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Lexus Pre Purchase Inspections are worthless!

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Lexus Pre Purchase Inspections are worthless!

Old 01-11-19, 09:07 AM
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leisinjp
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Default Lexus Pre Purchase Inspections are worthless!

Had a Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) done on the 2005 Lexus LS430 Ultra Luxury with 69,000 miles I bought about two months ago. Had it done at Peoria Lexus. Spoke with the mechanic over the phone and had them email me all of the paperwork. Everything checked out perfect according to him. Only thing he noted was that the rear suspension looked a little worn but that was normal and that he owns 3 LS's and that he wouldn't worry about it. So I took his word as he should know a lot more about the car than I do.

The two months since owning the car have been a huge let down. I was so excited to own such a quiet and nice car. The steering wheel bounces/jerks when going over bumps on the highway and it is almost wavy when going over bumps like the back is trying to come out from behind you. I had a performance shop do the road force balance and an alignment to the car as soon as I bought it just to make sure everything was in spec. That didn't seem to help.

Just took the car in to my local Lexus Dealership to have an oil change done, plus I like getting to drive a new loaner vehicle. I told them the steering wheel is not smooth on the highway, there is a humming noise, and it is rough over bumps especially on the highway. A mechanic drove the car with me in it and said it rides rougher than his LS and that he thinks the humming is from a wheel bearing. He thinks that the tires were not aligned properly from the previous owner and that is why the car pulls all over the road.

Service adviser called me and let me know it needs the following:

Road Force Balance $ 89.95
Brake Fluid Exchange $140.39
Driver Rear Shock (Leaking) $2,185.25
Passenger Rear Shock (Recommend doing both) $2,033.45
Power Steering Fluid Exchange $183.07
4-Wheel Alignment $99.39
Mount and balance rear passenger tire $274.13
Left rear wheel bearing $898.08
Timing Belt and Water Pump $1,350.00

Total of about $7,900.
I was aware that the timing belt was needing to be changed because of the age of the car, that was not a surprise. I also was ready to replace the air suspension with normal shock and struts like other have done but I was planning on doing it down the road. Not two months after I bought it.

So after I calmed down a little bit I'm now here trying to figure out if I should just sell the car or what. I specifically went with the 3rd gen LS430 because of all of the reviews of it being such a reliable car. I also went with this car because it only has 70k miles on it and was owned by an older gentleman. I've owned BMW's, VW's, and multiple other Lexus vehicles and have never had to put this kind of money into one. My ISF is way cheaper at this point.

The fluid replacements and balancing is not that big of a deal. What I am pissed about is that somehow one Lexus dealership gives the car a 10 star rating saying the car is perfect minus a little wear on the rear suspension that isn't a big deal and I shouldn't worry about and the next Lexus dealership says it needs $7k worth of services. It was like the Lexus dealer in Chicago was friends with this private seller who I bought the car from and he paid them off just to get a good review.

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Old 01-11-19, 09:34 AM
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all of that can be done at a local mechanic. likely for 1/2 the price, $274 to mount and balance a tire, give me a break, it's $25 at America's Tire. Timing belt replacement is an average of $800 at most shops. the rear shock assemblies are $240 for the OEM none pneumatic assembly or $1192 for the pneumatic assembly on lexuspartsnow.com and $594 on rockauto.com (OEM equivalent aftermarket part), and labor probably $500-$600 for both, not $4,000


I could go on, but you get the point.. take it someplace else. the dealer is only going to rip you off and charge you 500-1000% more than any other shop. Fine a trustworthy shop in your area familiar with Lexus and Toyota products, give them the list, save yourself $4,000

Last edited by mjeds; 01-11-19 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 01-11-19, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mjeds View Post
all of that can be done at a local mechanic. likely for 1/2 the price, $274 to mount and balance a tire, give me a break, it's $25 at America's Tire. Timing belt replacement is an average of $800 at most shops. the rear shock assemblies are $240 for the OEM none pneumatic assembly or $1192 for the pneumatic assembly on lexuspartsnow.com and labor probably $500-$600 for both, not $4,000


I could go on, but you get the point.. take it someplace else. the dealer is only going to rip you off and charge you 500-1000% more than any other shop. Fine a trustworthy shop in your area familiar with Lexus and Toyota products, give them the list, save yourself $4,000

I am in the process of doing that right now. Calling around and trying to find a local mechanic that has experience on Lexus and I feel that I can trust. I knew the dealer was going to be more expensive. I think the main reason I'm shocked and not happy is that somehow the Lexus dealer in Chicago missed all of this.

And I will be going with the non air suspension when I decide to replace it.
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Old 01-11-19, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by leisinjp View Post
I am in the process of doing that right now. Calling around and trying to find a local mechanic that has experience on Lexus and I feel that I can trust. I knew the dealer was going to be more expensive. I think the main reason I'm shocked and not happy is that somehow the Lexus dealer in Chicago missed all of this.

And I will be going with the non air suspension when I decide to replace it.
I edited my post, you can get the pneumatic struts from rockauto.com for under $600 if you want to keep the car at OEM specs.


I've had good luck with Goodyear Automotive when I had my RCF, and with my wife's Camry's, but I'm in CA and the Goodyear shops are all independently owned, so your experience may vary.


I get what you are saying about CPO inspections, there have been several new stories about them in the past year that indicate most dealerships just check off everything and never actually do the inspection.
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Old 01-11-19, 09:45 AM
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Honestly, everything on that list is normal wear and tear for a 13 yr old car. Don't blame the LS430 as a whole due to maintenance. Now, the PPI guys you should be pissed at and of course the Lexus dealer prices are way over inflated. Hopefully you can DIY on some of this or at least go find a independent mechanic to do the things you can't and I bet this final bill will be about 1/3 of the what you were quoted. The brake and power steering can be DIY for less than $15. The timing belt you knew about and that price seems about right. Shocks look to go for $150 - $250 if you go with KYB and wheel bearings look to be about $100 or less. A new tire could probably be found cheaper somewhere like Discount Tire but the alignments seem priced about right.

Shop around and don't pay those Lexus prices. You car is probably not worth a whole lot more than that quote. In that case you would be better off selling and getting another but that shouldn't be necessary.

Also, maybe you should call the guys that did your PPI and give them an ear full. Nothing will probably come of it but at least it will make you feel better.
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Old 01-11-19, 09:48 AM
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+ 1 what mjeds said ^^^

Power Steering Fluid Exchange $183.07
Wow.... a turkey baster + Mobil 1 ATF (~$10 per bottle). You can do drain and refill a few times, and you are good to go.

May worth writing to the dealer who did the inspection and see if you can get your money back. If the car was riding that rough, the mechanic should have notice it.
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Old 01-11-19, 09:48 AM
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I would first go back to the shop that completed the road force balance & alignment and have them check both again. If they offer suspension service ask them to check the wheel bearings for a failure(don’t tell them which one as it sounds like it may be a front bearing). Once that is sorted out then see how it rides and drives. You may well need a rear UL shock but as you are aware you can convert to standard shocks or search for a used UL shock. Even if you have no DIY skills or the time to perform the work, search for independent Lexus mechanics ( or call and speak to the mechanic that inspected it as that dealer may help or he may work on the side or give you a contact in your area).
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Old 01-11-19, 10:37 AM
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The reason I feel OPs frustration and agree? I bought my car in 10/16 from a new car dealer. Ok, discovered brakes to pulsate and driver door actuator not working, no problem, they fixed free. Door not sure, but brakes Lexus OE parts.

I decided to take the car to a dealer for a brake flush ($59 I don't think they really did the work) and coolant drain/fill ($129). Neither of these amounts matched what I was quoted. I left with a multi-point inspection recommending north of $6,500 worth of work. The SA goes I can put you in a loaner if you want to do the work--I look over and see like 10 RX350s all sitting there, ugh. Go to an indie, and none of the work is needed.

So, wouldn't a PPI turn up all that (I didn't do one)? How come a PPI is ok, but a multipoint turns up thousands? Could it be sales quotas? Terrible.

Not that BMW service is any good, just that they give you a loaner as long as you are still breathing when you show up and have a pulse (even if job is $40), they never pull that c*** where the car needs all unnecessary things. Different business model--they probably a lot for what you really do need, so they don't need to make anything up. Knock on wood my BMW is a 2007 purchased new, and I never paid BMW more than $160 for any work in its life. Granted brakes I did myself, and abs pump I also did myself.
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Old 01-11-19, 10:41 AM
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Yeah, those prices are typical for a dealership, unfortunately.
What can you do on your own? How much mechanical ability do you feel you have?
If you remove all the unnecessary work, and focus on the shock work and the alignment, you'll be at a much more palatable cost. The timing belt really could wait a while, even though many individuals will tell you it's waaay past due... I did the TB on my 2005 at 59K last May and the components all looked almost new.

As others have stated, find a shop that works on the 3UZFE and you can pocket the savings..
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Old 01-11-19, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnhav430 View Post
The reason I feel OPs frustration and agree? I bought my car in 10/16 from a new car dealer. Ok, discovered brakes to pulsate and driver door actuator not working, no problem, they fixed free. Door not sure, but brakes Lexus OE parts.

I decided to take the car to a dealer for a brake flush ($59 I don't think they really did the work) and coolant drain/fill ($129). Neither of these amounts matched what I was quoted. I left with a multi-point inspection recommending north of $6,500 worth of work. The SA goes I can put you in a loaner if you want to do the work--I look over and see like 10 RX350s all sitting there, ugh. Go to an indie, and none of the work is needed.

So, wouldn't a PPI turn up all that (I didn't do one)? How come a PPI is ok, but a multipoint turns up thousands? Could it be sales quotas? Terrible.

Not that BMW service is any good, just that they give you a loaner as long as you are still breathing when you show up and have a pulse (even if job is $40), they never pull that c*** where the car needs all unnecessary things. Different business model--they probably a lot for what you really do need, so they don't need to make anything up. Knock on wood my BMW is a 2007 purchased new, and I never paid BMW more than $160 for any work in its life. Granted brakes I did myself, and abs pump I also did myself.
I call BS. BMW wont even touch a car for less than $500.
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Old 01-11-19, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by RushNatU View Post


I call BS. BMW wont even touch a car for less than $500.
lol and you are certain, why? They get about $43 for a PA state inspection, when Toyota gets $76. $120 for brake fluid flush (the real job all 4 calipers but not ABS), $149 for a coolant flush that includes bleeding as the system is pressurized. I could scan some invoices to prove you to be inaccurate, but I wouldn't do that. Buh bye! ;-)
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Old 01-11-19, 11:41 AM
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leisinjp, I'm confused here - was the PPI done in Peoria or Chicago? Which Ohio dealer gave you the repair quote?
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Old 01-11-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by TriC View Post
leisinjp, I'm confused here - was the PPI done in Peoria or Chicago? Which Ohio dealer gave you the repair quote?
I've been wondering the same thing.
Peoria is about a 3 hour drive from Chicago....
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Old 01-11-19, 12:00 PM
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Your experience will vary greatly with any dealership and honestly, I feel the dealership should be avoided entirely if possible when it comes to service. For a PPI, I would never use the dealer, rather, I would find an independent Lexus specialist or a company that specializes in PPIs. Did you buy the car sight-unseen?

Do whatever you want with the car. Honestly, I would keep it if it is clean enough. Prioritize that list and start with the timing belt and water pump due to age. Then I would address the suspension. It might take some money to get it proper, but once you do, you'll have a very reliable car for years to come.
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Old 01-11-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by leisinjp View Post
Had a Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) done on the 2005 Lexus LS430 Ultra Luxury with 69,000 miles I bought about two months ago. Had it done at Peoria Lexus. Spoke with the mechanic over the phone and had them email me all of the paperwork. Everything checked out perfect according to him. Only thing he noted was that the rear suspension looked a little worn but that was normal and that he owns 3 LS's and that he wouldn't worry about it. So I took his word as he should know a lot more about the car than I do.

The two months since owning the car have been a huge let down. I was so excited to own such a quiet and nice car. The steering wheel bounces/jerks when going over bumps on the highway and it is almost wavy when going over bumps like the back is trying to come out from behind you. I had a performance shop do the road force balance and an alignment to the car as soon as I bought it just to make sure everything was in spec. That didn't seem to help.

Just took the car in to my local Lexus Dealership to have an oil change done, plus I like getting to drive a new loaner vehicle. I told them the steering wheel is not smooth on the highway, there is a humming noise, and it is rough over bumps especially on the highway. A mechanic drove the car with me in it and said it rides rougher than his LS and that he thinks the humming is from a wheel bearing. He thinks that the tires were not aligned properly from the previous owner and that is why the car pulls all over the road.

Service adviser called me and let me know it needs the following:

Road Force Balance $ 89.95
Brake Fluid Exchange $140.39
Driver Rear Shock (Leaking) $2,185.25
Passenger Rear Shock (Recommend doing both) $2,033.45
Power Steering Fluid Exchange $183.07
4-Wheel Alignment $99.39
Mount and balance rear passenger tire $274.13
Left rear wheel bearing $898.08
Timing Belt and Water Pump $1,350.00

Total of about $7,900.
I was aware that the timing belt was needing to be changed because of the age of the car, that was not a surprise. I also was ready to replace the air suspension with normal shock and struts like other have done but I was planning on doing it down the road. Not two months after I bought it.

So after I calmed down a little bit I'm now here trying to figure out if I should just sell the car or what. I specifically went with the 3rd gen LS430 because of all of the reviews of it being such a reliable car. I also went with this car because it only has 70k miles on it and was owned by an older gentleman. I've owned BMW's, VW's, and multiple other Lexus vehicles and have never had to put this kind of money into one. My ISF is way cheaper at this point.

The fluid replacements and balancing is not that big of a deal. What I am pissed about is that somehow one Lexus dealership gives the car a 10 star rating saying the car is perfect minus a little wear on the rear suspension that isn't a big deal and I shouldn't worry about and the next Lexus dealership says it needs $7k worth of services. It was like the Lexus dealer in Chicago was friends with this private seller who I bought the car from and he paid them off just to get a good review.
Having worked with the co., I always at least from a procedural standpoint am impressed by the co. that's run by the former world's richest man. Meaning, everything makes sense. It's pretty transparent, no tomfoolery. Kind of like Costco--revenue is derived by membership fees, you know that, so no ************ around with coupons price fixing etc.

To draw an analogy, think about life insurance sales. With life insurance, the insured and the insurance co.'s interests are aligned. Both parties want the insured to live long and prosper. And a mortality risk expense is applied just in case the actuaries are wrong. On annuities (who buys those anymore, nobody), the insured and the insurance co's interests are in direct conflict. The insured wants to live long and prosper, the insurance co. wants the insured to live as short of a life as possible. In case the actuaries are wrong and the insured does not die when predicted, yes, there is a mortality risk expense charged to the insured.

Think about the PPI v. multipoint--their motivation are in complete contradiction to one another. The former is a sales tool, the latter is a revenue generating tool. One gets you coming, the other gets you going, just like life insurance and annuities.

At any rate, taking the rear shocks out of the picture, at an indie the costs would be significantly less. The shocks maybe be a high dollar part (assuming UL), where the indie factor is less. I probably would not get rid of the vehicle, I'd just see what I could reasonably DIY, and what I would need an indie, and hopefully none is needed at the dealership. Just a simple tire and balance the inflated number stands out very obviously. Alignment is not too out of whack but I went the lifetime route at Firestone for $179. Going in for #4 on Sunday. Will be fun to see what the rear is doing this time although they cannot adjust it for camber. Normally I would think "lifetime" is snake oil but they provide the Hunter reports when the vehicle is picked up.
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