When it came time for me to part ways with my finicky but beloved 2001 Audi A8L, I told all of you that I still wanted something posh for around the same money, but that it had to be a little bit more durable and lest costly to work on. “GET A LEXUS!” you all roared in almost perfect unison. Happily, I had my heart set on finding myself an LX470 even without that advice. I’d driven a few, and in addition to how cool I find them, I knew they were big, spacious, versatile, powerful, comfortable, and capable. Most of all, though, I knew that as a rebadged Toyota Land Cruiser, even a higher-mileage LX470 would be about the most reliable car I could get my hands on.
This lead me to let my guard down, and that was my downfall.
I found what seemed like the perfect rig less that two hours away from my college. It was newer and, with 170,000 on the odometer, had 20,000 fewer miles than any other 100-series I’d found in my insurance-check budget. Only problem was, it was listed at around $13,000, almost twice what I could afford. Long story short, a dealer friend of ours worked some negotiating magic on the dealer selling the truck, and managed to get it in our driveway for $7,500. Shortly after, we started discovering why.Due to logistics issues, we bought the truck sight unseen, with nothing more than a gentleman’s agreement between our dealer and the dealer who sold the LX that the truck was to be in perfect shape. We picked it up, only to discover that neither the head unit for the stereo nor the air conditioning were functioning. And the lock actuator for the driver’s door was broken. And the truck squeaked over any form of bump, which turned out to be tie rods and ball joints in desperate need of replacement. Two weeks ago, the alternator went. No sooner did we get the truck back from that repair when, on Monday, the starter motor died. This was not the first car my family has purchased sight unseen, but it is the first time we’ve had any issues in doing so. Like I said, shame on me. The grand total for the work listed above, plus several other little niggles we’ve had to work out like a fog light full of water an a misaligned rear bumper, and this bank vault has been doing its best to empty our bank account to the tune of around $5,500. Never mind the fact that it goes through gas like nothing else (which I knew when I bought it) and costs $100/month more to insure than the Audi (which I should’ve checked on).
The moral of this story is: don’t be stupid. The fact that a car is legendary for its reliability and ease of maintenance doesn’t negate the risks of buying a 16 year old car with 170,000 miles sight unseen, especially when it comes to the stuff that isn’t the drivetrain. Now that everything has been set right, my Lexus is an absolute joy to own and drive. The smoothness and comfort come frighteningly close to the Audi, which is impressive for an old body on frame truck. It just wound up costing a damn good piece more that I had budgeted for.
Now I just have to get the stealership sticker off the back.