The Lexus GX460 Years You Should Avoid Buying!

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I’ve owned a Lexus GX460 for over twelve years. However, there are a few important problems you need to avoid if you are looking to purchase. In this article, I will fill you in on which years of the Lexus GX460 you should avoid buying! There is one major repair you want to avoid, and It resulted in a $3,000 repair bill! Fortunately, Lexus did the right thing. Let’s dive into the details and I will fill you in on what Lexus has done to correct the issue.

Lexus GX460 Years to Avoid 1 1 The Lexus GX460 Years You Should Avoid Buying!

What are the worst years for the Lexus GX 460?

The worst years for the Lexus GX460 are 2010 (stability control issues), 2013 (minor electrical issues) and 2016 (brake issues). Avoid these three GX460 models unless you have proof of service history. I’ve owned a 2011 Lexus GX 460 for over 12 years and have only had one repair outside of routine maintenance. Overall, all years are viable options with proper research and maintenance.

I’ve personally owned a 2011 Lexus GX460 for the past 12 years. I just purchased a new 2023 Toyota Sequoia to drive. I only bought the Toyota because I wanted my 16-year-old daughter to drive the Lexus. I have had the absolute best luck with my Lexus. The only repair outside of routine maintenance was the dreaded engine issue. It truly is not an engine problem. It’s really a problem with a pump and a ten-cent piece of foam that fails and gets sucked up into engine components.

Lexus GX 460 review, reliability, best years
(My 2011 Lexus GX460 after a wax. It was 11 years old in this photo and still looks new)

The costly repair issue is the fact the damage requires over $3,000 in repairs. While it did happen to me, I am glad to tell you that Lexus issued a recall and fixed the problem, so as long as your vehicle has had the recall repair work done, I would not shy away from buying any model year of the Lexus GX460.

Don’t just take my word for it, though… I’ve done some research and have written about the years to avoid many vehicles. We’ll look at websites like to see which model years have the most registered complaints, as well as some Lexus enthusiast forums. Lexus has a strong, dedicated following that will help guide us through the years we should avoid.

What makes a vehicle avoidable?

The years of vehicles that make it on a list like this one either have mechanical issues that have gone unaddressed or are otherwise considered bad vehicles for their value. 

No one likes expensive, time-consuming repairs – even if the owner can readily afford to pay for them. We’ll go over which years have some issues as well as some common non-mechanical complaints about the Lexus GX460.

Lexus GX460 Years to Avoid

2010 Lexus GX460 Issues

In 2010, Lexus GX 460 experienced a significant safety issue with its stability control system. The issue was discovered during a test conducted by Consumer Reports, which found that the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) system did not function properly. During the test, the vehicle’s rear wheels slid out when taking a turn, and the ESC system failed to correct the slide, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation.

The issue was caused by a software glitch in the vehicle’s ESC system, which caused a delay in the system’s response time. The delay caused the system to be slow in applying the brakes to the appropriate wheels, resulting in a loss of control of the vehicle.

As a result of the safety issue, Toyota, the parent company of Lexus, issued a recall of approximately 9,400 Lexus GX 460 vehicles. The recall included a software update to the ESC system, which improved the system’s response time and corrected the safety issue.

The 2010 Lexus GX 460 stability control issue was a significant safety concern, and it prompted Toyota to issue a recall to address the problem. However, it’s worth noting that the issue was resolved through the recall, and the vehicle’s safety record has improved since then.

Small electrical issues with the 2013 Lexus GX460

While buyers have had plenty of years to report potential issues with the 2013 Lexus GX460, they haven’t said a whole lot.

CarComplaints only says that some convenience features like remote start might fail to work at one point, and are not fixed by just replacing the key fob battery.

In a bit more detail, the user complained that the remote start didn’t work when about 20 feet away, which to be fair, is a rather short distance for any car, much less a luxury car. Lexus offered the driver $600 in maintenance credit, which according to the writer, did not fix the problem.

Memory Settings don’t work

When you have memory seats and memory side mirrors in your vehicle, things can readily go bad. Users on CarComplaints said that sometimes their memory seats either wouldn’t function or would end in the wrong position. 

Another user reported that while towing, their GX460 would have the mirrors suddenly move out of position, which isn’t a great thing to do with hauling a small trailer.

Lexus GX460 Years to Avoid The Lexus GX460 Years You Should Avoid Buying!

2016 Lexus GX460 Brake Issues

In 2016, Lexus GX 460 experienced a significant brake issue, which prompted a recall of approximately 5,000 vehicles. The issue was related to the vehicle’s brake actuator, which is a component of the anti-lock brake system (ABS) and vehicle stability control (VSC) system.

The brake actuator in the affected vehicles was found to have a damaged O-ring, which could cause brake fluid to leak. The leak could cause the brake pedal to become spongy or unresponsive, increasing the risk of a crash.

The issue was discovered during routine testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which prompted Lexus to issue a recall of the affected vehicles. The recall involved the replacement of the brake actuator with a new component that had a redesigned O-ring to prevent future leaks.

While the 2016 Lexus GX 460 brake issue was a significant safety concern, it was resolved through the recall, and there have been no reports of similar issues in later model years. However, it’s worth noting that regular brake maintenance and inspections are essential to ensure the safe operation of any vehicle.

Small problems in 2nd Generation GX460 – 2010 – 2023

Oil in spark plug wells

The rubber gasket that separates the spark plugs from the rest of the engine can leak. One Lexus enthusiast forum reported this issue several times, with a driver saying they had 3 inches of oil in the spark plug well – though strangely enough, the vehicle itself seemed to be running fine. 

Oil in these wells is likely the result of the gasket gradually disintegrating. It is also worth noting that the manual for the Lexus GX460 doesn’t recommend changing spark plugs until 120,000 miles or more, so the driver wouldn’t expect to know about this problem until performance issues became more obvious.

The solution here might not be so simple, as the gasket isn’t the easiest thing to replace – and might result in a head change. 

While oil in your spark plug well isn’t a great thing and leads to earlier wear, it also won’t destroy your engine immediately. You might be able to wait for Lexus’ recommended timeline to do anything.

remove stuck spark plug 1 1 The Lexus GX460 Years You Should Avoid Buying!

Water Pump Issues

The Lexus GX460 also has multiple reports of issues with a leaking water pump. None of the writeups for this problem were big – and were mostly noticed by keen eyes seeing some “weeping” fluid coming out of the water pump that caused minor discoloration. 

Naturally, a water pump issue isn’t good for an engine. 

Owners concurred that they should have the Lexus GX460 looked at by a mechanic before the warranty expires to ensure the problem doesn’t get worse – mostly so that Lexus would be required to pay for the fix before it gets worse.

Leaking Timing chain cover

Relatively early in the vehicle’s life, some reported seeing an oil and fluid leak from the timing chain cover. While this is actually a relatively easy fix, the location of the fix makes it more expensive – in the $2000 range as the service department has to raise or lower the entire engine to get at the part in need of repair. 

The challenge with this issue is noticing the leak. The leak can be rather small but eventually cause a larger problem.  

As you should every once in a while anyway, check under your vehicle for leaks, especially when parked in a place where a brown or dark fluid leak under your car would be very obvious.

My Perspective on GX460 Problems

While all of these are reported issues, I have never faced any of these issues with my 2011 Lexus GX460. As mentioned earlier, I’ve only had one repair outside of routine maintenence items.

Reports of Rust – Non-Specific Years

Doing further research, you might read a few reports of rust on the Lexus GX460. We saw these, but realize that rust and corrosion are more dependent upon your local climate and the method your area uses to make roads better in the winter. Some states use salt on ice and snow. 

When the resulting road salt gets caked onto the frame of your vehicle, it will eventually cause the metal to corrode and rust.

We have a couple of solutions for this that will help with your Lexus: Get frequent car washes and get the undercarriage washed.

Most automatic car washes do this. Also of note, the GX460 has potential long-term paint peeling issues. When selecting a car wash, go for touchless when you can because the rotating brushes can also cause paint swirls.

Also, realize that rust issues have the potential to impact every vehicle on the road – the Lexus GX460 certainly isn’t alone here!

Lexus GX460 Reliability

With some vehicles, we can find a huge amount of info about issues that would seriously impact your wallet within a few years. 

To be honest, the Lexus GX460 is not one of them. While the lack of complaints is also reflected in a not overly huge sales volume, unlike for example, the Ford F-150, Lexus owners are also generally happy with the reliability of their vehicle. 

Lexus regularly finishes in the top three for customer satisfaction and reliability, usually ranked pretty close to its parent company in Toyota. Ford also finishes pretty low on a regular basis as we reference the volume of complaints about certain brands – there are simply more chances for a Ford F-150 or Ford Fusion to have problems given the huge numbers on the road.

I’ve also put together an article featuring the best years for the Lexus GX460 if you are interested in learning more.

Non-mechanical Lexus GX460 issues

Repair bills aren’t the only issue that can pop up with the Lexus GX460.

Cargo Space

Compared to competitors, car review websites like Car and Driver say that the biggest issue with the GX460 is that the cargo space isn’t all that generous and is less than the main rival the Audi Q7.


Some drivers have complained that the style of the Lexus GX460 hasn’t changed much and isn’t up to date. It’s difficult to disagree, to be honest, and other reviews take an opposite approach and appreciate the “old school” style.

By old school, we think they mean that the GX460 doesn’t exactly look aerodynamic.

The trade-off here is that usually, a more rounded, bulbous SUV should have more room on the interior, but in this case, many complain that it does not. If it’s any good news, drivers didn’t have this complaint about vehicles before 2018, as the style fit in better back then.


“Old School” applied to the Lexus GX460’s technology, including the radio before 2022. 

While many auto manufacturers added the now very common Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – which lets you connect your phone to the vehicle and use a very easy-to-use software for navigation, music, and phone calls – Lexus waited until 2022. That’s a long time. Buying a GX460 before 2022 means having many Lexus amenities and overall luxury, but not much to connect the life and data within your smartphone with.

With the need to buy a newer model to get some basic tech amenities comes a higher price for something you could readily get elsewhere.

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GX460 Interior


To be fair, with the size of the vehicle and the 8-cylinder engine within, you shouldn’t expect to get great gas mileage. The GX460 is also a capable off-road vehicle, which traditionally offer more horsepower and torque than lean burning of fuel. In short, they are not the best car when it comes to fuel economy.

We wouldn’t suggest this vehicle if you want to save money on gas, but it is rather built for the purpose of hauling people or a trailer. If gas is a problem, just go smaller. The 460 isn’t known as a fuel-efficient vehicle and it requires premium gas.

What should I do when considering a Lexus GX460?

We always suggest, with every vehicle you buy – even from a dealership – is to have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by an independent mechanic. 

While dealerships do offer an inspection of a vehicle, the actual inspection varies from dealer to dealer and even state to state. Some states like Wisconsin have more thorough inspection requirements than other states and require a longer warranty with more coverage. 

This is mostly in the interest of a dealer who might choose not to fix a car because it would cost too much money.

The mechanic might also appreciate specifics. Show them the above list of problems in addition to what they already know about the vehicle. Paying a mechanic to do a thorough inspection and using the information you learn about the vehicle will better prepare you to negotiate or just avoid the vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • The second generation, from 2009 until the 2020s, has minor leak issues including with the water pump that can be caught by inspection.
  • 2013 Lexus GX460 have had minor issues with memory settings in the seats and mirrors
  • Lexus otherwise has stellar reliability and very good customer satisfaction.
  • Non-mechanical complaints include older styling and a lack of space in the third row as well as the tailgate.

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