Home » The Lexus Dealership Service Experience Is Supposed To Be The Best. So I took My Girlfriend’s Boring RX 350 In To Test It Out

The Lexus Dealership Service Experience Is Supposed To Be The Best. So I took My Girlfriend’s Boring RX 350 In To Test It Out

David Lexus Service Ts
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Lexus’ service experience is legendary. The brand has been ranked number one in JD Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index for multiple years, and if you talk with Lexus owners, they’ll tell you all about it. Owners drop their vehicles off at the dealership — who valets the vehicle and offers coffee and a seamless experience — and then go about their day in a nice loaner, only to return, pay the bill, and then drive around in a car that never breaks. I just experienced a Lexus service first-hand, and yeah, it’s pretty damn good. But also a bit painful — at least, for me.

Here’s a quote from JD Power’s study from last year:

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Highest-Ranking Brands and Segments

Lexus ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among all brands for a second consecutive year, with a score of 900. Porsche (880) ranks second in the premium segment, followed by Cadillac (879) and Infiniti (878).

So when my girlfriend invited me along for a visit to her dealer, I decided to check it out.

Though I haven’t spent much time experiencing dealership service (since I do my own work), I will say that the whole thing was short and sweet. My girlfriend had called the dealership, they’d scheduled her for an appointment, and we arrived at the dealer Friday morning l.

There was a guard shack; the man inside let us in with a smile and a wave:

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My girlfriend pulled up to the Lexus store, a gentleman valeted her RX, and we met our service advisor, who guided us in.

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He took us to his desk, where he showed us the RX’s service schedule. “Here’s what your car is going to have done the next few times you come in,” he told us, “and here’s how much it’s going to cost.”

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It was incredibly transparent. He told us which parts were going to be replaced, how much those parts would cost, how much labor would cost, and when Lexus recommends it all gets done.

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By the way, the vehicle’s full maintenance schedule is available online. You just type in your car, choose whether it’s four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive in a drop-down menu, specify how many miles are on the vehicle, and you’ll get a list of items Lexus recommends doing/checking:

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This is all fairly straightforward stuff, here; it’s a lot of inspection, replacement of easy stuff like filters and oil, and tire rotations. It’s worth mentioning that not every dealer visit is that simple; the 60,000 mile visit involves a sparkplug change (rather expensive given replacing plugs on a transverse-engine V6 is such a chore, requiring intake manifold removal):

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Anyway, my girlfriend and I spent maybe five minutes at the service advisor’s desk, where we nodded our heads, agreed to the service, and then left to get some free snacks in front of the greatest television of all time: a transparent wall into the service bay.

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I raided the snacks counter and grabbed a can of early-morning Coca-Cola, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, who would prefer I not ingest sugary carbonated beverages so that I, you know, don’t die earlier than necessary.423147748 1756931151450704 1213338655914091192 N

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With my teeth actively rotting, I joined my girlfriend at the “Courtesy Vehicles” counter, where we were handed the reins to a nice Lexus NX:

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The dealer did a quick inspection of the vehicle, handed us the keys, and we were off to do whatever we had planned for the day. Looking at the timestamps on my photos, the whole thing in-and-out took 20 minutes, and that was with us eating snacks, taking photos of the inside, and gazing at the cars being serviced through that glass wall.

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After a day at work, my girlfriend and I swung by the dealership, handed over the NX keys to the service advisor in exchange for the RX keys, my girlfriend signed some papers and shoved her card into a card-reader. And boom, we were done. But of course, I wanted to have a bit of a look around. Turns out, they have computers for customers — both PCs and Macs:

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They also have a little children’s section, though it’s smaller than the one at Galpin Honda:

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But the best part of the dealership is the glass window (Porsche Santa Clarita has one, too; I’ll need to show you that sometime, because that place makes even this Lexus dealer look like straw-roofed shack):

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I sat there for a while, staring at cars, drinking a hot chocolate (a free one; those taste better than not-free ones) that my silly self later spilled all over the table and floor. It was honestly quite pleasant. The dealer even vacuumed and washed the vehicle, and left this little note inside:

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“They make it a really nice seamless experience in a comfortable environment, and I usually get a really nice loaner, which is fun. It’s just really easy to go there,” my girlfriend tells me, going on to say that the people who work there are always really nice.

She’d for months been talking about how she actually enjoys taking her car to her Lexus dealer, so I had to tag along this time to see what the heck she was talking about. Nobody enjoys having their car serviced!

But now that I’ve seen the process myself: I get it. It’s so clean. So simple. So quick. So transparent. If you’re not tight on funds, I could see how you might enjoy it.

Speaking of transparency, here’s everything that the dealer inspected:

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The front brake pads that I replaced are looking good. I haven’t yet replaced the rears, and that’s noted in the inspection document.

If anything is unclear, there’s this app that my girlfriend uses to check out what’s been serviced and what it all costs:

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On some level, I have to admit, this experience was a bit painful. The service isn’t cheap, and it involves some really basic stuff that I can do myself. I can replace a cabin air filter with my hands tied behind my back, and I can do it for probably $35. I can inspect suspension and clean battery terminals and rotate tires and change oil. I can do it all for probably $100. I could save us $300:

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Luckily, I was able to convince my girlfriend to let me change the 12-volt battery, which the dealer had tested and found to be marginal. $260 for a 12-volt battery replacement? Screw that. I’ll do it for $150, and we’ll spend the $110 on some toys for our Jeep kittens.

But alas, my girlfriend likes having the car serviced at the dealer, and from a resale standpoint, I get that. She plans to part ways with this machine in a couple of years, and it will be the most incredible maintained vehicle I’ve ever known, and that’ll all be documented in Lexus’ computers for the next prospective buyer to see. The car will probably only have 60,000 miles on the clock by then, and will likely remain on America’s roads until we all make the Great Hovercraft Changeover in a century or so.

So it’s not cheap, and I have to grit my teeth seeing her pay for things that I could do for a song, but the overall experience is pretty damn pleasant otherwise. Zero bullshit. So if this were Mythbusters, and the myth was “Taking your car in for service at a Lexus dealership is actually a pretty seamless experience,” the myth would be: Confirmed. Well, maybe because this was just a singular data point, we’ll drop it to “Plausible.”

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FloridaNative
FloridaNative
1 month ago

$260 to swap the battery isn’t that bad of a deal. A good aftermarket battery will probably set you back $200 for just the battery.

Eduardo Kaftanski
Eduardo Kaftanski
1 month ago

My father has a 2018 RH450h. His left side mirror glass was loose. They quoted him about US$2400 for the complete mirror, even though the broken part was just the internals and the glass and exterior of the mirror was perfect.

I found I could replace just the mechanism buying it directly from Lexus for about US$800.

But then I found out that the motor that moves the glass is the same part as a Toyota Highlander.. and I bought the piece on eBay for about US$50… it came in a nice Toyota box and I replaced it in about 15 minutes with just a screwdriver.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago

I informed my independent Volvo mechanic about the pedicures that the Lexus dealer offers, he pointed me to one of his cordless angle grinders and said ‘go for it’

Torque
Torque
1 month ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Ha that’s a good sense of humor right there, I like your Volvo mechanic 🙂

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago
Reply to  Torque

He also tries to lock the door before I can get in, not sure if a joke or not

Torque
Torque
1 month ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Perhaps he just loves your car more than you do… some might say TOO MUCH 😉
Ala Seinfeld > Puddy the mechanic

Dug Deep
Dug Deep
1 month ago

I bought a used car off of a large BMW lot, but it needed a new windshield (not really, it was a pretty damn good windshield from my perspective, but what the hey) that hadn’t been installed yet. So they kept it for a weekend and gave me a brand new 2 series as a loaner. Great, but the 20 page loaner contract was a bit intimidating, and the longer I had the loaner the more I felt like I had custody of a borrowed Faberge egg. It was a huge relief to get my cheap used car back.

Jake Baldridge
Jake Baldridge
1 month ago

I think Lexus (and to some extent Volvo) have this figured out. When the experience is THIS painless, I will pay more. If there’s even slightly more friction (such as when I try to get my local BMW dealer to do anything), then I would rather take it to an Indy or do it myself. Our Volvo dealer will pick up the car, leave a free loaner, do their work, vacuum/wash, then return it. I never have to do anything. That’s worth spending $70 extra on a cabin air filter.

Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain
1 month ago

My wife has a Volvo, and I get to take it in when it needs doing (she’s busier and more important than I am). The time before last they were re-building the Volvo building, so I had to take it into the Porsche building. Man, that was a fun morning, getting to watch them service the Porsche’s! Also, whenever you go in they give you a voucher for the little cult-run coffee house across the street. Cultish? Yes. Delicious? Also yes.

Homunculus Rex
Homunculus Rex
1 month ago
Reply to  Douglas Lain

Cult run coffee house you say? This wouldn’t happen to be a Yellow Deli would it? We’ve got one of those outposts of the Twelve Tribes where I live too. Enjoy the food just don’t get too chatty with the staff.

Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain
1 month ago
Reply to  Homunculus Rex

Nah, oneshot down here in Cincy. The Madison Place. Good food, good coffee, not great company…

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
1 month ago

The glass window is nice, but Zagame Automotive in Melbourne (Australia) has a glass window looking into the work bays at their panel shop that is probably 100 metres long, and the work bays look like the sort of clean rooms where satellites are assembled.

They handle all the top end brands, including Singer, Pagani, Morgan, McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari and Lamborghini, and track day toys like TDF, Rodin and Praga. It’s an odd experience looking down through the windows opposite the work bays and see hundreds of cars lined up, where the most boring cars are rows of Huracans. First time I went there for work I saw 3 Paganis, a Koenigsegg and a Morgan Aeromax, and at the time I didn’t know any had even made it to Australia.

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