Buy 2004 Lexus ES330 ? Maybe, maybe not, but 70,000 miles ? I’m interested

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Mike Eskimo, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My long and extensively written about friendship with my wildly ADD buddy has taken a new turn.

    It turns out that the putty-colored Rockport edition 2004 Lexus ES 330 he was driving around in for a couple years actually is his! :eek: Not his 93 yr old mom’s. (I about fainted...)

    And the biggest stunner is it only has 70,000 miles on it.

    It has been off the road about 5 months due to a dead battery and slow leaks in a couple tires. only other thing that would need attention are the rear window motors.

    It has however been meticulously maintained with all records . No rust.

    He knows he cannot afford the upkeep and insurance or even gas on it. Even if I was dumb enough to “loan” him the money for the battery and tire repair.

    So, do I buy it for me or my 18 yr old son, or simply help him sell it (with a commission of course ) ?

    From what I understand, this is a nicer Camry and Camrys will do 200,000 miles easy won’t they ?

    Anyone ever own an ES330 or Camry from the early 2000’s ?
     
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  2. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    My buddy drove his Dad's 330 to the tune of 170k. It had less than 30k when he got it as a college graduation present. He loved that car, never had any issues with it. Only sold it because he got married and had kids and wanted an SUV.
     
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  3. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get it.

    They’re great cars. My wife was getting close to 400,000 miles before she traded her 2000 model in.

    And it’s a very smooth ride too.
     
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  4. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    It it has been well maintained it should go for a long time, we do a lot of interior work for the local Lexus dealer, those early models were really simpler and well made, newer ones (as with most other brands) are real high tech and not built as well according to the mechanics that I know.
     
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  5. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    They’re good cars. My FIL has two Lexus ES 300-series, one in AZ and one in MI. I’d guess the newest one is a mid-2000s and the older a late ‘90s. Basically trouble free.

    I bought our granddaughter a ‘96 Avalon with 135K on it a couple years with zero qualms because it was a one owner car & well maintained. Zero problems, just stuff that wears out like tires, brake pads etc.

    A low mileage 2004 Lexus that hasn’t been horribly neglected might well outlast you!
     
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  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I think a Lexus ES series is a good choice, with V6 power, and a little upscale from Camry to boot. I think of the ES as a Japanese Buick and I mean that as a complement. Lexus perfectly met the needs of its targeted demographic with a classy and reliable automobile. My father drove a Camry from the time a Mercury Sable self destructed before the end of a 3 year lease until he died and he had nothing but good things to say. A Lexus makes sense for another reason. It is not high tech. That means that there are very few exceedingly expensive things to go wrong. I'm not sure I'd want a Mercedes Benz with a 9 speed dual clutch transmission a day after the warranty expires.
     
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  7. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    As for whether it WILL do 200,000 miles...it would be much more accurate to say "may" or "might".

    There is a reason extended warranties usually end at 100,000 miles.

    Some parts on a car fail due to mileage and some due to age.

    If it is super clean and the price is right it might be worth a shot.
     
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  8. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Tele-Holic

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    Good cars if, as others have mentioned- it has had reasonable care and has been driven by an adult....

    I occasionally replace oxygen sensors, usually from setting oxygen sensor heater codes. Usually around 100-120k miles.
    4 cyl. Camrys from that period have a fairly common problem where the exhaust head pipe cracks, due imo to stress and insufficient designed in "flex" at the flex pipe portion. This wouldnt be of great concern, except that the pipe includes a secondary catalyst.
    One reduced cost solution is to have an aftermarket flex section patched in by a muffler shop capable of basic exhaust fabrication.
    As much as I like Toyota, I have to admit they dropped the ball on this and both customer assistance and a redesign should have been a prompt result.

    This shouldnt effect the Lexus however, as it should be a 6 cylinder.
    Factor in an upcoming timing belt/water pump replacement, not too expensive, but something to be aware of.
    I cant remember the recommended interval for spark plugs on those. But at about 120k the valve covers are likely to be seaping, and worth considering doing together while the upper intake is off for spark plugs. Its a little more work in tight quarters, but again- worth considering.

    But overall, put good riding tires on one of these and they are pretty easy to have a long relationship with IMO.

    (My dad bought my step mother a used LS400 about 25 years ago. Youd have to pry the keys out of her dead hands to get it away from her. "Best car I've ever owned")
     
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  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    When did your ADD buddy have all this required maintenance done? That seems funny, to me.

    SLUDGE

    Buy this car, and tow it to someone who understands these sludge issues. Make 100% sure the pan is all cleaned out, and the screen on the oil uptake has not been blocked. Depending on what your guy finds, you may need new bearings, seals, other PCV parts. 2004 is at the tail end of the worst sludge issue with these Toyotas but it shouldn't be ignored and it wouldn't shock me at all to see some of these go 350,000 miles while others fail at 70,000 or fewer miles.

    But get this car. This is NOTHING like a Lexus LS 400-430, but if the motor is given the all clear, it could last a very long time indeed.
     
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  10. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    What Boris said. There’s nothing exciting about the ES (it’s a Camry, after all), but if you want plain ol’ decent transpo, a Camry is an excellent place to look. The ES just throws a layer of very nice options on top of a basically solid car.
     
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  11. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    We traded in a 2003 ES300 last year. My wife loved that car. Me? Yawn.

    It was reliable, but expensive to repair. The ES is a Camry with a nicer interior. A part with the Toyota number costs X, the EXACT SAME PART with a Lexus part number costs 3.5X.

    Not a fun drive, but reliable and smooth. I much preferred my VWs, but they cost more down the road.
     
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  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    The big difference in vehicle durability is owner demographics and their maintenance or lack of maintenance.
    Plenty of 'junk car brands' have made 200k miles or more on them, while plenty of premium brands can't make it a hundred.

    If sitting for a while then you're going to want to:
    -battery
    -tires
    -hoses
    -spark plug wires
    -spark coils
    -all fluids and filters changed
    -brake pads and rotors/drums, they are likely frozen to each other

    You'll want to replace all that stuff anyway if you drove it to 100k miles anyway as those are the popular failure points in any vehicle.

    Pull up the dipstick and feel the oil.

    Can you jump start it and does it idle ok?

    Original battery may have been fine, if less than 4 years old, but car clocks drain them out and then they freeze and break in the car. You'll see more corrosion where the acid ate down to the ground.

    use dielectric grease on any battery posts you are attaching to new batteries after polishing the contacts up.

    .
     
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  13. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    His mom was paying. I know she was handling the insurance. As irresponsible as he was/is, he was hyper-vigilant with the car.
     
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  14. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    waxed 005.jpg Good solid car and depends on price as most things do.

    I am currently driving my Uncle's 2003 Lincoln Town Car ( over $57,000 in 2003 with every option available) with 54,378 miles on the ticker. He was a snow bird and took it to Florida in the winters...never really drove it much. When he lost his license due to medical reasons (scuffed the bumper on a guard rail) he put it up for sale at $6500. I ended up buying it.

    Fantastic car with all the maint. history dating back to new, but the car wasn't driven much so there were some issues. Tires were dry-rotted (inner side of tires were cracked so bad you could see the belts), brakes had developed rust and needed to be replaced, cooling system required flushing and water pump replaced. Still a great car.

    There is nothing wrong with purchasing a well-maintained car like that...just understand that it has been sitting and will need some money invested into it before it will be a solid daily driver.
     
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  15. OldDude2

    OldDude2 Tele-Holic

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    We got over 300k on a 1999 Camry, but dealer kept taking advantage of us ...let's Just say it was over-maintained the paint and interior didn't hold up well.
     
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  16. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    We have a 2013 330 we got used. Very nice car. It is a little complicated but it’s very comfortable, quiet, etc.

    The newer ones at least are pretty fast. Better balanced than a lot of front wheel drive car. And enough power to cruise 90-100mph down the highway and the engine is still quiet.
     
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  17. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bet it would be nice. 70K miles on a Japanese car it's still in it's prime.

    I just bought a used Sonata with 75K miles on it. It's still like new.
     
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  18. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Anything can happen, but I'd say "low risk." Lexi are very reliable, very nice cars.
     
  19. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    Honest question here. If you drive a Lexus that needs service, if it is indeed the exact same part, but stamped with the Toyota part number, can't you just specify to the mechanic to use the more reasonably priced Toyota part? If the dealer won't do it, would an independent shop be able to?
     
  20. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    All independents that I know would have no issue with using the Toyota part. Dealers are restricted to the OEM parts, but not independents.
     
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