Considering 60K mileage 2000 LS - Book Value Range is Huge!
I'm looking at a 2000 LS 400 Platinum Edition with 60,000 miles. One lady owner who drives very little, obviously. Only option seems to be Nakamichi Sound w/ CD changer. Dealer maintenance through 2005, indie since.
The good: 1 year old Michelins w/ 5K on them. Evident good service with all routine stuff done, including recent serpentine + tensioner. No drips. All fluids clean and good condition. Every electronic gizmo seems to work (no pixel fade, but one segment is missing on the clock second digit, wherin a 6 can look like a 5 - other wise stellar digits). Leather and interior trim generally unworn, w/ expectations mentioned later. No body dents. One known instance of body damage reported by the owner (rear door panel); undetectable repair and superb paint match. Clean Carfax with just smog and mileage reported (everything consistent with one owner driving <5000 miles per year).
The bad: 100% outside car (Socal, so that's both good and bad ... lots of sun, no winter/weather issues). Some fade on steering wheel, but interior seems to suffer more from no proper cleaning than sun damage. I think that's a testimony to good UV filtration in the factory window tint, plus quality materials. It's not dirty in the sense of careless use, just failure to use cleaners and conditioners or shampoo carpets. The seats are not worn, just have a layer of grime. There is one door trim panel blemish where I'd guess the seat belt buckle was slammed in the door, mostly visible with the door open. I believe the interior could look quite stunning with a deep detail. The outside seems to be rarely washed and waxed. But in solid condition nonetheless. Probably never washed under hood. The sun has hurt the bumper paint on the horizontal surfaces (clear has peeled, white paint is flat/checked) and the luster of the grill. I believe the rest of the body paint would look great with a cleaning wax & power buffer. Wheels have a tarnished look which I assume might polish out, but they are more or less curb rash-free. The fore-mentioned elbow grease items plus a re-shoot of the bumper covers would likely make the exterior look very fine. Needs hood struts. Looks like the front brakes may not have long to go.
Now the confusion: between Kelly, NADA, Edmunds and True Car, I get a private sale range between $6000 and $12,500! That's giving credit for every feature and mile, and a realistic assessment of condition. Depending who's nomenclature I use, it's a fair to good car because of the cosmetic issues. But no kidding, that' s the range! Basically useless due the variation, and a great explanation as to why asking prices are all over the place for late model LS 400s. So the listed price is $9000. With paint and professional cleaning/polishing all over, I'd say it would take $1000 to bring to the spec I desire. Probably half that amount with me doing as much as I can, which would probably be the case. Any thoughts regarding where the price should be?
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No outside LS400 is worth over $5000 in my opinion, all of the value on this car relies on it being 100% garage kept, the kind of paint job that Lexus put on that car would cost $10,000 to duplicate - and sun is the main enemy of that paint job, not to mention the beautiful leather.
pay what you want, but it would have to be at the distress price if it has been outside all of these years for me to have any interest, I don't care if it is a Titanium edition with 10K miles - lol
It's a trade off... you basically get you pay for... the low miles is good, but the poor upkeep is a drag and reduces the value of the car. NADA shows about $8k for rough trade in, which is how I see this, with a $3.7 inclusion for low miles. Regardless of how much you're willing to pay, seller still has to agree. You don't say how much she wants for it.
If it's exactly the car you want and you love to bring things back to life and have the time and funds to do that, then work a deal you're happy with. Otherwise, walk away and look for something better. But know you'll never get it to factory fresh with simply cleaning. I've used Leatherique on leather seats that is supposed to get them soft and supple....after 3 applications, they are much cleaner... but still hard as cardboard. And yes, paint, good paint jobs are few and very expensive...
I wouldn't be afraid to just paint the bumper... I did that on my mom's 430 and turned out ok...
Good luck on your search...
1. 2004 Mercury Metallic LS 430 - 48K and counting...slowly
2. 2002 Millennium Silver LS 430 - 125K
3. 1999 Antique Sterling Metallic (Lavender)...the one I prefer to drive
4. 2004 Toyota Tundra...same engine wrapped in a different package
4. 2001 Toyota 4Runner... the daily driver with 180k miles
Cowboy, I hear what you're saying. However, this is to be a utility driver for my daughter. At some point, the price is right. Just trying to figure out what that point is. Please get in touch when you find that $5000 LS 400 Titanium Edition with 10,000 miles that's never seen a garage!
I appreciate the input everyone. More often in my life I have scored very clean cars, well maintained with somewhat higher mileage, when others avoided because of the clock reading. I'm not like a lot of people that focus on the odometer alone, or for that matter say "I don't want to put the miles on my car." No pint in having a car if yo don't drive it. The slightly different mindset on this one comes from frequent wrenching on an older high-mileage Volvo for my kid's first car. She's proven her responsibility and care, and I'm sick of working on stuff that is rarely an issue on a lower-mileage Toyota. So the reference point comes more from contemplating the cost of something like a Corolla or Camry that's new enough to have side airbags. The LS is less $$, twice the car, and not much worse MPG on the freeway. Plus I understand how to work on many aspects of the car. So as advised by you guys, I'm willing to pass, but I'm open at the correct price point. If I did all the clean-up mentioned in the OP, I expect most of you would be pretty happy to drive it. It will never be a pristine cream puff, but it would beat a lot of the alternatives for the money. I'm thinking of trying $7-something. We'll see what happens. Thanks again.
I would find a different car, there is no amount of polish/buffing/spraying/wet sanding etc. that will make this car like new. I am all about saving money, and fixing it yourself, but paint and interior degradation from the sun can never be fixed right, just as rust damage can't be fixed right either, nor can a previously wrecked car. - If you were buying an old pickup truck, I would say
besides, while low mileage is generally a great thing, 60K is actually too low, this car has likely sat parked for extended stretches to have that few miles over 14 years, and it is not good for a vehicle to sit - it ruins seals, the A/C system, transmissions, and many other parts of the car.
I do believe that a 98-2000 LS400 is the right car, just find the garage kept one that looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor, and don't spend up to your last nickel on the car itself, as any 14 year or more old vehicle is going to need some things done, even a creampuff! - I would hold back 2K from what my total budget is for after the purchase maintenance items.
@cowboy Paint, rust, or a previously repaired car can be repaired correctly. The problem is with people trying to make as much profit as possible, laziness or just inexperience. Having a car correctly repaired can be very expensive as well. Buying a repaired car is just risky because you may not see how the repair was done.
Too low of miles is definitely a bad sign. I am also willing to buy high mileage cars to save some money, just takes a little extra work to get them up to par sometimes. A well maintained high mileage car is 100 times better than a low mileage neglected car.
Current Cars-1980 Chevy Stepside, 2003 Cadillac Deville, 1992 Lexus LS400
Previous Cars-1990 Toyota Celsior (JPN), 1992 Honda Legend Sedan (JPN), 1995 Honda Rafaga (JPN), 1993 Honda Legend Coupe (JPN), 1991 Acura Legend Sedan
OK guys, let's do a "reality check" When you are talking about 98-00 LS400's you have to remember you are talking about cars that were manufactured 13 to 16 years ago - ancient!. It's not like you are going to find many perfect "garage queens" that old. These cars are close to qualifying for a historical license plate where I live.
The car that the OP is considering could be an excellent value at the right price. Consider that virtually all used LS cars sold by Lexus dealers have their bumpers repainted before sale as did my 2000 LS400 that I purchased in 2003.
The low (60,000) miles isn't a problem at all. It takes a lot to screw up these cars.
Don't worry if you give a pay a little too much for this car. Anything under $20,000 is pocket change these days. If you like the car then buy it. Maybe you can bargain the price down a little but who cares if it is a car that you are going to drive for years. It sounds like a rare opportunity to me and similar to low mileage LS cars I've seen offered in private sales in Scottsdale and south Florida.
Jim - Lexus LS driver from 1990 to 2014 - Now driving a 2014 Toyota Sienna Limited with all packages and options
I can fix most any problem on a car, but I can't put a paint job like the LS400 had when new on a car, almost no one can, and of the few that could, they want over $10K - it's analogous to a "frame off" restoration on a vintage car!
These cars are not rare collector's items, so I am gonna hold out for a Scottsdale "garage queen"
Is this a dealer or private seller? I ask because you will be looking at the upper end of the price spectrum for a 00 with 60k mi in my experience. $9k is a fair price and less than I paid for mine back in september.
Now that said you can probably get em to knock off a few for the paint issues or get a free detail thrown in. Since it is at 60k you should check if the timing belt was ever replaced- I negotiated to get this done to my 00 LS400 when I bought it rather than talk down their price because the labor for this is expensive. (quoted $900 at the dealer)
It's not like everyday you find a 60k ls400, if you like the car, see if you can talk them into discounting for the timing belt and water pump, if not i would just buy it, don't let 1k or 2k prevent u from buying, you might not see another for a while with that low miles. Good luck
I gather by some of the responses that I failed to fully explain the car is indeed private party. The owner's son showed it to me. They seem like legit folks, pretty forthright. Mom really didn't want to sell - for sale signs with $13.5K in the trunk.