Reader Question: Risk a Used LS?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Michael asks: I’m looking at 2010 Lexus LS460 with the sport package, $19,000.  It has 50,000 miles and was corporate vehicle for 7 1/2 years and a private owner for 6 months. My concern is what you have written about modern vehicles, with all the electrical and computer systems on them. I’ve test drove it and having Lemon Squad handle the vehicle inspection.  I know Lexus/Toyota have a good history of reliable vehicles. I just wanted your opinion of this vehicle.

My reply: Buying a used luxury vehicle is always riskier than buying a run-of-the-mill used car, because the luxury car will almost always have an additional layer of electrically-powered/electronic systems, as well as more complex systems generally. Keep in mind that luxury cars are built to attract people who value the “latest thing”  – and razzle dazzle – over long-term durability. Most are leased for just this reason.

It’s not so much that they are more problem prone as problems often being haltingly expensive to fix when they do arise. Parts as well as labor, especially if you deal with a dealership (finding a competent independent shop can be a huge money saver; however, independent shops sometimes can’t work on certain makes/models because they haven’t got – and can’t afford – the expensive diagnostic equipment necessary to service them).

The car you’re looking at does have three big things going for it, however.

One, it’s a Lexus. The rep for durability is based on cut-above build quality.

Two, it’s an LS – historically, a model with an even better reputation. It is also V8/RWD and that layout is inherently understressed and durable. The Lexus V8 is a jewel, a work of engineering art.

Three, it has very low miles. A nine-year-old car usually has well over 100,000 miles. This car is barely broken in.

The odds are probably ever in your favor that nothing big will go wrong for another 50,000 at least – and probably not for another 100,000.

If the car checks out – and the price is right – I would probably go for it. The LS is a really nice luxury car – emphasis intended. Even with the “sport” package, this car is all about comfort and quiet.

But that’s just what makes it the ticket!

If you are buying this from a dealer or other store, try to get them to include an extended warranty on the drivetrain, for extra insurance. You probably won’t need it, but it’s peace f mind and even better if it’s free (included in the deal).

Keep us posted!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Consumer Reports mentions two recalls on this car:
    FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:HOSES, LINES/PIPING, AND FITTINGS
    Oct 15 2014
    A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source increases the risk of a fire.

    STEERING:ELECTRIC POWER ASSIST SYSTEM
    May 21 2010
    IMPROPER ACTIVATION OF THE STEERING SYSTEM PROTECTION LOGIC CAN CAUSE THE STEERING WHEEL TO BECOME OFF-CENTERED UP TO 90 DEGREES. THIS MAY OCCUR AFTER THE DRIVER HAS FULLY TURNED THE STEERING WHEEL IN ONE DIRECTION THEN QUICKLY ATTEMPTS TO TURN IT BACK TO THE CENTER POSITION. SHOULD THIS OCCUR WHILE DRIVING, THE RISK OF A CRASH IS INCREASED.

    It also rates it 5/5 on reliability and customer satisfaction.

    And an average retail price of: $15,700 – $18,575

  2. A friend had one that looked like it might be a very long term car but suddenly quit one day at 70 mph. The tree wasn’t injured. I was impressed he lived. I guess drunks really do have their own angel. Probably the Lexus was the angel since it was dead center into the tree.

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