With its comfortable ride, quiet interior and lavish amenities, the Lexus ES provides big luxury car feel and refinement in a manageably sized package. The ES is also quick and yet sparing with fuel. Valuing ride quality over handling, agility is not a strong suit. Consequently, the ES idoes not try to be fun to drive. However, it is one of the best riding cars in its class.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2012 Lexus ES has been recalled 3 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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07*
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 329,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2020 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Lexus ES owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Calipers

"Just normal maintenance repair"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"caliper(one side) malfunctioned and wore out the brake pad."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
Normal routine brake wear

"high cost to repair and replace"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)

"speaks for itself"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)

"brake pads needed replacement."

Craig R., NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"Front and Real Brake Pads replaced. First time replaced both at 75,000 miles. I was pleased with the fact that this did not have to be done until this mileage."

Terry A., MD (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Pulsation or vibration

"Rotors were found to be warped so much that they could not be re-surfaced and had to be replaced. We believe this may have been due to hard braking during an accident."

Anonymous, MO (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Regular brake failure

"The brakes didn't work one time as I tried to stop. I just coasted to a stop without power. No damage to anything/ anyone, but scarey. Twice the radio wouldn't turn off after I turned off engine. Took it directly to dealer/I discovered if I turn eng"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Rotors

"Normal maintenance repair"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"hard breaking results in vibration felt in the brake peddle and steering wheel. The rotors need to be refinished to have flat surface. (haven't done this yet, so it is not really serious problem)"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)

"rust. Needed grinding. Live at the shore where air is laden with salt spray."

Craig R., NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"New phone iPhone does not connect to Bluetooth Rear. Back up camera does not work"

Anonymous, (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"'Nav system' is HORRIFIC. Rather than being gouged $2,600 for this piece of garbage, I could have paid Garmin $300 and gotten something world-class. Lexus senior mgmnt should have OUTSOURCED its nav system to a company that has a clue. Mgmnt doesn't"

Warren M., VA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The Nav system is inaccurate. The position of the car is not where shown. May be of 300’. A real pain in the city where the streets are close. The system needs calibration, but no one knows how. The problem is the odometer reads 1 mile 120’ short of a actual mile. As this system reads both gps and odometer for position this is probably the problem. The system in our Prius is right on. Different system."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"Unable to hear incoming calls or make outgoing calls"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Radio

"Radio channels could not be manually adjusted"

Anonymous, MS (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"Just discussed this in previous statement"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"These items are all related. It is like there is a loose wire at time sand the radio and navigation screen and voice commands (interrelated) just go off and go blank. It will come on perhaps after a while or a bump in the road and periodically go on and off. Then again it may work properly for a good while and then mysteriously go in and out again for a time. This is annoying but not critical to making the car operate. I have mentioned it to the dealer, but they have not been able to find the issue or repair it easily. On my part it is not something I want to put a lot of money into repairing. And any repair these days like that will probably be a few hundred dollars just to take the system apart and investigate or replace."

Terry A., MD (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"car pulls to the left even after checking alignment and tire pressures"

Martin M., ON (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"the car doesnt always seem to be tracking well - this can get a little scary on highway-speed turns. The alignment has been adjusted about 3 times since last fall."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Power steering leaks

"April 2020 at 86,000 miles, power steering fluid started to leak. In the process of replacing Power Steering Rack at present. $1000 repair with labor and parts."

Anonymous, TX (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
Shocks or struts

"Problem started six months prior to repair. I only paid for parts -- my son repaired it. only had to feed him!"

Anonymous, (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"I take my car to the dealer for regular maintenance. At the 75000 service they indicated that the rack and pinion steering was leaking and needed to be replaced as soon as possible. The estimated cost was about $3000. The car was beyond warranty. I looked into costs at private shops and estimates were about $2000 as well. Because I had regularly serviced my car at the dealer (with the same service manager) he contacted Lexus corporate and got them to pick of the entire cost of replacing the rack and pinon system. Kudos to Lexus and Lexus dealership. Lesson learned is that while servicing may be slightly more expensive with the dealership, when a regular customer and something is really needed they can and will go to bat for you for a repair that probably should not have happened. Their picking up the cost of the repair more than made up the slightly higher expenses of regular maintenance over the years."

Terry A., MD (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Steering wheel vibration

"There is a shimmy / vibration when using the brakes sometimes. This can be felt in the steering wheel and in the brake pedal."

Anonymous, (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
Tire wear is uneven

"I have been told my tires are wearing unevenly. It seems to be related to the alignment. However, all the alignment adjustments have not fixed the uneven tire wear patterns"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Car is low to ground and have had front bumper pull loose several times approaching high parking bumper, storm drain or speed bump. About $2,000 each time."

Ronald C., VA (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"dealer couldnt fix A-pillar problem after 6 visits; private repair facility fixed it the first time"

Anonymous, SC (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Just faded that's all"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The clear coat on both the hood and the trunk faded and did NOT protect the paint. It was/is abysmal."

Eduard H., GU (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Rust

"Noticed rust where paint was chipped off"

David B., TN (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveline vibration

"Had to have engine replaced"

Anonymous, (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
Driveshaft or axle

"Upon acceleration the front tires were taking turns getting traction. The right front axle was bad. You could not feel any of this while coasting though. Experienced mechanical personnel at two locations either did not diagnose the problem correctly and/or tried to sell me tires and a front end alignment which the car did not need"

John S., OH (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The drive shaft, according to Roundtree Toyota in Lake City Fl said the drive shaft had to be replaced. The car shakes when braking and does drive very well. Tire wears out quickly"

Edye B., FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Electrical failure

"Sometimes AC cooling stops after driving through standing water on roads."

Anonymous, TX (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"Warranty- Takata bags"

Anonymous, CO (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"recall"

Anonymous, TN (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"airbags on recall"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"Vehicle came with the Tikata airbag which was replaced by Lexus free of charge in 2017."

Max B., SC (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"leaking water pump"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Minor issue w/ weather stripping getting misaligned by door. Dealer corrected issue at 25000 mile checkup"

Anonymous, NM (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Clicking noise in right rear of car"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"The brake light in the center of the rear window shorted out."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Tire pressure monitor

"The tire light came on and wouldn't go off until I replaced a sensor, an expensive part"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The tire pressure warning light comes on and off routinely for no apparent reason"

Edye B., FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"Thermostat failed and automatic system would not maintain selected temperature"

Anonymous, IA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"This problem has existed since new and the dealer says they cannot find any cause for it. When using the heater cycle in the automatic mode - instead of just reducing the heat flow after it reaches the set temperature it blows large amounts of cold air into the car. Thus I have always had to use the system in manual mode and even then it blows cold air sometimes"

Anonymous, NE (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Evaporator

"Diagnosed with a leak resulting in low refrigerant. Evaporator replaced under extended warranty."

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Coil

"Coil had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Electronic ignition

"Push button ignition simply would not work. If I tried it repetedly it may start. Still not sure what's the cause. My wife thinks its unsafe to drive and its her car. Dealer could not repeat problem; hence not fixed. Very disappointed in Lexus."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Lexus ES 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Engine keeps going after I take foot off gas. It maintains a speed of about 25 km/hr without touching the gas pedal. This is troubling when trying to stop the car, I feel like I'm fighting for control of the car. Perhaps this is why fuel consumption is so bad - about 350 km per tank of mostly city driving. This is no different than the 2003 Camry I had. I thought they fixed that in the 10 years between cars."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Mirrors

"Lexus has a know issue with the mirror castings corroding and then drooling dirt down the door causing staining."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Compare 2012 Models

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:DRIVER SIDE:INFLATOR MODULE
Oct 17 2019
An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2010-2016 4Runner, 2003-2006 Tundra, 2003-2013 Corolla, 2009-2010 Corolla Matrix, 2004-2005 RAV4, 2002-2007 Sequoia, 2011-2013 Sienna, 2008-2012 Scion xB, 2008-2009 Lexus IS-F, 2007-2012 Yaris and Lexus ES350, 2010-2017 Lexus GX460, 2002-2010 Lexus SC430, 2006-2012 Lexus IS250 and IS350 and 2010-2015 Lexus IS250C and IS350C vehicles. These vehicles had their driver or passenger frontal air bag inflators previously replaced under a prior recall using inflators of the same design. The inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
Toyota will notify owners. Depending on the vehicle model, dealers will replace the front driver inflator, front passenger airbag inflator, the airbag assembly, or the front passenger airbag sub-assembly and inflator. The recall began November 20, 2019. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371 or Lexus customer service at 1-800-255-3987. Toyota's numbers for this recall are J0A, J0B, and J0C. Lexus' numbers for this recall are JLI, JLJ, and JLK.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V741000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 928220
AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:PASSENGER SIDE:INFLATOR MODULE
Jan 09 2019
An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2014-2016 Toyota 4Runner, 2014-2015 Scion xB, Lexus IS350C, IS250C, 2014 Toyota Sienna, Lexus IS-F, and 2014-2017 Lexus GX460 vehicles sold, or ever registered in the states of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands or "Zone A." Toyota is also recalling certain 2011-2013 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Lexus IS250, IS350, 2011-2016 4Runner, 2011-2015 Scion xB, Lexus IS350C, IS250C, 2011-2014 Toyota Sienna, Lexus IS-F, 2011-2017 Lexus GX460, and 2011-2012 Lexus ES350 vehicles ever registered in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia or "Zone B." Toyota is also recalling certain 2010-2013 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Lexus IS350, 2010-2016 4Runner, 2010-2013 Lexus IS250, 2010-2015 Scion xB, Lexus IS350C, IS250C, 2010-2017 Lexus GX460, 2010-2014 Lexus IS-F, and 2010-2012 Lexus ES350 vehicles ever registered in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming or "Zone C." These vehicles are equipped with air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules, used as original equipment or replacement equipment (such as after a vehicle crash necessitating replacement of the original air bags), that may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
Toyota will notify owners. Depending on the vehicle model, dealers will replace the front passenger air bag inflator, or replace the air bag assembly. The recall began February 15, 2019. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota's numbers for this recall are "Zone A" Toyota: G0P, Lexus: GLG; "Zone B" Toyota: G0R, Lexus GLH; "Zone C" Toyota: H0A, and Lexus: HLA.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V005000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1299448
AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:PASSENGER SIDE:INFLATOR MODULE
Jan 09 2017
An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2012 Toyota 4Runner, Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sienna, Yaris, Scion xB, Lexus ES350, GX460, IS-F, IS250, IS350, IS250C, IS350C, and Lexus LFA vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A." Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, Toyota is recalling certain 2009 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Yaris, Yaris HB, Scion xB, Pontiac Vibe, Lexus, ES350, IS250, IS350, and IS-F vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B." Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" or "Zone B" above, Toyota is recalling certain 2006-2008 Lexus IS250 and IS350, 2007-2008 Lexus ES350, Toyota Yaris, Yaris HB, and 2008 Lexus IS-F and Scion xB vehicles originally sold, or ever registered in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger frontal air bag, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.
What should you do:
Toyota will notify the Toyota, Scion and Lexus owners. General Motors will contact the Pontiac owners. Depending on the model, dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator or the air bag assembly, free of charge. The recall began on February 1, 2017. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331, or Pontiac customer service at 1-800-762-2737. Toyota's numbers for final remedy for this campaign are G0P (Toyota Zone A), G0R (Toyota Zone B), H0A (Toyota Zone C), GLG (Lexus Zone A), GLH (Lexus Zone B) and HLA (Lexus Zone C).
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 17V006000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 577875
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