My Take: 2007 Lexus ES 350


While Mike Hanley was slaving away at his Lexus ES 350 review, I got to spend a good week in the car myself. We agree about the quality and the various improvements that have come with the 2007 update, but our opinions differ in some areas.

I made a Chicago-Detroit round trip and emerged little worse for wear, unlike Mike, who had problems with the car's seat cushion. (My own "seat" has more cushion than it did when I was Mike's age, which might explain the difference in experiences.) Like Mike, I logged average gas mileage just under 30 mpg on Interstate 94. Considering that most of the Grand Slab between HQ and Detroit has a speed limit of 70 mph, actual speeds around 80 mph and enough construction slowdowns to turn a pacifist to murder, 30 mpg is truly excellent performance. It may equal the EPA's exact highway figure, but those estimates are based on 55 mph speeds and are frequently ... delusional.


Most of my problems with the ES 350 might seem minor, but it depends on where you're coming from. Mike is right to criticize the lack of backseat reading lights, a serious oversight in a luxury car. I'll take the lighting gripe further: The overhead cabin lights are now all LEDs rather than conventional bulbs. They issue a cold white light that is not bright enough — seriously, not even close to being bright enough. I had the same problem with the Lexus GS sedan, and I'm appalled to see it here, too. It's a phenomenon that's too common in the automotive business: People get so excited about the benefits of an "innovation" — like the longevity and low power requirements of LEDs — that they don't notice it fails to do the basic job intended.

I also was disappointed with the optional adaptive cruise control, whose grille-mounted radar allows the car to slow down automatically if the car in front of you does so. Though it lets you choose among three following distances, the shortest isn't short enough. It may be more conservative and safer, but the gap it leaves between you and the car ahead is an invitation for another car to pull in. Each time someone does, the system nails the brakes, and after this happens a dozen or so times (which it did in a startlingly short period), you give up and turn the expensive feature off.

If you're contemplating an ES 350 purchase, do yourself a favor and check out the cabin lighting at night before you buy. I find it unacceptable, and there's no elegant solution. Ignoring that, the new styling and equipment have me more enthusiastic about this model than I've ever been.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | September 29, 2006 | Comments (83)



Your gripe about the overhead light is right, but my GS300 which you criticize has manually activated spot light, driver, and for all four passengers, so careful with your critique, be more specific please, otherwise you are doing a disservice to other readers. Wish you car guys would for once comment on front wheel vs. all wheel/rear wheel driveability from a driver's viewpoint!!!!!!!! how about it!!!!!!!!

i wish someone would comment on that cheap, ugly interior plastic...and toyota is the quality leader?

There's really nothing "cheap" about any of the interior plastic. Is it as nice as a benz or BMW? no. But right up there with other Japanese luxury cars and others like Cadillac.

We just picked-up an '07 for my wife and you are right on the money with the light issue, however, it was not going to prevent us from buying the car. Given that we've owned MB's, Beamers and Saabs, I will gladly live with a lack of lighting in exchange for reliability. I'm confident we will get 150k of trouble service from our '07 just as we did from our '92 and '99. I won't even get into the nightmare issues that our MB's and Beamers brought after crossing the 60k barrier. No car is perfect, but Lexus sure is close.

Pete V

I've had my ES350 since mid-July and on 4 seperate occasions the sound system, navigation voice commands and telephone voice all stopped working while driving. No amount of time waiting helped fix the problem only shutting off then restarting the car made things right again. If you are on the highway when this happens you have to pull over or get off to restart (must step on brakes). If it happens once more I'm taking it back to the dealer. Very annoying. Has anyone else experienced this?


thinking of a 2007 es 350, but dealership of purchase is 100 miles away. I have a closer delaer but he cant match the price so I am left saving money with a distant purchase, but have to use a local Lexus dealer for service.

Am I shooting myself in the foot? Will it get serviced properly locally, even though I did not buy it at the delaership?



iam purchased a es350 august 06 and i starting to have the knocking niose when i frist start my car then a rattle after did anyone expirence this so far


In comparison to my 1997 Camry and 2003 ES, this '07 model seems to suffer from cheap materials and poor build quality. Too many rattles and sqeaks. Armrest and dash not well designed. Front-end can't stay aligned. The lack of interior lighting is not acceptable and will drive you nuts. Lexus does not listen to it's customers, but dealer service is still excellent. 2007 ES 350 has serious problems that some might consider minor, but indicative of major cost cutting efforts, eventhough prices went up. Frankly, I recommend you save the money and buy the Camry, it at least has a usable dome light and better center stack. I think Toyota/Lexus has become complacent with quality and I feel the company is following the same path as domestics. That's just my opinion as an owner of this brand for over 20 years. Disappointed owner. Shame, shame Mr. Watanabe for pushing quantity over quality!

smart lopez

I guess it all goes back to Comment #2


Phil it's okay to be a poser just come out say you are. Lexus pushing quantity over quality? Naturally you have zero evidence to back that up. This is what is so great about the internet, anyone can post anything they please. Even a lemming named Phil.

backup lopez

well jackson you have to admit toyota is growing too rapidly to keep their cars 'reliable' as you can see with the many recalls from last year. I've heard many complaints about this car, and he is entitled to have his opinion.

the comments are getting a bit ridiculous all around.
A: lets be civil.
B: If you're reporting a problem with the car please be specific that you actually purchased said car, the price you paid or some other factor that lets us know your comments are based in some form of reality. Although we don't want specific dealers mentioned.
We're going to come up with a disclaimer above the comments that outlines this. Thanks.


Sorry I'm not trying to offend fellow ES owners, just sharing my opinions. '03 ES was $32k and the '07 ES was $38,500. Yes it has a lot more standard features, but as I expressed above I feel that functionality and quality were not priorities. I've not owned a car besides Toyota or Lexus so I can't compare to other brands, just what I've seen as the model evovles. Some ES owners are bound to have kids. I use a flashlight to see in the car at night, so please understand my frustration.

D. Lang

My ES350 has very noisy tappet noise until the engine warms up. Anyone else experienced this? I have 700 miles on the car

J Alan Masias

I purchased a 2007 ES350 a few weeks ago and it is outrageous luxury.

The headlights that move with the car, the leather seating, along with all the other technological goodies are worth the money.

Oh, if you can't see the interior of the ES350 at night, you might get your eyes checked for macular degeneration or cataracts.

My eyesight is 20/1880, and the interior at night, the dashboard at night, the navigation system at night is A+++.

Ron Sloan

This ES350 is my second Lexus. The first was perfect. This one is very poorly made. Diesel engine noise on cold start-up, rocky idle, excessive wind noise starting at surprisingly low speeds, rattles in dashboard, mis-aligned doors, are just a few. True the car is comfortable and great on gas, but the interior lighting is for teenagers, very moody and cool. Our Mercedes is nice and bright by caomparison. You can really read with the reading lights and they have passenger switches. I have had the CD player fail and then the transmission shifter fail. The electronics seem to be unreliable. Lexus have lost me as a customer. They are arrogant, arrogant, arrogant. Don't buy this car unless you wait for another model year and things improve. If you have problem, Lexus will pretend they don't know you. I am aggravated every time I start this car. The car valet at the Four Season hotel even told me that there is something wrong with my engine because it was so noisy and ticky on start-up.



NOVA Driver

I bought my 350 ES in Dec 2006. I now have 2500 miles on it. I thoroughly enjoy the car. I bought it because I am a sales person and I take clients out. It's impressive from the outside in. This is my first Lexus. I carefully studied and ultimately chose this car based on my studies.

Yes, I hear the knocks too. I did from the first time I started the car. I read on the net that the car has 24% less hydraulic controls and 20% fewer parts overall in making the effort to reduce the chances of breaking parts in the trans. Also it's chain drivin cam shafts and possibly the roller rocker arms could contribute to the noise. (Guys I said possibly) Truly - I can get past the increase noise if it will increase the longevity of service. Your passenger happened to noticed the noice? Just repeat the above and they'll shut up.

The lighting suprised me too. I think it is "moody" as the one blogger mentioned. Sleek and sophisticated. It does work, it is a white light and you can read what you need to read. Back seat lights shine to illuminate seatbelt holsters. Do I love it? No. But, if you really want to NOT buy a car because of interior lights - uhh.. that just doesn't make sense to me. Buy a cool small light from Brookstone and keep it in the glove box.

Here's what I love about the car:

It has giddy up and go. Hesitation? Well maybe a little, but folks - You are buying a $37-$42K car here. "Entry" level luxury. C'mon, it's got great power for the price! Do you really notice the hesitation when you put your foot in the pedal - no. It's plenty responsive. HP to HP w/ the mid 500 series beamers is there - but you aren't paying BMW prices. I am NOT saying BMW is less of a car - it is a fantastic automobile. But here are some quick facts:

Lexus: 3.5 liter V6 272 HP 6 speed trans 253 ft lbs torque and 0-60 6.9 sec MSRP $33,170 - $39,200

BMW 530xi 3.0 liter V6 255 HP 6 speed 220 ft lbs torque and 0-60 6.9 MSRP $49,700

The nav is great! It does miff me that you cannot operate the screen while driving (safety feature) but - I got over it. I do not use the voice command (to get around that issue) like I could. Mainly, just not used to speaking to the car. I just wait till I get to the next light and push buttons again. I'm fast at it now.

Park asssist is wonderful. Cameras help me back in like a pro. I am confident I can get inches from the object behind me now.

Bluetooth phone is fantastic. Hearing my customers through the car speaker is so much better than on an earpiece. If I am talking on the phone, get in the car, start the car, it automatically transfers the conversation to the car. FANTASTIC.

You get great luxuary for the price. Yes, there is always someone out there with a car built on a Monday or Friday. Sorry for you. Happens. But for the rest of the world - I recommend this car for its price, quality, ammenities, and performance.

Sorry for the novel - but I like to be complete in my point of view. Thx for reading.

don young

The valve lifting noise when cold is awful. Dealer service guys say they all have it till engine warms up which is true.

Thought that problem went away in the 60's.


I test drove an ES350 today and i was awed.
I cannot believe the things i am reading. i thought the car was so quiet and compared it to my cadillac deville... could not even hear the dir signals... it handled beautifully... is this only because the car is new??? then all these problems happen??? i truly thought i would not drive a deville for the first time and buy the lexus...???

My 2007 ES 350 has less than 3500 miles on it. The car is comfortable and seems great. The one gripe is a loud annoying rattle in the roof. It seems to be the assembly or tray of the sunroof. The dealer tried to fix the problem with some lube to the sunroof and a slight adjustment, but to no avail. They now have the car for a second time. The shop manager took a test ride with me and heard the noise. It has been a week, and they say they now can't hear the noise, and that they are trying to figure it out. They even wanted to let their tech drive the car home 20 miles each way which I refused. It is becoming annoying that a luxo brand such as Lexus is 1. rattling & 2. they can't figure out why! I just want to drive my smooth quiet car I purchased.


My 2002 ES was the best car I have ever owned, bar none. I now own a 2007 ES 350. I love everything abut the car except the ittitating startup engine noise. It is really embarrassing to start it up and then have to listen to that loud ticking noise for the next 5-10 minutes before it quiets down, let alone drive it thru the neighborhood so everyone else can listen too.

I have 4 neighbors who have the same engine in their toyota. I drove others at the dealership - all have the problem. Dealers don't know the cause, much less the solution, for the problem. I called Lexus Customer Service and was told they were not aware of the problem, but they did record it.

Dealer reasons for the problem include, it's a timing chain noise, It's a polution equipment noise, it's a noise from the reservoir that releases oil to the upper cylinder, and the latest one is that it a noise made by the expanding aluminum pistons.

When you buy a Lexus, you don't spend $40M+ to listen to engine noise. I doubt that I will buy another without the problem being solved.

BERT In Jacksonville, FL.

Wow, I too have that annoying tapping and Diesel sound at 2,000 to 5,000 miles and just sent an e-mail to the dealer to see what is up.

I visited another dealership in another state on business and they said it was the timilng chain...they all have it...I agree, $40,000 and it makes a sound like a old Jeep.

My suspension bounces and reverberates, anyone have that?


We have just leased a 2007 ES350 in April and had just started to notice the load engine noise in the past month. It's noticable at engine start and upto the first 5 miles until the engine heats up to its operational temperature.

This is our third ES in the past tens years. We have been loyal Lexus customer during this entire time but I have to say I feel that we have been sold out buy Lexus. Based on the amount of information that I have just located on the net I feel that Lexus should have disclosed this as a potential problem prior to or purchase.

We are going to pursue canceling our lease with Lexus.

Has anyone gone this route??? If so what was the result??



I have an es 350 with 3300 miles. about two weeks ago battery died. dealer replaced it. it died again a week later. dealer said it was a defective alternator. had to order replacement from japan! it came a week later and was "damaged." they gave me another es350 loaner with 4400 mi and today, battery on it died. is there a problem with the whole line? anyone have similar experiences?
bob alexandria, va


@NOVA Driver up there:

So you're comparing the 5 series with an ES, just because of the similar engine size? lol...You might as well go compare an IS350 with a Merc C320. The 530xi you were talking about should really be compared to GS300/430, and I would take the beamer any time over the GS.

"C'mon, it's got great power for the price!" <- lol?
Maybe you should understand the fact that the ES is no more than a rebadged Camry with some added features and a different design. I really doubt that's worth paying $10k+.
(Same goes for the GX, which is sold as a Land Cruiser Prado in Europe and Japan).

Not trying degrade the car or something, just pointing out the obvious.


Me and my friend was geting our cars at the same time in july 2006, he wanted a bmw I tool\k him out of the dealer because there is no way and you all know this that a bmw ride can compare to a lexus, any lexus, luxus is the number one seller in the country. He got a rx 350, my other friend got a gs 350, I got my self an infiniti fx fully loaded just becuase i wanted a sport suv. well its 8 month later i sold that fx and got a brand new es. the car is nice but i think it kind of small its long but short in the back. look wierd sometimes bu guys nothing rides like a lexus. even the gx my brother has that its the best ride and serivice stop cmplaining stop going to cheap dealerships

In the last 13 years, I bought 4 brand new lexus ES. One in 1994, the best ever, one in 1996, 1999 and one last month a 2007. The only reason I keep buying a Lexus is for their comfortable seats and suspension (I do have a sensible back). Unfortunately the new ES 350 is nothing like the old ES. First the seats have been changed with something that looks like it is made in Detroit. Only a six foot man or over could be comfortable with a lumbar support that pushes in a middle of your back. The under seat is too hard and since the ride is as tuff as a german car with almost no tires on the rims, you can feel every bumps in the road. I feel that the engineers at Lexus are trying too hard to align themselves with the rest of the competition. They forget why we buy their car : comfort and reliability. The comfort is gone, I just hope the rest is better build.
I gave the car to my wife since her back is stronger than mine. I really can't ride in the car for more than 10 mn.

Kenneth Menard

I just bought a Lexus ES350 a month ago. From day one it has had a knock in the engine.I took it back to the dealer.There answer to the problem was they all sound like that.My answer to that is ,if that is true, there should be a call back and all the cars suould be fixed.
Kenneth Menard
Peabody Ma.


My beloved 2007 ES350 was purchased in December 2007. It was ordered from the manufacturers, and after 2 weeks, landed on a dock in CA. After the 1st 500 miles, I reported a disturbing ghostly knocking noise. The noise would not occur during the technician's test drive. So, I was considered "hearing things". After 3,500 miles, I reported the noise again. Again, upon test driving the car, the noise could not be discovered by the technicians. This time, after 9,000 miles, the noise was finally discovered! Here is the report: "9071 Noise from Sun Roof 61499 5.2 Remove roof trim, road tested vehicle. Found left front corner plastic hitting body of vehicle. Removed roof track and toad tested again. Found roof track hitting body, removed sunroof track and insulated with felt. Re-installed roof track and road tested, noise not heard. Re-installed head liner." Well...the next day, I opened the sun roof, and thought, "my heaven's - the glass is about to fly out!" The glass was rattling so badly, that I immediately drove the car back to the dealer for correction. It has now been 3 days since the 2nd attempt to repair the noise. The car is promised tomorrow pending an approved test drive. Having driven the RX330 and the IS250 between fixes, I could not have chosen a better car for the price and features. However, I am disappointed in the fact that Lexus has a major flaw in the construction of the car, and has not owned up to it. I insisted on a "non-rubberband/quick glue" correction. So, I do not mind waiting for a total repair. However, this was not to be expected from this line of cars. By the way, a customer waiting in the repair shop ahead of me, also reported the noise; however, never got a diagnosis. He left before it was discovered on my car. Therefore, he left still with the mysterious noise, and proud to be a Lexus owner.


What do all the people who post here and claim to own $40,000 cars do for a living because you sure can't spell or type. Just my two cents.

It's painful to read some of these.

First-year models usually have bugs. Little noises tend to be bugs that get worked out by year 2. It's better than gas tanks leaking or engines seizing!

Tim Meschinelli

My 2007 ES350 is my third Lexus. It is a beautiful machine but unfortunately has two serious and un-Lexus like problems that apparently are widespread and "unfixable". The tapping noise at startup is an embarrassment to Lexus. The dealer told me it is related to the fuel injectors and "they all do it" and "it will get worse as the weather gets colder".
The second is transmission "flair". This is supposedly another common ailment of this model which causes a slipping between gear changes (1st to 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd) and causing a momentary jump in RPMs until the gears finally mesh. This problem occurs periodically but never when a tech is driving.

gene g

I, too, have had the transmission "flair" with my new 2007 es350. Service manager said that my trans has not yet learned my driving habits. Hard to believe him based on what I have read from others. He also said that gasoline in PA is not that good! My last Lexus!


Ugly dashboard on the ES 350 with that upside down U shape. Is that U shape inspired by a Church? Like a 1000 year old cathedral? All the other Lexus dashboards are great, modern.


I purchased my Lexus ES350 in June of 07. Coming from a 97 toy corolla, I am totally elated. Although at 15,000 miles I too have heard minor engine noise at startup and was mortified to pay 300.00 plus tax for my 15,000 mile service. At this service I also reported my that my rear brakes were squeeking. They told me that they have resently upgraded the brake pad for this model due to early wear and replaced mine under warranty.




I am debating on whether I will ever buy another.


I purchased a '07 Lexus ES 350 and at 4000 miles began to have the LOUD tapping noise on cold start up. They have heard the noise and have admitted it is more than the fuel injection system. It is going up thru the corperate ladder but feel I am getting the run- around!! Anybody have luck with replacement of the vehicle under The Lemon Law?


My 2008 ES350 is on order & should be showing up in about a week. Seems like the postings are all about the 2007 ES. Has anyone heard anything about the TAPPING & TRANSMISSION problem being addressed in the 2008 version? I have been a Lexus owner for the last ten years & what I am reading disturbs me. Any good news on the new ES?


My 2008 ES350 is on order & should be showing up in about a week. Seems like the postings are all about the 2007 ES. Has anyone heard anything about the TAPPING & TRANSMISSION problem being addressed in the 2008 version? I have been a Lexus owner for the last ten years & what I am reading disturbs me. Any good news on the new ES?


I just upgraded from a 2002 Camry XLE-V6 to a 2008 ES-350. I too am extremely diasapointed with the engine tapping/knocking. It is loudest when cold but is still audible when warmed up. A car of this class should have a smooth quiet engine, not sound like a Ford diesel truck. The Lexus service manager said it's just the way it is, that I'll have to live with it. The service writer told me he hears LOTS of complaints about it.


I had the same diesel-like engine noise in my 2005 Avalon. It was nothing like the wonderfully silent, silky-smooth engine in my old 2001 Avalon, or our 2002 Sienna or 1998 Camry V6. The new Avalon sounded like an old clattering Mercedes 300D. I've heard that Toyota has had to perform short block replacements to cure the diesel noise. Do a search on forums for more info.

The '05 Avalon had so many build quality issues and rattles, similar to those described here, plus nasty throttle/transmission hesitation.
I got rid of the grumpy beast after 6 miserable months. I almost traded it for an ES350 but my confidence in Toyota/Lexus engineering had been so jaded, I decided against it. Glad I didn't get the ES350.

Acura and Infiniti 3.5 liter V6 engines (we now have one of each) are far quieter and smoother than these new generation Toyota/Lexus engines and their build quality is far better too.


Knocking noise out of top end also heard on my ES Dealer says its related to injection system. Think we're all getting the run around. Wife has gs300 no noise from engine. Top end noise more prevelant when in gear. supresses after warm up but not fully gone.


The 2007 ES350 is my fifth Lexus, 4th 4 door sedan. I am a Lexus lover, and overall I'm pleased with the car. I have to say it's the most expensive and most cheaply made of all 5 Lexus' I've leased. Worst feature: Averages 12.5 miles per gallon city driving. False mileage claimed on sticker window states 21/city. NOT SO. Second, the bluetooth phone feature is poor at best and often stops functioning completely, requiring a full system reload. Interior lights are not satisfactory. You have to place whatever you're trying to see under the dome beam. I had a client signed a contract last week in the evening and lighting was terrible for this. Cheap glove bos latch sticks, Most everything is OK. A 6th Lexus you ask....probably..I just can't get away from the luxury at a reasonble price. I've compared Many 4 door sedans in this price range and not a one comes close to the Lexus. Hope the bugs are worked out and that my next one gets better mileage.

Jeff Ney

I just took delivery on a new 2008 ES 350 in early March of 2008. Whilst I love the car, I too have the knocking valve noise upon accelerating while the engine is still cold. It SUCKS. I find that the transmission tends to have trouble shifting between gears when loaded with torque going uphill. It actually over RPM's then finds the appropriate gear and it all settles down. I will be heading in for my "complimentary" 1,000 mile checkup. I can't wait for the service manager to explain the engine tap noise. This should be good. Will post a follow up report in a few weeks


I have also experienced noisy valve tappets when the car is cold. This goes away when the car warms up. The dealer tells me this is normal. Also, I have had some annoying rattles. One is from the Moonroof. There is a service bulletin on this repair. I also experienced some transmision flare when it is cold. Once again there was a service bulletin issued to correct this. I also think the car idles too rough. All in all I am very pleased with the styling and looks but I a little disappointed with the quality. I expect more from a Lexus.

B. Jiles

Well I have some serious comments to make about my Lexus ES350. Everyone who owns this model please read carefully. I took my ES350 in for a routine oil change and it turned out that I had an oil leak. So I was told that they would have to keep my vehicle basically for 5 days to fix the oil leak which required having the whole engine pulled out to be fixed. As it turned out they had my car for a week and when I got my ES350 back lets just say the vehicle was not the same. A week later I took the vehicle back to the dealer because my transmission was completely screwed up. Apparently the transmission was having trouble shifting between 3rd & 4th gear. Please keep in mind I didn't have this problem before the engine was taken out. So as it turns out I had to have a whole new transmission installed. My current mileage at the time was 28,000 miles unbelievable huh. So just to let everyone know I found out that the transmissions in the ES350 2007 & 2008 have a problem with cold weather and 3 vehicles had there transmission replaced last year at the lexus dealership that I go to and my car was the first this year at that dealership. Just a heads up when you leave in the morning and you don't let your vehicle warm up the transmission will malfunction sooner or later. At this point my vehicle performance has deminished and I am once again returning my vehicle to the service department to check the engine and transmission again. By the way the "Check Engine" light did not come on to let me know ahead of time there was a problem with the transmission!!! The service manager told me that the check engine light would come on if I had any problems with the engine or any other mechanical malfunction but I guess that wasn't true at all my new transmission proves that. So please beware of these issue and pay attention to the acceleration of your vehicle and gear changing.

B. Jiles

Well here I am, back again with an update to my 2008 ES 350 post of March 29th. I had my 1,000 mile service. The brakes were chattering drastically after picking up the car with 12 MILES on it. They said they would take care of it at the 1,000 mile service. The mechanic said I BURNED the brake rotors form misuse. I went ballistic. After a heated exchange with asst. service manager, I was told MY PRICE for the repair would be over 600.00. After MORE arguing, they relented and said that they would talk to the Lexus regional manager for a "good will" repair. Since when does one need "good will" when the brakes were DEFECTIVE FROM THE START! That was 30 days ago and I STILL haven't heard back from the dealer after many promises. Back to my original complaint, I still have the knocking engine noise when the engine is cold and I was told my the service manager that this is "Piston Slap" (imagine metal slapping metal), is "NORMAL" and is common in this engine design....pardon me....but WHAT A CROCK! I am now starting to get the miscellaneous rattles spoken of by other posters. I have one in the upper left side of the sunroof, one from the center console lid, one around the shift lever (which I correct by pushing hard on the left side of the console with my leg), and one sqeeky sqeeky from the passenger seat underside when no one is sitting in it. I have also developed a loud "Ford like Whine" from the transmission when it gets hot. It is very pronounced in the passenger compartment. If this is the "Relentless Pursuit of Perfection" then my next car will be a used Yugo.

Creighton Howard

I thought I would write about my latest service experience with my 2007 ES 350 (bought new one year ago). My car seems to be the poster child for nearly every single problem reported here. Today, the dealer fixed the rattle in the sunroof area by removing the headliner and sunroof assembly and "insulating the glass sub-assembly". This was also my second visit for the infamous dash rattle coming from the windshield/IP interface. I was told I would need to return the vehicle at a later date so that they could remove the entire IP! As much as I cannot stand the dash rattle, I have a bad feeling that this "fix" will only create more rattles down the road. And, considering the number of black finger smudges all over the headliner from today's "work" I think I will just turn up the radio and live with the rattle. Oh, don't you love that piston slapping in the morning? It really does sound like an old diesel truck with one important difference. Diesels are supposed to sound like that! Pistons slapping around inside of the engine is the sound of metal hitting metal folks! I drive mine VERY carefully when it is cold praying that the engine will not self-destruct. This is my first and for darn sure my last Lexus product.


I picked up my new ES 350 on January 5, 2007. I have the model with the Ultra package. It has the Panarama roof. Less than 60 days after purchase I took it back to see what they could do about the paint chips in the hood. Mine is the Ruby Red. They said it was because of the roads. They told me I have probably been driving behind trucks that throw rocks up. It looks worse than my 2004 Acura Rl 3.5. Has anyone else had this problem?
Also, in May of this year, I went to work came out for lunch on a clear day and have a crack in the windshield. It starts at the top to right of center and drops about 9" and then comes over to the driver. I took it to a company that replaces glass and the looked at it and said it was a "stress fracture". There was no spider effect in the crack. Lexus said a rock hit my windshield. I said it was sitting in the parking lot without any bad weather conditions or yard guys working that day. Again, has anyone had this problem? The Lexus rep was rude and did not feel like they should do anything.

We purchased a new 2007 ES 350 in September 2006. The automobile drives and performs up to expectations. It too, has a valve tap sound when started and the sound lasts for about 1/4 miles. Our problem is in the brakes. The car only has 35,000 miles on it and the rotors have been machined twice as of today. They wanted to charge us for the second machining but did not. (The service personnel wanted to question my wife's braking habits until we told them the 1998 Honda Accord ES she had driven up until purchasing the Lexus, had 166,000 miles on it and only two brake jobs during that time.)

Are other owners experiencing a similar problem?

Nancy G

I purchased my 2007 es 350 in November 2006. I have the same noise in the engine at start up which really is annoying. My car is black sapphire which is really a deep blue, and the hood has pitted paint chips all other. I owned a 2001 es300 prior to my 2007 and never experienced these problems. My dealer as well told me that I must have been behind trucks to cause the paint chips. My brother had a 2007 gs350, (2 months old) and the paint began to peel off, The dealer would not do anything, so they lost money, had it repainted and traded it in for a corvette. Lexus needs to deal with all these problems everyone is having. Needless to say, my next car will not be a lexus.


Have 2007 ES 350 recently experienced lack of heat on cold days when climate control is in Auto. Fan does not even come on at lowest setting until close to full operating temp. Dealer says this is normal but why did I not experience this other winters?

Bill C.

I purchased a new 2007 Lexus ES 350 from a dealer. Almost from day one, there is a mysterious rattling noise from the front left corner of the sunroof. By means of this site, I have learned that other owners have also experienced this ghostly knocking noise that comes and goes. I brought my car to the dealer who tried to fix it, but the noise is still there. I will be bringing the car in again a second time to the dealer, but I am interested in hearing from the owners who previously wrote about this issue and whether they have finally got the rattling noise from the sunroof eliminated and how:
- from Scott (Mar 29, 2007)
- from John (Oct 20, 2007)
- from Frank (Apr 3, 2008)
- from Jeff (May 2, 2008)
- from Howard (May 8, 2008)

Thank you.

Irene P

I purchased a Lexus es350 in November of 06. I live in Vancouver, Canada and it is always cold in the morning. I have gone in about 4 times to complain about engine noises, and I have been accused of hearing things AND having A PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPAIRMENT. They blatantly said I had mental issues and said I was crazy. I can't believe it. After about the fourth time I have gone in to complain, one young individual finally heard the sound we were talking about, however after talking to the managers he told me nothing could be done about this. There is 45 000km on my car right now, and I have been hearing this sound for over a year. This is absolutely ridiculous, where is the 5 star service i paid for! Lexus has been a disappointment. They are really SNOBBY lawnmower salesmen claiming to have the best service and the best cars. Something needs to be done about this.


It sucks that everyone is having these problems. Everytime I see the new commercial for the ES, I think of this thread and it makes me laugh. I know those cards would totally fall when they start that car, lol.



I’ve owned a 2007 ES 350 for slightly more than two years and have 45,000 miles on it.

The transmission is not intuitive at all. It bangs hard because it always wants to downshift and/or does not respond to accelerating.

The car shimmies badly when decelerating from 50 MPH or higher. Likely due to the terrible weight distribution.

There is a chrome trim surrounding the gearbox. However, the early to mid-afternoon sun reflects right into my eyes. I have to keep my hand on the gear shifter to block the sun.

The wood parts of the steering wheel have no grip. This has been a problem on occasion.

The sunglass holder above the rear view mirror is useless.

The storage box between the front two seats opens too easily when I enter the car and my elbow hits the release, or just when I rest my arm on it.

The interior does not look like that of a luxury vehicle.

The ride is uninspiring to say the least. Toyota has actually successfully designed and built a quality American boat of a car.

They put very cheap, soft tires on. They wore out in about 32,000. This is a significant added expense within two years of purchase.

The vehicle has been trouble free. However, isn’t that to be expected in a luxury car? I did not do the services because this is a sham. For example, the first service included tightening the bolts. HUH? Didn’t they tighten them before the vehicle left the factory?

This is just an oversized and overpriced Camry. These annoyances should not be present in a $40,000 vehicle. I will not purchase another one.

Save $$$$. Buy the Camry.

Kevin N

Late night as was driving home from church the low oil pressure light came on. About a mile down the road the low oil level light came on. Then came the loud clicking! The sound of a engine starving for lubrication. As soon as I got home the car had emptied itself of oil. All this happened within 3 miles and 10 minutes. I have heard rumours of gasket problems. The undecarriage is covered with oil, the engine empty. Any thoughts?

Interesting comments. I've owned my 2007 ES350 since May, 2006 when it first came on the market. I have not had any major issues with it: noises, knocking, misaligned doors and panels, quality, workmanship, leaking moon roofs, poor heating and ventilation, etc..

Lighting quality is far better than most other cars I've sat in: Toyota Camry 1991, 1995, Corolla 1985, 2003, Sequoia, Highlander, Honda Civic, Accord, CRV, Ford Escort, VW Passat, BMW3 series, Lincoln Aviator, Navigator.

The quality of leather is preferred to all the others I've seen.

Between my 2007 VW Passat and 2007 ES 350, the road handling on the VW is superior for acceleration and braking distance.

Between my 2007 VW Passat and 2007 ES 350, design and styling, the ES 350 wins.

VW Passat has some electrical glitches with warning signals that come one. Lexus has poor battery performance.

Ultimately, the type of car and style depends on a person's personal taste and what they are happy with. You need to sit behind the wheel and decide for yourself. Everyone's choice will be different or there would only be one kind of car on the market.

The ES 350 design was on the market first in 2006. Everyone else followed. Most recent of which is the Buick La Crosse. People who have harsh things to say about the Lexus would be free to go buy the La Crosse.

Have fun driving ... :)


My 2007 ES350 is back at Lexus for the 4th time.
I have had intermittent starting issues since May 09. (The check sequence occurs and the dashboard says Check Completed but the car doesn't "turn over.") This problem will not duplicate for the dealer. The additional new problem is that the radio/clock won't come on sometimes when you start the car and then will come on in about a minute or two. We purchased the car in NJ brand new off the floor and then moved to Florida. I cannot believe they can't find the answer to this. Also they are not "mechanics" now, they are "computer technicians." Isn't there a main onboard computer that they can "plug" into and get a showing of all the starts of the vehicle and non starts? I have 2000 with 105,000 miles on it that has only had routine maintence for 10 years and just put in the 3rd battery in the life of the car. 10 years!!!!! Thats why we bought this 2007. I just can't believe they have never seen this problem before. The tow truck driver said this happens to the Prius's all the time................


As I read this chain, it appears that there is still no fix from Lexus for the injector tapping noise when the engine is cold. Has anyone gotten any action?

Also, I am entertained by those who complain of the ride, interior appearance, space, etc of a car they purchased. If you don't sit in a car and study it and drive for a significant time before the purchase, then you can't complain about these obvious things. Did they buy it by mail order?


I too have a 2007 ES350 but I absolutely hate the engine knocking it has at start up and until it warms up to "operating temp" According to LEXUS, this is normal for the ES350 engines. Being an ex-mechanic, that cannot be normal. Why didnt it knock when it was Brand New?
Why cant Lexus come out with an answer of WHY it knocks and how long do we have to deal with it? Its pretty embarrassing when you pull up next to a BMW or Mercedes...Hell for that matter a freakin Chevy Cobalt.
Does anybody have info on the engine at over....100,000 or 200,000 miles? Please share!

Ellen Kurtti

Secretary of Transportation Ray La Hood:

Reference: My 2007 Lexus ES 350 on the recall for floor mats and pedal of the accelerator.

Incident happened 2/1/10 12 PM EST

Place: Ashland, OH 44805
Bill Harris GM dealership

I pulled into the parking lot of the GM dealership and all of a sudden my LEXUS ES350 (2007)accelerated so high that I thought it would go through the plate glass window of the dealership.
I STOOD on the brakes and got the car into neutral. It rocked back and forth after I put it into neutral with people watching this happen. They thought that I was going through the plate glass window into the showroom. The witnesses ,David Harris at Bill Harris Dealership phone # 419-289-2000, and other people saw me and the mess I was in with the Lexus.
The car was towed to Germain Lexus of Easton in Columbus, OH by Lexus ,per Kawena D O'Campo, supervisor of service specialists. She told me to rent a vehicle and pay for it myself up to 50.00 per day. It will be 2 weeks until I get my money back for the rental,if I furnished a proof of rental and send it to FAX # 310-381-6225 to her attention.

I talked with Jan in service at the Lexus Dealership in Columbus. She told me to "get in line since there are a lot of people with the same problem with the mats." I did NOT have the mats in the car. My husband, an automotive engineer, took the mats OUT of the car when we got the letter from Lexus about the mats and the pedal on our Lexus in which they would send us ANOTHER letter when the time came for the fix in April 2010!!!!

How could it be the mats or the pedal since there were NOT any mats in the car. I did NOT have my foot on the pedal since I was coasting to the parking spot when the engine went "crazy".

Toyota is NOT doing what needs to be done for us. We are humans and would like to be safe.

We adopted 3 children 10 years ago and now I have to worry about them in a car that we thought was good and safe. I am afraid to drive it now even when we get it back.

Please help us, we need protection from the Toyota/Lexus Corp. They do not care about our safety and do not listen to the people who have to drive these potential death traps.

Ellen L. Kurtti
Gary R. Kurtti


LoL people say Lexus is the greatest most perfect flawless brand, and heres proof finally of them being such typical toyota cost cutting.


I love my es350....

lots of es

I have a 2007 es350...this is my fourth lexus ES...the last one, a es330, was the best in terms of fit and finish, but with a lousy tranny....this one definitely has a great tranny, and the 6 speed yields over 30 mph on the highway. the problems are really basic quality...dumb things like the dumb interior lights - use the mirror lights to see - the dumb center console, not as big as the prior ones...I find that the VSC light comes on with snow chains, and the alignment is useless....I like the bluetooth and the sound system....I didnt bother with NAV, as a great gps now costs under $200...the car is reliable and the dealer is thoughtful. the dealer immediately replaced my brakes at 40K when I told him that the car shimmied badly when braking at higher charge..of course, they have a tech service bulletin on lousy rear brake pads, which they havent let owners know about....the cold engine knock is similar to my other models, which tended to knock going up hill at slower speeds...this car could be a lot better, but is pretty nice for the price....Toyota should give some serious attention to making their flagship worth saluting!!


Last year I bought a 2007 ES350 with 43,000 km as I wanted a quiet, comfortable and dependable luxury car. It has been a very good car in general with two exceptions; engine tapping noise and road noise. While I noticed no engine noise that first summer, once colder weather arived , the engine tapping noise became evident upon startup. The dealer reply was that it was normal. It is embarassing to drive with that diesel-like sound. It is sad that Lexus has allowed that flaw to persist without a recall.

The other issue is the amount of road/tire noise intruding into the interior at highway speeds. There seems to be insufficient door insulation as well as a poorly fitting door seal. Dealer was not able to fix the problem.

Seriously considering selling the car and looking at other comparable brands.


omar i think u have to let the car heat up first the same go for mine 2007 es 350


wayne i have the same problem with the break n road noise it suck n my car only have 36000 miles


There is a lot of comments on this. (for Kicking Tires) And a lot of of complaints too! From my experience, it's not that bad.


I have a es350 07. Cannot keep tires on it. Any ideas?

Nick Sakatos

I have had my 2007 ES350 to the dealer 4 times to report excessive engine (tapping)
noise. First reported as injector noise, timing change, this is normal, and the latest is that the rings & pistons when cold have more clearance then expand during warmup.

I have read the various reports from other owners.






I'm shocked to read all of the problems with the ES 350. I purchased my ES 350 Jan 3, 2007 from Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis Maryland. I currently hav 73,000 miles on the car and have not had any of the many posted issues except for the low lighting in the cabin and backseat.

When I get in my car at 5am in the morning, I don't let the car heat up, I just turn it on, put it in drive and pull out of my driveway. Once again, no issues with the car whatsoever.

Bill in Big D

We leased our ES350 in May, 2007. Today was the third time I've taken the car in for the diesel noise problem when cold. This is also the third time they told me it's normal and there's nothing to worry about. Here's a quote from the service form: "Verified client concern at 7:35am on 4/12/11... Experienced cold engine clearance issue... Cold engine clearance is the normal measured clearance between bi-metals of internal engine parts... When metal is cold it shrinks...
When it heats up it expands... The condition heard and described by client is considered normal".

Have you ever heard such double-talk in your life? The service guy said I could complain to the regional service rep but he would tell me the same thing. He also told me that Lexus is quite aware of this issue but elected back in 2006 or 2007 to do nothing about it.

This will be my last Lexus and I told the service manager that today. They ended up giving me a free oil change and a tank of gas. Better than nothing, I guess. We considered buying the car at the end of our lease next month, but after today we'll pass.

jerry foy

Was checking info on upgrading my 2007 Lexus ES350 navigation system and ended up routed into a rash of issues over the navigational system. Although I don't think Lexus has a great navigation system, so what. It's still a great car. I have traveled thru several states with no problem, guided me right where I wanted to go. I think the younger generation is hung up on modern electronics where they feel they must have (while driving) communications, ipod, iphone, ipad, iguidance, all sorts whistle, bells, entertainment sound system that destroys ear drums and other major distractions. What happened to car basics? Or, reading a map? Trying to destroy the reputation of a manufacturer over a nav system is real whining. Wasn't far back when we had to repair at least one tire every 100 miles, do a valve job every 40 - 60 K, full tune up twice a year and hope the body doesn't separate from the chassis and many other things. Now all we have to complain about is ithis and ithat!

GF san diego, CA


I purchased 07 es350 and I love it. Came out of a 99 es300 and thought I would never get rid of this car.Ithad 127000 with no issues. I dont have a problem with the 350 and the dimming cabin lights i think are a classy touch. I love my lexus


I owe an ES350 and I have had issue from day#1 about the headlights turning off after a couple of minutes of being ON.I can't believe there isn't a recall for this. I've searched the net and there's a lot of people with the same issue. The driver's armrest box open all the time by just putting my elbow. I hear the tapping motor noise every morning..The glove compartment opens by itself from time to time. The tire sensor turned on just when the tire blew kinda despite all this I'm overall happy with the car. My 06 Honda Accord EXL was as good as this one but way cheaper..


I love my ESS350!! Purchaed the car in April of 2010 with 33,000 miles it now has 85,000 miles on it and still runs like new! Yea I do get the knocking noise on cold days but I let the car warm up for a couple of minutes before taking off and the noise is gone. Change rear brakes last year dealer wanted close to $300, the ES350 has disk brakes all around so they are extreamly easy to replace so $50 for high performance dust free pads and a hour of my time is all it took to get the break issue resolved. I am a true gear head and I can find no real gripes with this car the styling and performance is great for a mid sized sport touring sedan (thats what the 350 really is)The navigation system could use a few tweeks here and there and the center console can get annoying at times when I hit the button by accident those are the only cons I have about the car. The dealeship treats me like a king when I take the car in for maintence very satisfied with my purchase I consider it a steal because of the price I paid for the car guess that was a benifit paying cash for the car. Oh and by the way the ES 350 will outrun the IS250 raced friend that purchased his IS a month before I purchased my ES we raced on the freeway and I SMOKED him!! He says at time he wishes he purchased the ES350 but that's just because of the interor space (he's 6'3) this ES is the best car I have purchased in a long time well next to my Nissan 300Z.

LA Lexus

Bought the 2008 Lexus brand new and have always kept up the regular maintenance. There are two issues: 1) the spare tire air pressure goes down whenever the temperature goes below 40-degree and the tire pressure light will be lit. 2) tire life is too short. My car has less than 30,000 miles and needs the second set of new tires now. Shouldn't we expect more from Lexus?


Hello, I recently bought a 2009 Lexus ES350, and this is my third Lexus. This is the first time I am hearing a loud tapping noise on start-up. It only happens on acceleration, and as the car warms up it turns into a rattle-like (diesel) noise. I have taken my car to the Lexus dealership 3 times and they are essentially saying that this is the normal sound due to some new VVTI technology. I refuse to believe that this is normal. The engine noise is extremely annoying and embarrassing. I am wondering if anyone has found a solution to this problem. I see that many of you have posted this same complaint. Some say it is due to the fuel injection, piston, valves, etc.... Is there a way to fix this? If you have had this same problem, and your car is now fixed, please advise. If there is no solution to this problem, I will never buy a Lexus again. Thanks. Mrs. Harris


My 2007 Lexus Es 350 has the tapping noise for the first 5-10 from a cold start also..... dealer has no solution and neither does Lexus... yes, I am getting the run around

craig donahue

I own a mercedes 2004 mercedes cl500 and 2001 jaguar vandenplas and my daughter 2007 es350. The lexus uses very cheap leather on it's seats and arm rest. Same thing with 2010 rx350 I test drove. After driving daughters lexus from Atlanta to Tampa, my elbow was so sore from cheap arm rest leather,that I needed a towel to cover it!

Mohammed Alsubaiei

The noise during ES350 cold start sometimes could be due to VVIT gear. My 2008 Lexus just experienced this and the dealr is recommending a replacement. That comes at a cost of $1800 or so. My car has logged around 52,000. Not happy with that. But othe than this, I love my car.

Christopher Hulser

Wow. Tappet noise got you down? Embarrassed by the noise?!? Oy vey. I can guarantee you the pistons aren't slapping. Your engine would seize up after 15 to 30 seconds of metal to metal contact. That's why the pistons are bolted to the they don't go "crazy" and hit the valves. My family has owned 12 Lexi since 1997. All kinds...ES, IS, GS, RX, SC. Never had any mechanical problems. Isn't that what counts? Interior lighting may be better in a Taurus, and that will come in handy when you need to call a tow truck. And you can't compare a BMW to a Lexus. BMW is built for performance. Lexus is built for comfort. If you don't mind a rough ride and a bland, boring interior, buy the BMW. And for all of you who still hold on to the belief of unintended acceleration, there hasn't been one proven case yet. Against Toyota/Lexus, or Audi. And I am talking about independent mechanical tests. Not court cases. The unfortunate truth is some people get confused and accelerate instead of braking. Remember, there are over 200 million people driving in the United States. The few cases you hear about are people being human. Think about this: when you are driving a car with an automatic transmission, your engine is always running when you brake. Your brakes stop your forward momentum even though your car is in gear and your engine is running. So even if your engine is idling at 5000 rpms, it makes no difference. Your brakes will still stop your car.

And I agree with that guy about the grammar. Are all of you people drug dealers? Considering how much our society relies on the written word, and the proliferation of texting, you would think people could spell. Take the time to proofread your comments. It's hard to take your comments seriously when you sound dumber than a fifth grader.

I purchased 07 es350 and I love it

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