There are loads of replies to this question on the forum
A quick list of what to look out for .... don't let this put you off ... all the faults I can remember are listed below (some are common sense), maybe there are a few more that owners can add
Seized rear calipers - cost around £300 each - Easiest way to check is to take the car on a test run and then when parked back up again feel the heat on each alloy - should be warm and not excessively hot. No squealing. Also, if discs are still rusted looking after driving then there's a problem. Obviously pulling to the side is noticeable
Seized front calipers - as with the rears, around £300 each. Both front and backs can be freed if not too far gone, re-greased and put back together again but once seized they may need looking after more than ones not having been seized in the past as pitting and ill fitting rubber seals may be an issue. Why does this happen ... last owner not looking after the car or using the wrong type of grease in that it attacks the rubber boots letting dirt and water into the caliper moving parts. If it was looked after by the dealer then new calipers would have been fitted if seized. Greasing is not a part of the service schedule from Lexus so be aware. You may not experience any warnings that they are seized. Its the most common fault on these cars so get an assurance from the seller to replace if found to be seized or have him check them first. To be honest If it was me i would also check them myself when I got home with a new car just to be sure. Easy DIY job to both replace and maintain (grease) I do mine every 6 months but a lot of owners do it every year.
Black oil - A sign the cars not been looked after - the oil should not be black. It will go dark in colour but not black. Again, an easy DIY job - I use Magnatec and an oil change, including the filter will cost you around £60. Takes a bit over 6 litres.
Oil filter cap seized - If you can, ask the dealer or garage to ensure the cap housing thr filter will move. A lot of garages, including dealers put these on far too tight and some owners have experienced cracked housings while trying to remove the caps to change the filter. An easy DIY job
White crust around front water pump area - an indication the water pump is on its way out - costs around £200 for a new one (inclusive of fitting)
Exhaust shot - Black soot around the welded joints - check the centre section around the middle resonator as this is a problem area. Get this checked out at an exhaust centre. Pay for the inspection as you wont get a lot of change back from 3k for the replacement parts (back box and centre) if it has gone or is on its last legs - the pattern parts have not been released to 3rd party manufacturers so the replacement parts are only available from Lexus unless you are going bespoke and going for a stainless one - a Cat back system will cost around £500
Tyres rotated wrong way - Ask why have they done this? un-even tyre wear so look around the shocks / springs to see if theres any issues - maybe nothing
Leaking shocks - Expensive replacements but not a real issue - some owners have reported replacing them and hard to find
Wheel locking nuts seized - Put on with a tyre dealer air hammer. Will come off with specialised tools and a lot of patience - I think this is common cause on all cars - happened on 3 in our household over the years.
Wheel security locking nut missing - check this is available when buying the car. Without it you wont be able to take the tyres off easily or replace if you get a puncture
Tow hook missing - only handy when you need it so check its there - located in the boot of the car
Spare type - it houses a space saver wheel - make sure its inflated. If it looks like its been used then take out and inspect to make sure its inflated.
DVD sat nav extraction tool missing - only handy when you come to update the sat nav DVD - the tools for this should be in the black tool kit in the boot of the car
CD/DVD head unit fully working - take an original CD / a DVD and an MP3 disc with you and test each one out - they should all work without messing with the settings. (you will need to select each disc to play and it should)
Noise from front speaker cover - a cracking noise from the speaker cover on the front centre dash board - not experienced this myself but its apparently quite noisy.
Coolant level low - check the heating is hot when on. Check for a "gurgling" noise which will indicate the cooling is low - if its low then there could be an issue with a leak or possible indication the pump is on its way out
Front headlights - will become "cloudy" over time - no more than any other car and can easily be restored with a bit of elbow grease
Corroded wheels - a common issue with the Toyota wheels - bad ones will eventually lose air and deflate due to the corrosion not creating a good seal.
Uneven wear on tyres - indication there's something a miss with the alignment / shocks - to be honest this is not reported as a problem on the cars. Maybe more so from owners using non OEM wheels
Cams are chain driven - no worries there but they can stretch (very extreme)
Rear blind working - read a few posts on here that its stopped working or stuck in the up position - check its operation
Front discs - They are heavy on discs and front pads. Check the wear on the discs on the front - not expensive to replace and an easy DIY job
Lights not bright and flickering - an indication that the bulbs are on their way out - check both are the same colour. If not, one has been replaced and other will need to be done at some point. Check all front lights as they are quite fiddly in replacing the bulbs
Aircon works - should be cold - if not then check coolant level, if ok the system either has a leak or may need re-gassing
Mirrors dip when in reverse - the mirrors should dip towards the road when in reverse, a feature on the cars to ensure easy viewing of where you are going. If they don't then its most likely they will just need to be cleaned internally. Again an easy DIY job.
Parking sensors - with the engine running have someone walk within a foot of the sensors at the front and the rear of the car - it should start beeping when the person walks past them. Not seen any issues with this reported by the owners.
O2 sensors - PreCat (within engine bay) will go around 70 to 80k easy DIY job - cost around £180 for OEM Denso ones - don't use 3rd party ones as they will not last
Rear brake shoes - Cant easily be checked on a test drive - changed mine at around 90k last year and they still had a bit of meat on them, probably on the car from new so more than likely will need changing or inspection at least. Easy DIY job
Main engine plastic cover - centre engine cover can become loose from removing and re-applying it. there is a push button tab that breaks off and it can in some instances be heard rattling over lumpy roads. Mine has broke - not a real issue as the radio at low volume masks any rattle. I expect some strong glue would fix this.
Engine idle - make sure its constant at tick over when cold (quite high) and when hot (around 700revs) - if erratic it could indicate a carbon build up - not an issue with an application with cleaning liquids
Valve Rattle - VVTI may rattle from time to time - the oil will drain in some cases from the resoviour for the valves after standing for a bit and as a consequence there is a rattle noise (similar to a dull machine gun noise) but will disappear in a second or so. Happenned on mine a few times when I first had it. but not come back for a couple of years now. Regular oil changes and I do an engine flush each oil change and in my opinion it has helped a lot.
Exhaust smoke - no smoke from these - only condensate when in cold weather which is normal for most cars
Cabin carpets - check the drivers side has clips anchoring the carpet down (if it has one) if it doesn't then the carpet can creep under the pedals
Boot - Its a fair size boot but the opening does not give good access to large items - ideally it could have done with split seats but its not that kind of car I guess.
Audio - Make sure the spec includes a Mark Levinson branded head unit which is the better of the head unit specs on these models.(indicated on the front of the stereo on the bottom right of the unit)
Rear seat room - its a bit cramped in the back with passengers on the seats - leg room is dismal, maybe that's why I have never sat in the back when its been driven. Wife wont drive it due to the size of the car which I don't mind at all.
Reliability - looked after its bullet proof, best make of car I have owned. Running costs are petrol only. Put in the time to do the services (oil, filters etc) and it will serve you well.
Parts availability - Had my 250 for 3 years and an IS200 for 2 prior to that - the only time I was unable to get a part was the exhaust for the 250 - I could get one from the dealer but at nearly 3k I thought no way and went down another route. Parts are available from Eurocarparts / ebay / online easily enough and are not expensive.
Speed - People forget these are not sports cars - they are quick in manual mode and can keep up with the best of them but are not made for that purpose. Its nice owning one for the individuality of having something different from whats sitting on the neighbours drive or in the works car park. I only know of an IS200 Alteeza and a IS220 local to myself so its my bit of exclusivity. Don't care how old it is, its still better than a new model medium city car.
Mileage - mines on 93k - no issue and having has a high miler is200 and this one then I would consider another high miler but with the knowledge of what to look for. I don't think there would be any problems if you are careful in what you are looking at - gut instinct in a lot of cases. I guess there will be very few low milers available now on these cars now but you may be lucky in finding one.
Keys - Ensure it has a minimum of 2 keys and they both work - if not then its definitely a bargaining chip to use as a replacement one will cost you around £350 and a trip to Lexus.
Corroding windscreen wiper arms - these seem to bubble quite a bit under the paint on the main body of the wiper arm. No issue but it will break through the paint at somepoint.
Check front windshield, if non-genuine check if wipers defrosters and auto sensing wipers works OK. As well windshields mouldings sometimes gets gets loose (broken clips) - about £80 to get new mouldings. (Courtesy of Linas.P)
Main ground cable - In wet climate it was reported that main ground cable sometimes gets corroded and it is very hard to troubleshoot it.(Courtesy of Linas.P)
Squeaky seats reported for the manual option (Coutresy of Vintagesixtysix)
DMF issues (Dual Mass Flywheel) for the manual drive option (Coutresy of Vintagesixtysix)
Service milestones - consider cars around 60k miles require a spark plug change - or so Lexus recommends although they are good for 100k. This is an expensive job at around £600. Not done mine yet, planning on doing them at 100k. I would state at 100k then you will need to get your hands dirty and give the car a good going over, fluids etc just for peace of mind. Lexus service interval report does not state any excessive requirements, mostly checks to be made.
Spec - I would personally recommend the top spec SE-L Auto box at 2007 / 2008 as I believe when the face lift came along then the models lost a few features that were on the older models. A sunroof would be brilliant but like gold dust at this spec.
Quite a bit of points above - don't let this put you off at all - the exhaust nearly saw me pack the car in when mine went but I went down the stainless route so alls not lost. Best to go into a sale knowing all the points to look at before making your mind up. Best car I have ever owned.
One last point, if you have an ODB error code reader then take along and scan the ecu for any stored fault codes unless the dealer has cleared it down
The car you have seen states it has a sunroof .... I would check it has and if so its definitely factory fitted, should be electric. Also double check the model as I think there were models around issued as SE-I and some garages have advertised them as SE-L. The model of the car can be found on a label on the inner passenger or driver door jamb (not sure which one). I think the price is excessive for that even though it has relative low mileage - consider putting 3k on the mileage total (taking it over 70k) which you can conceivably do in a month and then try and sell it for anything near that price. A more realistic price would be 4500 to 5000. For thw price its advertised for I would expect no issues with anything listed above. The sunroof I would imagine is a bonus if its factory fitted and would command a better price but not at nearly £6000. Also - look closely at the lower front bumper lip - it looks like its had a smack on something, probably a high kerb so I would definitely state between 4500 and 5000.