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Lexus RX300 Purchase

I am thinking about purchasing a 2000 Lexus RX300. It is in very nice condition and drives wonderfully. It has 172,000 miles on it. That kind of scares me. The asking price is quite a bit below Kelly Blue Book, even with the high miles. What should I be looking out for with this car. I want to make an intelligent decision.

Most important - have you seen the maintenance record? Not just lately, but from day one? That will make the biggest differnce in the remaining life for this car.

Don’t purchase this car if you plan on putting a lot of miles on it per year. If you plan to drive it like 6,000 to 10,000 per year it should be OK. A lot more miles and you may start to wear out significant items like differentials and transfer cases etc. Plan to spend about $2,000 a year on maintenance and repairs. If this is over your budget then pass on the car. With this many miles you have to be prepared for some big repair bills. Maybe they won’t happen, but the likelyhood of expensive repairs on a 10 year old luxury car with just short of 200K miles is too great not to be prepped for.

For starters at 180K miles it is due for a new timing belt job if it is the V8 motor. That is about $600-800 for the timing belt, water pump, tensioner, and serpentine belt. That’s assuming the 1st timing belt job was done on schedule at 90K miles.

As Texases points out maintenance history is important. The more you know of the cars past the better. If you know nothing then you can’t assume it was properly maintained. Any car can be detailed and cleaned up to look great. Have a good mechanic inspect the car throughly BEFORE you buy it.

When the price of a vehicle is well below the average selling price you have to ask yourself why. My biggest concern would be previous body damage. You might want to take the vehicle to alignment shop and have them do an inspection on it to see if the wheels are tracking correctly along with having a shop check out the rest of the mechanics so you will have an idea what future repairs may be needed. You have to expect to pay more maintenance costs per year on an older vehicle compared to a new one. It is the trade off you make.

Have the vehicle inspected underneath. In our area we get a lot of flood cars and trucks out of Louisiana. They look great from the top but are rust buckets underneath. Something is amiss with the price. I’d pass.

IMHO after 8yrs/150k miles do not be surprised with a major repair on a vehicle with ANY brand.

Pay a mechanic to look it over to remove some of the mystery.

Have a mechanic check out everything.