Lexus GX470 Reliability and Common Problems

If you want a luxury SUV from Lexus but find the RX too small and the LX too big, then the Lexus GX470 is a great option for you. This midsize first-generation GX boasts features like a powertrain that runs smoothly and quietly, great interior fit and finish, and excellent off-road performance.

Succeeded by the confusingly named Lexus GX460 in 2009, the GX470 remains a good choice many years after its production line closed down. According to, Lexus models maintain good resale values if they are kept in good condition. The GX470 depreciates at a slower pace than comparable vehicles in the same class.

Are Lexus GX470s Reliable SUVs?
The average consumer rating for the GX470 is 3.9 out of 5. As a brand, Lexus enjoys a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, which puts it in 7th place out of 32 car brands.

The GX470 also has average annual ownership costs at less than $600 a year. While it may end up going to an auto repair center slightly more often than other luxury SUVs, the issues will usually prove minor and don’t cost much to repair.

It’s not uncommon to come across drivers who talk about their Lexus GX470 accumulating 100,000 miles or more on the odometer. To extend their vehicle’s service life, they recommend following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and quickly replacing worn-out parts like the timing chain and water pump.

Common Lexus GX470 Problems
The Lexus GX470 encompasses all first-generation GX units produced from 2002 to 2009. Its age means the GX470 can develop problems with its various systems. Some of these issues tend to show up more often in certain model years.

The highest number of complaints involved the 2006 Lexus GX470. However, the 2003 model year is considered the worst GX470 for reasons like higher repair cost for its particular problems.

Here are some of the most recurring Lexus GX470 problems reported by owners:

Drivetrain Problems
Clunking and squealing noises coming from the drivetrain have been reported in some units of the 2003 Lexus GX470. The noises tend to start right after drivers take their foot off the brake pedal. In one case, the auto repair center explained that the problem was a manufacturer defect and Lexus was working on a solution.

Another Lexus GX470 drivetrain problem can show up in some 2006 units. An owner reported that the differential bearings in his recently acquired GX470 had failed. According to him, the SUV had 138,000 miles on its odometer and was practically pampered by its previous owner. Yet the differential bearings still wore out not long after he acquired it.

Engine Problems
The 2006 Lexus GX470 gets plenty of power from its V8 engine, which it shares with some Toyota Tundra and Toyota 4-Runner model years. However, some owners reported that the secondary air injection system tends to fail. In at least one case, replacing the bypass sensor resolved the issue. However, other repair jobs racked up considerable costs.

Its immediate successor also received similar complaints about a specific part of its secondary air injection system. Some 2007 Lexus GX470 owners reported a defect in the secondary air pump that sends additional air to the engine.

According to one complaint, the pump’s plastic blades can separate from the device and bury themselves somewhere in the intake system. When this happens, the GX470 goes into safe mode and takes more time to accelerate and brake. While replacing the defective air pump will often fix the problem, some owners warn against getting a stock replacement. During the time of the complaint, Lexus still sold the faulty air pump as one of the options for replacement parts.

Brake Problems
Brakes help keep the Lexus GX470’s occupants safe on the road. However, the brakes on some 2006 model years can fail prematurely. One driver filed multiple complaints about her 2006 GH470 brakes failing on three separate occasions with the last instance leading into a crack accident.

Various possible reasons for the faults were brought up, such as air bubbles, bad master and slave brake cylinders, and faulty brake shims. However, none of the repair jobs succeeded in permanently preventing unexpected brake failure.

Drivers have aired similar issues with some 2008 Lexus GX470 brakes failing without warning. Affected units from the 2003 model year may also have problems with premature wear on the brake rotors and other brake parts.

Electrical Problems
The worst electrical issue that can turn up in a Lexus GX470 was reported in some units of the 2009 model year. In one instance, the alternator died while the owner was driving to the repair center. At the time of failure, the GX470 was 3 years old and the expensive part was designed with a service life of more than 5 years.

Other potential electrical problems include corroded battery terminals and wires and the battery discharging itself overnight. These two battery-related problems were reported by many 2004 Lexus GX470 owners.

It may be old and out of production, but the Lexus GX470 can still give reliable service for many years. Whether you already drive one or intend to get one, you can’t go wrong with this vehicle. Do your due diligence by reading up on the most common Lexus GX470 problems for the model year you own or plan to buy. This will give you a better idea of its true cost of ownership and prepare you to deal with common issues in case they arise.

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