Typically, when someone shops for a luxury car, they are searching for a reliable, comfortable, and superior-quality vehicle. Historically, Toyota has been known to design some of the best high-quality vehicles in the automotive industry. In 1989, they set their sights on the luxury car business and revealed the Lexus brand.
Since then, Lexus has been rated in the Top 10 of Luxury Auto brands. Through their innovation and ingenuity, Toyota has improved upon the Lexus brand. Keep reading to learn more about the reliability of Lexus vehicles and how higher mileages affect them.
What’s a High Mileage For a Lexus?
In general, the Lexus brand is revered as being a superior-quality luxury vehicle. If driven conservatively with manufacturer-recommended maintenance, Lexus vehicles can last between 250,000-300,000 miles.
This isn’t a surprise considering that Lexus is made by their parent company, Toyota, which has transferred their reliable engineering into a luxury car brand. For example, a 1996 Lexus LS once crossed into the million-mile threshold. So, you can confidently rely on a Lexus as you would a Toyota.
What Problems Can Arise With High-Mileage Lexus?
The Lexus brand consistently ranks high because of its stellar reliability. For instance, in November of 2020, articles by US News and World Reports ranked Lexus 3rd, for the most reliable brand, right behind its parent company Toyota at the number 2 spot.
That is not to say that because Lexus was manufactured by Toyota, it will never have any problems. On the contrary, even Toyotas have issues once in a while. The same applies to the Lexus brand.
For some consumers who just want to own the brand, reliability is a huge benefit of owning this luxury car. However, it’s essential to understand this brand’s weaknesses as well.
- Oil Leaks – a common issue with all Lexus models is oil leaking from the timing chain cover. The higher the mileage, the more likely the issue will surface. Servicing the gaskets will help with this issue.
- Drivetrain – usually an issue with the automatics, and it can occur outside of the warranty window. Usually, trouble codes will illuminate from the check engine light indicating low transmission fluid and slippage.
- Melting Dashboards – a common issue in the summer months. Unfortunately, Lexus dashboards were melting in the heat; they attributed this to defective dashboards.
- Water Leaking – high mileage or older Lexus vehicles have leaked water from the sunroof. This is usually due to damages or defects around the roof, and repairs can be costly.
While these issues are serious, there are other transmission issues, especially on CVT options and sensor problems(O2).
Do High-Mileage Lexus Rust?
As always, depending on where you live, accelerated corrosion will happen in places that generously apply salt on roadways in the winter and coastal areas with salt air. Luckily, Lexus isn’t prone to rust; they are built to last and drive in any weather conditions. So it is rare to see a Lexus rust; in fact, if you do, it’s most likely due to scratches or dings from rocks and other debris.
To resist corrosion, cars like the Lexus LS use unique, high-strength galvanized body panels to assemble their vehicles. This particular kind of steel helps to fight corrosion factors and reduce the car’s curb weight. However, rusting will occur if the rustproof material is chipped away on the vehicle.
There were a small number of complaints of rusting, but nothing like complete rottings of frames or joints. Any moderate issues were reported and handled by Lexus in a timely fashion. To help keep your car rust-free, Lexus does not recommend sourcing additional rustproofing. Generally, washing the underbody once a month is a good start. Here are some other tips to protect your Lexus.
- Store your Lexus in a garage
- Repair paint damage and scratches
- Wax your Lexus twice a year; this should help add additional protection
- Wash and dry your car regularly, especially during the winter months
What are the Most and Least Reliable Lexus with High Mileage?
The Lexus brand has an excellent track record throughout its history, and many of its cars are similar to their parent company, Toyota’s models. Toyota does a fantastic job building engines, that much is accurate, and it seems to cross over into their luxury brand. However, being a luxury brand, it takes more upkeep to have these cars running smoothly.
Overall, most repairs on these cars are minor, and any serious repair on a Lexus is well after 100,000 miles. However, when considering their most reliable brands, some have beat out or tied with other luxury brands like Porsche.
|Model||Rating||Is It Reliable?|
|Lexus IS||4.3/5.0||Surveys give it a reliability rating of 99%. The model with the least reported issues. Great fuel economy. Can last 250,000+ miles.|
|Lexus GS||4.0/5.0||Usually, only minor issues when visiting the shop. Lexus Safety Suite makes this car a safe option for families. Very few recalls throughout many models. It can last at least 250,000 miles.|
|Lexus LS||3.0/5.0||An all-around safe option. Simplistic technology and comfortable interior with high-quality materials Powerful engine that gets excellent fuel economy. Easily capable of 200,000+ miles.|
As strong as this Toyota’s luxury brand is, I have to discuss some unreliable Lexus models and ones you might want to stay away from in the future.
|Lexus RX350||3.5/5.0||A wandering steering wheel due to suspension issues or other problems. The engine oil leaked while driving. There was some transmission failure, such as frequent hesitation before complete power loss. Faulty camshaft|
|Lexus GS 450h||2.0/5.0||Poor handling/pulling to one side or the other. This hybrid model was having issues with the battery pack. It had transmission gearbox issues likely due to a faulty oil pressure switch.|
|Lexus IS250||2.0/5.0||Clicking noise from the rear suspension could indicate failing parts. In earlier models, notorious PCM issues with “false” codes. Frequent engine misfires.|
How Many Miles Can a Lexus Last?
What is high mileage for a Lexus? While the Lexus vehicles are considered luxury models, they don’t typically require the maintenance of most comparable cars. For instance, Lexus vehicles would cost approximately $7,786 for maintenance costs in the first 10 years of owning them.
This smokes the industry average by at least $4,000. There is also only a 17.89% chance that any repairs will be serious when your Lexus does finally need to be serviced. On a side note, after 12 years, the percentage for a serious repair only increases to approximately 30%.
However, if you choose to skip any maintenance milestones on your Lexus, there is no guarantee that it will keep going strong. Like Toyotas, Lexus engines need to be frequently inspected and serviced regularly.
How to Make Your High-Mileage Lexus Last Long?
From experience, maintaining your high mileage Lexus is a no-brainer. However, despite their proven longevity and durability, I still advise you to do regular maintenance every month, three months, six months, and a year.
- Every Month – Check tire pressure and tread, inspect all interior and exterior lights, check the windshield wiper fluid, and check that the Check Engine light is not illuminated.
- Every Three Months (3,000 miles) – Inspect the engine oil, wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid. Inspect lights, air filters, fuel filters, belts, exhaust, hoses, and tires.
- Every Six Months (6,000 miles) – All preventative maintenance above plus windshield wipers, battery, and cables.
- Every Twelve Months (12,000 miles) – Perform three and six-month checks. Check the coolant levels, steering, suspension, transmission fluid levels, and brake system.
In addition, you should adopt smooth driving techniques to not over-exert your aging vehicle. Plus, you should read up on your car owner’s manual or repair books to check on any neglected service you may have forgotten.
Is It Worth Buying a Lexus With High Mileage?
While it may be tempting to buy a higher-end used luxury car, Lexus brings plenty to the table. In addition, as everyone is well-aware by now, the Lexus ranks high on dependability surveys, so they are bound to be dependable no matter how many owners the cars have.
I recommend choosing some used options with mileages around 100,000 and even ones up into the 200,000s. Traditionally, Lexus is as reliable as their parent company’s vehicles, so they are perfect for the DIYer who wants to do the repairs themselves.
The benefits of a used Lexus can be:
- It is easy to research a used model for recalls and commonly reported issues.
- If the car has been maintained properly, you should be able to search the car’s history for accidents or major mechanical issues.
Here is a list of potentially great used Lexus options:
- 5-Year-Old options include: Lexus ES350, RX350 (2010-later), Lexus GS350 (not hybrid models)
- Over 10-Year-Old options include: Lexus LS430 (2-door) and Lexus SC430 – these models could give you 100,000+ more than any other Lexus models available. Also, the Lexus ES300 and ES330 (2002-2006)
As it stands, the Lexus is the best of both worlds; this brand has low maintenance costs and affordability. When paired with the undoubtedly high-quality engineering of Toyota, it’s no surprise that Lexus is such a reliable vehicle. While there are some issues here and there with higher mileage vehicles, Lexus ranks exceptionally high in most consumer surveys.
As Lexus continues to innovate and reinvent its lineup, you can expect the dependability and affordability factors to remain. This luxury brand is easy to maintain, with the minimal high cost involved, in a comfortable, powerful, and fuel-efficient package. Lexus is the most approachable luxury car on the market, and it gives all of the competition a run for their money.
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