Lexus RX350 timing gear problem

  • Readers were sold a Lexus RX350 with faulty timing gear valve
  • Dealer refuses to fix the fault as it doesn't affect performance
  • Dealership agrees to buy back the RX350
Lexus RX350 sold with faulty timing gear valve
Lexus RX350 sold with faulty timing gear valve

Maria and Danny Tiquin had no qualms about trading in their Mazda CX-7 for a five-year-old Lexus RX. The brand’s legendary reliability would surely keep them satisfied for years to come.

So it was with some surprise and concern when they fired up the engine for the first time after getting the car home and were greeted by an unhealthy sounding rattle. They informed their dealer, RRG Mazda Rochdale, and were advised to book in the car. However, in the meantime the battery failed, so they went back to have a new one fitted. Unfortunately, the rattle, which was only heard at cold start, wasn’t doing its thing at RRG that day.

A subsequent row over a tax disc refund strained relations further, and, unhappy about returning to RRG, the Tiquins resorted to internet forums. It seemed the noise was caused by a variable valve timing pulley fault, which Lexus has a policy of repairing on cars covered by a specific warranty extension.

They wrote to RRG to reject the car. The dealer responded, stating: ‘Lexus has advised that this was not a safety or mandatory recall… We can confirm [this noise] causes no damage to the engine and in no way affects performance.’

We advised the Tiquins to have the car properly diagnosed, and they took it to a different RRG dealership, Lexus Manchester, whose technicians heard the noise and verified the fault did indeed exist. However, the Lexus warranty extension didn’t apply to their particular car.

In the meantime, we called for RRG Rochdale to do the right thing. Although the dealer had been unaware of any noise at the time of sale, it had now become clear that the Lexus wasn’t of satisfactory quality as required by the Sale of Goods Act. RRG quickly offered a full repair, but Maria and Danny refused. ‘We’re unhappy about the car having such major surgery,’ they said.

We appealed to RRG again, and this time it agreed to a full refund of £13,595, which Maria and Danny have gratefully accepted.

What if this happens to you?

  • As soon as you notice a problem, notify the dealer immediately.
  • Stay calm and reasonable when explaining your concerns, and give the dealer the chance to examine the vehicle to identify faults.
  • If the dealer refuses to repair a fault or compensate you, inform them in writing of their obligations under the Sale of Goods Act.
We've prepared lots of useful advice, including a full guide on warranties that could help you with either a new or used car.

If you need our help, email us at helpdesk@whatcar.com with a few details and we'll be in touch.

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