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Does the Lexus RX models have a cam belt or chain as obviously belts need changing at some point? 

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Sorry B4u2 made an incorrect assumption there, looks like the 1MZ-FE is a belt driven engine.

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9 hours ago, b4u2 said:

How about the RX300 ?

Belt, which should be changed every 100k miles/10 years.

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If it 18 years old and belt hasn't been changed then what? 

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1 minute ago, b4u2 said:

If it 18 years old and belt hasn't been changed then what? 

Ideally get it changed ASAP but at least inspect it for wear / cracking.

The OEM belt is normally good for much longer than the service schedule but if it snaps it will result in engine valve/piston damage.

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2 minutes ago, b4u2 said:

What does OEM mean? 

Original equipment manufacturer - the company/product that Toyota uses when they built the vehicle. Third party/cheaper replacement parts may not be of the same quality.

3 minutes ago, b4u2 said:

What's the maximum lifespan of the belt on these cars ?

10 years is the recommended interval. How long it will actually last is impossible to say as it is based on a number of variables such as mileage, amount of high speed running of the engine, temperature, oil or dirt contamination, tolerances during manufacturing etc.

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@ColinBarber

Oh that's very interesting. 

So should I not buy a 18 year old or so car that has never had a belt change ?

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53 minutes ago, b4u2 said:

So should I not buy a 18 year old or so car that has never had a belt change ?

Ideally not as it shows a lack of maintenance. Whilst the belt not being changed may not have been an issue up until that point (although it could snap at any time), what else hasn't been maintained either.

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2 hours ago, b4u2 said:

@ColinBarber

Oh that's very interesting. 

So should I not buy a 18 year old or so car that has never had a belt change ?

I would regard the unchanged cam belt (eight years overdue) as a red warning light!

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