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1998 Lexus ES 300 - Free car pre-check

I have the proverbial only driven to church on Sunday car. A 1998 Lexus with only 47,000 miles on it. 2,00 in last ten years. It’s my Father in Laws and he wants to give it to my daughter and his new great daughter. I don;t want to say no way, but what should I have checked out so he doesn’t cut my wife and children out of the will even though he lives with us,.

I would just take it to a good shop and have it checked out . Have the coolant changed or flushed , brake fluid changed , tires are most likely due for replacement and forget service items by miles . Time is the main factor here. Probably needs new serpentine belt and radiator hoses .


When was the last time it was driven? If the gas has been in there more than a year Without stabilizer added I would consider having the tank drained.
But over all, I would say take it, spend the money on maintenance, and drive on.

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Then have your daughter accept the car, say “thank you” and you can then take it to a mechanic yourself for an inspection. There is no reason to do that before he gifts it to your daughter so there is no opportunity to offend him.

Assume some money may need to be spent - a new set of tires since they are likely 10 plus years old and are no longer safe even IF the tread looks OK. I’d also flush the brake fluid, change the oil, change the transmission fluid and the coolant since ALL degrade with TIME as well as mileage. You can offer to pay for this or she can do it but it should be done.


Nice car, but probably long over due for a timing belt/water pump change. Well worth it though.

Ed B.

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This was Lexus top of the line car back then.Toyota invested a lot of $$$ to create this jewel and soon to be collector item.The V8 engine is a marvel of technology and was created to surpass Mercedes S class. I would get the free inspection and replace the items found to be defective.

Are you sure about having a V8 , because it only shows a V6 when doing research on the ES300.

Yep, this is the Lexus version of the Camry. I owned a '96 ES300 for 16 years, great car.

Have your daughter accept the car. Take it to a mechanic have it checked for safety and if safe enjoy sitting in the passenger seat while your daughter is chauffeuring you around.

You are thinking of the Lexus LS, not the ES model, which is essentially an upgraded version of a Camry. The ES never came with a V-8.


The ES was the gussied up Camry. No V8. You’re probably thinking of the LS 4xx

I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Oh… that’s right… I did… about 30 minutes ago.

I neglected to read further down the thread until after I responded to @COROLLAGUY1 's post. Oops.

The ES 300 was simply a Toyota Avalon in a Sunday suit. The “top of the line” was the Lexus LS series. Still a nice car, highly unlikely to become collectible.

Pretty sure the V8 was the 400 series
The 300 was a 3.0L V6
The 400 was a 4.0L V8

The GS 400 and SC 400 also had V-8 engines leaving the ES at the bottom of the Lexus line up.

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no . . .

The 1998 Avalon had a longer wheelbase, as far as I know

The ES300 and V6 Camry were cousins, the Lexus being better equipped

Yep, it was later that Toyota based the ES350 on the Avalon.

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ES=Economy Series…


It’s all relative

While the ES300 may have been considered “economy” or “entry level” by Lexus standards, it wasn’t a strippo car . . . not by estimation

It may be poorly equipped by today’s standards, but not in 1998 :thinking: