IS 300 Is it reliable, easy to find parts, and is it cheap to work on? - Lexus IS Forum
User Tag List

 3Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
 
IS 300 Is it reliable, easy to find parts, and is it cheap to work on?

Hello all, I haven't really been around these parts but I'm planning on getting a new car soon. My old car which is a 2002 Jetta died after about 5 years of my daily driving to school and back. I need a vehicle that will last me another 3 or more years with only basic maintainence I.E. give it an oil change, keep brakes, and other stuff up to spec and go. I'm a poor college student so $$ isn't readily available to sink into something that needs constant or expensive maintainence. Would this car be a good choice for someone like me?
Caleb L. Tynes is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:57 PM
Frequenter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
 
These cars are generally reliable. You'll see a lot of them for sale with 200-250k miles and they'll say "runs great, AC blows cold".

They're also generally pretty straightforward to work on, but they are highly complex, with lots and lots of different systems. For example, the headlamps can aim themselves based on how heavily the car is loaded. There is an electronic control unit inside the the dashboard that is responsible for climate control. This system communicates over a network, to tell the ECU when to run the A/C compressor. Same control unit requests the blend door to open, the fan to run etc etc.

There's lots of these types of things scattered throughout the car. If they fail, it's hard to diagnose, and OEM parts from Toyota are egregiously expensive. Still lots of them on ebay though... For now.

So, mechanically the cars are really solid and electronically they are quite reliable considering how complex they are, but there is just no such thing as "rock solid" reliability when it comes to electronics.

You pay your money and you take your chances. You could do a lot worse than one of these IS300s...
Hodgdon Extreme is offline  
post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 09:10 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
 
Compared to your Jetta, Yes.

The amount of maintenance depends on the car you buy, if its been well maintained then very little may need to be done in the future if it has not been maintained then it may take a few grand to get it baselined and you may be chasing gremlins for a while.

If I were a broke college student I would be looking at a low mileage civic or Rav4.
lockd80 is offline  
 
post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 09:21 PM
Extremist
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,161
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 765 Post(s)
           
Lexus parts are expensive. IS300 parts are relatively rare. They're reliable cars but they aren't particularly cheap to maintain. They have timing belts too which need periodic replacement.

I agree with lockd, I'd buy a CRV or Rav4 if I was just getting by. A CRV with the 2.4 K engine and 5 speed automatic is pretty much bullet proof. They made so many of them parts are everywhere.
Ek9B18 is offline  
post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:17 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
 
I drove an early crv the other day and was surprised at how much I liked it! I was car shopping for a broke college kid (daughter) and she ended up finding a really nice one owner, low mileage dealer maintained Mazda3 hatchback for $7000. Reliable, 30 MPG and fun to drive, whats not to like?
lockd80 is offline  
post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:46 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
 
The cars are pretty rock solid mechanically. I have had mine for four years and hardly have had to do anything to it. I just replaced the lower control arms, and the A/C has a slow leak.

But I bought my car at a pampered 60k miles, and it is now at 95, most out there will be higher and may have more needs.

A used Civic or something might be a better bet, but these are awfully good cars and more fun.

Having said that, one negative, if on a budget is the car takes premium gas and gets kind of shitty MPG for it's size and performance. High teens to maybe low twenties in town, and mid twenties at best on the highway. Between it taking regular gas and getting 10-12 more mpg my wife's Honda Fit only costs about half as much for fuel.

The IS certainly has more pizzaz and is a more comfortable ride, but the Fit is kind of fun too, and much cheaper to run.

2002 IS300 E-Shift
1974 BMW 2002
1968 Triumph TR250
glemon is offline  
post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 05:29 AM
Extremist
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,161
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 765 Post(s)
           
I like the "Fit" too. Owned one for awhile. Just sold it because it was an extra car we weren't driving. If you do a bunch of highway driving, it might be too small but for around town they're great. It never got less than 30 mpg. My IS is in the low 20's.
Ek9B18 is offline  
post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 09:37 AM
Frequenter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
 
MPG is an important point for a broke college student.

The IS300 mpg sucks. For what it is, the MPG is just freaking terrible. Expect 19.5 buzzing around town and 22 or 23 on the highway at 70. One time I was on 2-lane state route for several hundred miles going a steady 55 the whole way and managed a personal best of 25. But then, recently, I covered 250 miles on the highway in a little under 2.5 hours (this was in Mexico, of course), and I got 16mpg doing it.

And the IS300 requires premium fuel, too. If you try 87, it'll ping hard a few times - every single time you tip into the throttle.

Not to rant, or anything - but why the hell does a 3.0L, 215hp six cylinder with 9.5:1 compression need premium fuel? Why does it get such crappy fuel economy? The IS300 actually has pretty good aerodynamics, is fairly lightweight, tires aren't that wide... the engine does not have to work hard to move them!
Hodgdon Extreme is offline  
post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 12:31 PM
Extremist
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,161
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 765 Post(s)
           
Our newish CRV gets 30 mpg. The same as the Fit. In a car that weights 3400 lbs, that aint bad. They got there though by using a CVT transmission which is terrible to drive and needs oil changes every 30K miles. I'd take lower fuel economy over CVT any day.

The IS fuel efficiency isn't any worse than any other car with a 3 liter engine weighting 3300 lbs. It's about the same as my WRX was.
Ek9B18 is offline  
post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 12:50 PM
Frequenter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ek9B18 View Post
The IS fuel efficiency isn't any worse than any other car with a 3 liter engine weighting 3300 lbs. It's about the same as my WRX was.
I'll argue this.

An era-similar early 2000s Maxima with 3.5L six cylinder, non CVT, 50hp more than our IS300, weighing more than our IS, will net an easy 6-7mpg better.

An era-similar early 2000s Corvette, of similar weight, +150hp, +2.7L displacement, way bigger tires easily matches IS300 city mpg and beats the pants off it on the highway.

Regarding a WRX: That car has awd, which always saps mpg. On top of that, it is a fully-engaged awd system (center diff notwithstanding), which is worse than a part-time type arrangement. It is also turbocharged, which always requires a richer A/F mixture (and therefore worse brake-specific fuel consumption) whenever under boost.

IS300s simply do not get competitive mpg.
Hodgdon Extreme is offline  
post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 05:33 PM
Mr. Roo
 
TobiasSing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Near DC
Posts: 9,078
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 582 Post(s)
           
I was gonna say, the biggest deal breaker for me would be the low MPG (20) and requirement of premium fuel. If you want something reliable, cheap to buy and run, easy to work on and maintain, I'd just get a Corolla or something like that. Any basic Japanese car. But anything should be better than a Jetta lol
lockd80 and Mathieu Bernier like this.
TobiasSing is offline  
post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:01 AM
Frequenter
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 237
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
 
Garage
I'll add my two cents, It might not be the best first car if you are a student with limited budget. Only for prenium fuel comsuption. I've own a Corolla too and it cost three times less driving to work with her than using my IS.

That being said, they aren't costly car to maintain at all, parts are easy to find (the few that may fuck up) beside that, brakes, suspension parts, clutches, radiators everything is in stock and in a reasonnable price margin ( you guys ever own a Subaru? If you think a IS300 is expensive to maintain and repair... do not touch a Baru with a 10 ten foot pole). Back the day I bought mine I was lazy and paid to get the water pump and timing belt kit done 600$ parts and labor. Not bad at all. It still a Toyota in its roots.

2002 IS300 - Manual 5-speed LSD M85
Color: Cromax YR580M
TRD Carbon Fiber Shifter Ball
Custom Made Complete Cold Air Intake
Fidanza Exhaust Cam Gear
OBX Headers / Megan Racing Y-Pipe / Thrush Catback
Yonaka Spec II Coilovers / Cusco Strut Bar
SPC Rear Camber Kit
DBC Performance Black XDS Rotors / Carbon Brake Pads
Continental ProContact Tires
Mathieu Bernier is offline  
post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:20 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
 
If you are willing to pull up your sleeves and do some work on the car they will last a long time. But most 15 year old cars will have some issues. This car will probably last longer than another jetta. But really look at the car you are going to buy. I just bought a salvage is300 three weeks ago with 140k miles.
Axcruz2019 is offline  
post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:20 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
 
If you are willing to pull up your sleeves and do some work on the car they will last a long time. But most 15 year old cars will have some issues. This car will probably last longer than another jetta. But really look at the car you are going to buy. I just bought a salvage is300 three weeks ago with 140k miles.
Axcruz2019 is offline  
post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:21 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
 
Sorry I'm new to the form and posted twice.. -_-
Axcruz2019 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  Lexus IS Forum > 1st-Gen IS300 > General Discussion

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Lexus IS Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself. If your address is invalid, you will likely lose access to the site.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Current users viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome