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Considering Getting 1997-98 Lexus Es With 180k Miles, Need Some Feedba


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Hey guys,

I'm looking to get the Lexus ES 1997 to 1999 with about 180k miles on it but in good cosmetic and mechanical condition. I can't find lower milage on my very small budget. I've done research on this car and know that with the right care it could go over 250k no problem with very few things going wrong.

But, I'm concerned about buying a car with such a high milage, what if the tranny goes right after I buy it or something else thats very expensive to fix? And, I'm getting it without warranty.

I'd appreciate any feedback about what kinds of problems I should look out for and if it's worth at all getting this car with such a high milage?

Thanks guys.

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The big issue with those cars is the engine oil gelling issue. Without proper oil change intervals the engine oil can gel up into a sludge causing total engine failure. I certainly wouldn't buy ANY 97-01 ES without good maintenance records.

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Our first Lexus was a 1997 ES 300 and it was an amazing car. It worked flawlessly from the day we bought it until we traded it on our present 04 ES. Other than routine maintenance, tire and wiper blade replacements, the car ran like a top. We traded it at 269 000 km (167 000 miles), and I would certainly buy another one from that generation if I needed a cheaper car to purchase.

By all means, find a car with up to date service records, and pull out the dipstick and check the oil condition in the crankcase. As well, take off the oil filler cap and check inside the cap and the filler opening for sludge and grime. They will help to tell the tale as to the maintenance the car has received. Good Luck!

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I don't much experience in details of it. I recently bought a 99 ES300 with 119k miles on it. I just did whatever I've written below. For past 3 months i had no problem other than the battery. But my dealer replaced it for free.

If it has good maintenance records and if you find the engine is smooth after driving at 75mph and also at little slower speeds, then I'd say go for it. See when the important things like timing belt, water pump were replaced.

Be with the car for 1/2 or an hour after initial driving, start it again and see if it works good. Open the bonnet and start the engine, see if you hear any strange noise. See if the engine is maintained clean.

If properly maintained, they will really be a good one.

If something really goes wrong, it will always going to cost you more than other cars.

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We have a 96 es300. Was 2 years with 70k when bought, high milage for 2 years old but got a really good deal. Now has 125k. Dad has banged it up a few times. Last time took a fender and head light out. Insurance totaled the car and paid him 5100 for it. I bought it back for 300 and spent 600 to fix it. Had it detailed and the interior seats fixed for 400. Car looks and drives like new now. REALLY nice car for 1300! Mom n' Dad are happy and using the extra money to fix up their little "hot rod" an 85 2m6 SE Fiero. They are 82 and 87.

The only thing I still need to fix is the power antenna...won't stop trying to go up. And the hood struts (shock supports). I was shocked at the OEM replacement cost...100 each! This is the only year that has a little bracket welded to the drivers side strut to mount some kind of electrical harness connection. OK fine...but what is up with the passenger side being the same 100 bucks! I have found some replacements that are cheaper around 40 or 50 a pair but I am having a hard time deciding whether to chance it over the Internet. Anyone with a comment on that?

Anyway...ya...if you found a car that Lexus has information on that is really cool. Call them and check...they will need the VIN#. You may have a car fax done also. Check that the title is not a salvage or rehabed salvage because that cuts resale in half. That is what we have on our Lexus now...but you will never find a nicer cleaner better maintained car than this one!

Fluids and filters are the big issue. Check them all for level and clarity. If they are low or dirty than the car was probably mistreated. Other wise I would say the price will make the deal depending on condition. Check Kelly and NADA for book values of trade in and resale. If you can get a nice car for trade in that is normally a pretty good deal. Go over the car really good and find anything that needs fixed or replaced and make sure you have room to do it. You want the car perfect when done or don't buy it! Hey...it's a Lexus and has to show it!

I had a 91 LS400 Gold edition with 225k on it. The car thought it was brand new. But it was a doctor owned Lexus dealer maintained car. I did do a "flush" change on the trany when I bought it and suggest you do that to yours too if you buy it. Is a bit pricey around 100 but well worth it because of the cost to replace a trany in a Lexus.

Good Luck...

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