Lexus Dash Lights problem

2012 Lexus GX460…great car…but dash lights keep coming on and going off…no obvious reason? 4LO and Check Engine lights come on for 1-2 days with no other symptoms, then go out. One thing we notice is that the gear shifter seems to be harder to shift, and the gear indicator on dash panel does not display…Weird…then lights go out and everything else is fine.
Every now and then the car will lock up in 4LO…it can’t be driven. Then lights go out and all is fine.
Sometimes we loosen gas cap or add gas, and that fixes.

This seems to be somewhat common among toyotas(??)…any remedies out there?

What did your mechanic tell you when you had him diagnose the problem?


What mechanic?

Maybe you have a bad shift motor.

The Toyota Dealer said it was an actuator inside the Transfer Case…had to replace the whole thing for $6000. Looking for another option

Option 1) Live with it. Cost Free
Option 2) Take it to an independent mechanic, maybe a transmission specialty shop (no chains!) for a second opinion and estimate. Cost…Who knows? But likely less the the dealer.


I think the main “problem” here is the OP doesn’t want to pay luxury car repair bills…

I agree, either get a second opinion from a non-dealer, or learn to live with the issue.

Or trade in the car on something else.

I have a 4WD Ford truck, but no experience with Lexus 4WD. So what you are hearing is the best way to replace failing transfer-case actuator is to replace entire transfer case? hmmm … could be I guess, maybe there’s less labor. Or maybe dealer is aware that when that actuator fails, often other xfer case problems lurking. I think what I’d do if I had that problem myself is ask the shop if it might be worth a try just draining and replacing the xfer case fluid. Or ask the shop if it is possible to configure the car so it only uses 2WD mode.

There have been some recent posts here at Car Talk forums about 4WD hub actuator problems. But don’t recall many about xfer case actuators. OP, you could search through the forum history here, posts about this problem. Search link is upper right this page.

How would that fix the burned out electric solenoid/motor on the actuator?

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They say the case must be taken apart to replace shift motor assy. So, lots of labor. Even if part is $500 alone the labor will 2x-3X bill

Ahhh you never mention this before I asked. If you are looking for options, don’t you think people need to know, options for what? DA.

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Of course it wouldn’t. Has a burned out solenoid diagnoses been made? I thought the OP said the problem was intermittent?

Thank you for your comments…and yes the dash lights problem is very sporadic…it might be off for weeks…then come on for several hours…then go out again.
Car drives fine when lights are out…but very hard to shift the gear stick when they are on