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Help With Purchase Of 04-05 E330 Lexus


Lizzybluts
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Hi,

New Years Eve my E300 was totaled by a drunk driver, just after having new tires, timing belt and $1200 worth of maintenance. I took great care of my car but how do I know these used cars have had the same?

I have found an 05 E330 with 120k miles for $8,000 and a 04 E330 with 95k for $8600. Is this a no brainer? The 04 does not have maintenance records but was verified as a 1 owed with AutoCheck. The 120k is also a 1 owner and beautiful. Would you be afraid to purchase with 120k that is the color I want and a year older? I have so much faith in the Lexus brand that the mileage doesn't scare me, or at least maybe just a little, but I don't want to be foolish.

Which should I buy?

Thanks,

Lizzybluts

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lizzybluts,

My wife and I always purchase 3 to 4 year old Lexus ES's and Subaru Outback's, the pamper mobile for her, and the go through any snowfall one for me.

At this point we have had 4 ES's and every one was better than the one before. The mileage you are looking at would not be a concern for me, as long as the car screams "pride of ownership". Being a backyard mechanic who's been in the backyard for years, I do all of the maintenance and inspections.

In your case, if you have doubts, take the car to an independent mechanic you trust, and have it inspected. It may prove to be the best $100 you'll ever spend.

Any reputable dealership or private individual who won't allow you to get the car inspected privately, has something to hide. Walk away from the car.

If, after the inspection, the verdict is great, buy it if its priced right.

The only things I have ever had to fix over and above regular maintenance on any Lexus we've owned since 1997, was a torque converter on one, and a suspension sensor for the motorized headlights, and an accelerator position sensor on another, period. That's 4 different ES's, each one a different generation, and many thousands of kms collectively. If they've had regular maintenance and haven't been cowboyed, they are pretty much bullet proof.

However, if a major part goes wrong, like most upscale makes, the cost can be substantial. That makes the mechanic's inspection all the more necessary if you don't have the expertise to do it yourself. Good Luck with your shopping!

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Hi lizzy,

I drive an '06 ES330 with 95k on the ODO. The one thing you may want to look into (on both cars) is if the timing belt was changed. There stands a higher probability that the '05 had it done (Lexus recommends at 90k) and that the '04 hasn't since it's only 5k beyond that and people like to stretch things sometimes. If they both had it done, that's a major expense you can cross off. Pricing is similar but the biggest differences between those two are the fact that the '05 was the refresh for the generation.

Changes included (may not be listing them all):

Revisied taillights

Revised headlights (projector beans and round fogs)

Standard 17" inch rims over the 16's.

Dual memory seats

New steering wheel with much better intergrated controls

To me, there is a big difference in the looks between the '04 and '05 models, def. a more luxury look, and in my case I would be choosing the '05. As gbhrps said, make sure you get it checked out, and if they were properly maintained, they'll go a lot longer.

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Thank you Gene and Jack! I took your advice and did the research on both cars about the timing belt. The salesman "assured me the timing belt had been changed" but couldn't verify. I decided to call the Lexus Dealers listed on Carfax report and hear it from them that these things were done. I was told by one of the salespeople that I can't call the dealership and ask if I am not the car owner because of privacy laws. Well, the service people I spoke with at both dealerships were very helpful, even advising that because they had the car in every 5,000 miles and what they had done it showed how much they loved their car and took care of it. One service person even told me that the sales person had just called about the same issue with the timing belt and making sure it was changed, making it easier for me to trust that salesperson, who I eventually bought his car.

I drove the 05 ES330 Friday night for the first time and I was in HEAVEN!! I'm so glad you both reached out to me because I was very confident in making my choice of the 05. It is so beautiful and the inside of it makes me want to put a blanket in the back seat and spend the night! I can't believe the difference in the 05 and my 2000. I'm not sure if this link will work but this is the picture of my beautiful new car. It's silver with new tires, brakes, timing belt, everything I need and at a price I could afford.

file:///Users/adobetest/Desktop/my%20new%20car.jpeg
Thank you again, guys!
Another Lexus lover...
Lizzybluts
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Hi lizzy,

I drive an '06 ES330 with 95k on the ODO. The one thing you may want to look into (on both cars) is if the timing belt was changed. There stands a higher probability that the '05 had it done (Lexus recommends at 90k) and that the '04 hasn't since it's only 5k beyond that and people like to stretch things sometimes. If they both had it done, that's a major expense you can cross off. Pricing is similar but the biggest differences between those two are the fact that the '05 was the refresh for the generation.

Changes included (may not be listing them all):

Revisied taillights

Revised headlights (projector beans and round fogs)

Standard 17" inch rims over the 16's.

Dual memory seats

New steering wheel with much better intergrated controls

To me, there is a big difference in the looks between the '04 and '05 models, def. a more luxury look, and in my case I would be choosing the '05. As gbhrps said, make sure you get it checked out, and if they were properly maintained, they'll go a lot longer.

I am even more excited that I chose the 05 after reading your response, Jack. I agree the 05 looked prettier and the steering wheel even looked smaller than my 2000, or something was different. The color of the redwood is gorgeous. I'm just waiting on the insurance company to give me my check, then I can take ownership and drive my car, rather than just a deposit holding it for me in a lonely Lexus garage.

Lexus owners are such nice people and you two guys really proved that to me. I appreciate your advice and it really was the deciding factor for me.

Thank you!!

Lizzy

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Lizzybluts,

You are most welcome!

My wife still has that silly a** grin on her face from when we traded her 04 ES330 in September for her latest 2011 ES350.

If you think your 05 is nice, just wait a few years until you upgrade to your next one! You'll love that one even more.

The best advice I could give anyone who wants to buy a used car/Lexus/whatever is to do your homework, take your time, check the car out carefully by doing research, and then buy the nicest one you can afford. If it just screams "pride of ownership" then you found the car. I always start looking for the replacement car to trade up to, before my older car actually needs to be replaced. There is less chance that you'll be buying something less than what you really wanted this way.

Unfortunately, because some people need a car immediately, or traveling to find the right car isn't possible, there are times when you can't do the program I've suggested. In that case, buy the best one you can under the circumstances.

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Lizzybluts,

You are most welcome!

My wife still has that silly a** grin on her face from when we traded her 04 ES330 in September for her latest 2011 ES350.

If you think your 05 is nice, just wait a few years until you upgrade to your next one! You'll love that one even more.

The best advice I could give anyone who wants to buy a used car/Lexus/whatever is to do your homework, take your time, check the car out carefully by doing research, and then buy the nicest one you can afford. If it just screams "pride of ownership" then you found the car. I always start looking for the replacement car to trade up to, before my older car actually needs to be replaced. There is less chance that you'll be buying something less than what you really wanted this way.

Unfortunately, because some people need a car immediately, or traveling to find the right car isn't possible, there are times when you can't do the program I've suggested. In that case, buy the best one you can under the circumstances.

Those next gen's are nice I must admit. I was just on my dealers site just last night eyeing an '08 with 70k on the ODO for list of 16k I believe. I've bought three cars through mine over last 2.5 years (they own multiple brands) and know I can get a better deal than asking. That extra 40 horse comes in handy as my DW's Venza has the same engine and OMG pretty funny how her "wagon" can beat my Lexus ;) THOUGH the 3.3's ARE good motors and it is definitely still a quick vehicle.

Good choice Lizzy, yo're going to love it, I love mine and people who don't know the generations still think my '06 is more like a '10 ("what's your car, like 3 or 4 years old?") routine. Love it.

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