Barry14UK

Minor service and unexpected suspension work

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My 3rd Gen RX450h passed it's MOT test here in Devon on 3rd September without any advisories,  so I felt confident to visit my daughter in Surrey and after a few days stop at Lexus Cheltenham en route home for a minor service on 14th September.  That was about 550 miles after the MOT and with the mileage at 41,202 miles.  I mentioned to Lexus Cheltenham that I felt there was a slight fluttering of the suspension which I could hear as well as sense so asked if all was as well as it should be.

I had just arrived at Stroud in a new loan car I had been provided with and was about to collect my sister and her husband for lunch when I had mobile call advising me that one of the front struts needed replacement and the other was almost as bad so both needed to be replaced.  I was told that the car should not be driven without these struts being replaced - just what I needed to put the dampeners on my lunch!  I expressed my surprise and disappointment that this should happen on a top spec Premier with only 41K miles,  particularly as the car had been well cared for and serviced by them for the from new previous lady owner.  I had also taken care of it , especially over speed humps and the car had continued to be serviced by them.  I mentioned this was a known problem with air struts on earlier generations but believed 41K miles would be early replacement even for them. I was told that replacing with coil overs would detract from the superior ride being provided by the air suspension of the 'Premier' model and that a car so modified would become less valuable.  I was told that the rears were OK (at present) but that I could get a 2 year extended warranty which would include replacing these for just shy of £1,000.

In the circumstances, I was told the struts were provided at cost and I got various rates of discount on different things being a 'Gold Member' (and probably sympathy!) which they reckon saved me just over £400.  The all in cost including the minor service was £2273.94.  I think Cheltenham have been fair with me but feel one should not have to pay for new air struts at this sort of mileage.  Maybe this is why they were dropped for the 4th Gen cars.

Since the new struts were fitted, I noticed on the drive home that the car seems to pitch more from front to rear as evidenced by the the head lights tending to cover shorter and longer distances.

I really wished I had sampled an RX with normal coil springs before going for the Premier model and suggest anybody else looking for an RX does this.  It's just that I have always bought the top model of previous cars although these have always been a few years old.

 

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Not good news at all Barry.

Am I summarising correctly?

September 2020 RX m.o.t. completed successfully, by a member of the Snow`s Group in Devon ?

September 2020 ie. 550 miles later,RX needed new front airbags immediately, as identified by a member of Lister Group in Gloucestershire ?

Lister offered you a Lexus Extended Warranty for approx £2k and stated that if you accepted the air bags  would be replaced under the Extended Warranty ?

Did you accept or decline or accept the Lister Offer ?

Why did the car need a minor service after 550 miles?

How was the cost of £2273.94 made up ?

If you can address the above matters, I can have a clearer understanding of events.

I apologise for asking so much at what is clearly a difficult time for you.

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Ouch. Really sorry to read this Barry. Your car is of similar age and mileage to mine (luckily one without air), I'd certainly be feeling pretty sick if I got a call like that.

Just hoping I don't, as mine is in for a biggish 40k service as I write this. Having looked online I know it passed the MoT OK, haven't yet had a call about anything else.....

With regard to the rears I assume what they're saying is that they'll be covered for replacement under the extended warranty should it ever become necessary. I presume the fronts would have been covered if you'd had the warranty?

I suppose the lessons here for the rest of us are avoid air suspension and to take out the extended warranty if it's available.

Just thinking, isn't this the second time we've heard about a car passing an MoT and then almost immediately needing significant suspension work? Is this down to things the MoT doesn't adequately cover, different standards being applied, or 'just' an oversight?

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Or maybe Nigel, the M.O.T. was fine and subsequently,somebody told porkies ?

When Barry comes back we might have a clearer picture.

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Terrible news Barry. When I sold my 2005 SEL the air suspension had lasted for over 13 years without a single issue. 

Is there any point in writing to Lexus UK ? Surely for the struts to need replacing at this millage means they were not fit for purpose in the first place. It would be quite reasonable to have expected them to last considerably longer. Some of our more legally minded members may be able to advise further.

Alan

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4 minutes ago, stringbender said:

Terrible news Barry. When I sold my 2005 SEL the air suspension had lasted for over 13 years without a single issue. 

Is there any point in writing to Lexus UK ? Surely for the struts to need replacing at this millage means they were not fit for purpose in the first place. It would be quite reasonable to have expected them to last considerably longer. Some of our more legally minded members may be able to advise further.

Alan

Until we have clarification, no one can offer advice Alan.

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Thank you John.   Just to amplify on my previous post,  my car  was due an MOT and service in May but as my wife and I had been isolating, the car had only been used about three or 4 times for small distances since March  (I was still able to drive it legally as the Government permitted this for a period in effect extending the MOT).  I decided I would get the MOT done locally at a nearby non Lexus garage as my nearest Lexus dealer is at Exeter, some 90 minuets drive from my home.  I  could have left the MOT until after my holiday break in Surrey but felt it would be a good idea to do this before starting quite a long trip to and around Surrey. 

On my return home from the holiday break, I diverted slightly to Lexus Cheltenham for a prearranged service.  They loaned me a car so I could take the opportunity of visiting my sister in Stroud and then collect my serviced Lexus by 6pm on the same day.  It was just as I arrived at my sister's property in the loaned car that Lexus Cheltenham told me that the car needed complete bags/structs as all only sold complete and should not be driven as was.  They said that with service the cost would be some £2700 but that they could get the parts including new top mounts fitted so I could have this done and collect by 6pm.  I said I would think on it over lunch but in the circumstances asked  what they could do to reduce the bill.  They got back to me to say they would replace the struts at cost and with my Gold Member discount, the all in cost including the essential minor service would not exceed £2,300.  It felt like a carrot and a stick because, all our holiday cases, sleeping bags and numerous other stuff was still in the car which we were told should not be driven as was.  I therefore told them to go ahead and indeed the car was ready when I returned the small loan car just before 6pm.

The extended warranty of just under £1,000 offered would cover replacement of the rear struts if needed (and other guaranteed parts) over the next two years but as a known fault would not cover the front ones. I have been given 30 days to make a decision on this.  I did ask whether it was worth me contacting Lexus UK as the parts seem to have failed at very low mileage. I was told that this was up to me but that they doubted I would get any help there.  

There are different rates of discount on various parts but it seems without individually checking items they have reduced the service cost and overall parts were £1463.43 with labour £431.52 all + VAT making a grand total of £2273.94 for the strut work and minor essential service.

 

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11 minutes ago, Barry14UK said:

Thank you John.   Just to amplify on my previous post,  my car  was due an MOT and service in May but as my wife and I had been isolating, the car had only been used about three or 4 times for small distances since March  (I was still able to drive it legally as the Government permitted this for a period in effect extending the MOT).  I decided I would get the MOT done locally at a nearby non Lexus garage as my nearest Lexus dealer is at Exeter, some 90 minuets drive from my home.  I  could have left the MOT until after my holiday break in Surrey but felt it would be a good idea to do this before starting quite a long trip to and around Surrey. 

On my return home from the holiday break, I diverted slightly to Lexus Cheltenham for a prearranged service.  They loaned me a car so I could take the opportunity of visiting my sister in Stroud and then collect my serviced Lexus by 6pm on the same day.  It was just as I arrived at my sister's property in the loaned car that Lexus Cheltenham told me that the car needed complete bags/structs as all only sold complete and should not be driven as was.  They said that with service the cost would be some £2700 but that they could get the parts including new top mounts fitted so I could have this done and collect by 6pm.  I said I would think on it over lunch but in the circumstances asked  what they could do to reduce the bill.  They got back to me to say they would replace the struts at cost and with my Gold Member discount, the all in cost including the essential minor service would not exceed £2,300.  It felt like a carrot and a stick because, all our holiday cases, sleeping bags and numerous other stuff was still in the car which we were told should not be driven as was.  I therefore told them to go ahead and indeed the car was ready when I returned the small loan car just before 6pm.

The extended warranty of just under £1,000 offered would cover replacement of the rear struts if needed (and other guaranteed parts) over the next two years but as a known fault would not cover the front one unless previously paid for and replaced . I have been given 30 days to make a decision on taking out this extended warranty. I did ask whether it was worth me contacting Lexus UK as the parts seem to have failed at very low mileage. I was told that this was up to me but that they doubted I would get any help there.  

There are different rates of discount on various parts but it seems without individually checking items they have reduced the service cost and overall parts were £1463.43 with labour £431.52, all + VAT making a grand total of £2273.94 for the strut work and minor essential service.

 

Sorry, meant to edit instead of quote - guess this unexpected hit has rather upset me but have to take it on chin.  On way home the main road into North Devon was blocked off meaning a mega diversion.  I was later told that a motorist had broken down an a lorry driver had stopped to assist but that a second lorry had plowed into the back of the first driver killing the driver of the second lorry.  Makes you put things into perspective! 

Thank you to others who have or might respond, much appreciated.

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Thank you very much Barry for that detailed and I expect, painful explanation. It was necessary for me to ask as without it any advice or comment I could offer would have difficult.

In a nutshell, I feel that you found yourself between a rock and a hard place. We have all been there at some time in our lives and non of us wish to return.

The (Non Lexus) Garage which performed the M.O.T. was local to you and presumably had your confidence. So, it either discharged its rsponsibilities satisfactorily or it didn`t. Being non Lexus, it might not have been up to speed re the air suspension, but it was a registered M.O.T. Testing Station and can therefore be deemed to be competent about all matters suspension notwithstanding its dearth of Lexus knowledge.

So, that moves us onto Lexus Cheltenham, which knowingly or unknowingly put you between the rock and the hard place. They knew you were away from home and they were therefore best placed to present you with the dilemma and had an excellent opportunity to increase revenues at your expense. I am most certainly not saying that they did so.  I am merely saying that in the grand scheme of events which you outlined, they were best placed to spring a surprise.

If they had been acting with the best customer service in mind, they might have offered you the suspension parts which they replaced and suggested that you speak with your local Lexus Dealer about considering an Extended Warranty.

They did neither and indeed sought to entice you to buy such a Warranty from them. 

I would ask Cheltenham for the parts to be returned to you for examination and for you show them to the local garage which performed the M.O.T. for comment. Do not be surprised if they cannot (for whatever reason) and then before you relate the entire sequence of events in writing, to Lexus Customer Services UK. you write to the Dealer Principal at Cheltenham with a copy sent to the MD or CEO of the Lister Group and await comment.

Then if necessary write to Lexus Customer Services UK with a request that they consider making a goodwill payment to you on the twin bases of you having been put in a difficult position by Lexus Cheltenham and your vehicle having a full Lexus Service History.

And do not forget to ask Exeter to offer you an Extended Warranty at approx £45 pm for 12 months, covering the next 2 years!

I hope you find my thoughts to have been useful and please do keep us all updated as to how things go.

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Hi can we clarify the known issue with earlier rx450 models with air suspension ?

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This is probably a naieve question but if the suspension had failed to the point of the car being unsafe to drive wouldn't it be fairly obvious? Barry you'd just driven what sounds like a fairly long way, presumably you didn't notice anything was amiss in the suspension?

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1 minute ago, m4rkw said:

This is probably a naieve question but if the suspension had failed to the point of the car being unsafe to drive wouldn't it be fairly obvious? Barry you'd just driven what sounds like a fairly long way, presumably you didn't notice anything was amiss in the suspension?

Good point Mark.I`m sure he was sold a "bum steer". Between a rock and a hard place is not comfortable.

Very sad.

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1.) An MOT is a check to ensure your car is not dangerous to other road users.  It is not a test to provide you a list with all the problems with your car.  A pass is all that you want even if your shocks are leaking or your car is half broken.

A full service at a dealer or garage is where they should tell you what is wrong with the car.

2.)  You should never accept blindly what a dealer tells you.  They will often exaggerate the need for certain things to meet their monthly targets.

 

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3 minutes ago, Fsport said:

2.)  You should never accept blindly what a dealer tells you.  They will often exaggerate the need for certain things to meet their monthly targets.

Yeah this is my concern too. John's points on this are all very valid about the situation - and they know the air suspension is a common failure point so *if* a story was told it would be more likely to be believed.

I think you should take John's advice and insist on seeing the struts they took off the car.

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7 minutes ago, Fsport said:

1.) An MOT is a check to ensure your car is not dangerous to other road users.  It is not a test to provide you a list with all the problems with your car.  A pass is all that you want even if your shocks are leaking or your car is half broken.

Appreciated, but they said it "shouldn't be driven". That seems to imply unsafe. MOT checks are to ensure the car is safe to drive. Something doesn't add up here.

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Thank you for your thoughts John.  

I think the MOT garage here in North Devon should have picked this up and had they done so I would have had the opportunity of delaying my holiday and investigating the possibility of converting to conventional coils, taking the car to Lexus Exeter or driving carefully to Lexus Cheltenham if they thought the car did not need replacement struts imminently. I will certainly avoid that garage in the future. 

I really didn't notice this slight fluttering or slight knocking until I was on my way to a B&B in Cheltenham, the night before the arranged service, perhaps because I was listening to in car entertainment and the road surfaces had previously been more smooth.  However, I thought it sensible to mention it when booking the car in.  To be fair to Lexus Cheltenham, they did provide me with a loan car for the day and reduced what they might have charged me by some £400.  Also, they did obtain and fit the parts immediately, so I was able to continue my journey home the same night. The car not long having been MOT'd, I suppose I could have insisted on driving it away but had I been involved in an accident and it was found that Lexus had deemed it unroadworthy, I could have been in trouble with my insurers.  I just think Lexus Cheltenham were obliged to report their findings to me.  I did ask the service person if I could have the 2 Struts but by then it was past 6pm and the workshop was closed, so he said he would see if they could be retrieved from the waste parts bin the following day.  I will have to chase up on this and see whether they will retain them pending Lexus UK possibly wishing to view them, following the referral I will make to Lexus UK with a view to some goodwill.

I now have to decide whether to opt for the 2 year warranty, although nothing might be amiss in that time but can then happen anytime  after, so extending the warranty would be an ongoing exercise.  Anyway, I will sleep on that one for a few nights.  These days I only do about 5K miles a year and in need could use my old 5 series BMW which is less comfortable than the RX but in my case at least, has not proved expensive on parts.  Maybe, I have just been lucky with replacement parts for various cars over the years. 

 

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OK,Barry many thanks for your response.You must proceed as you think best having regard to the circumstances which are best known by you.

As an aside, I have had my GS on Extended Warranty for the last 6 years and will continue to do so until July 2023. I have averaged 7000 miles annually and 2 claims have been made on my behalf by Lexus Chester. Both were successful and I wasn`t aware that there was a problem on either occasion!

Best wishes and good luck.

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25 minutes ago, Barry14UK said:

Thank you for your thoughts John.  

I think the MOT garage here in North Devon should have picked this up and had they done so I would have had the opportunity of delaying my holiday and investigating the possibility of converting to conventional coils, taking the car to Lexus Exeter or driving carefully to Lexus Cheltenham if they thought the car did not need replacement struts imminently. I will certainly avoid that garage in the future. 

I really didn't notice this slight fluttering or slight knocking until I was on my way to a B&B in Cheltenham, the night before the arranged service, perhaps because I was listening to in car entertainment and the road surfaces had previously been more smooth.  However, I thought it sensible to mention it when booking the car in.  To be fair to Lexus Cheltenham, they did provide me with a loan car for the day and reduced what they might have charged me by some £400.  Also, they did obtain and fit the parts immediately, so I was able to continue my journey home the same night. The car not long having been MOT'd, I suppose I could have insisted on driving it away but had I been involved in an accident and it was found that Lexus had deemed it unroadworthy, I could have been in trouble with my insurers.  I just think Lexus Cheltenham were obliged to report their findings to me.  I did ask the service person if I could have the 2 Struts but by then it was past 6pm and the workshop was closed, so he said he would see if they could be retrieved from the waste parts bin the following day.  I will have to chase up on this and see whether they will retain them pending Lexus UK possibly wishing to view them, following the referral I will make to Lexus UK with a view to some goodwill.

I now have to decide whether to opt for the 2 year warranty, although nothing might be amiss in that time but can then happen anytime  after, so extending the warranty would be an ongoing exercise.  Anyway, I will sleep on that one for a few nights.  These days I only do about 5K miles a year and in need could use my old 5 series BMW which is less comfortable than the RX but in my case at least, has not proved expensive on parts.  Maybe, I have just been lucky with replacement parts for various cars over the years. 

 

Hi Barry. 

Who did you deal with in Cheltenham Service. I have always found them very fair to deal with and on more than one occasion when the technician has recommended work the service advisor has recommended waiting. On my last car the technician recommended front brakes but the advisor said to pop in after a further 5000 miles to check them. Sorry to hear you had such a nasty shock. 

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1 hour ago, olliesgrandad said:

Hi Barry. 

Who did you deal with in Cheltenham Service. I have always found them very fair to deal with and on more than one occasion when the technician has recommended work the service advisor has recommended waiting. On my last car the technician recommended front brakes but the advisor said to pop in after a further 5000 miles to check them. Sorry to hear you had such a nasty shock. 

The person I dealt with at Cheltenham on this occasion was Matthew Hughes.  I found him sympathetic and he did come back with the reduced  price.  I have since received a video which seems to show the rubber gaiters (outer air bag covers ?) not looking great but not possible to ascertain extent of problem from this.  However, I think from the slight knocking previously they are right that the struts needed replacing.  Certainly, the noise I heard was no longer there after the replacements had been fitted.

My car was sold to the original owner by Lexus Cheltenham, from whom I bought it when it was traded in for a later car.  All services have been done by them on behalf of the first owner and myself and I think from this and my previous visits they are competent and fair.  I just need them to confirm details  to Lexus UK to support a Goodwill claim.  I will let you guys know what response I receive.

I am sure that regular members of the club are aware of the potential cost and possible need for replacement of air struts on earlier models but this shows the problem may well apply to the 3rd Gen Premier too and even at relatively low mileage.  So any new members or guests that are unaware, may find this of interest if considering buying a pre 4th Generation Premier.

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14 hours ago, Barry14UK said:

The person I dealt with at Cheltenham on this occasion was Matthew Hughes.  I found him sympathetic and he did come back with the reduced  price.  I have since received a video which seems to show the rubber gaiters (outer air bag covers ?) not looking great but not possible to ascertain extent of problem from this.  However, I think from the slight knocking previously they are right that the struts needed replacing.  Certainly, the noise I heard was no longer there after the replacements had been fitted.

My car was sold to the original owner by Lexus Cheltenham, from whom I bought it when it was traded in for a later car.  All services have been done by them on behalf of the first owner and myself and I think from this and my previous visits they are competent and fair.  I just need them to confirm details  to Lexus UK to support a Goodwill claim.  I will let you guys know what response I receive.

I am sure that regular members of the club are aware of the potential cost and possible need for replacement of air struts on earlier models but this shows the problem may well apply to the 3rd Gen Premier too and even at relatively low mileage.  So any new members or guests that are unaware, may find this of interest if considering buying a pre 4th Generation Premier.

So sorry to hear that. As You know I'm after one myself, and now I'm thinking do I still want SE-L/Premier and swap the struts or do I save myself the hassle and go for Advance (I really want sunroof). It's going to be hard to find anything within my budget with FLSH that will allow me to put warranty on, as I believe this is the requirement for the warranty, to be FLSH, so might budget for what I can. I didn't have Lexus Warranty with my 3GS450h and this mistake has costed me my whole car, so understand the position You're in.

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Not so, Bart. Lexus merely have to approve the service history,which does not always have to have been a Lexus service.

If you get an SE-L Premier you really must budget to take out the Lexus Extended Warranty.

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Out of interest, has anyone bought a Lexus or had dealings with BOSS Motor Company in Chesham?

They seem to get cars straight from Lexus dealers, some with full Lexus history. They do ask top dollar but are slightly cheaper than a franchise.

I wonder if the dealers get rid of dodgy ones (my caution when spending my hard earned cash!) or it might just be that at certain age a franchise would not wish to sell on their forecourt?

 

Any comments lads?

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Have we actually come to a conclusion on what was actually wrong with the struts .was it A ) perishing outer boot cover ? B) top mount bearing movement and worn ? . If B then they will only say it's got to be complete assembly and not you need to get the bearings changed ? This is very confusing like reading a boris statement lol

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1 hour ago, BartLexusFan said:

and now I'm thinking do I still want SE-L/Premier and swap the struts or do I save myself the hassle and go for Advance (I really want sunroof)

Mine's an Advance with a sunroof so they are out there. Mind you, I never open it, much prefer climate control instead.

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18 minutes ago, Lager shandy said:

Have we actually come to a conclusion on what was actually wrong with the struts .was it A ) perishing outer boot cover ? B) top mount bearing movement and worn ? . If B then they will only say it's got to be complete assembly and not you need to get the bearings changed ? This is very confusing like reading a boris statement lol

No conclusion yet, RN.

Barry will update us all when he is able.

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