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We're considering a used SC430... your advice please!!

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Old 08-05-14, 08:18 PM   #1
andynoel78
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Default We're considering a used SC430... your advice please!!

Hi all:

Just a little background... My girlfriend and i (i'm 25 and she's 24) have just moved our lives (from RI to FL, for my business) and she's in need of a car (her '97 Volvo died about a month ago). I'd like your help in convincing us that a used SC430 might be a good fit.

I currently drive a 2011 GS450h which i just paid off (previously owning an RX400h) and come from a family who's owned Lexus' since my father got his LS400 when i was born in '89. I have always loved Lexus' for their reliability, comfort and again, reliability.

Our issue is that since the move, we're limited in what we can spend, but she needs something to drive now. Combined, after the move, we have about $13,000 cash that we have allocated towards a car; anything more and we'd have to finance as we have most allocated for the mortgage and other bills. She's considered something like a 2-3yr old Camry, but we really don't want it long term as we know we could afford something better in the next few years.

Evidently, my love for Lexus has rubbed off on her... She's discovered, out of all cars, the SC430, recently giving me a speech about how a character in the movie "Mean Girls" drove one. So, she wants one. I've never really considered it (since i've grown up in the north where it snows 7 months out of the year) but after reading reports, it seems like a reliable car even at age.

So here's my question for you guys... Would you recommend the '02-'04 SC430 for us? To be honest, i wouldn't mind getting to drive it myself on a nice sunny day with the top down. We've located several around us, all '02s-'04s in the $9,000-$12,000 range with ~100,000miles. We'd be able to pay and maintain costs for the registration, taxes, insurance, etc.

And i've gone through the logic tree of maintenance costs over time, but we're prepared to keep putting money into it (if it's reasonable) to keep a classy convertible in the family, in hopes of keeping it in the garage years down the road just as a 3rd vehicle to take out on the rare occasion. The only benefit (that i can think of) for getting the SC now, is that in a few years we'd be able to afford her a nice daily driver (something like a 1-2yr old ES), at which point we could keep and maintain the SC as a 3rd vehicle for those rare sunny days.

But for now she needs something, and we can't see spending our money on something we really don't want long term. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance for any input!
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Old 08-05-14, 08:33 PM   #2
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Refer to the most recent thread titled "Your thoughts on pricing." The member basically addresses more or less an interest to purchase an SC430 that can be very useful to you in finding the right car for you and addresses typical buying concerns to keep in mind.


http://www.clublexus.com/forums/sc-4...n-pricing.html
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Old 08-06-14, 07:55 AM   #3
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My wife has had her 2003 SC430 for 7 years. It has 103,000 miles on it. It is problem free. It rides and drives extremely well. It can easily go another 100,000 miles. If you can find one that has been well maintained (documented), I wouldn't hesitate to buy.
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Old 08-06-14, 11:53 AM   #4
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There are a lot of threads in this forum where the members rave on this car. You almost never hear of someone who owns a SC430 who doesn't love it, other than those who thought it would be a sports car and it isn't. (It is a sporty, luxury car that is a hardtop convertible.) If it is taken care of properly, it ought to last for a very long time and provide a ton of enjoyment. I'll warn you though, it will spoil you for future car purchases.

The reason I bought this car over a whole list of other cars was because this one was the one that made me smile. Now, 8 years later, it still does.

Be sure to check out the stickie at the top of the forum that gives advice as to what to look for when buying a SC430. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 08-06-14, 02:56 PM   #5
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If you love Lexus -- you'll love the SC430 -- regardless of the year. I have 3 Lexus with my most recent purchase of a 2002 SC430 with only 18,000 miles. I had to look long and hard to find it -- and I had to drive a number of miles to get it -- but, I couldn't be happier. I will tell you that the older models (like mine) suffer from the door speakers (6x9) going bad. They can be repaired easily (kit is about $25) and you have to be willing to take the door panel off -- but, it's not too difficult. There are great DIY guides on this forum (which I used to repair mine).
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Old 08-07-14, 06:51 AM   #6
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Very hard to go wrong with a Lexus SC particularly if you exercise due diligence in examining the car before you buy it. I have personally seen SC430's with 150,000 miles or more that were very nice, functional cars. Find a nice one - with a clean title - take care of it and it will be a great addition to your life.
This forum has an excellent checklist to use when shopping for a used SC. After reading it you should be able to recognize some of the common issues (mostly minor) as you search.
Good luck!
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Old 08-07-14, 09:54 PM   #7
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My everyday driver is an 02 SC and I have zero complaints. Routine maintenance and you are good to go. My LS400 had over 235k and was still a great driver when it got totaled by a hit run driver in the middle of the night. You won't be disappointed and neither will she.
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Old 08-08-14, 06:53 AM   #8
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Thank you everyone for your responses! It's good to read about your personal experiences with the SC430. Yesterday we went to see the top two (the least expensive) that were on our list. Both were located 2.5 hours away...

The first was an '03, silver/tan with 99k miles for $9,999. I arrived at the address of this so called "dealer" to find a single guy operating out of a single garage of a large multi-company "garage bay" in a sketchy neighborhood, with his "dealer" sign above the garage reading "test drive by appointment only.". He drove up in the SC and right away i was disgusted. Every single panel had been re-painted, and very poorly. After careful examination of the "gaps" between each body panel, i determined that it had been in some type of accident(s). When probed, the "guy" admitted that it was a "re-build" after an accident in the right-rear, even though the carfax report i downloaded the day prior was CLEAN. Other than the accident damage that hadn't been repaired properly, and besides some minor "shaking" of the engine at idle, i didn't find any other mechanical issues. I told him i didn't feel comfortable putting my girlfriend in the car after it's accident history. Offered him $7k for the hell of it... He said he'd think about it and get back to me. Even if he accepts, i won't let my girlfriend drive it. I just can't.

The second was an '04, black/tan with 137,000miles, being sold by a "somewhat more professional" dealer for $11,990. When the guy went to start it, not even a click. Completely dead battery. He jumped it, and it did start, but i noticed both front DRLs flickering significantly. Engine sounded and felt smooth, and all other mechanics seemed OK. However, the entire car had been re-painted, and all VIN tags (doors, door jams, hood, fenders) were missing, and the paint work was poor. I hadn't seen the carfax before visiting, but he loaded it and sure enough, two accidents reported. All gaps between panels seemed perfect, however. I just didn't like the poor paint work and the unknown of what type of accident caused the entire re-paint of the car. I offered him $9k and he said he couldn't do it. Oh well.

So the search will continue! Please keep the comments coming!
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Old 08-08-14, 06:56 AM   #9
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Keep looking and keep running away from cars like those first two! The good one's are still out there - lovingly babied by their owners. You'll find yours sooner or later.
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Old 08-09-14, 02:34 PM   #10
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If you want to stay in that price range, I would just go the private party route. It's less likely that they will try try to mask problems, mainly because they lack the expertise to do so. You either need to be patient or take out a small loan to put you in the $18-20k range. More SCs and lower mileage and you should find more sellers who took care of their SCs. Good Luck. I hope you get what you want.
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Old 08-09-14, 07:23 PM   #11
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We found and bought our (well, my girlfriend's) SC430 today!!

In total, we went to see (not necessarily waste our time on a test drive) five SC430s, and ALL of them (but the last) had major accident/re-paint evidence. The first one we saw today had been 100% repainted from silver to a dark blue... they even painted right over the VIN tags on the door jams!!

But the last one we saw was at a Lexus dealer as a matter of fact. A 2003. I inspected every inch of it, and EVERY SINGLE PANEL is 100% original and there is NO paint work. Even the bumpers are original with no paint work! There are several minor "dents" and scratches, but i'd rather have a few dents and scratches than worry about poor body work. With this Florida sun, poor re-paint won't last a year. Carfax reflects the accident-free condition. And the interior is in EXCELLENT condition, Speakers work, everything does. For 11 years old, i couldn't believe how original it was/

I looked up the Lexus service history via the lexusdrivers site. WOW... The owner had EVERY SINGLE 5,000mile service done at this same Lexus dealership (Lexus of Palm beach). Not only that, the speakers and 3rd brake light were already replaced a few years ago, and the engine "throttle body" etc taken apart and cleaned 16,000miles ago. The engine compartment is spotless, and it purrs like a kitten. This car was VERY well maintained, and it shows. It does have 168,000 miles on it, but with the impeccable service history and recent engine work, i feel really good. It also has brand new tires!

The dealer said the lady who owned it ended up trading it in during a scheduled maintenance service for a 2006 pebble beach edition SC430. I felt good knowing that the car was well maintained BY LEXUS every 5,000miles, and that the owner evidently liked it enough to get another SC430.

Here is the link to it for sale on the Lexus website (they might take it down soon):
http://www.lexusofpalmbeach.com/Vehi...-FL/2296899783

They were asking $10,994 which is the second cheapest we found within 300 miles of where we live. They weren't willing to come down in price, but after inquiring, they did throw in (for free) a second master key along with the newest navigation disc update. They did the registration on site, gave us real plates, and it's currently in our driveway! In total, it came to $12,900.75. We are very content with the deal and were able to pay cash with no financing.

I wish you guys could see it in person. It truly is a "gem," at least for being 11 years old. It's silver with the black/brown saddle interior which looks very modern. We are so happy about the car, and to be honest i wish it was MY daily driver!

I will be sure to post pictures soon. Thank you everyone for providing your input, advice, experience and support in helping us make this purchase. We're so excited!

-Chris and Heather
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Old 08-10-14, 09:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andynoel78 View Post
We found and bought our (well, my girlfriend's) SC430 today!!

They were asking $10,994 which is the second cheapest we found within 300 miles of where we live. They weren't willing to come down in price, but after inquiring, they did throw in (for free) a second master key along with the newest navigation disc update. They did the registration on site, gave us real plates, and it's currently in our driveway! In total, it came to $12,900.75. We are very content with the deal and were able to pay cash with no financing.

I will be sure to post pictures soon. Thank you everyone for providing your input, advice, experience and support in helping us make this purchase. We're so excited!

-Chris and Heather
Congratulations to you BOTH! Patience is a virtue! I can tell you're excited... And should be! Enjoy! Looking forward to more pictures!
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Old 08-10-14, 11:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andynoel78 View Post
We found and bought our (well, my girlfriend's) SC430 today!!


I looked up the Lexus service history via the lexusdrivers site. WOW... The owner had EVERY SINGLE 5,000mile service done at this same Lexus dealership (Lexus of Palm beach). Not only that, the speakers and 3rd brake light were already replaced a few years ago, and the engine "throttle body" etc taken apart and cleaned 16,000miles ago. The engine compartment is spotless, and it purrs like a kitten. This car was VERY well maintained, and it shows. It does have 168,000 miles on it, but with the impeccable service history and recent engine work, i feel really good. It also has brand new tires!

The dealer said the lady who owned it ended up trading it in during a scheduled maintenance service for a 2006 pebble beach edition SC430. I felt good knowing that the car was well maintained BY LEXUS every 5,000miles, and that the owner evidently liked it enough to get another SC430.

I wish you guys could see it in person. It truly is a "gem," at least for being 11 years old. It's silver with the black/brown saddle interior which looks very modern. We are so happy about the car, and to be honest i wish it was MY daily driver!

I will be sure to post pictures soon. Thank you everyone for providing your input, advice, experience and support in helping us make this purchase. We're so excited!

-Chris and Heather
Congrats.
These one owner dealer maintained are the best types to buy ( along with enthusiast maintained cars). As long as the timing belt/water pump was done, you should be in good shape. Post some pics when done. If you have pie plate wheels, that will be the first thing that needs to get modded. Then the simple little LED light upgrades etc.. And a ton more good stuff to come. Happy motoring all the way past 200K miles !

My 2005 has 73k miles and it feels like it could easily make it past 150k.
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Old 08-10-14, 01:57 PM   #14
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This posting is useless without photos......:*)
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Old 08-10-14, 04:43 PM   #15
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...congrats on the purchase !!! ...my 2002 has 210k on it & I've only had to replace the radiator & battery. Stay on top of the maintenance & you should be good for years
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Old 08-10-14, 04:43 PM
 
 
 
 
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