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Trying to get into the Lexus family with an IS250 but am a bit concerned.


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I always liked Lexus and one of my favorite models has always been the IS250. I have finally found one I would like to buy. It's a V6 with a manual. But after researching a bit I found some problems related to the car, which surprised me, given Lexus bulletproof reputation.

This particular example has over 125k on the clock. So I guess you could say it is high mileage. I would normally try to go for a lower mileage example. But the V6 manuals are very rare.

I'm worried about the carbon build up and cam problems. I also found info that despite being chain driven you should replace the chain in high mileage examples to be safe.

I asked the seller to record the engine starting to see if I could pick up any problems. But I'm not sure that is the way.  He say the there are no RPM oscillation at idle.

Should I be concerned with such a high mileage example? I know Lexus runs for hundred of thousands of miles.  But the list of problems I found listed for the IS250 made me concerned. So I was advised to come directly to the source of info and get it straight from owners. 🙂

I'm just concerned it will be an expensive car to run. I don't mind fuel and oil costs. I mean maintenance. One of the appeals of Lexus besides the build quality and drive is the reliability. I heard the 220D had problems. Didn't know about the 250.

 

Thanks in advance for your help!

 

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I have an IS250 Auto 07 plate with 80,000 miles on the clock for 5 years now. Apart from wear and tear items like pads, discs, callipers and oxygen sensors it has never had a single engine part replaced. 

Yes the parts are expensive but these cars are solid..... FSH is a must and there is a is250 buying guide on the form too.

Unless you have a deep dislike of auto's I would advise you to buy an auto. It suits the car better, cheaper to tax and run.

 

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I had the IS250 and traded it in for my GSF.

 

It left me at about 130k miles. Had 0 problems until towards about 125k. 

Airbag light started to play up for the driver knee airbag, but replacing the Squibb connector rectified this (£20odd). 

The knob started to play up on the radio but I never used it anyway due to steering wheel controls. 

I would buy another one if I wanted a cheap V6 in a heart beat, the engine seemed bullet proof and I didn't exactly look after it.

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Hi Lex. You've done the right thing coming here for advice. Yes the manuals are rare and only really liked by the very few. The vast majority prefer the auto. I take it the car you're after is miles and miles away and a private sale. If you've really got your heart set on it then you really must go see the car. Take a mechanic friend or technically minded friend for a 2nd opinion. Yes 125k miles would warrant cam chain replacement but that can be done at a good independent garage. 

Yes build quality is superb and parts expensive but parts are not really needed often. 

Give the car a ruddy good look over. Look underneath at suspension bushes and suspension strut rubbers. Example my 14 year old is250 needs new front suspension dust rubbers. £65 each. But hey its got to be done.

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A car is only as good as the people who looked after it. I had a Toyota Celica GT-Four with 190k miles on it, which is much higher performance and still performed impeccably. 

Go for condition, not mileage.

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1 hour ago, Lex_utor said:

I always liked Lexus and one of my favorite models has always been the IS250. I have finally found one I would like to buy. It's a V6 with a manual. But after researching a bit I found some problems related to the car, which surprised me, given Lexus bulletproof reputation.

This particular example has over 125k on the clock. So I guess you could say it is high mileage. I would normally try to go for a lower mileage example. But the V6 manuals are very rare.

I'm worried about the carbon build up and cam problems. I also found info that despite being chain driven you should replace the chain in high mileage examples to be safe.

I asked the seller to record the engine starting to see if I could pick up any problems. But I'm not sure that is the way.  He say the there are no RPM oscillation at idle.

Should I be concerned with such a high mileage example? I know Lexus runs for hundred of thousands of miles.  But the list of problems I found listed for the IS250 made me concerned. So I was advised to come directly to the source of info and get it straight from owners. 🙂

I'm just concerned it will be an expensive car to run. I don't mind fuel and oil costs. I mean maintenance. One of the appeals of Lexus besides the build quality and drive is the reliability. I heard the 220D had problems. Didn't know about the 250.

 

Thanks in advance for your help!

 

Every car has potential problems. I got my '08 250 Manual 2 years ago with 128k on the clock.. I'm on 157k now, no issues whatsoever, only had to replace the clutch at 145k as it finally gave up (original clutch). Nothing wrong with that car at all. Two of my friends have also swayed towards IS250. They both had automatics, with 70-80k miles 2007 models. Again, no issues other than a slight VVTi rattle upon start on Will's car. Oil change sorted it. I would say, if the car you want to buy has a good service history, and doesn't look abused (which 90% of them aren't) I'd go for it. They are very good cars, but not invincible. Very reliable nevertheless. As for chain, I wouldn't worry, again, no need to fix something that isn't broken. Anything more serious would come up on a diagnostic reader, so bring your £7 amazon ELM OBD2 reader and plug it into the car to make sure. 

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33 minutes ago, Mr Vlad said:

 Yes 125k miles would warrant cam chain replacement but that can be done at a good independent garage. 

It's a chain, not a belt. I wouldn't bother changing a chain that isn't broken. It's a big job and something that should potentially last forever if driven well. You can stretch the chain with improper driving, aka driving like a lunatic on cold engine, but even then cars like this have tensioners. Never heard of a chain being a problem on a 4GR-FSE or any other chain driven car tbh. RARE fault.

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I have a MTM 05 which I bought with 40,000 miles on the clock and I have now done 130,000 miles over the past seven years. I’ve only ever replaced one rear brake caliper in whole of that time and mileage…. Outside of normal service items.
I think the deal breakers/ negotiations …. pending your budget and determination to get an IS at this kind of age and mileage

(alongside of any normal prudent pre sale checks)

a) Condition of exhaust front to back.

b) Any sign flywheel judder (MTM only)

The 250’s have a reputation and it’s fully justified in my book.

Good luck

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Please check out the Road Fund Duty known as Car Tax as the manual (even though it has the same engine ) is a Lot more expensive than the auto variant.

Also please try and take out a Auto 250 for a test drive Before you purchase the manual, all part of the Lexus enjoyment is Not having to ‘stir’ a gearshift throughout your journey.

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1 minute ago, Vintagesixtysix said:

I believe the very early manuals are still a wee bit cheaper I pay £340 over 12 months….

Overall the best combo is ATM without a doubt…if you can find a good example in budget.

Yep, IIRC only '55 plate manuals are cheaper to tax. Anything after that is £550/year. All automatics are around £300. 

I've driven the automatics and ended up getting a manual. It is a good, old school auto box that doesn't think it's smarter than you so I like it, and I would even recommend it, but my personal preference is manual, even in the IS250, so there's that. Really down to preference, neither is better or worse. 

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Check the headlights for possible condensation.  One was changed for this reason under warranty on a MY 2009 I owned, and I was given to understand the issue was not unique to my car.  Also, out of nostalgia, I recently looked quite closely at an apparently well-preserved model of indeterminate age parked in the street and was surprised to see blistering in the paintwork at the base of one of the rear doors.  Of course this might have been the result of a bad repair, but you might want to check the doors and boot of the car you are thinking of buying.

Incidentally, I didn’t know the IS250 was ever made with a manual box,  but I had one in an IS200 and it was excellent.

 

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Only have a CT and so far, so good.

Nothing needed replacing so far.

Biggest problem is the ridiculously high cost of service. And where we live rather lousy service.

Japan sold servicing to local Toyota and they are not quality as we expected for Lexus.

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Thanks for all the replies.

About the manual gearbox, this is just my preference. 🙂

I agree with H3XME. Neither is better or worse. It's only personal preference.

 

I asked the seller and he said last MOT was only one advisory. Something about rubber shock boots? He sent me a photo of the needed part and said it was a few bucks. But I wonder how much to do the job?

 

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4 minutes ago, Lex_utor said:

By the way, the car in question is a 2005 model.

The car sounds okay. Rubber boots on the shocks are cheap to replace, but it is a whole shock out and strip it kinda process, so expensive in labour/time, but cheap in parts. 

As for the video, it sounds fine, BUT notice the water temp gauge, it's not a COLD start. High mileage, i'd be looking for an extensive service history, two keys and price of less than £2k. 

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13 minutes ago, H3XME said:

The car sounds okay. Rubber boots on the shocks are cheap to replace, but it is a whole shock out and strip it kinda process, so expensive in labour/time, but cheap in parts. 

As for the video, it sounds fine, BUT notice the water temp gauge, it's not a COLD start. High mileage, i'd be looking for an extensive service history, two keys and price of less than £2k. 

Good catch about the temperature gauge.  What issues could it be hiding by not showing a cold start?

The car supposedly has full Lexus dealership service history till 1.5 years ago by the former owner. This owner has the car for 1.5 years and didn't do the services at Lexus, but at an independent. There are just the 2 stamps from the independent for the MOTs in the mean time with Spark plugs, oil changes, interior filters.

 

By the way, Battery is about 6 moths old. Could it signal alternator problems?

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1 minute ago, Lex_utor said:

Good catch about the temperature gauge.  What issues could it be hiding by not showing a cold start?

The car supposedly has full Lexus dealership service history till 1.5 years ago by the former owner. This owner has the car for 1.5 years and didn't do the services at Lexus, but at an independent. There are just the 2 stamps from the independent for the MOTs in the mean time with Spark plugs, oil changes, interior filters.

 

By the way, battery is about 6 moths old. Could it signal alternator problems?

Probably just the VVTi rattle for 1-2s IF there is that. It's common, harmless tbh, my friend's did that but it's gone away after an oil change. It just doesn't sound very appealing. 

That's not too bad. Given the mileage, I would be changing the oil religiously every 6-7k or 1 year, whichever comes sooner. 5W30 good synthetic oil. If the plugs have been changed, that's also a good sign, it's costly on this car if you don't do much DIY. 

Not really, mine is 2008, and it was on its original Battery until last year.. they say batteries only last like 5-7 years anyway? I wouldn't worry about that. Can always put a volt meter against it and see, but mine started acting up, thought the alternator was the issue but after 150k it was still fine. Turned out to be just an old Battery

I'd probably just ask about / check the rear calipers.. they might be sticking if they ain't been attended yet, but it's a cheap fix if you DIY. £20 worth of slider pins and seals and a bit of hammering to get the calipers off.

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12 minutes ago, H3XME said:

I'd probably just ask about / check the rear calipers.. they might be sticking if they ain't been attended yet, but it's a cheap fix if you DIY. £20 worth of slider pins and seals and a bit of hammering to get the calipers off.

Is there a tutorial anywhere on this? I've had to have discs replaced at least twice because of stuck slider pins which, as others on here have noted, is not a service item.

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6 minutes ago, H3XME said:

Probably just the VVTi rattle for 1-2s IF there is that. It's common, harmless tbh, my friend's did that but it's gone away after an oil change. It just doesn't sound very appealing. 

That's not too bad. Given the mileage, I would be changing the oil religiously every 6-7k or 1 year, whichever comes sooner. 5W30 good synthetic oil. If the plugs have been changed, that's also a good sign, it's costly on this car if you don't do much DIY. 

Not really, mine is 2008, and it was on its original battery until last year.. they say batteries only last like 5-7 years anyway? I wouldn't worry about that. Can always put a volt meter against it and see, but mine started acting up, thought the alternator was the issue but after 150k it was still fine. Turned out to be just an old battery. 

I'd probably just ask about / check the rear calipers.. they might be sticking if they ain't been attended yet, but it's a cheap fix if you DIY. £20 worth of slider pins and seals and a bit of hammering to get the calipers off.

So not worth asking for a cold start video then? VVTi rattle is not a sign of worse things to come?

Is there an easy way to check if the car has the carbon build up problem by the way?

Back to the service history, his claim is he is selling because he needs to go to University and can't afford to keep the car. But he put about 23K miles on it in 1.5 years. And the history after he bought it is only the 2 indie stamps for the MOT.

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4 minutes ago, MartinH said:

Is there a tutorial anywhere on this? I've had to have discs replaced at least twice because of stuck slider pins which, as others on here have noted, is not a service item.

I'm not sure. I did it myself, I can talk you through it. Might even have some pictures.

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3 minutes ago, Lex_utor said:

So not worth asking for a cold start video then? VVTi rattle is not a sign of worse things to come?

Is there an easy way to check if the car has the carbon build up problem by the way?

Back to the service history, his claim is he is selling because he needs to go to University and can't afford to keep the car. But he put about 23K miles on it in 1.5 years. And the history after he bought it is only the 2 indie stamps for the MOT.

Probably not, best thing to do is to see it in person before getting too deep in this rabbit hole online.

I'm not sure if there is an easy way of checking.. I wasn't sure about mine, so I run my car on high octane fuel and boot it where I can. It mainly builds up when you don't get the car hot enough so I rev limit the **** out of it where possible 😂 but I've got a nice exhaust on mine, so I do it for the sound mainly. You can clean the throttle body yourself though and it should be a good indicator.

That's not great. It should've had at least 3 oil changes in 23k.. 😐 Seems like he got it cheap and didn't care about it if he hasn't serviced it in his ownership. Better go through the receipts during his ownership.

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