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Last Few Crucial Questions Before Buying Used Is250

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Hi everyone

I am closer and closer to purchasing a 2nd hand Lexus IS250.

I do have some questions that I absolutely need to have answered. Hopefully I can get some help here.

1. Buying a 2008 Lexus IS250 with around 120.000KM. 2nd Hand. Would this be too much? If it is too high guys, its fine, tell me it is too high and i shall start looking for others. However if it is not too high, then tell me that. Tell it like it is.

2. Read from whirlpool forum

"The Lexus also changed their piston designed in 2010 as earlier models were prone to carbon build up and as they get older some of them burn large amounts of oil. Problems usually arise at the 100k km mark too – it's documented on Lexus forums."

This kinda scares me. What I am looking at is 2008, with more than 100k KM. So does this mean it is a bad decision to buy it?

3. I understand fuel costs are ok. However, is it true that servicing costs for minor service can be about $500? And this is done every what, twice a year? So about $1000 a year? Whereas other average cars are around $150+ for minor service. Can someone confirm this?

That is all for now, 3 questions. More may come. Thanks for reading all.

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1. Should be fine - personally I wouldn't purchase a car with over 100k km for peace of mind but that's just me.

2. I don't think the oil burning problem is as common in Australia when compared to the US - if you look on clublexus it's well documented while over here it's barely mentioned.

3. Servicing is once a year or 15,000km. I paid $550 for my last minor service, major you're looking at $1.2k. Even my Accord Euro is $400 for a minor service, $800 for a major so servicing costs don't seem too bad.

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I'm not a car guru, but one of the things my uncle has taught me (after a bad 2nd hand car buying experience himself) is to check the tail pipe.

Get a tissue and wipe around the inside of both pipes, preferably separate your samples if you can spare the extra tissue. I'd expect the results to be identical, but whatever... What you are looking for is the presence of oil in the midst of the soot. This can indicate cracked piston rings (which is probably what your whirlpool find is about). To get to the piston ring pretty much involves taking a large portion of your engine apart, which is pretty much what you'd only do if you were to rebuild your entire engine (i.e. it's gonna cost. Might as well hunt for another one in a better condition).

Again, I'm no expert. Maybe someone here is and will tell you that I just typed nonsense, but that might be one thing to look at while we wait for someone to verify what I said (better be safe than sorry).

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for replying a bit late to this thread, but I figured I'd throw my 2c in...

I previously owned an '05 IS250 Sports and it definitely did show the "oil burning problem". It was fine when i first bought it (as a second hand car with 80k), but once I reached around 100k it did indeed start to consume more oil than usal. In fact I had the "Low oil level" warning come up twice even though I was servicing it every 10000 kms (so I regularly changed the oil). I found myself topping up the oil a few times between services..

Carbon build up is a separate issue, and is also real. When I inspected my current ('09 IS250 SL second hand) the engine was basically chucking soot out the back tail pipe. Fortunately I bought it from a Lexus dealer and they cleaned it up. They told me that it was caused by the previous owner never taking the car on any long drives, but always just using it for short trips to the shops so that the engine never got warm. Don't know if they were being honest with me, but after they de-carbonised it was clean..

If you want to save money on servicing costs, then take it to a licensed motor mechanic (not the dealer!)..

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I Rossv,

I wouldn't call bullsh*t on that straight away, although I would say that car did probably get very warm - that is, very warm, very quickly. Expanding on the piston rings cracking, one of the explanations I've been told is that there isn't adequate time for the car to warm when you rev it a bit too much (how much is "too much", I cannot say). 

Something about a too rapid increase in temperature difference in a very short amount of time and making those rings quite brittle... Not sure how other cars fare, but it'd probably be down to the material of the rings, I guess..

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For the engine getting warm "story", that was in a different car (my current one) which had carbon build-up.

The dealer told me that since the car was taken on short trips only, it never got warm and was "always in choke". He said that when the car is cold its more likely to have carbon build up but when it gets hot, it "burns it". (Bull*BLEEP* alarm starts to go off at this point)

After lots of research I learnt it's just a symptom of the DI engine, my friend's 100 series BMW has the same problem (Turbo with DI) and he told me that BMW even offers a special tool to de-carbonise the engine.. Also it has been said in many forums that the IS350 doesn't have this problem due to the different engine design (DI + port injectors).

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Hi Rossv,

That is rather interesting to learn. I thought soot and carbon (which I assume would come from the combustion chamber), besides burning unexpected oil, only occurs on incomplete ignitions such as lean or rich, in which case your O2 and MAF sensors would be there to compensate the amount of mixture... I see why the bull beep alarm now.

After what you said about the IS350 having a different DI port design, I would be interested to find out if the IS350s have the same problem with oil sipping like the 250s.

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Hi st87,

No idea but the oil sipping is a separate issue to the carbon build-up and happens for different reasons and under different circumstances as far as I know.

For the carbon build up there are many many threads and websites that talk about it, if you search it out (Google). The same with the oil consumption. Hours of reading :)..

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We not long brought privately a 2007 sports luxury with all the options fitted, one owner, dealer serviced, 150,000kms, As soon as I seen it I could tell it had been very well looked after. Not one mark on the cream leather interior, the door skins trims, carpets etc. and new floor mats front and back fitted plus another spare set in the boot.

The Owner had used premium fuel always so he said :) I only use premium fuel myself and I now run Penrite HPR 5w-40 full synth oil which I change every 7500kms myself. The oil stays clean and when changed comes out a light golden honey colour which is perfect. I expect this car to last a longtime, it is so very smooth and quiet.

I have had Toyota utes all my life and not one major issue with any of them, my current one is a 2007 V6 4 litre SR5 hilux with 260,000kms, does not burn a drop of oil between 10,000km oil changes and again Penrite HPR 5w-40 full synth is used which I service myself, I run a tank of premium every third tank, this ute will be kept until 500,000kms

A well serviced, properly warmed up engine will and should last many years - Cheers 




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