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Buying a high mileage RX400h - any advice very welcome!

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Hi there, I am looking to buy an RX400h for about £5,000. The options are quite limited when looking at anything with main dealer stamps, at least up to the past 3 or 4 years. I believe that Lexus do a hybrid system check on all services, which if true would give peace of mind on the Hybrid Battery. Does anyone know if that is the case? 

Also any other known issues I should look for in a 2005 - 2007 RX400h with c.120k miles on it? I have found one which has never had an MOT advisory on it, which I'd assume is a good thing as it's been proactively looked after, not waited for failures to fix issues. But the last three stamps are not main dealer. 

Be grateful for any advice, I have driven one and love the car and hope they're reliable even though buying an old one with higher mileage.  

Many thanks  

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Hi Lloyd. I was in the same position as you about two years ago, when I bought mine (a 2006). I did pay a bit more to get a car with an unblemished record (e.g. recent cambelt change and the hybrid check) as well as the low miles (56,000). It was actually from a forum member here. Two years of trouble-free motoring, including a totally stress-free road trip around Europe. I'd done one of those before in my previous LS400, and the RX400 is just as relaxing.

That said, I think all of the larger Lexusus (Lexii?) take the miles well, so I would not now be put off by a 100,000+ mile RX400 as long as the owner had properly looked after it - i.e. not treated it as a banger.

(My RX400h, now at about 68,000m will be for sale, but only available in a few weeks when my EV arrives. If you are still looking then, check the ad section here.)

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I bought a Northern Ireland 2014 import for £4060 with 101K on the clock. No paperwork.

Rad/AFS/sensors needed replacing. I did no probs. Sealed some seam rear leaks.

Loved the power band. Quick as **** off a shovel. Smooth ride. Need to upgrade my tires. alloys in a dreadful state

Dont know if belt and WP done.

but the car is one I don’t have to cry over all the time cos of worries. I’ll drive it to it’s death. I think I’ll get 50K out of it at very low costs. Not wishing to court fates. 

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Inspect all suspension bushes, gaiters (I have soaked mine in high protection aviation oil ACF50)

Check for rust. Mine was very discoloured. It's easy to work under. I brushed and hammerited large amounts.

alloys – RX's really do get in a poor state

Good 4 corners boots advisable. Spend that money to get good ride.

Leather. I have the perforated breathable leather. I'd have preferred black non-perforated leather. In fact the black interior is the superior look. Cream and light harder to keep clean and shows up leather cracking.

Check fogged headlight covers

You want to see leak free cooling systems (inverter and ICE). You want to see Toyota pink extra long life OAT coolant. Not cheap but good.

Inspect main rad plastic shoulder other side of top hose. This is famous for crack and leak.

Check for water leaks in. If you can get a butchers under the rear storage floor. Look for telltale water ingress mold/black discoloration along factory mastic seals.

Engine should sound smooth. Cold start can bring a few clatters. Temp gauge should be dead centre.

If you have techstream I'd do a quick hook up to look for shadow DTCs. The dash should display only "READY" and gear position when car on.

Check auxiliary Battery voltage. Should show 12V minimum engine off.

Oh yes, if you can find a 450H for similar price, but that instead.

RX400H is a solid, reliable motor. But I'm ready for the much nicer interior of the 450. But I'm broke. 400 it'll have to be then for the mo


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4 hours ago, louisp said:

I would prefer to see at least some MOT recommendations and MOT test failures with consequent MOT retest passes. This way you know, that the MOT did real inspection, and that some things were found and fixed.

If an old car has absolutely blank MOT pass history, it means either a decent level of preventive care (good) or some paper only MOT (may well be the case for a £5k car).

Don’t take it for granted.


Regarding the service history, even with dealer it is no guarantee, that the car does not have some material issues. After the warranty is over, dealer may only recommend some repairs, and the client may refuse, planning to sell the car.

For instance some suspension issues or power steering system wear, which are not a direct MOT fail, may be left unattended.

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Also note that 100k miles of heavy city driving may do worse to the car than 200k motorway miles. Normally the state of seats and steering wheel tells the story.

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45 minutes ago, Vadim said:

Also note that 100k miles of heavy city driving may do worse to the car than 200k motorway miles. Normally the state of seats and steering wheel tells the story.

This is very true. But, remember the RX is built for stop start. The engine is spun on my electric motor (no starter motor and solenoids etc). It is true there is more heat cycling betwen EV and ICE operation.

Maybe get RAC or AAA in US car check points

The belt and WP is the big question between 90-110K

The MOT thing is head scratch. Ive never known cars without some sort of advisories.

The electrics make them seem vulnerable. But they're robust. I had water swilling about my HV Battery. Dried it out and back to normal. Shorted the main fuse. Slung a female 120 amp plug over the broke ends of the fuse. Works a treat. A well looked after one regularly serviced could do 300-400K+ odo miles.

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Three main things to look for on a 400h above and beyond the normal things to look for on a used vehicle:

Water in the boot area or inside the rear light clusters - water can enter via the rear lights or via body seams around the tailgate that were glued together opening up. Carefully check the boot of the boot.

Corrosion on the underside of the vehicle as the rust proofing wasn't a good as it should have been.

Rear disc rotors corroded - indicates seized callipers which is common on a hybrid as the mechanical brakes don't get used as often as a conventional vehicle.

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