealer should have noticed was having problems when it completed the repair six months ago. But your claim that Toyota's 3.5L engine is a ticking time bomb is unwarranted. Anyone willing to let one of them go will likely find several buyers that will pay a decent price- as those vehicles hold their value due to their excellent reliability. You just got a crappy one that was serviced by a crappy dealer that's wasn't honest with you.
1998 Camry LE (Sold), 2007 Camry Hybrid, 2016 Accord Coupe