What happens in a Lexus Hybrid Health Check?

The purpose of the Lexus Hybrid Health Check is to allay any concerns people may have over the reliability and longevity of vehicles equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive technology. It is a procedure that Lexus has put in place that allows owners to warranty the hybrid battery for up to 15 years.

Why have we bought a 13-year-old Lexus RX 400h?

Lexus has a procedure that allows owners to warranty  the hybrid battery for up to 15 years

We believe that Lexus hybrids are among the finest used cars on the market. And while we could demonstrate this by purchasing a nearly new vehicle from our Lexus Select Approved Pre-Owned programme, we wanted to prove that Lexus quality also exists at the most affordable end of the used car market.

Which is where our 2006 Lexus RX 400h comes in: recently purchased from an independent, second-hand car dealer for the princely sum of £4,800.

What happens in a Lexus Hybrid Health Check?

One of the key reasons we bought our used RX 400h was because of its full Lexus service history (see below). We saw that the recommended maintenance schedule had been carefully followed and the car itself was in great condition, which gave us confidence that GR06 UFH was going to be a reliable purchase.

Hybrid Health Check

However, there is no getting away from the fact that GR06 has travelled more than 143,000 miles – equivalent to almost six times around the world – since it rolled off the production line on 10 May 2006. So we wanted to ensure that its key feature, the innovative self-charging hybrid system, was still in good health and ready for another year of electrified motoring.

A full Hybrid Health Check is normally carried out as part of the regular service programme for Lexus hybrid models. But GR06 is not quite ready for its next scheduled service. So we booked it in with nearby Lexus Gatwick for a standalone Hybrid Health Check to confirm that the system was still delivering optimal performance.

Lexus master technician Tim Woodley was assigned to carry out the Hybrid Health Check for us. And on this occasion, we were allowed to document the process for the blog.

Hybrid Health Check

Tim began by making sure all power-draining ancillaries – heated seats, cabin lights, air conditioning etc – were turned off and therefore unable to affect the readings. He then connected his laptop to GR06’s on-board diagnostic port, located in the driver’s side foot well. The ignition was turned on to allow the vehicle to run its normal self-diagnosis – a quick way to ensure that no existing faults might stop the Hybrid Health Check from being carried out. Seeing this was not the case, Tim was then able to proceed and activate the secure connection between car and computer.

Hybrid Health Check

GR06’s unique vehicle identification number was typed into the programme and the current mileage logged. Further diagnostic functions now became available, including the Hybrid Health Check we had requested. Activating this function opened a new screen where it prompted Tim to carry out coolant checks – one for the hybrid inverter and the other for the engine. Both levels were within tolerance, so the programme allowed us to progress to the most intensive part of the test process.

Hybrid Health Check

This involves the programme monitoring a special, manual procedure that forces the hybrid system to operate at high load while the vehicle is stationary in the workshop. It primarily ensures that the inverter/converter unit is supplying a sufficient flow of power to and from the hybrid battery and motor/generator units. But in placing such a high load through the components, it also creates a lot of heat, which in turn tests the dedicated cooling system and the effectiveness of all insulation.

Hybrid Health Care

What does a Hybrid Health Check pass mean?

We were delighted to see an uninterrupted stack of ‘PASS’ icons illuminate on the laptop screen, signalling that each section of GR06’s hybrid system was functioning efficiently. Tim then printed and signed our report and confirmation certificate, which provides an extra one year or 10,000 mile warranty on the car’s hybrid battery, even though it is more than 13 years old.

Hybrid Health Check

In fact, so reliable and effective is the Lexus Hybrid Drive system that Lexus will honour all Hybrid Health Check warranties until the model in question is 15 years old. Naturally, some terms and conditions apply in this respect – you can find more information at this link – but it remains an outstanding offer that effectively wipes out any concerns people may have over the reliability and longevity of Lexus’s self-charging hybrid technology.

Lexus Relax

Lexus Relax was launched on 1 June 2021. This revolutionising new warranty cover gives Lexus owners 12 months/10,000 miles’ cover for their vehicle each time they have it serviced at an official Lexus centre.

The service-activated warranty can continue until the vehicle reaches 10 years or has covered 100,000 miles, with all Lexus models qualifying, as long as the age and mileage criteria are met. They do not have to have been purchased from a Lexus centre – second, third and even fourth-hand vehicles traded privately or from other outlets are eligible

Under Lexus Relax, the Hybrid Health Check still forms part of the scheduled servicing. The Relax warranty includes cover for the hybrid battery and components for up to 10 years/100,000 miles. After this time, customers can still extend the cover for up to 15 years with a stand-alone scheduled Hybrid Health Check.

Fore more information on Lexus Relax, click here.

Thanks to Lexus Gatwick for their assistance in this feature.

23 comments

  1. Hi
    You recommend that we buy used Lexus vehicles from your dealership.
    Why is it none of them stock or sell used vehicles under £10.000. Is it because you don’t expect them to last that long, or you expect them to give a lot of reliability problems of vehicles of that age /value.
    It is making me worried about buying a Lexus Hybrid.
    I have tried all dealerships within my post code area BS49 4PY
    Rergards
    Mike

    1. Hello Mike,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      We pride ourselves on the quality, durability and reliability of our vehicles, and Lexus has been named the country’s most reliable car brand for the second year running in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2020.
      You can read more about the Hybrid Health Check and other measures that are designed to ensure the longevity of our cars here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/owners/servicing-and-maintenance/hybrid-health-check/#hero.
      When restrictions lift, we would recommend visiting your nearest Lexus Centre, who will be able to answer your questions in greater detail in relation to specific vehicles.
      Thanks.

  2. I have a 2006 Lexus RX400H, I’ve had it for about 8 years 280,000 + miles, it’s been really good to me and recently the dash has lights come on and said “hybrid system reset” or something to that affect. Once I turned the vehicle off it wouldn’t turn back on, so I removed the negative post from battery for about 2 minutes and then started the vehicle back up and let it reboot for about 1-2 minutes and it’s been running amazing as it always has. This might be temporary but I can’t afford to even have it looked at so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will be good to me for another 8 years and 170,000 + miles. These cars are worth every cent, my ex has 3 (2004, 2011, 2013) and has not had no major issues in the past 5 years.

    1. Hello Mildred,
      Thank you for your comment.
      We would recommend taking your vehicle to a Lexus Centre in your region so that they can look into this and perform any necessary rectifications for you.
      Thanks.

  3. I see no visual check is carried out, there are well-known water ingression issues with the RX models, resulting in damaged batteries which corrode and fail costing £1000s for repair or replacement.
    With so many documented cases Lexus must be aware of this problem, I would think that a visual check would be an essential part of the check, as the battery housing is an essential part of the hybrid system.
    Why are visual inspections not a part of the ‘health check’?
    I would like to be told if my battery is sitting in a pool of water, so I can deal with it before it causes significant damage.

    1. Hello Mike,
      Thank you for getting in touch with us.
      The hybrid Health Check is a performance test for the traction battery and the hybrid system components. The test is free with scheduled servicing or can be purchased separately.
      Damaged batteries would be identified by poor output/performance and any necessary repairs could be advised.
      A visual check is less likely to identify internal battery/cell faults, and performance testing is more accurate for assessing the battery condition.
      Thanks.

      1. Hi,
        Thanks for taking the time to reply.
        As a Lexus owners club member, I am aware of multiple instances of the water ingression issue causing damage to batteries, as mentioned in my post.
        Lexus has been informed of this on numerous occasions, as they are aware I am surprised they have not stepped up and included a visual check as part of the standard check you describe (not replace it).
        Why wait for a battery sitting in water to develop a fault, when a simple visual check can identify the potentail issue and it can be fixed before the battery is affected?
        I and many others would like to know why a visual check is not included
        Can you explain exactly why this is not being done? I know this may mean removing the rear seats, but if this is the reason, then speak to Lexus owners and see if we can together find a way to do this.

        1. Hi Mike,
          Our technical team is not aware of this issue. They’ll certainly look into it, and if it’s necessary to update the way the hybrid health check is carried out, this will certainly be considered.
          Thanks.

          1. Hi,
            Not aware of this issue?
            You don’t have people monitoring the various online Lexus clubs and forums then, I find this difficult to believe.
            If you don’t then you really have to up your game, as these are a valuable source of information about how your vehicles actually perform under real-life conditions (as opposed to in the lab) and the various faults that affect them.
            (RH tailgate issues for one)
            How do you improve your product unless you monitor it in use?
            I believe that Lexus makes the best high volume production cars in the world, but if you want to keep it this way, don’t go the route of dismissing your customer’s input, listen investigate and fix these niggling issues.
            Thanks
            Mike

  4. Hi,
    I am considering purchase a 2006 3.3, 400 hybrid model. Can you ad vise on fuel saving, road tax and likely insurance costs for the vehicle. Would I need to plug and charge it as an old hybrid model?. My main reason is to be able to drive into city centre where there’s restrictions due to environmental concerns?

    1. Hello Vijay,
      Thank you for your comment. We assume you are referring to the RX400h?
      If so, then we can advise the below relating to information stemming from our 2006 RX400h:
      It is difficult to give an exact fuel saving figure due to this depending on a number of factors. However, you can read about the efficiency of our 2006 RX400h here, which averaged 43% of time spent in EV over 101 journeys and 30% of the distance in EV: https://mag.lexus.co.uk/lexus-rx-400h-project-telematics/.
      With a combined CO2 emissions figure of 192g/km, road tax is likely to be £305 per year.
      We are unfortunately unable to advise on insurance costs.
      The RX400h is not a plug-in hybrid, so it will not need to be plugged in.
      Our vehicle is not subject to the ULEZ charge as it is Euro 4 petrol, but you will still have to pay congestion charge.
      However, we would recommend checking and confirming this information specifically for the car that you wish to buy before purchasing, as this is only a general guide.
      Thanks.

  5. Hi..am driving Lexus rx400h and am facing this error VSC check / Hybrid battery check, and my petrol consumption tremendously increased after this, please advise.

    Am looking for new Hybrid battery and Hybrid fuel pump if you have in stock. Please advice price for each.

    1. Hello Abdul Wahab Memon,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      We would recommend taking your vehicle to the nearest Lexus Centre in your region so that they can assess this for you and make any necessary recommendations. Lexus in your region will also be able to assist with your parts requests.
      Thanks.

  6. Hi,
    I was looking into buying RX450 but the whole discussion about water ingress causing damage to hybrid battery with Lexus responding that they are not aware of the issue doesn’t bode well and has made me apprehensive in going ahead with my purchase.
    I do hope that someone from Lexus can assure me asap that they have made the necessary changes to include visual inspection as part of the princely sums charged for the service.
    I think owners would agree with me that nothing is more frustrating than not being able to drive a car with such a high reliability score when this issue can be prevented by adding a visual inspection in the hybrid battery check schedule.
    Thanks

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your interest in the RX 450h. Of course, we are aware of some instances, but our technical team advised that this is not a widespread issue. There have been no changes to the maintenance, but we’ve passed your feedback on to the relevant team.

      Thanks

    2. Hi I’m thinking of purchasing an 06 RX400h from a small dealership it has 117k on the lock. My main concern is of course the battery for the hybrid system, I’m actually from glasgow is there anywhere in my neck of the woods I can obtain this type of check on the vehicle?

  7. Hi , I have an RX400h on an 06 plate with 115k miles on the clock .
    I love the car , I am on a pension .
    How much would this check cost me ?
    Nearest to Lexus Gatwick

    Thanks. David

    1. Hello David,
      Thank you for contacting us. We are so pleased to hear that your RX is still serving you well.
      An annual Hybrid Health check is free of charge as part of any Lexus Service. If your service isn’t due for a while, a standalone Hybrid Health check is available for just £59 for your peace of mind.
      Thanks.

  8. I have an RX400h, which has been in our family for over 10 years. It has always been main dealer serviced, however I had it independently MOT’d this last year. To my suprise it had an advisory for Front subframe corrosion, and looking into it while the upper body is fine, all the underside is quite badly corroded (to a point if left it would fail the MOT in a couple of years and be terminal). Do Lexus not check and report for underbody corrosion ? – Also on a separate matter which will be known about, The small lead acid battery will only last a couple of weeks before discharging (A pain in the covid Lockdowns) – I guess Lexus is head down, move along, no problem here, when the small starter battery is definately a problem, so much so that the later RX450 has a full size battery. I’m guessing after so long that Lexus simply is not going to provide a solution ! – Other than that, the car is reliable !

    1. Hello Russell,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We can assure you that our trained technicians would report any advisories on the MOT.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions.
      Thanks.

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