Five-year Update: Your Author's 2015 Lexus GS 350

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Time flies, doesn’t it? Seems just a year or two ago your author took a troubled and stressful trip to Austin to pick up a lightly used GS 350. But that was a full five years ago now, prior to pandemic times! We last spoke about the GS in April of 2021 at the two-year mark. Three years on, this is the longest I’ve ever kept a single automobile.


While five years is still a short-ish amount of time to own a vehicle, most every other vehicle in my ownership never made it that far. Whether some aspect of ownership became tedious, life necessitated a vehicular change, a big mechanical problem was on the horizon, boredom set in, or someone crashed into it, a resale always happened in under five years. Happily, I can report none of those things have occurred with the GS. 

Pursuant to the above, during these five years of GS ownership the secondary car that sat in the driveway changed three times. In July of 2020 I ditched the green over ivory 2012 Subaru Outback because it was terrible to drive with its wallowy unsettled suspension and lousy CVT. The buyers had large dogs to cart around, and were all too happy with the enormous cargo space the Outback provided. 

A few months later in December 2020 the Outback’s replacement was purchased, the white over tan 2019 Golf Sportwagen. Subsequent quality control issues like a defective headliner from the factory, and then waterlogged headliner(s) due to faulty sunroof drains really ruined the vibe of the otherwise excellent and efficient wagon. Fortunately, timing with Covid price gouging after I bought the Golf meant I happily sold it back to the dealer (July 2021) to end the headache and didn’t lose money.

After an extended search for something less practical, February 2023 saw the purchase of the white over tan 2010 BMW Z4 with which you may be familiar. We covered the one-year update on that a couple months ago. It’s been a stark and welcome contrast to former cars in the back catalog.

Through it all, the GS has served as the “in the garage” vehicle, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I consider on occasion how the GS is no longer produced as Lexus shies away from sedans in general (ugly, soft ES, ancient IS, dated LS), and it’s not directly replaceable. The nearest current product to the GS is a large Genesis, which may come with engine issues down the line (not convinced H/K has this issue under control).

Miles added to the GS remain low, and at nine years old it’s probably one of the lowest mileage pre-refresh examples in existence. In April of 2019 at purchase the odometer read 39,339 per the CarFax report. Two years later in 2021, that figure was 44,750. While the Cincinnati-based job I held at the time never returned to the office, I switched to a fully remote role with a new employer in early 2022. As of this writing the odometer reads 53,561, or 2,844 miles a year. 

The low usage means the GS needs its 17.4-gallon tank refilled only every two or three months (but up to five). I’m still on the fill-up from prior to Christmas 2023. Of the past six tanks on mixed driving, a warm weather one last year netted 27.5 mpg, while the worst tanks in the winter averaged around 24 miles per gallon. It’s possible to net 29 mpg from a tank if it’s all highway driving during warm weather. 

The car has been in for two services in the past five years. In August 2021 it had a tire rotation and oil change at 45,934 miles at the dealer. In August 2023 at 52,885 miles, I took it to a local indie mechanic for another oil change and a coolant service. At home I swapped out the cabin filter and air filter, both parts were of course cheap and readily available. Nothing has broken whatsoever.

As far as other maintenance concerns, the tires still have good tread but technically are past their use by date (4017, manufactured October 2, 2017). I don’t plan on replacing those any time soon. At 60,000 miles I’ll have a brake fluid service done, and probably a transmission drain and refill. 

The GS is still great to drive, and does not show its years. Minor complaints are two: There’s a very faint creaking sound on occasion from the glove box lid rubbing against the glove box itself, which I plan to address with some sound insulation tape. The other issue is the wheels, which have a dark alloy coating that’s subject to peeling once the wheel endures the slightest nick or scrape. It’s minor for now, but with age I suspect it will increase to a noticeable level.

Less of a complaint but more fact of life are the pock marks the lower valance receives from small road debris. The large surface area of painted plastic is black underneath, which makes all damage very visible. I’ve done some touch up with a two-step painting kit, but it’s impossible to match the pearl coat correctly. Photos here are from last week, when I gave it a wash and wax.

At the five-year mark, do I really need the GS? Not really, I could sell it on and use the BMW for all driving duties. It serves much better than the GS for spirited driving occasions given its smaller size and narrower shape. But the “can’t replace this” factor means I’ll hold onto it. Maybe I’m becoming car-sentimental in my middle age.


[Images © Corey Lewis/TTAC.com]


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Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on May 02, 2024

    Two of my four cars currently have tires that have remaining tread life but 2017 date codes. Time for a tire-stravaganza pretty soon.

    • See 6 previous
    • Carson D Carson D on May 04, 2024

      Congratulations on not being able to make connections, MC. Your ideological rigor will serve you well until it doesn't.


  • Orange260z Orange260z on May 05, 2024

    I'm facing the "tire aging out" issue as well - the Conti ECS on my 911 have 2017 date codes but have lots (likely >70%) tread remaining. The tires have spent quite little time in the sun, as the car has become a garage queen and has likely had ~10K kms put on in the last 5 years. I did notice that they were getting harder last year, as the car pushes more in corners and the back end breaks loose under heavy acceleration. I'll have to do a careful inspection for cracks when I get the car out for the summer in the coming weeks.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.
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