By on July 18, 2018

Last week, a Lexus ES300 caught my eye. Glimmering two-tone Multiple Taupe Metallic paint called out to me, and frameless windows over thin pillars promised stylish and understated luxury. The 300 lettering on the back guaranteed V6 power and pleasant NVH characteristics.

And the low miles guaranteed a final sale price that was ultimately insane. Is there a method to the madness?

The ES shown above was listed on the popular estate sale site EBTH (Everything But The House). For those not familiar, EBTH is in the business of handling estate sales from start to finish. The EBTH people come and catalog everything your dead parents owned and auction it off online. You get an easy way to dispose of their junk, EBTH takes a cut of the profits, and I get some rare artwork for my house. Win-win-win. Back to Lexus.
With just 21,000 miles on the odometer, this particular ES300 is indeed uncommon. Though not museum quality because of the scuffs at the front, it’s likely one of the cleaner ones you’d find anywhere in the country. Even the Lexus-branded coolers are present in the trunk. Curiosity piqued, I hit the little heart in the corner, and checked back in on Monday for the auction results.
$10,250, before tax. A tidy sum indeed! This five-digit price got me thinking, and ultimately generated today’s QOTD: What’s the ideal balance of age, mileage, and price on a used car like this? It’s not especially uncommon, and there’s really nothing spectacular about this ES300 aside from the mileage. It’s likely to require reconditioning, as cars don’t take well to sitting on the sidelines — and that’s exactly what this one has been doing most of its life.
Is there an ideal balance somewhere between miles, model year, and price for vehicles which are not classics and are not rare, but merely unusual? Would this ES be more desirable with higher miles (and more regular usage), and therefore a somewhat lower price? How does one value such a vehicle, when standard consumer methods like KBB and NADA are of no help?
Maybe I’m wrong; missing the point on this millennium-era marshmallow, and it’s definitely worth $10,000. Let me know in the comments.
[Images: seller]
Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

136 Comments on “QOTD: An Imbalance of Power Between Low Miles and Price?...”


  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If it is worth 10k and someone wants it $250 is not that much more. I would have to see it in person but looking at the pictures this looks like it is well worth the money. Probably could find a cheaper one but then you might spend thousands to repair it.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Corey, you are getting hood-winked if you think this a representative of a used Japanese car then you’ll foolish or loaded. On KBB this is $3,000 on trade-in or tops $6,000 to buy outright.

      The auction site has a non-binding contract so anyone can bid with only registering. Definitely over priced and one no smart car buyer would pay.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Norm – this, exactly. This Lexus sold for far too much money, and got me curious about the site. In reviewing some of the items, they seem oddly overpriced. Especially in the car, coin, and precious metal auctions. I suspect the bids may be padded somehow, or the buyers are really that uneducated on what they are bidding for… It would be interesting to see if that same Lexus turns up on the site again or on another auction site.

        • 0 avatar

          Cars and coin go for too much money on there, from my observations. I think people just get too excited.

          I have purchased more bulky items for good prices, including furniture and artwork. My mom’s got some good deals on jewelry.

          Location of the sale matters as well – I’d expect items listed in LA to go for more than ones in say, Cincinnati.

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        KBB is useless on older or low mile or special interest vehicles. I have listed desirable older vehicles and had people come at me with their trusty KBB printouts in hand, offering me half or whatever. I politely suggest they go get one from KBB. Generally they buy mine if they actually have the cash and are not just total bottom-feeders.

        Norm, if you really think the subject car with 21k miles can be had for 3 to 6 Grand, point me to a few. I will buy all you can locate.

        I should point out I have owned that gen ES300 and currently own an ’01 Camry as a kid car, and these years are VERY well put together and supremely reliable. They are the rare cars that feel and drive better than the sum of their parts. And I say that ALSO having owned Lexus LS’s.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Two months ago I bought a pristine 90’s 7 series for 2800 USD. Low miles, perfect interior. But it needs new tires, all fluids changed, possibly cleaning the transmission valve body, and other fun things. It drives great and needs nothing *now* but it will soon.

    Had all these issues been taken care of the price would have been much higher and out of my budget (hobby budget that is; I don’t need the car). So if you can do some maintenance and repairs yourself it’s a great way to get a good deal on an otherwise unattainable clean car.

    • 0 avatar
      Twyxx

      I have a 2001 e38 7 series, and it has been more reliable than I expected. I bought it with 190k miles and it sits around 207k now I believe. The interior has aged extremely well for the miles. The timing chain guides did need to be replaced, but other than that it has been trouble free. Definitely a great car for the price.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’ve looked into buying an E60, but the BMW forums seem to treat any example with over 100K as a legendary elder and recommend Ferrai-level service records on any purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I think the mid 2000s E65/E60/E70 is where BMW really jumped off the deep end. I remember doing a bit of research on E38s and E39s quite some time ago and getting spooked at the idea of the fast wearing timing chain tensioners and valley gaskets and fading pixels on HVAC displays. Compared to what came later, that was absolutely chump change and a DIYer’s delight.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          That sums it up pretty well, and I bought an ’08 550i anyway.

          The threat of big money repairs is somewhat mitigated by fewer smaller repairs (more reliable cooling system, more durable suspension, not constantly mangling window lifters, etc).

          If you don’t mind the looks, the car is an improvement over the E39 in every conceivable way. I also think the E60 compares favorably to newer designs in the class. I shopped it against 2010-2012 Jaguar XFs and ’10-’11 E550s. Either of those cars would have cost significantly more upfront, leaving me with some margin to work with for repairs on the E60.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr.Nick

      That Lexus is more valuable than the BMW precisely because of BMW’s maintenance reputation.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’ve learned that “low miles” doesn’t always equate to a good deal, and conversely, high mileage doesn’t mean a car that is ready for the scrap yard. Condition (and a nice collection of receipts to back it up) make more of a statement to me than screaming the car has low miles and therefore must be worth a prince’s sum. Directed a young lad I know to a stupid-low miles Taurus wagon about a year ago. 50k confirmed and original. He’s more or less doubled his expense in repairs. My son bought a Tercel with 125,000 on it and proceeded to drive it until it met it’s untimely demise when it attempted to occupy space with a semi-truck. At the time of the accident, the little Tercel had well over 250,000 and other than routine maintenance, never had a mechanical issue.

    So, in many cases, yes…I think folks place an artificially high level of importance on mileage when pricing vehicles. Granted, as my above example likely illustrates, TYPE of vehicle plays a role, as well!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I have a similar tales of high mileage, but well maintained cars that I drove for years after purchase.

      Cars are like people, if they’re not exercised and taken care of regularly, they atrophy.

      THEN the fun begins.

    • 0 avatar
      brettucks

      I recently bought a 95 Tacoma 4×4 with 2.7 and automatic. The truck had 235K on it but everything looked factory correct, car fax showed one owner with scheduled dealership service from new. Besides replacing the front rotors Ive done nothing to it. It drives like new and I could instantly tell the mileage was a non issue. Been driving in 110 degree Phoneix heat and the a/c is better than any vehicle ive owned.

      I paid $4000 and consider it a steal. Ive put 5k more on it while my mustang has only 800 in the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      @Threeer

      So sad, has you’re son ever considered moving to part of the country where the economy is a little better? So he can afford something better than a used high milage Tercel?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        So sad, have you considered moving to a different automotive website where your asinine trolling would be better appreciated?

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Right?

          You drive an economy car that isn’t an ultra-low mileage cream puff? Your life must SSSUUUUUUCCKKKK. I can tell by that fact alone.

          Un-freakin-believable.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Can we hold a vote for “dunce awards?” username with most votes gets a dunce user icon, or just plain gets banned. I can’t think of anyone who has consistently contributed less or spouted off with more nonsense than our buddy Peter Gazis (a certain resident of down under would certainly be in the running as well).

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Gtem, I honestly don’t recall, but then I tend to read some comments without noticing the user name. I will pay attention more from now on.

            I just don’t comprehend the notion that one can be judged on a single fact such as that.

            Yes, its easy to judge some meth zombies in a clapped out old Cougar with 4 different size tires and cardboard for windows, but to just read that someone, somewhere bought a 125k mile Tercel and immediately assume that they’re struggling in life, so much so that they need to move to another area to better themselves? Geeze.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            @John Taurus

            Yes, if you’re driving a 20 year old econobox with 250,000 miles on it. You probably have made some really bad life choices.

            When the car gets totaled, and you’re daddy gives you his Chevy Cruze so you’ll have transportation. Its definitely time for a plan B.

            When you’re daddy gets on a website and starts bragging how good a car the Tercel was, its time to run as fast as you can.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            If “you are” daddy taught you it was okay to judge people you don’t know based on one trivial fact and nothing else, I can see no reason for any further discussion. You’re obviously beyond help.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          @gtem

          From my perspectice you’re the troll.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Of course he is. I mean, he owns or has owned cars with over 125k miles! What more evidence do you need?

            Obviously, none.

            If a troll = someone who contributes to the conversations without being overly judgmental, rude or obnoxious, yep, he’s the biggest troll here.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Trolling much? Maybe his son was in school, has different priorities, or simply doesn’t give a rat’s @$$ what some elitist thinks of what he drives.

        125k isn’t high mileage for much of anything unless its a Cadillac Northstar that hasn’t had its headgaskets replaced. It sure isnt much for a Tercel.

        Just because you can’t, or don’t, “upgrade” to a new luxury car every three years is no reason to reevaluate your entire life and pull up stakes so you can move to a place where you can afford what other people consider an acceptable car.

        But, what do I know? I drive a high mileage Taurus, and I couldn’t be happier. Oh, and it has a helluva lot more than 125k (closing in on twice that, actually). If it only had that much, I’d consider it low mileage.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          125k is definitely not a lot of miles for cars that have low stress drivetrains like Tercel or the large Fords. We had a Corolla station wagon that we bought at 120k, at the time it drove like new, and we drove it until 245k when the engine died and was not worth replacing the motor to keep it going.

      • 0 avatar

        Tracing this thread back to the -original- offending party of rudeness, it was you, Peter Gazis. Passing judgment on someone you don’t know in such a way is not in keeping with civility.

        Please review the commenting rules before commenting again.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        My sister and brother in law own a Tercel. The body is clean for Quebec, it has average miles and gets great fuel economy. They will (this year?) have a paid for house and are free of consumer debts. They are both professionals. I think you should adjust the lens with which you judge others.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Cactuar, that is awesome. Good for them. And, since inferred meaning can be misinterpreted via text, I’m being absolutely sincere when I say that.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I mostly agree with you, but there is just a big, big, difference in feel between a car that is low miles and one that is high miles but well-maintained. I would rather have that “unused” feel and deal with replacing the aged bits – at least then I KNOW they have been replaced.

      As I have mentioned on here before, I recently bought a relatively low miles (79K) unicorn of a ’91 Volvo 940GLE 16V. It is just so NICE compared to the typical 200K+ 940. Everything is clean and tight and works smoothly. It looks and drives like a 2-3yo used car. I paid $2600 on an eBay auction, because 940s don’t get the Volvo hipster tax and people are afraid of the 16V, but I would have paid 2X+ as much for it without even having to think about it. Actually, my snipe bid on it had a max of $5500. Similarly, I paid a relative fortune for my clean as can be, one-owner, San Diego native Land Rover Disco I. Though that truck is not low mileage, just immaculately maintained and lived in a mild climate. I would have paid a lot more for one with 1/2 to 1/4 the miles on it, though I guess these days for a 20+yo vehicle 125K is kind of low mileage.

      On the other hand, I got burned on a fairly low-miles (60K) Porsche 924S. So ultimately, it’s really individual to the car. I think the big difference is that the Volvo sat around in a garage in Seattle, while the Porsche sat around a garage in FL getting oven baked… Plus just the general difference in finickiness between a Volvo and a Porsche.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    That’s a tough question, it depends on the car. I would be more willing to pay top dollar for a Land Cruiser with a 100K miles on it then I would a same vintage Land Rover with a 100K miles (do Land Rovers actually make it to a 100K miles?)
    In this case I would certainly pay top dollar for this ES 300, because I know what an excellent car it was back in the day, but I wouldn’t over pay for it, because although it’s a good car there’s nothing unique or extraordinary about it

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Years ago, when i lived in the Princeton area their was talk of a Range Rover owner who had north of 100k on the odo.

      It was never confirmed and ultimately written off as urban legend.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Of course they do. My P38 Range Rover had 150K on it when I sold it. I put 25K happy miles on it in the five or so years I owned it. There are tons of them on the forums with 200K+ on them. It just takes more money and effort than it does in a Corolla. But you get what you pay for.

      My current Land Rover Disco I has 133K on it, only thing I have had to do to it in two years aside from change the fluids is an alternator and a catalytic converter. Can’t complain much about 23 years and 132K miles on an alternator. The cat had the insides come loose and was causing a rattle. Probably could have just run a screw into it to shut it up, but the local exhaust shop cut it out and replaced it for very reasonable money.

  • avatar
    Speedygreg7

    Lexus could learn a lot by looking at this elegant exterior and understated, simple and ergonomic interior compared to the absolute abominations they sell today. Today’s Lexus cars are ugly as sin, ergonomic messes laden with tech that in no way actually helps the driving experience. I’m sure the quality in this one is better to in light of Toyota’s relentless cost cutting.

    If this car were available new today (with the only caveat being modern crash integrity), I would buy this over the equivalent model for 2019 without hesitation.

    • 0 avatar

      Color aside, this car is one of my favorite FWD sedans. Someone should do serious jail time for the one that replaced it in 2001:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_ES#/media/File:Lexus_ES300_–_09-12-2009.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        Looking at those generational pictures, I can only hope that we’ve finally reached peak grill.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          the pre-facelift years of the 2013-18 generation at least had the body colored bar that broke up the spindle. My inlaws have one and it looks not too bad in person. But Toyota somehow managed to make it ride rather harsh, I guess as the same batch of “world class sports handling number 1” initiative that saw the disastrous Avalon redesign in 2013.

          I’m gonna be the odd man out here and say the XV20-related ES always looked a bit off, kind of like an after thought after they designed the Camry. I consider the 97-2001 Camry as probably the most understated and easiest on on the eye of all the Camry’s to date.

          Dat 2019 though….

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    If you want reliable transport any vehicle that’s been sitting will need attention.
    All rubber parts will need replace; tires, cooling system hoses, timing belt, and also things like water pump.
    There may be problems with oil seals and gaskets and any plastic parts in the cooling or intake systems.
    In the aircraft maintenance world all rubber parts, (O-rings, hoses, seals, natural, synthetic or otherwise) have a life written on the package they are stored in. Usually about 10 years for typical Buna-N and EPDM rubber and 15-25 for silicone based rubber. That’s when it’s sitting on the shelf before install. After install 10 years is usually considered the end of reliability. .
    Often vehicle rubber parts have production dates on them. Best not to use if more than 8 years old, on shelf, not much life left.
    And yes I know, your uncle Frank bought a 25 year old car that had been sitting in a barn with 50 miles on it, drove it for 20 years with no trouble.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree. And here in Ontario and much of Canada and the northern USA, the rust monster has to be taken into the equation.

      An older, low mileage ‘cream puff’ could actually be a ‘rotten buy’.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      But the fact is that just because this car has low miles does not mean that the rubber parts are much more likely to fail than if the car had been driven 120k miles, with the only real exception being the belt(s). The heat that the rubber will be subject to does help it to degrade. The belt(s) are an exception because sitting will leave an area or areas flexed around a small diameter pulley. Where that rubber item is left in a flexed state the depolymerization rate will be higher in that spot. It also will not benefit from the flexing that helps to distribute the polymers equally.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Ultimately, if you want any old car to be reliable, you need to maintain it on a schedule, not wait for things to break. And you are absolutely correct – on my recently purchased ’91 Volvo, I am in the middle of replacing all that stuff from stem to stern. And the sundry electrical bits that always play up on these cars too. My car already had new-enough tires on it, but I may replace them anyway because they are the wrong size (too big and wide). Call it $1500 in parts and mostly my labor, though I did pay $200 to have the 16V timing belts done by a moonlighting Volvo mechanic. They only had 8K on them per the service records, but almost 10 years. Volvo schedule is 5yrs/50K. Did the belt tensioner too because the pulley had some pitting, but the rest of the idlers and the pulley were fine. Those will all get replaced at the next interval, in 5 years.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    All kinds of nastiness in the corners of that trunk sill. Walk away, Corey.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      From the pics its hard to tell if that’s rust or just dirt. I assume its a plastic bumper which would mean your looking at just dust bunnies. Need to pull up the trunk mat to really know what your dealing with. My wife’s Infiniti Q60 traps all kinds of crap in the corner of trunk like that too, so every few weeks I vacuum it out. Underneath is perfect, mainly because its a 4 year old FL car.

      I’ve started looking at a C7 Vette as my next car and they have a wide range of mileage. Most are clearly low mileage garage queens, but some low mileage versions could be track cars (which mine will become). Oddly since these cars are still very much “new” (only 4 years old max) the prices don’t vary the much even with a wide swings in mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Yeah I think it’s just standard trunk-corner crud.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I honestly think a car has to be driven roughly 5,000 miles per year to avoid the problems that come from just sitting around.

    One of the reasons I sold my F150 is that it was sitting around so much I was afraid of it falling apart from lack of use.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Absolutely, although not even 5K a year. My 90 year old mother has a 2001 PT Cruiser with 42K on it, she drives about 50 miles a week combined city/hwy. The car looks and runs like brand new, so I think you just have to get a car up to full operating temperature at hwy speeds once every week or two to maintain rubber and seals

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Back when I was living roughly 5 miles from my work I made a point of taking my vehicle once a month and washing it followed by a nice long drive to get things up to temperature. I’d burn up and down I-40 and give things a workout.

        Growing up the neighbor would make a point of giving his mother’s Grand Marquis an “Italian Tune Up” a few times a year because she was the proverbial “little old lady only drove it to church on Sunday and the grocery store on Wednesday.”

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I agree with the 5,000 miles per year rule. When I see really low mileage I wonder if the car sat for long periods of time or if it was only driven short distances where it didn’t have a chance to get up to operating temperature. Besides rubber parts wearing out due to age, I’d also worry about things like rodent damage to wiring. Regular use keeps the critters away.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I disagree with the 5-thousand mile rule… the number of miles is relatively unimportant as long as it is regular use, not all at one end and sitting forever at the other. Even at 1000 miles per year, the vehicle can be in pretty good shape, albeit probably need tires and have all the suspension rubber inspected. My own Ranger has done well enough at 1000/month though the last five years or so of its life was mostly dormant, causing a leak in the hydraulic clutch slave cylinder boot. Since then, I’ve had a few small things done, mostly to improve performance and give me a wee bit more data (no factory tach in this specific one.) Outside of that, I had an electric fan put on the radiator. Except for conditions of extreme heat, she runs as good as new (which, at 112 horses, still ain’t great.)

        So regular use is far more important than how many miles it carries… even if those miles were relatively short trips.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Just so long as the car is brought up to full operating temperature to insure all fluids are flowing freely. 10 mile trips a couple of times a month should do it

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    It really depends on maintenance records and ownership history. A few years ago I picked up a 2001 Taurus wagon with 25k miles on it. At that point, it was 13 years old and belonged to the original owner, an 85 year old who could no longer drive and it was for sale by her son. She had receipts for regular oil changes and it even had a new set of tires, though I have trouble understanding how the original ones could have worn out with such low miles and that type of driver.

    Anyway, I over-paid for that car… $4,500 when KBB said it was worth half as much. How much harm could a couple of grand do, I reasoned. Well, none, as it turned out. I drove that car for three trouble free years. My only expenses were minor maintenance (oil changes, cleaned the Mass Airflow Sensor, etc). I bought it in California where the car appeared to have never seen rain and moved to Michigan during my ownership. Perhaps based on the car’s rust free condition, I sold it at 50k miles for $100 less than I paid for it three years earlier. Was it a “fun” car to drive? Obviously not (150 hp pushrod Vulcan V6 was noisy, slow, AND got mediocre fuel economy) but it was comfortable, practical, and reliable for essentially zero money.

    Is this Lexus worth $10k? I’m not sure… if were a wagon, perhaps. :-)

    If it were maintained and driven regularly and not just sitting for the past 5 years I’d say it’s a great deal and will provide many years of inexpensive transportation for someone with a bit more style than a 5 year old Focus.

    Frankly, KBB values are essentially bullsh**, and particularly so for cars older than average. Here in Michigan, the land of salt and rust, any car with less than 80k miles without perforated bodywork seems to be worth at least $4,000 regardless of age. My mother has a 2001 Camry with 70k miles. It is a stripper 4 cyl automatic with the grayest of bodywork and interior, but it runs great, has been driven regularly (if sparingly) and I have no doubt it could bring at least $4,500 on the market here. I am considering buying it for my son who starts driving in about a year. I could argue that the Lexus with a lot fewer miles and lot more style and comfort could be worth twice as much.

    • 0 avatar

      I was under the impression that tire rubber will degrade just by sitting around for a decade.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelovescars

        I agree, I was just more surprised that the 80-year old owner would have replace the tires for that reason, but I took this as a good sign about her overall care for the car while she owned it.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “I agree, I was just more surprised that the 80-year old owner would have replace the tires for that reason, but I took this as a good sign about her overall care for the car while she owned it.”

          — or her son might have done it before putting the car up for sale. According to my tire shop, tires get susceptible to dry rot if they sit too long.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The only tires I have ever had to replace due to dry rot were the Michelins that came on my Land Rover Disco. They had tons of tread, but were badly dry rotted. I attribute that to the CA sun. They were about 10 years old, my suspicion is that the original owner retired and stopped driving much.

            The tires on my Spitfire look like new, and they have probably been on the car since about the turn of the century. But it spends 99% of the time in a dark cool garage in Maine. They are probably a little harder now than they were originally, but still plenty of grip for a car of such modest performance.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It depends. Where was it sitting? Outside in the hot sun then freezing cold? In a 100F Florida garage? In a 50F garage in Seattle? Makes a HUGE difference.

        But ultimately, the rubber bits should be changed on a schedule anyway, and lot more often than most people ever do them.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “She had receipts for regular oil changes and it even had a new set of tires, though I have trouble understanding how the original ones could have worn out with such low miles and that type of driver.”

      Tires degrade over time. It’s not the treadwear at all. It’s the material itself.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I know of an early ’00s Caddy with low mileage that some buyer might be quite surprised with. I don’t remember the exact mileage but I believe it comes out to around 1250 miles per year. And yes, while it has been garaged all its life, even now in “parked” state, the engine is run on a weekly basis and gets about 10-20 miles put on it each month. The last time I drove it, I put about 75 miles on it and it still ran well and rode smoothly. It will be a bargain for somebody.

    You see, it’s my mother’s car and she’s now in her 90s. She doesn’t drive but she does run the engine to keep it from seizing up and has a neighbor drive her around in it when she needs to get groceries or the occasional dining out. Now, if only her husband had taken as much care with his Ranger…

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Looked at a low mileage pickup lately? Now there’s insanity!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yup there’s a short list of vehicles to never buy gently used.

      Pickup trucks
      Jeep Wrangler
      Toyota 4Runner

      It rarely makes sense to buy NEW on the other hand when looking at things like sedans/luxury/near luxury/premium cars – unless there’s something that you are getting that’s worth a big chunk to you. (like x number of years of service included, or a concierge service)

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Dan, I’d also say that depends on how long you plan to keep it. If you’re a “trade in when I get bored” guy, get slightly used and let someone else eat the initial depreciation. If you’re a “keep it for life” guy, depreciation isn’t as much of a factor, and you would probably want to know (for peace of mind) that the car was always treated well and maintained fully, and you will, because you’re the first owner.

        That said, getting $10k for a Lexus this old (especially one that is not an LS) is quite an outlier, I’d think. Once a car is 15+ years old, resale depends on the given market and other variables that are impossible to calculate when buying that car new all those years before. Maybe in the intervening decade or two, the car became known as a headache, or maybe it became desirable, or maybe it just remains an average car. Again, a long-term owner needn’t concern himself with such. Get your use out of it, and whatever you get for it when it’s time to let go becomes icing on the cake.

        If I end up buying a new car, it will be a long-term prospect. If I buy slightly used, it’ll be because I don’t like what is currently available new or for some other reason, I can’t swing a new car (affordability, other life issues, etc). Assuming I buy slightly used (less than 5 years old), it’d likely be an Accord coupe 6MT I-4, because I missed the opportunity to buy it new

        Here lately, I’ve kinda been going back towards the idea of building my collection of older cars instead. There is a lot of stuff out there I really like and that has reached a point where its affordable to pay cash for, yet hasn’t yet become a worn-out beater. This would also allow me to do some other good things in/for my life.

  • avatar
    18726543

    Last month I picked up a ’97 Saturn SL2 with only 58k miles on it! I bought it from a guy who’s uncle was the original owner. Turns out he spent more time drunk than sober and eventually gave the car to his nephew because he got enough DUIs to convince him that the bus was the way to travel. The car had been sitting in his nephew’s yard for about 10 months and would run briefly on starting fluid. For 500 bucks I figured it couldn’t be that bad, right? The car was garage kept for the previous 20ish years, most of the panels are plastic, and they’re easy cars to work on with cheap parts at this point.

    Bought the car and had it towed to my house. Tank was FULL of old fuel despite the “low fuel” light being on and gauge pegged at “E”. Fuel pump fuse was blown due to an internal short in the pump so I dropped the tank and replaced the pump and sending unit, plus the fuel filter…all Delphi or AC Delco parts. Still no-start. Found out the engine coolant temp sensor had failed causing the engine to flood with fuel. Replaced the ECT (12 bucks), plus plugs and wires. Got it started and running, very roughly, and changed the oil, coolant, brake fluid, front pads and rotors, 4 new tires because the old ones were so rotten they wouldn’t hold air, and was confronted with a check engine light. Random misfire and upstream O2 sensor. 20 bucks for the O2 sensor and that was done. Still tracking down the misfire. Cylinders 1 and 2 are not firing and I’m trying to figure out if it’s an internally blown head gasket (really hoping not), or if injectors 1 and 2 were fouled with stale fuel over time. Compression test is next…

    To date I’m about 1200 dollars into the car including the price of the purchase and tow home, and it’s a 5-speed that should get me 35-37 mpg which helps with my 60-mile-a-day commute so I’m still happy with my purchase, but if I have to replace the head gasket I may be questioning my decision. If I’m 2 injectors away from a properly running vehicle then I’m still smiling!

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Old car with no miles? Time to replace every piece of rubber.

  • avatar
    gtem

    My sweet spot for older usable daily drivers is somewhere in the 130-180k mile range, although I’d easily consider one with over 200k, as long as it is bought from someone who actually maintained their vehicle and took care of issues as they arose. My ’96 ES300 I bought from a long term owner who bought it off lease in ’98 and drove it regularly up to 203k miles. The guy wasn’t absolutely diligent as it had fairly tired struts and an ABS light on, but oil and ATF changes and basic upkeep was on point, and the car was incredibly clean for the year aside from a bit of quarter panel rot setting in. A very comfy, usable, reliable daily driver for $1600. I ended up investing in a t-belt for mine (paid my brother to do it, $700 for labor and parts using a quality Aisin kit). In hindsight I’d have left it alone, the 100k mile belt that was on there looked just fine and it’s a non-interference motor. Ended up selling it for $2200 in the spring, the freshly done t-belt was a selling point to be fair. It needed tires and struts all around.

    I think the ideal case with these Camry based vehicles would be to seek something a bit lower mileage just so the OE struts still had life left in them, 150k and a confirmed t-belt change at 100k, they’ve typically gotten CV boots and a radiator done by this point as well. Buy for $3500-4000, drive for 3-4 years, sell for $2500 with minimal repairs in the mean time.

    These creampuffs are nice to look at but man I personally would treat it way too carefully and nicely to really just use as a daily and not care where I park it. That and the price is just too high for the utility of an older daily driver.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Another thought: more so than the perceived benefit in reliability of lower vs higher miles, I find in older used cars low miles are a HUGE focus for most layman craigslist shoppers. So I sometimes seek out a lower mile example myself strictly with resale in mind. Current ranger was bought with a low 106k miles for $2k, I’m hoping it will sell fairly quickly if listed for that same price in the fall. Already have a winter car lined up: ’01 A4 Quattro (stick, 30 valve 2.8L). It’s a customer’s car of my brothers that he knows inside and out from servicing it the last 5+ years. My first taste of fine German automobiles lol

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Achtung baby! Better have a guest room set up for your brother; you’ll be seeing a lot of him :p

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I’d like to think it’s been gone through quite thoroughly at this point, the owner just got back from a long road trip to New Mexico and back in it. The 2.8 V6 should avoid most of the engine-related headaches that people associate the gen 1 A4 with the 1.8T. I’ve ridden in a different customer’s older B5 A4 with the 12 valve V6 and I love the very mechanical feeling of the old school quattro and linear (if modest, by modern standards) power delivery of the V6 harnessed to the stick shift. The 30 valve motors got VVT, my brother claims it pulls noticeably stronger down low. It’s being offered at $2k, which for any older car with a known solid maintenance history and no known pending issues is a decent price IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          For $2k and a mechanic-on-call, go for it. You and “Atreyu” can make donuts in a parking lot come January.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “on call”

            He’s a 7.5 hour drive away :O

          • 0 avatar

            I am with the 2.8 V6, it’s underpowered a bit, but solid generally. The area where there will be issues is with things like sensors and plastic bits. MAF, O2, CELs, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Got a bit more info. 127k miles, with a clutch, flywheel, and t-belt service at 99k. We’re going all in boys. Just need to get the Ranger cleaned up and sold.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            Nice. For $2K, why not? You don’t have much too lose, as long as you know when to turn off the money spigot if it decides it really likes hanging out with your mechanic. Hope you enjoy it!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “I find in older used cars low miles are a HUGE focus for most layman craigslist shoppers. So I sometimes seek out a lower mile example myself strictly with resale in mind. Current ranger was bought with a low 106k miles for $2k, I’m hoping it will sell fairly quickly if listed for that same price in the fall.”
      — What would you do with a ’97 Ranger with 26000 miles on it?

  • avatar
    DearS

    What other cars with low miles are available for the same price? A 2014 Corolla? A 2010 Camry? Which is best?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I get overpaying for a used car if it’s something cool. I don’t get overpaying for a used Lexus ES. That car never did all that much for me when the model was new.

    And let’s be honest – as a daily driver, it’s not going to be all that much better than something you can buy for a few grand more new or lightly used, and it’s not going to have all the latest safety features. And there’s the prospect of all the hidden repair costs.

    But, of course, that’s just me. If someone’s (rather strange) idea of a dream car has always been a 2000 Lexus ES, reason goes out the window.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      ” it’s not going to be all that much better than something you can buy for a few grand more new or lightly used”

      Not only is this ES (even with the cost cutting from the ’92-’96) better built than a 2-3 year old Corolla Cruze or whatever $10k could buy of lightly used, it is better put together, with better materials than a new ES. It is truly a case of “they don’t build ’em like they used to.” This was when Lexus emphasized a whisper smooth engine (no clattery DI), a very smooth shifting 4 spd auto before the obsession of lugging the engine with the torque converter locked up to gain .5 mpg, and ride smoothness that will shame most newer Lexus cars that are chasing the Germans with sporty handling.

      I wouldn’t spend $10k on a Lexus this old just for the sake of low miles, but I would understand the connoisseur that would buy this over some generic newer throwaway economy car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I tried one of those out in the day, gtem…it was pleasant but not THAT nice. It drove like a glorified Camry, which is no coincidence, since that’s what the ES is.

        I could see overpaying for a SC or LS from that era, but not an ES.

        But, hey, if someone’s got a thing for old Lexuses…

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I agree, Mike, its not necessarily a bad car, but it isn’t special at all. You wouldn’t miss much by buying an Avalon or Camry of the same year. And, if it was priced like one, that’s great, but I see no point in seeking a Lexus and paying more for it when it isn’t a unique model like the ones you listed, and/or an IS, GS, RC, GX, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        I’m inclined to agree with gtem. The pre-spindle, FWD Lexii are underappreciated by many enthusiasts because their mission was to be *nice* cars rather than performance cars. A good friend used to have an XV10 ES which I got to drive for several days on a road trip, and I used to carpool on occasion with a coworker who had an XV20. Really, really good cars in my opinion.

        Regarding the XV10 and XV20 Camrys:
        – Those are good cars with which to share DNA.
        – The cars were siblings, but not identical twins. The ES’s were, to my eye, much prettier because of the front end and the frameless side glass.
        – Most contemporary Camrys were I4’s and therefore aren’t truly equivalent. OTOH, I definitely agree that a contemporary V6 Camry or Avalon raises a value per dollar question. You’d want to consider carefully the particular car and purchase price in question.
        – I’m not sure what extras ES’s got or didn’t get in terms of NVH, but they were very nice in that regard.

        The better Acuras and FWD Lexii basically are the Alfred P. Sloan strategy done in its best possible way. I think of them as successors to, say, ’67-’68 Imperials (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMtsCfYZlog) or ’61-’64 Cadillacs (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QBEf8PT8V0): cars with mass-market bones but nonetheless executed really well as premium cars. This era of ES may actually be the best-executed of this type of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      For me the ES is the ultimate “okay” car, the competent, the decent. A good used beater but not something I’d fall in love with. Back in the day it was good value vs the LS.

      At gtem:
      Got any specific examples of this superior build quality or materials? Ive looked at many pre-cost cut Camry/ESs, and the only thing thats impressed me are the durable cloth seats.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Specifically the vinyl used to cover the dash, the door cards, the real wood pieces on the ES, the way there is soft touch vinyl all the way down by your feet, and carpeting all the way almost under the dash where you’d never imagine even touching ever. How tight and well fitting all the interior trim feels, and how all of the buttons still look like new and haven’t rubbed off. Lack of interior rattles over bad pavement in a 25 year old car (shames my wife’s 2012 Camry in fact).

        Moving to mechanicals, I’ll point to how on my 22 year old ES with 209k miles of Indy roads under the belt, every single balljoint and bushing was still servicable, not even any cracking in the rubber on the vertical lower control arm bushings. Nothing short of astounding. The one thing that needed addressing was a pair of rear swaybar bushings. The subframes front and rear were absolutely rust free, as was all of the underbody for that matter.

        The biggest compliment I can give that old ES was that it was legitimately still relevant in the modern automotive space in terms of NVH and comfort. It was smaller and had a lower belt line than a modern sedan, but climbing behind the wheel didn’t feel like “wow, this is a rickety antiquated thing”

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          “Specifically the vinyl used to cover the dash, the door cards, the real wood pieces on the ES, the way there is soft touch vinyl all the way down by your feet, and carpeting all the way almost under the dash where you’d never imagine even touching ever.” Yep, and that’s where your “don’t build ’em like they used to” observation rings true. I know from the AL10 RX that more recent Lexii have done some cost-cutting in terms of “OK, this is low enough on the door that no one’s going to touch it. Go with a medium-quality plastic rather than a high-quality vinyl-covered piece.”

          Setting aside exterior styling, I’d argue that most newer FWD Lexii are still nice, but it’s to a “please most people in all ways they’ll notice; please some people in most ways they’ll notice” standard.

          I feel like gtem, another person or two, and I rehash this every time Lexus comes up, but I enjoy revisiting the discussion.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I will say for all of my grousing and disparaging of some newer Toyota products (tough love), I have really come around to appreciating my father in law’s ’13 ES300h. Yeah you can find hard plastic somewhat easily if you poke around, but just driving the thing rather than nitpicking, it’s a nice and refined cruiser. Classy enough to take to a nice restaurant with plenty of room for passengers in the back but by no means showy or big luxo-boat tier. I would sacrifice some of the handling for a longer traveling, softer suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Yep, my parents have a ’15 NX 200t, and I feel the same way about it.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          You should check out early 90’s Chryslers then if you like soft-touch materials, I once looked at a Maserati-Chrysler and the interior was much better than I expected, even if it was probably a very glorified K-Car underneath.

          That aside, my biggest shock while sitting in an ES was the lack of sun visor mirrors. I kinda prefer it that way but I wasnt expecting it on a luxury sedan. Otherwise I tend to prefer weird or unique interiors like what you get in a Saab.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “was the lack of sun visor mirrors.”

            That’s odd because they definitely have them. Not only that they even have a mini-visor above the rearview mirror the block the little bit of glass there, a thoughtful touch I really appreciated on mine.

            http://www.edmunds.com/lexus/es-300/1996/long-term-road-test/1996-lexus-es-300-droopy-visors-no-more.html

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “EBTH is in the business of handling estate sales from start to finish”

    Recently a co-worker used the local equivalent to this company and informed me they receive 70% of the take. This figure is just a tad redonkulous in my view, I do wonder what EBTH charges in addition to buyers fees?

    • 0 avatar

      It varies of course depending on the volume of items, and if you’re bringing it to their warehouse, or if they’re conducting a sale on the premises. They’ve grown here now to the point where they have two warehouses in addition to the on-grounds sales each week.

      I believe I saw a take of 46% on sales where you bring items to them in small quantities.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      When our mom passed away in 2012, we hired a guy to come in and run the estate sale, and he got 30 percent of the take. Our mom didn’t have a lot of expensive stuff, so it wasn’t exactly a windfall for him or us (he also had stuff from other clients that he staged in her house). She had a ’78 Malibu Classic 4-door (305 2-bbl, auto, a/c, AM radio) that she bought new in December, 1977, and it had racked up only 73k miles, a little over 2k a year. We sold it for $1000.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Maybe I’m wrong; missing the point on this millennium-era marshmallow, and it’s definitely worth $10,000. Let me know in the comments.”

    Way too high, I smell dumb money. This thing is 5-7, 7,5 tip top.

    The ES300 is under-powered and the Toyota 3.0 in that period is susceptible to sludge. How long did the same oil sit in the pan unchanged? Years? Take the same 10K and put it toward an early decade clean ES350.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Everything is relative in the marketplace so I don’t think a perfect balance ever exists for a lengthy period of time, and the formula is different for every vehicle.

    In my mind, this XV20 is not worth $10,000 because that sort of money will fetch an XV40 with a 2GR (timing chain) that will be as reliable, smoother driving (better transmission) and just as fuel efficient. Furthermore, the XV20 has particularly mediocre leather seats, though it does have a certain nostalgia associated with it.

    For me to consider buying it, the mileage would probably need to be north of 70,000 and the asking price in the $6,000 range.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    It’s not a linear formula for me, ie lower miles does not equal higher price always. For example, if I know a car needs $1500 worth of maintenance work at 100K miles, I’d rather buy a car with 110k miles that has that work done already vs a car with 90K miles that will need the work soon.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    https://www.ebth.com/items/9146923-2004-silver-infiniti-g35-awd-sedan

    This one seems a little more reasonable. :-)

    • 0 avatar

      I looked at this couple days ago. That thing is so ratty. Been stored outside, have a look at the paint and spoiler. And what’s going on in the front seat map pockets? Someone put rusty sheets of metal in there?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m on a slow connection (hotel meeting room) couldn’t look at all the pics.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        That does look a bit ratty, but not *too* bad.

        Corey, I’m sure your Infiniti M was a peach when you got it. Ms tend to be well taken care of. I wouldn’t feel bad at all about buying a pre-owned M if everything looked good. But Gs get treated like disposable diapers, even by people who aren’t testosterone-laden teenagers. Used ones make me nervous.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s funny how the G attracts a lot of bad owners. I’ve discussed that before with other people – you really don’t see pristine old ones like you might with an ES or GS.

          My M is just over 65,000 miles – 9 years old now, and only has blemishes where I caused them. Apart from hairline fractures on the wood trim, which have no business being there because it’s garaged at home AND at work.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Unfortunately, parts wear out. You should see that whole cracked-dash phenomenon that plagues early-to-mid-aughts Lexus products. A family friend of ours has a 2004 GX 470 that he bought new. Lexus had to replace the whole dashboard cover after it cracked and began falling to pieces.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I can’t see that car as being worth that much money. Although I like that bodystyle more than any other ES, there is nothing special about it other than its odometer, and as others have pointed out, super low miles on an older car can mean just as much trouble as high miles, if not more issues.

    I go by condition more than miles, and even though this car seems to be in excellent, if not perfect, condition, I still don’t see it being worth that much.

    I honestly can’t answer this QOTD, its so dependant on an individual model, the care its recieved, and the price asked. If the low miles have been accumulating regularly (as opposed to all at once before the car sat unused for a lengthy time), that is better, but the odometer reading means less to me than it obviously does others. If the car was 4 years old with 6,500 miles or something, that’s different. But years take their toll more than use does, so the older a car is, the more likely things have deteriorated from age, if not use.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think it’s easier to find that ideal intersection of price, mileage and age when a car is not from a particularly sought-after brand. Buick and Lincoln both come to mind. Their stuff is generally reliable, but doesn’t command the same money as a comparably-when-new-priced Lexus, BMW, Mercedes or Toyota. The Avalon has far higher residuals than the LaCrosse.

    For instance, my 2014 Lincoln MKS MSRP’d for $48,000—and probably didn’t sell for that much. Despite being a 2014, it didn’t sell until midway into 2015. I bought it in early 2017 with 29K miles on the odometer for around $20K, which is cheaper than even a mid-spec compact non-luxury sedan. A comparable ES would’ve cost me $4,000-$6,000 more.

    And the MKS still wasn’t done depreciating, as I found out when it got totaled.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I had no idea it got totalled, Kyree, sorry to hear that. Hope nobody was hurt, assuming it was a car wreck.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        You didn’t? That was back in December of ’17. And thank you.

        Yeah, it was a car wreck. After that, I bought a fully-loaded 2016 Cruze Premier w/RS package (in that vivid blue color), just because I had a really long commute. But I’m getting sick of it, my commute has shrank, and it’s time to trade again. As DeadWeight pointed out, the second-gen Cruze doesn’t feel nearly as solid as the first-gen did.

        I’m thinking either new Chrysler 300, CPO 5-Series, GS, or E-Class, or pre-owned Genesis G80. Or maybe a crossover. Or a mid-size truck (probably the Tacoma). I’ve even considered a new Mustang GT w/ 6MT. I definitely want something RWD-based, though.

        Maybe I’ll even spend $2,000 a month on that BMW subscription thing so I can have access to a mid-spec X5 (ha!).

        My taste is all over the map.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Ha, I can relate. Although a new coupe is my main consideration (with the Civic Si leading the way thus far), I’m also thinking about a new 4×4 truck, either an F-150 or a Ranger when they come out. Sporty coupe or the exact opposite of a sporty coupe? Yes, please, and thank you.

          Anyway, no I didn’t hear about the wreck, and I’m sorry the Cruze isn’t working out(I had read that you drive one currently, I guess I just assumed you bought it in addition to the MKS or traded it in on it, the latter of which seemed odd). Of your list, I’d be most interested in the 300 (V-8?), GS or G80.

          Speaking of Genesis, I really like the new G70, it looks great and has manual availability. I would like it more if they offered a coupe, but I suppose we are lucky it exists at all, given the state of the non-utility market.

          • 0 avatar

            Super sweet spot:

            14-15 GS350
            -Depreciated a lot (20-40k miles, $22-24K)
            -No predator grille
            -Does have 8AT for economy
            -Current interior styling of horizontal lines

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            @JohnTaurus — Yeah, I think I’d go full HEMI with the 300. Likewise, I’d pick the 5.0 on the G80.

            @Corey Lewis — I actually don’t mind the predator grille. But yes, that’s definitely a sweet spot.

          • 0 avatar

            I think you’d end up not liking the G80. It’s big and heavy, which is exactly the complaint you had of your MKS at the end.

            The interior doesn’t do it for me personally, something looks not quite right. The buttons, the wood, I’m not sure.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Speaking of Genesis I’m getting irritated by RWD “sport” models with staggered tire sizes. I must be the last guy who actually rotates his tires at every oil change.

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            300S with the Hemi. A paper thin classy/professional disguise to skim under the radar. Its a brute of a muscle car under that façade but still a well made and refined brute.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            @Mopar — that’s exactly what I was thinking. The 300C is too blingy. I love the 300S V8’s front bumper design.

        • 0 avatar
          I_like_stuff

          My wife has a ’17 E-300. She loves it. I think it’s meh. How MB can get away with a 4 cylinder engine for a $60K car is one of life’s great mysteries to me. The ’16 and older E350s on the other hand had a real V6 engine and were awesome.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    If somebody pays a price, then said item is by definition “worth it”.

  • avatar
    AVT

    I think it depends on the buyers expectations. I find newish lincoln mkts to be great values. 30k miles off lease and they only go for 20k. If your a maximum bang for your buck, they are hard to beat. Reasonable operating costs and most major potential problems are still covered by warranty. Conversely, I find that Acura Tl from 2009-2014 to be great commuter cars. You may disagree with the styling but they are very reliable, even with 100k+ on the odo. As long as basic maintenance, was done, there’s no reason you can’t get another 100k plus out of them. In particular, the sh-awd models strike a sweet spot, at least for me as I’m in the snowbelt. And since no one wants cars, you can pick them up for maybe 1-2k more than what they want for that Lexus in the article. The fwd models are probably the same price. More miles yes, but 6-9 years newer. So if you had to spend your hard earned money, would you buy that Lexus or an acura tl with say 110,000 miles?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This thing is a fancy Camry, and fourth gen Camrys are so common I wouldnt pay more than $3k tops. $10k Eats into the repair budget quite a bit so lets hope oild sludge isnt an issue.

    For me the best mix is 150k miles for $1500 no older than 1993 with used beaters, but shape and ownership history are alwsys more important.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I love this gen ES, and the colors, and the alloys, and the black chrome, but I would agree that $10k is too much. Also, the MZ engines had problems with rear main seal leaks at as little as 70k miles, and it’s an expensive repair, since you have to pull the halfshafts and drop the transaxle to replace it (and go ahead and replace the transmission front seal and halfshaft seals while you’ve got it apart).

    I love this car, but I wouldn’t go more than $5k on it.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Also, I see Ziebart paperwork in the pictures, but I don’t notice any plugs in the door jambs – do they not drill holes anymore?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      My ’96 4Runner has drilled holes with plugs, and I recently did a PPI on a 2010 Soul and it too had drilled holes with plugs in the jambs as well. I suspect some franchises just take short cuts, or customers specifically tell them to omit that part of the application.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    As a winter beater or just an extra car for the daily grind, it might be ok, but why not a comparable camry or corolla for that? The idea there is cheap cheap cheap. A clean older IS or SC would definitely have its own appeal, I could even see a Solara coupe with manual transmission being a nice score. But this…HUGE risk with it being sat for so long, and pricey AF. Unless you have a thing for cars intended for geriatrics…

  • avatar
    gmrn

    Unless I missed the detail somewhere in the comments, I’m surprised no one noticed that this appears to be a Coach edition vs. the garden variety ES300. While that should garner a higher price, the ask seems much too high.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s actually a Platinum Edition which means “this model is about to change over” in Lexus speak. They did the same thing in 2000 for the LS.

      Just some badges, and usually a wheel design. Not really as good as the Coach Edition, which came with Coach luggage.

  • avatar
    robc123

    Value is one thing- what you are willing to pay is another. Over the last year I have moved more over to the dark side. Have an old car but use it very little- 3000km yr.

    I do car2go ($0.41 a min all in) for a Mercedes, or rent for the day, use someone else’s or get an uber. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you are in a city, live uptown, work downtown- this is the way to go. $500-750++ a month saved or thousands upfront for a used car- that may need serious $$ injection to work- at the very least, tires, brakes, oil, trans, wipers, plugs and or injectors, and probably a new windshield and a car inspection to pass insurance if you buy used. Im done with that.

    OR

    Lease- cars now are so much safer, comfortable, faster.
    Adaptive cruise is great in stop and go traffic or on the highway.

    This lex is nice but get smacked by a new SUV….you are in ICU for sure.
    Then what did you save? maybe a passenger dies because the airbag didn’t work- you idiots do know that you have to replace them every 10 yrs and the seatbelts too….

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “you idiots do know that you have to replace them every 10 yrs and the seatbelts too….”

      Joke’s on you, “idiot,” my Ranger doesn’t have airbags!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “you idiots do know that you have to replace them every 10 yrs and the seatbelts too….”

      I sincerely hope that was a joke. If not, the only idiot would be the one staring back at you in the mirror. No manufacturer recommends replacing airbags or seatbelts every 10 years. Its true that some did way back when airbags first started appearing, but it was usually more of a recommended inspection, and that hasn’t been the case in quite a long time.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    It’s all about condition. I’ve seen low mileage cars asking a premium that looked so beat up I suspected odometer shenanigans, meanwhile I have two higher mileage cars that look and drive about half their age.

    If the condition seems to match the mileage, as in Corey’s ES300 example, then I think low mileage might be worth it. It’s no guarantee of minimum repairs, but the mechanical bits can be made like new again easy enough. It’s much harder to restore the paint, body work, and interior.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • mopar4wd: Yep sold my old 2000 Durango for 900 bucks last year. Looks like I could get more like 2K now. Everyone is...
  • JMII: It was a great car, along with its replacement which was a ’89 Prelude Si. For about the first 10 years...
  • mopar4wd: Wholesale is bonkers. Cars rolling thru the auction for over MSRP is just crazy. But it’s happening....
  • DenverMike: “Ace of Base” articles. I guess it’s too much to ask for an actual review of a vinyl...
  • Rocket: The Grand Wagoneer is being way overhyped. Stellantis pricing it well into six figures while it shares...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber