The Lexus GX 460 is a full-size luxury SUV that was first introduced for the 2010 model year.
It’s highly regarded for its luxurious interior, off-road capabilities and excellent reliability.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the common problems and complaints Lexus GX 460 owners have reported since its debut.
1. Secondary Air Injection Problems
Early years of the GX 460 can suffer from Secondary Air Injection System (SAIS) issues which causes the truck to go into limp mode.
This is a common problem in many older 2010 to 2013 models of the GX 460. It also occurs in the first generation Lexus GX 470, as well as in other V8 equipped Toyota SUVs.
The SAIS helps to clean up the truck’s emissions during startup and also makes the catalytic converter warm up faster.
Failures occur when the air injection pump’s foam filter disintegrates and gets sucked into secondary air injection system — blocking up the system’s valves and lines.
Symptoms of a faulty air injection pump fails, you’ll encounter symptoms such as:
- Check engine light
- Flashing 4LO light and SLIP light stays on
- Limp mode
- P2442 code for stuck injection valves
Here is how a few owners described their experience on the ClubLexus.com forum:
“My 2010 GX460 with almost 80k miles went into limp mode the other day with CEL, LO4, and other lights on. Sent it to dealer and was told code P02445 for secondary air injection pump failure, as well as air switching valves #1 and #2 need to be replaced. A total of about $2500.”
“Yesterday I started my 2011 GX460 and after a strange sound under the hood, the check engine light stayed on, along with the anti-slip light, and the 4 Low was blinking. I backed out of the garage and moved the 4 low/high switch and nothing changed. When I accelerated, the engine would rev higher but would not accelerate like normal, almost like the transmission was slipping. I visited my local O’Reily’s for a free code scan and C1201 and P2445 came up.”
Lexus redesigned the air injection pump and valves in 2014 to reduce the number of failures. In addition, the warranty for the secondary air injection system was also extended to 10 years/150,000 miles for the 2010 to 2013 model years.
In extreme cases, repairing the faulty secondary air injection system out of warranty can cost around $2,000 at a Lexus dealership.
Many owners have chosen to fit a more durable aftermarket filter that won’t disintegrate and get sucked into the system to avoid future problems.
If you have a secondary air injection issue and want to get the truck out of limp mode, you can disconnect the secondary air pump and clear the codes using an OBD scanner/reader. This doesn’t get rid of the lights on the dash, but you’ll be able to drive the truck normally until the codes come up again. Since the air pump is already disconnected, you just need to clear the codes again until you can have it repaired.
2. Suspension Not Level
Many Lexus GX 460 owners have complained that their truck slightly leans about an inch lower to the right.
Although not all trucks have this problem, it does affect many examples starting with the 2010 model years up to the end of the GX 460’s production run in 2023.
It’s also a common problem in other Lexus and Toyota body-on-frame trucks equipped with KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System), which comes standard on all GX 460s.
Many owners also say that the truck eventually levels itself out once it starts moving.
Here is how a few owners on the ClubLexus forum described the issue:
“Bought a new ’14 GX a few weeks ago. I noticed the rear is not level. The RR (right rear) is 1″ lower than the LR (left rear). This is true with the vehicle running (air suspension charged) or off. WTF? When standing behind the vehicle, it is very noticeable.”
“I just bought 2014 GX460 luxury with less than 30k miles. It rides great, but it leans visibly to the right.”
“After getting my 2018 gx460, I found out I am also lucky enough to have a unit that leans to the passenger side.”
Lexus has been addressing this issue through a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin). It recommends fitting an updated front left coil spring to make the GX 460 sit evenly.
This fix will only be covered if the vehicle is still under warranty. Some owners have also chosen to fit an aftermarket spacer kit for the suspension to level out the truck.
3. Air Suspension Issues
Higher trim levels of the GX 460 come with air suspension that will eventually leak and break down over the years.
Although premature failures are not very common in the GX 460, replacing the air bags and compressor will be significantly more expensive compared to maintaining a traditional coil and shock setup.
Common air suspension issues include:
- Bouncy and harsh ride
- Suspension bottoms out frequently
- Auto leveling feature doesn’t work
Air suspension was offered in the Premium trim level of the GX 460 from 2010 to 2013. For the 2014 and newer models, it was only available in the Luxury trim level.
Here’s how one owner described their issue:
“We have a 2012 GX with 116,000 miles that rides like a brick cart. It has the Air Bags and Adaptive Suspension systems. It happened slowly. Our roads are horrendous in SLC so the harsh ride is also slowly damaging the rest of the car I feel.”
“Recently noticed the ride quality on my wife’s 2011 GX460 w/96K miles was horrible. Super bouncy in the rear. When I put the rear air suspension in high mode, it fixes it. However, once we get over 18mph, it goes back to “normal” ride height and the issue persists.”
When the air suspension components fail, many owners simply switch it out for a traditional spring setup. There are also lots of quality aftermarket replacement air bags and compressors that are much cheaper than the original Lexus parts if you want to keep the air suspension system.
4. Valley Plate Coolant Leak
The Lexus GX 460 can suffer from coolant leaks at around 100,000 miles.
Coolant leaks can happen to any vehicle, especially at higher mileages, when seals and hoses start to wear out. However, the Lexus GX 460 has a particular issue where coolant accumulates in the valley plate in the middle of the engine, which is just below the intake manifold.
It’s also a common issue in other V8 Lexus and Toyota models such as the second generation Lexus ISF.
Symptoms of a valley plate coolant leak include:
- Slow coolant leak
- Low coolant levels
- Heater stops working
- Coolant on the rear of the engine
- Coolant on transmission bell housing
- Coolant smell
- High engine temps
Here is how some owners described their experience:
“I brought my 2010 GX460 in for a radiator leak which was covered under extended warranty. After they pressure tested the coolant system they found another leak from the valley plate gasket. My 2010 GX460 just hit 71,000 miles, I don’t consider that high mileage so I think it has more to do with age than mileage.”
“I have a ‘11 with 132k on the odo. Noticed the coolant level dropping on the expansion tank from when the truck had 117k miles some 8 months ago. It’s a valley plate leak. The leak is so small that I had to refill only a half gallon during the 8 months and ~15k miles from when I noticed. I have also been on a 7k mile road trip with the leak, no issues.”
Fixing the valley plate coolant leak takes a lot of time because the entire top of the engine has to be dismantled. It typically costs around $1,000 to $2,000 due to the amount of labor involved.
In most cases, the coolant leaks very slowly so you have lots of time to top up the coolant every few months before it gets too low. Many owners also just put off fixing the leak until it becomes significantly worse.
5. Timing Chain Cover Oil Leak
Oil leaks from the timing chain cover is a fairly common issue in the Lexus GX 460, especially as the car gets older.
This leak is caused by a worn out seal at the junction where the engine block, cylinder head and timing chain cover meet.
The oil leak usually isn’t very bad and won’t require you to top off the oil in between oil changes. In some cases, oil can start dripping underneath the car.
Here is how a few owners described the issue:
“I have a 11 GX with 146k miles on the ODO, the driver side timing cover has a very minor weep which I noticed more than 2.5 years ago. The oil level never dropped between oil changes so just didn’t worry about the very minor leak, just living with it. Never dropped a drop on the garage floor due to it so didn’t bother to get it fixed in the last 35k miles.”
“I have a 2015 with 90k miles on it, took it in today for a standard oil change and inspection. The tech stated he found a leak on the ‘cover’. Spoke with the service advisor guy and he seemed pretty nonchalant about it but said yeah there’s a small leak from some cover.”
Resealing the timing chain cover is a pretty big job because the top of the engine has to be completely disassembled. Lexus dealers typically quote around $2,000 to do the repair. You can also get it fixed at a reputable independent shop for much cheaper, but it still might cost you around $1,000 due to the amount of labor involved.
Related: 9 Best & Worst Lexus GX 460 Years (With Pictures)
6. Oil in Spark Plug
Many Lexus GX 460 owners have noticed that oil gets into the spark plug tubes.
This issue tends to occur once the truck reaches 100,000 to 150,000 miles.
Aside from the oil getting onto the spark plugs, it can also start seeping into the ignition coils and the spark plug electrodes which can cause misfires, although this is pretty rare.
It also doesn’t leak enough to require constant oil top-ups between oil changes.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I recently bought a 2010 GX with 95K. I decided to change the plugs instead of waiting for the 120k service. I found that three plugs in the left valve cover were covered in oil. Only about one inch of oil. You can also see that the oil burned a ring in white part of the plug showing that it has been leaking for some time.”
“My GX just hit 150,000 miles so I decided it was time to do the spark plugs again. 4/8 spark plug wells had oil in them, including 2 on the side that the Lexus dealer “fixed”.”
“I have a 2010 GX 460 with about 160k miles on the clock. About 8 months ago, I discovered quite a few spark plugs completely bathed in oil as I was pulling them out for replacement.”
Oil in the spark plug tubes can be caused two things:
- Worn valve cover gasket causing oil to spill onto the top of the spark plug
- Worn seal at the bottom of the spark plug tubes
To replace the worn spark plug tube seals, you’ll have to take off the valve cover, allowing you to replace both the valve cover gasket and spark plug tube seals all at the same time.
According to some owners, Lexus dealerships typically charge around $700 to fix the seals on one side of the cylinder head. Toyota dealers can do the job much cheaper and charge around $1,000 for both sides.
7. Pulling to the Right
The Lexus GX 460 has a tendency to pull to the right even when the steering wheel is completely centered.
Owners have reported this issue in late model vehicles as soon as they right off the lot, as well as in older GX 460s.
Here is how a few owners on the ClubLexus forum described their situation:
“My 2023 GX has this exact same issue. Took it back to Lexus and it’s been aligned twice and it’s still pulling right and the steering wheel needs to be held a bit to the left to track straight on most roads.”
“My ’15 GX460 also pulled to the right (and sometimes it leans to the right as well). Done alignment twice, helped a little, still have issues. I just gave up.”
The pulling is more pronounced in the following situations:
- The road is off camber or slanted from left to right
- Right after making a sharp turn
- Tires are not properly balanced
- Poor alignment
- Incorrect tire pressures
- Worn out suspension components
- Using aftermarket suspension to lift truck
Many GX 460 owners report that the truck still pulls to the right even after getting the wheels aligned to the right specifications at the dealer.
One workaround that has effectively fixed the pulling for many GX 460 owners is to add 2 to 3 degrees of positive caster (tilting the wheel forward) to the right front wheel. This adjustment can be made at any reputable wheel alignment shop and doesn’t seem to have any negative side effects.
8. Steering Wheel Vibrations
Some GX 460s have a noticeable vibration in the steering wheel at certain speeds, usually at around 60 to 70 mph.
In some cases, there’s no steering vibrations but the whole vehicle seems to shake and vibrate a bit at highway speeds.
Here’s how a few owners described their issue:
“I have 2018 GX 460 and since I bought it it’s been giving vibration and shaking of the steering wheel between 60 to 70 mph speed.”
“I have driven several new GX460’s–from 2017 to 2019. About half of them had a perceptible slight steering wheel vibration at different speeds. Mine is so smooth and vibration-free it might as well be RWD.”
“Just bought a 2011 gx460 with 128k mi. I made a mistake of just test driving it street side. After purchasing I found out that the vehicle shakes at 60-70 mph speed. Not very strong shake but definitely noticeable.”
The real cause of the steering wheel vibration and vehicle shaking hasn’t been completely figured out yet.
Some owners were able to eliminate or at least reduce the steering wheel vibration by road force balancing the tires. Lexus also released a TSB for the 2010 to 2012 GX 460 that recommends installing a new steering rack preload spring to get rid of a steering wheel flutter at high speeds.
Other possible causes of the vibrations and shaking include:
- Bent wheel
- Improper alignment
- Worn suspension components
- Driveshaft problems
- The type of tires used
- Tires are out of round
- Transfer case problems
9. Transfer Case Leak
Some Lexus GX 460s develop leaks in the transfer case fairly early on.
Leaks have been observed at around 20,000 miles while others only start leaking at 100,000 miles.
When the transfer case leaks you could eventually run into four-wheel drive issues if it isn’t fixed soon.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“Brought my ’15 with 17800 miles in for an oil change and they found my transfer case was leaking.”
“I had the exact same issue on our 14 when I bought it with 45k on it. Thankfully it still had the factory powertrain warranty. That leak should have been visible without taking any skids off. I noticed the leak on mine just by shining a flashlight under the car. Although my repair was free, the dealer had it 4 days and had to completely pull the TC and reseal it.”
“Same thing happened for my 15 gx460 at 19k miles and was covered under warranty.”
Although the seals and gaskets only costs a few dollars, the labor involved in pulling the transfer case, opening it up and sealing it back up can cost you over $1,000 at a Lexus dealership. Since the GX 460 uses the same transfer case as the 4Runner, you can check with a Toyota dealership and other reputable independent shops if they can do the same job at a lower price.
10. Transmission Issues
Several Lexus GX 460 owners have reported encountering transmission issues, usually at higher mileages.
Symptoms of a failing GX 460 transmission include:
- Check engine light
- 4LO and Traction control light
- Vibration or ‘rumble strip’ sensation at higher speeds
- Won’t shift into higher gear
- P2714 code for stuck solenoid
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I recently shopped around for 2010-2013 GX460s. I found one with 96k miles with good maintenance records. I finally picked it up last Friday, drove maybe 150 miles since, and what a surprise to find on a cold morning (Check engine, trac off, 4low lights). Lo and behold it’s P2714.”
“I have a 2011 gx460. Was running great and Then 4lo CEL and traction control lights come on. Took it to Lexus dealership and it’s a special service campaign that they will fix. But the dealership also said it was throwing codes that showed solenoid c and d are stuck closed and I have debris in the transmission fluid. They are saying to replace the whole transmission.”
“I have a 2010 Lexus GX 460 with 180k miles. I recently experienced transmission issues where it will start vibrating at around 40 MPH. It is almost like it is shifted to a higher gear that it should not be in based on the speed I am going. It also does it around 60 MPH. I took it to the dealership and they diagnosed it as needing a new transmission. Quoted around $7k for the repair.”
Lexus dealerships will only offer to completely replace a faulty GX 460 transmission which will likely cost several thousand dollars.
If your GX 460 is already experiencing issues, you can ask an independent shop to do a couple of drain and fills to refresh the fluid inside the transmission. If this doesn’t solve the problem, take your truck to a reputable transmission shop that is willing to replace the faulty components, such as the transmission solenoid, valve body, and torque converter, and rebuild the transmission at a significantly lower cost.
Although Lexus considers the transmission fluid a lifetime fluid, it’s always a good idea to drain and fill the transmission fluid every 60,000 miles to prolong the lifespan of the transmission. You can also increase the frequency of drain and fills if you regularly tow heavy loads with your GX 460.
11. Airbag Recall
The Lexus GX 460 was affected by the infamous Takata recall where the passenger side airbag inflator can rupture and send metal shards into the cabin.
This recall applies to the 2010 to 2017 model years of the Lexus GX 460.
While most GX 460 owners have already been notified of the recall and had the necessary fix performed, it is advisable to check with your dealership to confirm if your truck has already undergone the recall repair.
Since it’s a safety recall, your truck should be fully covered for the repair/airbag replacement even if it is already out of warranty.
Lexus RX 460 Pros & Cons
- Excellent reliability
- Premium interior materials
- Quiet and comfortable cabin
- Excellent off-road capabilities
- Good build quality
- Easy to use controls
- Third-row seats
- V8 has poor fuel economy
- Uncomfortable rear seats
- Outdated infotainment
Related: 8 Most Common Lexus RX 350 Problems (Explained)
What Do The Reviews Say?
“The Lexus GX 460 is an old-school luxury SUV. And that’s not just because it’s basically the same vehicle introduced way back in 2010, but also because it has an older style body-on-frame architecture and a non-turbocharged V8 engine, which are rare in today’s luxury SUV market.”
“However, those attributes, along with a full-time four-wheel-drive system and a clever suspension, give the GX 460 impressive off-road capability. And beyond its off-road prowess, it’s a well-built SUV inside and out, boasting a quiet interior with easy-to-use controls.”
“The Lexus GX 460 has much going for it but stumbles in key areas. In routine use around town, the GX can feel lethargic owing to its heavy curb weight and an economy-minded throttle pedal and transmission calibration. Emergency braking performance is also disappointing.”
“The Lexus GX 460 is supremely quiet, and the ride is generally smooth without being floaty or buoyant. But ripples and patches in the asphalt often create a mild jostling motion that your passengers might find uncomfortable. Also make sure you test out the seats before you sign on the dotted line. Everyone is different, but our entire staff disliked the seats due to the plank-like seat bottoms in all seating positions.”
“Even with a larger screen and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2022, there’s simply no escaping that the GX 460’s tech features look and feel outdated.”
“The climate control system’s layout is dated, but to its credit, it works exceptionally well. The front seats are heated and ventilated, and the second-row seats are heated. All three rows have air vents, and those in the second row have their own climate controls.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Lexus RX 460?
Here’s a quick look at used car pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.