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Advice Needed!! Does 2008 RX 400h have a timing belt or a chain?


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Hello! I am planning on buying a 2008 Lexus RX 400h from a private seller tomorrow morning. The lady told me it does not have a timing belt. She said her mechanic told her it doesn't- the she asked, he checked on it (don't know if by looking at the car or looking it up), and then told her no. I called a Lexus dealership where they have the same year and model for sale and he said it has a timing belt. I am so confused. I don't believe the lady is lying- she said she was 100% sure and sounded genuine. Can someone please advise me on this? Otherwise I am very excited for the car. She is selling it for $9,000, in very good shape, 101,000 miles. Do some of the 2008's have the timing belt and some don't? That would seem odd to me. If it does have a timing belt and it has not been replaced, I am thinking of asking for a lower price since it is already at 100k. I am driving out-of-state to look at it tomorrow. Is there a way I can see the timing belt (or chain) from opening up the hood?

 

I attached photos of the car below.

 

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. Thank you!!

 

-Amy

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Hi Lydia, thank you for letting me know! I ended up not getting the car as it turned out to have very rusty brakes and a salvage title. I did get a 2010 Lexus RX 350 though. (

 

Thanks again!

-Amy

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A few tips:

1. When looking for a used vehicle, arm yourself with information about it before talking to the owner. Many owner's manual maintenance tables are available online. In this table are maintenance requirements regarding frequency of replacement of air/oil filters, engine oil, coolant, timing belts, etc.
 1.1 Conduct a phone interview and ask if the items requiring replacement (based upon the vehicle's mileage) were replaced. Ask the owner if records and/or receipts were retained. Ask about the length of drives to work and back. Short trips of less than 3-5 miles may require more often oil/filter changes.

2. Salvage vehicles can save you quite a bit of money, but precautions should be taken. 
  2.1 Does the owner have photos of the damage? Rear damage is often preferred.
  2.2 Was the damage professionally repaired. Are there receipts? 
  2.3 Take the vehicle to an auto body shop for inspection/integrity of repair. The underside should also be inspected.
  2.4 A good-looking and well-repaired salvage title vehicle should sell for 40-50% less than a clean title vehicle, all other factors being the same (mileage, options, overall condition)
  2.5 Keep in mind that ST vehicles can be more difficult to resell but if you plan to keep the vehicle for many years, you can save quite a bit of coin.

3. I bought a salvage title Mazda, 7 years ago and saved $8000 over a non-ST MX5.  It has been super-reliable and I have enjoyed it, immensely over the years.

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There is a convetion in the US to put a sticker on the engine compartment if the timing belt has been replaced.  If there is no sticker, assume it has not been replaced.  I just was quoted $950 for a belt and water pump at a Toyota dealer for a 430.  A private shop down the street wants $1,400 but guarantees the work for 90k miles. 

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