Buyer's Guide to Used Lexus 2nd Gen IS Models (merged buying advise threads)
This excellent FAQ written courtesy of calvin2376! We'll merge similar threads together with this one as they come up in the future.
I've seen quite a few new threads recently come up with people basically asking what to look out for when considering purchasing a used 2IS. They typically start out: "I'm looking at a used ISX50, can people tell me what to look out for? Any issues, etc?" Each of these new "potential buyer" threads ends up being a carbon copy of the others, with people usually repeating the same points as on other threads.
I looked through the FAQ sticky and was surprised to see there wasn't an entry that served as a general buyer's guide to the used 2IS, so I proposed creating one for inclusion in FAQ, and DaveGS4 agreed it would be a good idea. This will serve as the base thread and will be merged with other similar threads and then will be included in the FAQ.
There's tons of great data out on CL on the 2IS, but it can often be difficult to locate if you're new to the forum and/or are considering purchasing your first 2IS. For example, you could find tons of great info on CL on the dash rattle issue, but you'd need to know it existed first before you went and searched "dash rattle". That's why so many new threads keep popping up from new members asking general questions about 2IS issues. I know it'd have been hugely helpful to me if prior to my recent used 2IS purchase, I'd been able to check one single thread for all the info I'd need to know or look out for when examining cars and considering purchase.
The thread will be a list of issues/things to look out for that are common to all 2IS (e.g. dash rattle, windshield molding), then sublists for 250-specific issues (e.g. carbon build-up TSIB) and 350-specific issues (e.g. valve spring recall).
So please help me and all other potential buyers of used 2IS by submitting issues/concerns that should be considered when purchasing or considering purchasing a 2IS. I'll get us started, and then as posts come in I'll edit the first few posts so that they're all contained at the beginning as best possible. And if you have any other recommendations or ideas for improving the thread, post that as well!
The other thing I thought would be helpful is a list of differences between model years (both in standard equipment and options); if this exists already (which it very well may) please send a link. There's a thread in the FAQ for general 2IS specs, but it's for 2006 only.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) General Pre-Purchase Tips
2) Common Issues to Watch for on the 2IS
3) Information on 2IS Options
i) Option Packages
ii) Standalone Options
4) Information on Lexus Extended Warranties
i) CPO Warranty
ii) VSA Warranties
iii) Warranty Availability
iv) Warranty Pricing
5) Relevant Club Lexus Threads to Potential 2IS Buyers
1) General Pre-Purchase Tips:
- Go to the Lexus.com owner's section and sign up as an owner and input the VIN of the car you're looking at to obtain the detailed Lexus service history: link is here https://secure.drivers.lexus.com/lex...serviceHistory. This is more useful and reliable than CarFax (but not bulletproof). Read it carefully. Ensure that there are no open recalls. I also recommend you take note of each TSIB that's been performed on it. If anything appears odd or out of the ordinary, ask the dealer about it. If you're considering purchasing a particular used 2IS from a Lexus dealer, they should provide this to you during the pre-purchase process already. But most non-Lexus dealers and independent shops, as well as private parties, won't know of or have access to the data, so you may have to obtain it yourself. It can also shed light on what specifically the dealer had to do in order to prepare it for sale.
- Read the Club Lexus 2IS FAQ sticky: This is a great resource for both potential new owners and those who have just purchased a 2IS that have questions: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...tart-here.html
- IS350 ONLY - Check for extended powertrain warranty: if you're buying a used IS350 from a private party, check with them to see whether the car has the extended powertrain warranty to 100k miles which Lexus offered as compensation for the valve spring recall which affected IS350 owners. If the car does have this warranty, it's transferable to you (as long as the previous owner is the owner under which the issue occurred and warranty was issued, I believe it's only transferable to one more owner). In some cases owners received $500 gift cards in lieu of the extended warranty, which would mean the car does not have the extended powertrain warranty. The reason this is only applicable to private party sales is that the extended warranty is not transferable to a commercial entity, so if the owner under which the recall was performed and warranty issued then traded it in to a dealer, that car no longer would have the extended powertrain warranty.
2) Common Issues to Watch for on the 2IS:
- Windshield trim/molding cracking: here's a thread that shows pics of what you're looking for, http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...blem-pics.html. It's a very common issue on all 2IS; the molding pieces seem to crack and wear down allowing water seepage and creating unwanted wind noise. This issue is covered by the factory 4 yr/50k warranty but not by any extended Lexus warranties.
- Dash rattle: drive the car over uneven surfaces and push on the dash so it flexes up and down at all points of the dash (in front of driver, in the center of the dash, and on the right side). If the dash rattles, creaks, or squeaks when you drive over uneven surfaces or you push on the dash at any point, you need both TSIB L-SB-0090-08 (Upper/Lower Windshield Tick Noise) and TSIB L-SB-0044-08 (Instrument Panel Rattle) performed. This is a very common, and very irritating, issue that can unfortunately recur even after the dealer attempts to repair. Repair of this issue could cost you $1000+ out of pocket, as the labor is extensive to remove the dash pad. This issue is covered by the factory 4 yr/50k warranty but not by any extended Lexus warranties.
- Check the trunk lip spoiler (if equipped): ensure the adhesive isn't wearing down and the ends are peeling up. The spoiler is attached via screws as well as an adhesive strip. The screws are nearer the center of the spoiler, and over time the adhesive strip can wear down causing the ends of the spoiler to curl upward. If this is the case, your option is to either reapply adhesive underneath or replace the spoiler entirely. This issue is covered by the factory 4 yr/50k warranty but not by any extended Lexus warranties.
- Cam Gear TSIB: the symptom is a grinding/cranking noise from the engine bay, usually right upon starting up the car. It's brief, only a second or two, but sounds like metal-on-metal grinding/cranking/rattling/knocking. It's more of a nuisance than anything else, as it usually does not pose a danger of damaging the car, but it's best to get it addressed if you encounter a car exhibiting this symptom. It afflicts almost every '06-'08 2IS at some point, and dealers should be familiar with the issue. It is covered by the 6 year/70k mile powertrain warranty as well as all Lexus extended warranties. It affects both the 250 and the 350; the TSIBs are L-SB-0156-08 for the IS350, and L-SB-0155-08 for the IS250. See this link for more information: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...d-threads.html
- Carbon Build-Up TSIB: the symptoms are rough idle, surging RPMS at stop light low idle with vehicle shaking as if it was about to stall, and cylinder misfire codes. This issue affects only the 250 and is covered under the 6 year/70k mile powertrain warranty as well as all Lexus extended warranties. See this link for more information: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...d-threads.html
- Navigation screen failure: quite a few people on CL have had issues with the navigation system in their 2IS. It seems to be most prevalent on the earlier model 2IS (2006-2008), but not isolated to those years. The most common issue is the touch functionality of the navigation screen failing; the screen still displays, but you can’t press any buttons on it or make changes by touching the screen, effectively rendering it useless. Many people on CL describe it as the screen “freezing up”.
From what I’ve read, there doesn’t seem to be a way to predict whether this issue will happen on a particular 2IS or not. The dealer’s fix will be to replace the entire navigation unit, and the price for this job is about $2,400. An independent or custom shop might charge less for labor, but the OEM nav unit is still very expensive. An alternative some CL members have taken is replacing the OEM system with an aftermarket system that looks the same and duplicates functionality, such as this FlyAudio unit: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...250-350-a.html. This is still costly ($1000-2000), but less so than the dealer. Another option is to buy a refurbished or used screen, for example from a junked 2IS. Still others have mentioned that a particular shop found a special fix for it, or that they replaced only the screen as opposed to the whole unit.
The only way to be sure of not footing the bill for this issue is to purchase an extended warranty, either by buying a CPO car or by purchasing a VSA warranty prior to the original factory warranty’s expiration. The navigation unit replacement is covered fully under the CPO and Platinum VSA warranties. It is NOT covered by the Gold and Powertrain VSAs.
Here are threads on the touchscreen failure/”freezing up” issue:
- Gauge needle LEDs dying: this is more a nuisance than anything else, but unfortunately is common on the 2IS; in no way does it affect operation of the vehicle. After a period of time, the tips of the LED needles on the dash gauges (speedo, tach, etc) start to dim. A picture of the issue can be seen in this thread, which also provides great info on the problem: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...-is-dying.html
The dealer fix for this costs ~$1000. This issue is covered by the CPO and Platinum VSA warranties, but I do not believe by the Gold VSA, and definitely not the Powertrain VSA. The cost is mainly labor, so a non-dealer shop might be less expensive, but it’s a fairly intricate and painstaking job, so you want someone who will be very careful. If you’re a DIY-er, this thread gives a DIY on changing the LEDs in the dash gauge cluster, including the needles: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/is-s...g-needles.html.[/
3) Information on 2IS Options:
Be very careful when reading car listings, especially online - many aren't fully correct or complete, and some are just blatantly false. For example, you may see an ad that says the car has Mark Levinson sound. However, only if the Mark Levinson logo is present near the audio controls on the dash does the car actually have this option, so check the interior pictures closely. And never believe an ad that says "fully loaded", because as you'll see, there are many options for the 2IS and in reality, the car is very probably missing at least a few.
You can use the below section to determine what packages/options the car you're looking at has and which it does not.
i) Option Packages:
Premium Package: Heated/ventilated seats and woodgrain only.
HOW TO TELL IF CAR HAS IT: If it has ventilated seats and does NOT have memory seats.
Luxury Package: Same as premium PLUS memory seats, rain-sensing wipers, HIDs, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, auto dim/tilt side mirrors, illuminated scuff plates, and power rear sunshade. Usually also comes with 18" wheels but it's possible to get it with 17". Can't be combined with any other package on this list.
HOW TO TELL: If it has memory seats AND woodgrain.
Sport Package: Same as Luxury Package except you do NOT get woodgrain, power rear sunshade, or illuminated scuff plates, but you DO add the sport suspension, sport pedals, and aluminum scuff plates. Always includes the 18" wheels. Can't be combined with any other option package on this list. No longer offered on 2011 and newer models.
HOW TO TELL: If it has memory seats and does NOT have woodgrain.
NOTE: Memory seats are only driver, not passenger, for 2011 and newer models.
F-Sport Package (2011+ Models Only): 18" wheels, sport suspension, heated (NOT ventilated) front seats, microfiber seat inserts, aluminum door-sill plates, sport pedals, front and rear spoiler, grille inserts, F-Sport steering wheel, shift knob, seats, and badge.
HOW TO TELL: Visually obvious with the F-Sport labeled seats/wheel, etc.
X-Package ('07-'10 Models Only): Illuminated scuff plates, sport suspension, sport pedals, front lip spoiler, and special 5-spoke 18" wheels; nothing else from the other packages. This package can not be combined with the Sport or Luxury Packages but can combine with Premium Package.
HOW TO TELL: 5-spoke wheels are the easiest way.
ii) Standalone Options:
These options are unrelated to and independent of what packages the car may otherwise have unless it's part of a package the car already includes.
HIDs: '06 models could only get this as part of the Sport or Luxury Package. For '07+, it's an available standalone option.
HOW TO TELL: Check the multi-switch to the lower left of the steering wheel that looks like <0>; if you have an AFS ON/OFF option you have HIDs.
18" Wheels: Visually obvious
Rear Trunk Lip Spoiler: Visually obvious
Navigation: This includes bluetooth and backup camera.
HOW TO TELL: Navigation screen is visually obvious.
Mark Levinson: This is an upgraded sound system. It can be ordered with or without Navigation, but you only get a DVD-changer if it's with Navigation; comes with CD-changer otherwise)
HOW TO TELL: Mark Levinson logo on the head unit.
Park Assist: Distance sensors on the front and rear of the car.
HOW TO TELL: Little circle dots on front/rear bumpers.
Headlamp Washers: Visually obvious small bulges below headlights.
Pre-Collision System (PCS): Radar cruise control, one of the rarest 2IS options. No longer offered on 2011 and newer models.
HOW TO TELL: Special blackish L logo on front grill.
XM Radio: Satellite radio. Standard on '09+ models.
HOW TO TELL: Hit the AM/SAT button a couple times; if you never get anything but AM it doesn't have it. This is very easy to add later.
4) Information on Lexus Extended Warranties:
Lexus has 4 offerings of extended warranties for used cars:
1) Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)
2) Platinum Vehicle Service Agreement (VSA)
3) Gold VSA
4) Powertrain VSA.
i) CPO Warranty:
The standard CPO warranty is for 3 years from the date of purchase or until your car reaches 100k miles, whichever comes first. At the time of purchase of a CPO car, you can elect to purchase an extension to your CPO warranty, and you will have your choice of various different lengths of time and mileage limits.
The CPO warranty is an exclusionary warranty, which means it covers everything on the car EXCEPT those items specifically listed. This is in contrast to an inclusionary policy, which covers ONLY those items specifically listed. The former is obviously more attractive, since in general it tends to cover more things.
These are the items that are NOT covered by the Lexus CPO warranty - everything else is covered:
The following components are specifically excluded from coverage under the Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Limited Warranty:
Standard Upkeep Items:
accessory drive belts, batteries, filters, fluids, heating and vacuum hoses, lines and tubes, tires, spark plugs, windshield wiper blades (rubber component).
Wear and Tear:
Examples include brake pads, rotors, shoes and drums and manual clutches.
Body and Interior:
bumpers, carpet, chrome, dash cover and pad, door trim, handles, fabric, glass (including windshield), headliner, hinges, interior and exterior trim and moldings, cupholders, ashtrays, covers and vents, lightbulbs, nuts, bolts, clips, retainers and fasteners, paint, rust and corrosion damage, seat covers, shiny metals, weather stripping.
any non-Lexus accessories or modified components, including but not limited to wheels, radar detectors and cellular phones.
any component which has not failed, but that a repair facility recommends or requires to be replaced, repaired or adjusted.
This link provides more detail on the Lexus CPO warranty: http://www.lexusfinancial.com/consum...ifitComparison
ii) VSA Warranties:
If the car you are looking at purchasing is still within the factory 4-year/50k-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, you can at any time purchase a VSA (Platinum, Gold, or Powertrain) before the factory warranty expires. If the car you are looking at purchasing is out of the factory 4-year/50k-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, you can ONLY purchase a VSA warranty from Lexus at the time of purchase.
Here is a comparison of the benefits of each VSA warranty:
Unlike the CPO warranty, the VSA warranties are inclusionary warranties, meaning they only cover the stated covered components. Here is a link to an explanation of the coverages of each policy: http://www.lexusfinancial.com/consum...nentComparison
iii) Warranty Availability:
At the time of purchase, if it is a CPO car you can elect to purchase an extended CPO warranty OR you can elect to purchase one of the VSAs. The ONLY way to purchase an extended CPO warranty is at the time of purchase of a CPO vehicle. At the time of purchase of a CPO car, you can also elect to purchase an extension to your CPO warranty, and you will have your choice of various different lengths of time and mileage limits.
At the time of purchase of a non-CPO vehicle that is within the last 9 model years, you CAN elect to purchase a Platinum, Gold, or Powertrain VSA, but NOT an extended CPO warranty.
If the car you are looking at purchasing is still within the factory 4-year/50k-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, then you can elect to purchase a VSA (Platinum, Gold, or Powertrain) at any time before the factory warranty expires; it does not need to be at the time of purchase. If it is out of factory warranty, the only time to purchase an extended warranty is at the time of purchase.
iv) Warranty Pricing:
Pricing of extended warranties is not standard and varies based on model, year, and mileage. In addition, different dealers will provide vastly different prices on the exact same warranty. Keep in mind that if you are purchasing a used Lexus from one dealer and you want an extended warranty, you DO NOT need to purchase the warranty from that dealer. You can call a different dealer and purchase the exact same warranty. However it needs to be at the time of purchase - don't buy a car from one dealer then call a different one weeks later hoping to buy an extended warranty.
When you purchase a used Lexus at a dealer, once you negotiate the deal with the salesman, he hands you off to the finance person with whom you handle payment and paperwork. This finance person is tasked with trying to upsell you on various options/warranties/deals. One thing they will offer are extended warranty options. Often these will NOT be the best prices you can obtain because, simply put, they know most buyers do not know they can call a different dealer and purchase the warranty from them, so the purchase-point dealer charges more.
The best thing to to when considering whether you want to purchase an extended warranty is call around to price-shop. Many people on CL have gotten the best extended warranty deals from Jerry Johnson, whose contact information follows:
1100 East 30th
Hutchinson, KS 67502
Feel free to contact him or any other dealer and ask about pricing on extended warranties for your specific vehicle.
5) Relevant Threads to Potential 2IS Buyers:
IS250 vs IS350:
BMW 335i vs IS350:
IS-F vs IS350:
Acura TL vs 2IS:
IS350 vs 2011 Mustang GT
Discussion of Aspects of 2IS:
Discussion of Model Year Differences:
2IS Manual vs Automatic:
AWD vs RWD for 2IS:
Gas Mileage in 2IS:
Interesting Features of the 2IS:
Cam Gear TSIB (L-SB-0156-08 for IS350, L-SB-0155-08 for IS250):
Carbon Build-Up TSIB (L-SB-0029-10 for IS250):
Valve Spring Recall (campaign L-CP-ALE-A110-D for IS350):
Fuel Pressure Sensor Recall (campaign L-CP-B2A-A110-D for IS250 and IS350):
Buyer's Guide to Used Lexus 2nd Gen IS Models
Differences Between Model Years:
Shark fin added
Trunk/gas buttons relocated slightly and illuminated
X package offered for first time
More rear legroom due to reshaped seatbacks
Improved steering feel
Default illuminated scuff color changed from blue to white
18" wheel color changed to liquid graphite
Coin holder added to dash
(this is the best looking year IMHO)
Cashmere carpet/mats changed to black for cashmere interior (this was a mid-year change, early 08s still got all cashmere)
08->09: First facelift year
Turn signals added to revised side mirrors
Changes to front/'rear bumpers/grill/tails
Some minor interior trim changes
Cashmere interior replaced with Ecru
Bluetooth now available without nav
Audio system upgraded with USB port and native ipod interface
XM now standard rather than an option
Nav system updated to 6th gen (realtime traffic and other improvements, HD based instead of DVD)
X package no longer offered
Mark Levinson WITHOUT Nav no longer offered
10->11: Second facelift year
Some more changes to front/rear of exterior
Headlights changed to LED strip DRLs
HIDs now standard on 350
Several options REMOVED from car- AFS, PCS, and pass. side memory
Sport package replaced with (IMHO) much inferior F-sport package
Headlights changed a bit again (there's a thread on this)
That's the only change I'm aware of off hand
There are some differences in exterior colors offered between years too, you can see that here:
So i think i am going to be buying an IS...
I test drove the is350 with luxury package and a couple of other bells and whistles at the dealership today. All i have to say is wow..
I just wanted to see how satisfied you guys are with your IS. more or less im looking for that final excuse to just go buy it haha.
What are you doing on the forums? Go out and buy it now!
Yup, go pull the trigger. I wasn't impressed with the dealerships in NoVA though, if that's where you're looking.
I didnt even drive the car before I bought it! LOL I went to the dealership gave them the down and took off, I was so lost on turning on the air and radio! :D *sign* I can see it now....
I test drove the car alot of times before purchasing. I knew I wanted the car without a doubt, the only holdback for me was I wanted the Lux Pkg w/ Nav and ML and that kinda combo was not alloted in FL. I could have settled for less but I held out and got the exact options I wanted and didn't even have to special order, it was a miracle the way it all happened for me. I am enjoying my new ride, I really like the handling and more emphasis on Luxury. Everyday I can't wait for work to end so I can get in my Lexus and drive.
I say if you find one with the pkg you want, don't let it pass you by, get it.
i was lucky they had exactly the car i wanted on the showroom floor
A few things for you to check before you fall in love, go blind, and miss some things.
1) Make sure you are ok with the NAV restrictions. 2) Make sure you are ok with the size of the car both for your headroom, and consideration for guests if you have them in the car. 3) Check with your insurance carrier to make sure you know what your payment is going to be. This car is expensive to insure. 4) Some people lament the lack of steering feel. Really focus on that to see if you're happy with the feel.
Oh, and make sure you realize the wheels get dirty very quickly. There's a solution for that but there's a slight tradeoff in performance that may or may not be noticeable.
I didn't do as much checking as I should have when I bought, but I'm lucky it was pretty much how I wanted it anyway. I really enjoy the car and I generally hate driving but I'm fine with this one.
couldnt have bought a better car at the price
can you elaborate on the nav restrictions? i used to think there were a lot of restrictions comming from an acura, but once you know how to program it by voice while driving i dont see the limitations. <-- when i first bought i never thought i would say that
Personally I'm fine with the Nav. I program what I need before the trip, and the preprogrammed buttons always work.
I have yet to master the voice command though, as it seems to not understand me, but it doesn't matter.
I think others are upset more as a matter of principle that they're being restricted... That and the fact the voice interface is still a bit slow.
Don't buy it... Get 335 Coupe man...
Advice - Just buy it and DON'T forget to get the Mark Levinson (ML) system. If you don't plan to upgrade your stereo, this one is really good for a stock system. One of my employeed just bought the IS350 and she regrets not getting the ML now.
Welcome to Club Lexus. I know you'll be back now.
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