Lexus RX Owners Manual (RX450h): Utility vehicle precautions

Lexus RX Owners Manual (RX450h) / Driving / Driving tips / Utility vehicle precautions

This vehicle belongs to the utility vehicle class, which has higher ground clearance and narrower tread in relation to the height of its center of gravity.

Utility vehicle feature

  • Specific design characteristics give it a higher center of gravity than ordinary passenger cars. This vehicle design feature causes this type of vehicle to be more likely to rollover. And, utility vehicles have a significantly higher rollover rate than other types of vehicles.
  • An advantage of the higher ground clearance is a better view of the road allowing you to anticipate problems.
  • It is not designed for cornering at the same speeds as ordinary passenger cars any more than low-slung sports cars are designed to perform satisfactorily under off-road conditions. Therefore, sharp turns at excessive speeds may cause the vehicle to rollover.

WARNING

■ Utility vehicle precautions Always observe the following precautions to minimize the risk of death, serious injury or damage to your vehicle:

  • In a rollover crash, an unbelted person is significantly more likely to die than a person wearing a seat belt. Therefore, the driver and all passengers should always fasten their seat belts.
  • Avoid sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers, if at all possible.

    Failure to operate this vehicle correctly may result in loss of control or vehicle rollover causing death or serious injury.

  • Loading cargo on the roof luggage carrier will make the center of the vehicle gravity higher. Avoid high speeds, sudden starts, sharp turns, sudden braking or abrupt maneuvers, otherwise it may result in loss of control or vehicle rollover due to failure to operate this vehicle correctly.
  • Always slow down in gusty crosswinds. Because of its profile and higher center of gravity, your vehicle is more sensitive to side winds than an ordinary passenger car.

    Slowing down will allow you to have better control.

  • Do not drive horizontally across steep slopes. Driving straight up or straight down is preferred. Your vehicle (or any similar off-road vehicle) can tip over sideways much more easily than forward or backward.

Off-road driving

Your vehicle is not designed to be driven off-road. However, in the event that off-road driving cannot be avoided, please observe the following precautions to help avoid the areas prohibited to vehicles.

  • Drive your vehicle only in areas where off-road vehicles are permitted to travel.
  • Respect private property. Get owner's permission before entering private property.
  • Do not enter areas that are closed. Honor gates, barriers and signs that restrict travel.
  • Stay on established roads. When conditions are wet, driving techniques should be changed or travel delayed to prevent damage to roads.
  • Avoid driving on very steep, slippery roads and other surfaces, such as sand, where the tires are liable to lose traction. Your vehicle may not perform as well as conventional AWD on-road vehicles on these surfaces.

 

■ Additional information for off-road driving

For owners in U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Puerto Rico:

To obtain additional information pertaining to driving your vehicle off-road, consult the following organizations.

  • State and Local Parks and Recreation Departments
  • State Motor Vehicle Bureau
  • Recreational Vehicle Clubs
  • U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management

WARNING

■ Off-road driving precautions Always observe the following precautions to minimize the risk of death, serious injury or damage to your vehicle:

  • Drive carefully when off the road. Do not take unnecessary risks by driving in dangerous places.
  • Do not grip the steering wheel spokes when driving off-road. A bad bump could jerk the wheel and injure your hands. Keep both hands and especially your thumbs on the outside of the rim.
  • Always check your brakes for effectiveness immediately after driving in sand, mud, water or snow.
  • After driving through tall grass, mud, rock, sand, rivers, etc., check that there is no grass, bush, paper, rags, stone, sand, etc. adhering or trapped on the underbody.

    Clear off any such matter from the underbody. If the vehicle is used with these materials trapped or adhering to the underbody, a breakdown or fire could occur.

  • When driving off-road or in rugged terrain, do not drive at excessive speeds, jump, make sharp turns, strike objects, etc. This may cause loss of control or vehicle rollover causing death or serious injury. You are also risking expensive damage to your vehicle's suspension and chassis.

NOTICE

■ To prevent water damage Take all necessary safety measures to ensure that water damage to the hybrid battery (traction battery), hybrid system or other components does not occur.

  • Water entering the engine compartment may cause severe damage to the hybrid system. Water entering the interior may cause the hybrid battery (traction battery) stowed under the rear seats to short circuit.
  • Water entering the hybrid transmission and rear electric motor (traction motor) will cause deterioration in transmission quality. The malfunction indicator may come on, and the vehicle may not be drivable.
  • Water can wash the grease from wheel bearings, causing rusting and premature failure, and may also enter the hybrid transmission case, reducing the gear oil's lubricating qualities.

■ When you drive through water If driving through water, such as when crossing shallow streams, first check the depth of the water and the bottom of the riverbed for firmness. Drive slowly and avoid deep water.

■ Inspection after off-road driving

  • Sand and mud that has accumulated around brake discs may affect braking efficiency and may damage brake system components.
  • Always perform a maintenance inspection after each day of off-road driving that has taken you through rough terrain, sand, mud, or water. For scheduled maintenance information, refer to the "Warranty and Services Guide/Owner's Manual Supplement/ Scheduled Maintenance".
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