1996 Lexus LS 400 1UZ-FE 4.0L V8 from North America
The King of the used luxury car market!
The power antenna for the radio has been replaced a few times. Best deal it to buy the generic antenna from Pepboy's for a Toyota. Works great and is only $20 or so!
The evaporator core and air conditioning compressor developed leaks around 180k or so. We just filled it up every once in a while until it got really bad. I replaced them both for $200 for used parts, and it's been perfect ever since.
The strut rod bushings, and lower ball joints were replaced around 200k with OEM parts, due to knocking in the front end.
Engine ECM went bad around 200k. The ECM turned out to be the problem with a coolant temperature circuit malfunction check engine light that would never go away, even though everything was fine. The car idled super high or super low and was running very very rich. A replacement used ECM made the car run like brand spanking new again.
I replaced the power steering rack at around 210k due to being hard to turn and a leak at the input shaft. There is also a small screen on the progressive power steering solenoid that must be kept clean or the steering will get very hard to steer. Cleaning this screen usually fixed the problem right up!
You can hardly buy a car today that is as nice as the mid 90's LS400's. Buying a used one with around 150k+ is an awesome investment in a luxury car. They are ultra reliable. Smaller things will go bad and need to be replaced, but that it typical with a high mileage car.
These cars can really go the distance. I hear of so many LS400's with 600k+ miles. Mine has 210k and doesn't burn oil, tick, knock, NOTHING! The core components of this car are simply bulletproof: The engine, transmission, rear axle, brakes, body, etc...
These cars must be maintained properly, however. The oil should be changed every 7,500 miles with synthetic oil. The transmission should be serviced only with Toyota T-IV fluid and the filter either cleaned or replaced. Change the brake pads before they hit the wear sensors. The timing belt, tensioner, and water pump must be changed every 90k miles. If the belt breaks, you will bend valves as the 95-97 1UZ-FE's are interference engines.
The common failures on these cars are mostly in the power steering system, especially the pre-1995 models. Power steering pumps can leak on to the alternator and also make that go out. The air control valve on the power steering can also leak fluid into the intake, causing the engine to smoke at start up. This is easily solved by simply plugging the control valve, there is no difference in the feel.
Don't expect to buy these car's with high mileage and expect ZERO problems. They have tons of life left in them with high mileage (if properly maintained), but things will break some. Catastrophic failures are few and far between on these cars, and only small things need to be fixed.
Remember to only use OEM Toyota/Lexus parts on everything. There are several online sources with very reasonable prices.
These cars ride amazing, have great power, are very quiet, super reliable, parts are readily available, and they are surprising easy to work on for DIYer's like me.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th April, 2010