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Front end rattle on 2011 Lexus RX 350

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Old 06-03-12, 08:56 AM   #1
sir1900
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Default Front end rattle on 2011 Lexus RX 350

2011 Lexus RX350
24,000kms/15,000 miles on the odometer
Owned vehicle for 13 months

I've been experiencing this annoying rattle coming from the front end. The rattle is not very loud and every time I drive over a bump, it sounds like I am driving over a Texas gate. I don't feel the rattle, but I hear it. It occurs only when I drive over a bump on the passenger side. No rattle occurs when I drive over a bump on the driver's side.

I have 3 questions:

1. Is it fair to rule out a bad engine mount?
2. Is it reasonable to pinpoint this to possibly a bad strut mount on the passenger side?
3. What are the impacts of driving 1700 miles until having this looked at? I have to go out of town next weekend. I called the Lexus dealership here at home and the earliest they can look at it is two weeks from now.

I am having my own mechanic change the oil tomorrow and will get him to look at it anyway so he can provide me with his opinion just in case I run into a case of "cannot duplicate problem", but I thought I would ask what everyone else's thoughts as to what may be the problem.

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 06-03-12, 10:54 AM   #2
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Start with the simple stuff: empty out the glove box, console, and cubby under the shifter. Also if you have sunglass holder, remove whatever is in there (cannot remember when they stuck SOS in there). Also check under seat for loose items (old water bottle etc) rolling around. you'd be surprised how much a front end rattle can end up being something in the passenger compartment. Good luck.
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Old 06-03-12, 01:19 PM   #3
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I posted this same reply over on BITOG, but I'll just copy and paste it here as well.

Honestly, I would just wait till your appointment with the Lexus dealer. In the event, that they can't replicate the issue, we can try to find the rattle. But, I'd let the Lexus dealer give it a shot first. Lexus isn't ranked first in Customer Service for four years straight for no reason, they've earned it. lol
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Old 06-03-12, 03:07 PM   #4
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Check the seatbelt on the passenger side to make sure it is not wedged between the seat and the interior trim. Sometimes it does not lie properly in the space, once in a while I have to straighten it out. Good luck and keep us posted, we always like to know the outcome of these things.
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Old 06-04-12, 06:47 PM   #5
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I dropped my 2010 RX off at the dealer late this afternoon and got a loaner to drive for tomorrow while they do the scheduled tire rotation and check into a strange noise that I'm getting when I go from park to reverse or park to drive, plus a recurring issue with the gear shifter squeaking or rubbing when moving it from Drive to Park.

I'm somewhat flabbergasted by how much better the 2012 RX loaner that I'm driving right now feels compared to my 2010 RX that I will have driven two years in July. Kind of makes me sick to my stomach. And, also, this loaner has the 19-inch wheels, so I can't blame it on the larger wheels. It makes my RX seem like it has no shocks or something. You can feel every road imperfection with my RX, but the 2012 is almost like night and day. I don't even think mine drove that well when it was brand new. I don't know. Maybe my memory is just not that great. Only difference I did notice was the loaner I'm driving has Michelins, and mine has Dunlops. But, still, I just cannot believe that a different tire would make such a difference.

I'm pretty bummed out; and trading up to a 2012 or 2013 is not in the cards right now.
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Old 06-04-12, 09:32 PM   #6
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Check to see if your license plate is loose.
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Old 06-04-12, 09:55 PM   #7
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Default Back to dealership too, for more repairs!

I dropped off my '10 RX at my delaer for the same interior rattles and creaks when I hit bumps and during stopping and eccelerating. As the RX body flexes on uneven pavements, the annoying little noises are very irritating.

I am not sure if I should be this critical about some little rattles and squeaks but I've never had to deal with these noises for my vehicles in the past that were less than five years old! I understand wear and tear, but I take care of my vehicles as if they are members of my own family!

My 08 GX for example still has the brand new smell to this day and not a single hint of squeak or rattle on this little tank. After a few months with the GX, the brand new car smell was gone!

If I have a theory on when Lexus quality took a nose dive is really 2010! I had an HS, I drove a few different CTs and RXs while I took my RX for repair and the quality of these vehicles are greatly diminished! If Lexus is reducing costs, they should be reducing vehicle asking prices also - really drastically!
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Old 06-05-12, 05:48 AM   #8
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I have a '10 RXh and it's as good as the day I took delivery. Early on I squelched a rattle that's common in new cars. Like the previous poster said to check it was the license plate frame buzzing. I merely put a couple of sticky rubber pads behind it and not a problem anymore. My '03 smelled new and was like new inside and out when I sold it as my 2010 does now. As far as quality, Lexus did not take a nose dive. One model (not RX) dropped a little and the Marque is back at the top again. The Gen III RX has always been at the top.

Warranty's are provided because there are so many parts to a car, it's possible something might have been less than perfect. Lexus assembles the cars designed by Lexus. They do stamp many parts like door and body panels etc., but most parts are from vendors with very high specifications to insure very high quality. I don't know of a single automobile company that actually manufacturers all the parts it assembles. We wouldn't be able to afford the car.

Even aircraft are assembled with parts from around the globe.
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Originally Posted by LXGXSAM1 View Post
I dropped off my '10 RX at my delaer for the same interior rattles and creaks when I hit bumps and during stopping and eccelerating. As the RX body flexes on uneven pavements, the annoying little noises are very irritating.

I am not sure if I should be this critical about some little rattles and squeaks but I've never had to deal with these noises for my vehicles in the past that were less than five years old! I understand wear and tear, but I take care of my vehicles as if they are members of my own family!

My 08 GX for example still has the brand new smell to this day and not a single hint of squeak or rattle on this little tank. After a few months with the GX, the brand new car smell was gone!

If I have a theory on when Lexus quality took a nose dive is really 2010! I had an HS, I drove a few different CTs and RXs while I took my RX for repair and the quality of these vehicles are greatly diminished! If Lexus is reducing costs, they should be reducing vehicle asking prices also - really drastically!

Last edited by Cruiter; 06-05-12 at 05:49 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 06-05-12, 07:50 PM   #9
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My service advisor left a message for me about my RX on my cell phone while I was on a job. Apparently, they're going to have to replace the exhaust gasket on my '10 RX. Something about that the gasket is supposed to be able to flex and that it has binded. They were able to hear the "popping noise" or whatever several times while they had the vehicle. The part won't be in until Thursday, but thank goodness for the loaner RX. I hate to give this one back!
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Old 06-05-12, 08:52 PM   #10
sir1900
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Interesting responses to say the least. Thank you all for your insight.

My own local mechanic was changing the oil yesterday and right away he noticed the strut was leaking pretty bad. As mentioned before, the issue occurred only when the passenger side front drove over a bump, so that would make sense that it was an issue related to the suspension.

So I will wait another week-and-a-half to have it fixed under warranty (assuming Lexus agrees with my mechanic's diagnosis).

Will keep this board updated.
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Old 06-15-12, 10:38 PM   #11
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For those of you who are interested -- Lexus dealer confirmed that the problem is in fact the strut and will require replacement.
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Old 06-16-12, 08:44 AM   #12
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Glad to hear you found the problem and thank you for keeping us posted.
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Old 09-02-12, 01:44 PM   #13
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I have a 2010 Rx350 with 31,000 miles. Just got back from a 4,000 mile trip and having same front end rattle issue. It's particularly bad when braking at moderate speeds driving downhill and when driving over bumpy roads. Bringing it in for 30,000 mile service this week anyway so will report back findings.

Last edited by CharlieP; 09-20-12 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 09-06-12, 10:24 AM   #14
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I hear it when i go over bumps.
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Old 09-25-12, 01:23 PM   #15
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Default Bad Steering Column

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
I have a 2010 Rx350 with 31,000 miles. Just got back from a 4,000 mile trip and having same front end rattle issue. It's particularly bad when braking at moderate speeds driving downhill and when driving over bumpy roads. Bringing it in for 30,000 mile service this week anyway so will report back findings.
Dealer found it to be a bad steering column. They replaced the entire column part #45250-0E081 from steering wheel to axle. Mentioned TSB 0020-11 on the invoice. Looked up part and it's $2500 + labor! Glad it went out under warranty...
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