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The Bad Idea to Buy Used Lexus Model

The latest about one of the worst Lexus models you can buy used according to a Toyota mechanic, plus his recommendation of the best Lexus sedan ever made that you really should buy instead.

Look Out for This Bad Lexus Deal

If you are looking to buy a used Lexus and found a 2011 LS 460 model with 70,000 miles on it and an older 2005 LS 430 model with twice the mileage on it, which would you buy right off the bat after a cursory examination and road test drive that made the newer LS 460 model look and feel like the better deal? The LS 460…right?

Not so fast.

All else appearing equal, the younger model with less miles on it, is a more attractive deal―especially if the price of the LS 460 is about the same or lower than the price of the LS 430. However, pricing sometimes should be at least one of many red flags for used car shoppers.

The Lexus LS 460 Warning

In an earlier article we learned about the best and the worst Lexus models to buy used.

Today, one of the worst Lexus models to buy was the subject of a recent Toyota Maintenance YouTube channel episode where the host explains once again why the LS 460 model should be avoided.

The Lexus LS 460 was a luxury flagship of Lexus among the 2007-2011 models that can be found surprisingly inexpensive in today’s used car market. The reason for this is due to multiple age-related repair issues that are high repair-cost items making this an up to six-figure premium used car. In fact, the brake system alone can run a small fortune in replacement and repairs.

The LS 460 Snowball Effect

Follow along with the host as he demonstrates what he refers to as a snowball effect that shows how one repair leads to multiple repairs and with it a repair bill that has gotten out of control.

In the video you will discover the LS 460 model’s penchant for:

  • Internal coolant leaks that require significant engine disassembly to get to.
  • Electric harness connector breaking problem.
  • Very expensive fuel injector cracking that leads to engine misfires.
  • Multiple fuel injector seals that have to be replaced every time a fuel injector is removed for inspection.
  • $10,000 in parts to remedy suspension problems.

This is The MOST Expensive Lexus Model to Repair and Own! Be Aware!


The Take Home Message of the Video

In summary of the video, the problem lies not so much in that the LS 460 model is so problematic (although there is that to some extent), the real pain point of buying one used (aside from not knowing whether it may or may not have been taken care of by its original owner) is the fact that Lexus is a luxury car.

Luxury cars typically are designed and built with incredibly expensive parts. Which means if you have a similar problem with a Toyota, the labor cost of the repair might be relatively similar, but the price of parts between Toyota and Lexus are worlds apart.

A second point is that luxury cars tend to be more complex in design. In practical terms this translates to the fact that a deep dive is often required into the engine bay before a mechanic is able to reach the component that needs replacing. And it all adds up.

A last point to be made is that because so much of what goes into a car consists of plastic, those plastic engine parts will eventually age and become very brittle. What this means is that while diving into the engine bay to reach a faulty component, other components often wind up damaged during disassembly. Sometimes plastic auto parts can be repaired, but more often than not they are replaced.

It’s a fact of working on older cars and the garage may or may not charge you for the repair and replacement of parts damaged during the course of working on your car.



For more help in finding the right used Lexus model for you, here’s a summary from the host in another video where he provides his advice on some additional best and worst Lexus models you should buy and avoid buying used respectively:

Best Lexus Models to Buy Used

  1. Lexus ES350―An Avalon-based Lexus that is top-rated for reliability.
  2. Lexus RX350―In particular, all models from 2010 and later due to earlier models had a power steering fluid leak problem.
  3. Lexus IS350―A little higher in maintenance costs compared to #1 and #2 above, but very dependable.
  4. Lexus GS350―All models with the exception of the hybrid variant due to these being among the early hybrids with some reliability issues.
  5. Lexus LS 430 2-door and Lexus SC430― “The best products that ever came out of Toyota/Lexus land...” in which you can expect an extra 100,000 miles out of compared to other similar, high-rated Toyotas.
  6. ES300 and ES330―In particular the 2002 to 2006 models (earlier models had some problems). Comparable to the 2004-2006 Camry LE V6.

Worst Lexus Models to Buy Due to These Problems

  1. Lexus IS 250 (all years)--a direct injection change to an otherwise good engine that made it the worst reliable and highest repair cost engine ( 4GR-FSE 2.5L with D4 System) in Lexus history with oil burning, carbon fouling valve issues. Special note: The later-made D4 S System version in the fixed engine is much improved by going to a dual injection system.
  2. Lexus HS 250---an unusual transition model, the HS suffered from an oil burning engine (2007-2011 2.4L 2AZ-FE) troubles.


For additional articles on used car shopping, here are a few for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on  “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

COMING UP NEXT: Red Flag Before Buying This Planned Obsolescence GM Model

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