1991 Lexus ES 250 from North America


Overall outstanding car!


Shocks went bad due to lower control arm and tie rod bushings wearing out at 250,000.

Power steering hose failed at 270k, very expensive repair, over $500. Oil pan gasket leak, rear seal leak and general engine leaks at 225k.

Have had to replace the starter three times, and the battery twice.

Had to resurface all four brake rotors at 240k, due to the car wobbling when the brakes were applied.

The check engine light comes on periodically, but most likely due to the engine overheating. Goes out when engine cools, however. Also could be an emissions control issue. Fan motor stays on all the time, probably due to a short in the main wiring harness.

Other comments mentioned the trunk cover not seating right, due to a hinge malfunction on right side, which is a problem with ours.

The brake pedal pad has come unglued at 280k.

Speakers have very poor bass output, with the radio and the cassette player becoming very noisy at around 240k.

Other than the standard maintenance, a very reliable car.

General Comments:

The transmission still shifts smoothly at 296k. No other car we have owned has been so reliable. Our two 1989 New Yorkers had the transmissions fail at 76k and 96k.

The engine runs remarkably smooth, even at high miles. A Lexus quality. Remember the ad where they stacked glasses on a hood and revved the motor in 1991 or so?

This car has great acceleration, and runs fine on regular gas, even though premium does give more pep, and the owners manual calls for premium. No pinging on regular going up hills.

Everything seems to work, including the radio, heater and all dash controls, including the cruise control, window switches and motors, turn signals and power mirrors.

The cloth seats are very comfortable, but long trips can cause back strain. No power tilt feature, though, with a manual wheel to do this.

Is somewhat noisy at freeway speeds. The ES-300 was much quieter starting with that newer model in 1992.

The sunroof is very reliable, and no issues at 296k.

No tilt steering feature, which is surprising for a semi-luxury car, so getting in and out can be a little awkward, due to the steering wheel being close to the driver's seat. The interior ceiling light dims gradually after the door is closed, and is a great feature at night. The alarm and airbag still work at 296k miles.

Great car, overall. Not so good fuel mileage at 19 mpg city, and 24 highway, and now is around 16 mpg due to the high miles on the engine. The fuel needle gets stuck at one point, and then suddenly drops. This was a recall issue for 1991. Probably the float in the fuel tank.

Would definitely purchase another Lexus, since other makes do not hold up so well over 200k.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st October, 2010

19th May 2015, 19:02

Over 250K is a lot for essentially a 89-91 Camry. I don't see how any of those problems you list at all are Cons...

I also have a 91 Lexus ES250 with 250k miles.

1991 Lexus ES 250 from North America




I need to replace the Power Steering Rack. Does anyone know of a good place to buy one at a reduced rate?

How many hours should the mechanic charge?


General Comments:

The car has been solid, but the power steering goes at 120k miles on this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th August, 2006

1991 Lexus ES 250 2.5L V6 from North America


Performance and luxury, do-it-yourself


6-99: CV boots cracked and universal exposed. Replaced both CV axles. $40 each, Autozone.

3-01: Losing coolant. Replaced radiator, $75 @ Autozone.

7-02: Leaking PS hose. Too costly to replace, $300!! just for part, no Toyota equivalent. I took it to a hydraulic hose repair shop, and the guy fixed the original hose for $50. I reinstalled it.

11-02: Exhaust hole in down-pipe. Found entire exhaust assembly on a 91 Camry wagon in a local yard for $50. It took me 15 minutes to unbolt the old and bolt in the new.

4-03: AC compressor failure: Replaced compressor: $300 @ Autozone. AC friend recharged with R12 free!

5-03: Blown AC hose: Replaced, $25 @ Autozone. AC friend recharged with R12 free!

6-03: Rough idle and power loss: Replaced plugs, wires, and distributor cap.

8-24-03: Soft and unresponsive suspension: New shock struts ($110 for 4) front and rear. Bolted in myself with the aid of 2 spring compressors.

9-03: Replaced all disc brake pads, $30 for all 4 @ Autozone.

10-16-03: Failed emissions inspection: Worn out catalytic converter, $100 mailorder part. Welded in myself.

1-5-04 Alternator light came on, no charging. Pulled out alternator. Bolt was stuck and broke. I drilled out the old one (hard metal, not easy) and replaced it. Bolt was $6 @ Toyota dealer. Replaced alternator brushes ($26 @ Toyota dealer). Tightened oil pan bolts to seal leak.

4-10-04 208678 miles, check engine light came on at idle: Cleaned air filter, dirt from local contruction clogged it.

Replaced metal trim on pass rear door, $14 @ Autozone.

General Comments:

The general theme here is: Don't be a sucker and take this car to a Lexus dealer. Avoid any shop and DO IT YOURSELF. Yeah, they might treat you nice and give you coffee, a smile and a 'free' car wash, but you can take your paycheck and feed it to your dog with the same result.

Find an Autozone, get a Haynes 90-91 Camry manual ($12) (no Lexus manuals yet), a diagnostic code reader ($30), a few good metric tools, and make friends with AC technician.

This car is well designed to work on yourself, as any Lexus or Toyota.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th April, 2004

5th Feb 2005, 12:19

Your telling the average Joe to replace the spark plugs himself? How about that rear valve cover gasket? Then there's always that water pump that will go out by 100k... fun stuff for any guy with a repair manual... I disagree! This car is not user friendly like the Toyota 4 cylinders or even their V8!!

25th Jan 2006, 16:58

This car is one of the most difficult cars to work on that I have ever come across. Something as simple as changing the spark plugs, requires hours of work and special tools. They're good running vehicles, but very expensive to maintain due to the difficulty to do anything yourself with them, other than change the oil and put in gas.

14th Apr 2006, 21:53

I bought a 91 es250 in 2004,it had 89000 miles on it.. LOVE this car. I changed timing belt at 103000 and then my rotor button and cap got burned out about 4000 miles later. Fixed that problem and now my transmission is gone crazy. I thought at first that the timing belt was put on incorrect, but because of the miles I had driven in between problems, I am ruling that out. I realize the computer will compensate for a lot of things, but I'm not convinced it would go 4000 miles before burning out the cap and rotor.I'm still determined to fix this trans problem myself. Thanks for your comments on what repair manual to purchase.. If anyone knows any thing about this I am all ears..leoco@alltel.net.