1998 Lexus es300 - repair or replace?


#1

Hello all, I’ve got a 1998 Lexus es300 with about 150000 miles. We only drive the car about 7000 miles a year. It has begun leaking oil in two places and our first estimate was that it would cost about $1000 to fix (KBB indicates that for my area the car has a value somewhere between $1000 and $2000). I don’t want to begin street parking the vehicle or put an oil mat down in the driveway. I’m operating on the assumption that I could get another 50k-100k miles on this car. I can’t decide whether to fix the leak or start looking for another used vehicle. Any opinions?


#2

I’m guessing it’s leaking from the valve covers, correct? How much does it leak? To me that’s not a lot of money if you otherwise want to keep the car. But if you’re looking for an excuse to get a new one, now you have it! At 18 years, nobody would blame you.

Have you owned the car since new? Is all the maintenance up to date?


#3

If the car is otherwise reliable and you like it, think about fixing it. Do not think about the current resale value, think about it’s value to you. A new car payment is going to be $250 -$500 a month. So @ $1,000 to repair it you have at most 4 months of car payments. At month 5 you are ahead of the game. If you are looking for a reason to get a new car, you have the ammunition you need to pull the trigger.


#4

I believe valve covers was the issue. It leaks a couple drops overnight. I’ve had it for the last few years, maintenance is up to date, its runs well and has no other issues currently. I’m not looking to buy another vehicle, it’s just difficult to tell if throwing a grand into a car that’s not worth much more than that is a good investment.


#5

( It leaks a couple drops overnight) If that is all where is the concern ? Now if it leaves a large puddle or causes smoke to come from the engine bay that is different.


#6

Steve’s logic is the logic that I’ve always subscribed to. The “blue book” is totally irrelevant. The real value is what repairing the car and keeping it will save you. In this case, many, many thousands.


#7

If you park it in a garage, put some cardboard on the floor under the engine. That will soak up the oil rather than staining the floor. As you mentioned, parking it on the street is another good option. I’d keep it and monitor the oil loss every two weeks. Keep up with the oil level, or the engine will seize when oil loss is too great.


#8

If the car is otherwise Ok I’d fix the leak. We fixed an oil leak on my wife’s 1994 Nissan Sentra for $900 or so and she drove it another 5 years.