Back in the summer we purchased a relatively high-mileage, 13-year-old Lexus RX 400h in order to demonstrate the quality, reliability and longevity of vehicles equipped with Lexus hybrid technology.
Six months into ownership, we can attest that our RX has proved to be as practical and reliable as we had anticipated. The six-figure mileage has been steadily increasing through use as a support vehicle on photoshoots, a department pool car and even a development mule for the accessories division.
But the time had come to maintain its full service history record and organise a scheduled major service with our friends at Lexus Gatwick.
What happens in a Lexus service?
Master technician Tim Woodley was again assigned to look after us, and as he prepared his work station with the required genuine service parts he regaled us with news of his recent purchase of a sleek GS 450h. It was comforting to know that our RX was in the hands of both an expert and an enthusiast.
As is customary with any Lexus scheduled service, Tim began by giving the RX a thorough inspection: inside, outside and underneath. We found it interesting to note that this annotated procedure matched that recently carried out in our winter health check. Which confirmed to us how impressive it is to receive such meticulous attention to detail in a check that is carried out free of charge.
Where the major service differs, of course, is that it schedules the strategic replacement of components and fluids in order to maintain the vehicle’s health.
Tim’s unclipping of the front of the air box revealed that the panel filter had successfully stopped plenty of airborne debris from entering the engine; it looked filthy in comparison to the pristine new filter.
In contrast, it’s not always as immediately obvious that the engine oil needs changing but the time and mileage interval between services, as well as the oil’s appearance on the dipstick, confirmed its need for renewal.
Access to the sump plug on the RX is straightforward (see above) but the front-facing oil filter is located behind a protective panel below the radiator. So while the contents of the sump drained into a collection tank, Tim peeled back the panel to unscrew the filter.
And it is here that further evidence is provided of Lexus’s depth of engineering and attention to detail. Directly underneath the oil filter is a small funnel arrangement (see below) designed to prevent the oil that will seep out from a partially loosened filter cascading down the engine block and creating the impression of an oil leak.
With the new oil filter wound on to a torque level of 15Nm and the sump plug tightened to 28Nm, Tim lowered the ramps so he could refill the RX’s 3.3-litre V6 with precisely 4.7 litres of 5W-30 grade oil.
But our major service required another oil change, this time for the rear differential. So the ramps were raised again and the plug released so that the used oil could drain out. The differential plug was then tightened to 25Nm and two litres of fresh 75W-85 transmission fluid was pumped back in again.
The final fluid change scheduled in our major service was for brake fluid. Tim began this procedure by extracting the majority of the fluid held in the reservoir. This ensures a thorough and less wasteful flush-through as the system is bled from the back of each brake caliper and refilled with high-specification DOT 5.1 fluid.
All external procedures now covered, Tim returned to the interior to complete the service. Reaching behind the glove box into the depths of the dashboard, he pulled out the pollen filter. Like the air filter we examined earlier, the pleats in this panel were filled with leaves and debris, all of which would have been blown into the cabin if they hadn’t been so effectively trapped. We’re sure this refresh will make a huge difference to the hay fever sufferers among us.
After changing the battery in the key fob, Tim ran through another Hybrid Health Check. This procedure is included in all scheduled services, and confirmed once again that our RX is not only ready for another year of self-charging hybrid motoring but warrantied to provide it, too. And just in case we lost track of time over the course of that year, Tim concluded the service by inputting the maintenance data on the car’s central display and set a reminder function for the next scheduled service.
All that was left now was to sit back and enjoy a refreshing coffee in the lounge area and wait for the RX to return gleaming from its complimentary valet.
How can you book a Lexus service?
Find your local Lexus centre by using the location tool on the home page of the Lexus UK website. Full details of what is included in each scheduled service can be viewed by downloading the relevant guide from the Vehicle Service chapter, which also contains an online booking function. Alternatively, telephone the service department at your local centre and they will arrange a suitable time for you.
Thanks to Lexus Gatwick for their assistance in this feature.