I bought a '97 in spring of 06, with 150k miles already on it.
I travel 110 miles per day, and I wanted a reliable comfortable, but cheap ride. Because of the miles, I got mine cheap.
Fast forward, 2011.
Now the car has 330k miles, and let me tell you, this car has been rock solid. This is list of everything I did for the car. (from my log book)
1 set of tires.
8 sets of wiper blades.
Oil change every 6-8k miles. (that's right)
4 air filters.
2 windshields. (rocks fly in Interstate)
Front and rear Struts.
2 sets of brake pads for front, 1 set in back, 1 set of front rotors.
6 Headlight bulbs..
I'm looking forward to the next 180k miles.
I know this car will make it.
At 330k miles, everything in car works... heated seats, CD changer... about the only thing that went bad is the radio lights started to die one by one.
RELIABILITY, COMFORT, decent gas mileage (I get 30 MPH, 80% highway)...
Same timing belt for at least 180k miles, same transmission fluid... I know I might be pushing it, but it keeps on going!
I've read up on reports on newer cars, and looks like the newer isn't necessarily better.
When (more like 'if') this Lexus dies, I will be buying 2001 model (same body style... newer ones are crap)
I can go drop 40k+ on a new one.
I only paid 5400$ for this one, 5 years ago.
That's slightly more than the taxes you pay on a new one.
I love the quality materials they used on this, soft to the eye, soft to the touch, but got just enough power when need it.
It rides soft, quiet, etc etc.. perfect vehicle for HWY traveling.
I only wish Lexus/Toyota (and Acura/Honda) didn't have to cut corners on new cars... the new cars don't measure up to the late 90's quality.
Sorry, I don't visit this site very often... I know you asked almost a year ago, but here's my answer.
I've done absolutely nothing to the transmission.
I've heard that flushing transmission fluid can make the transmission go bad.
So, no, I never touched it, and transmission held up fine.
I know, sounds crazy to leave the same fluid for 200k miles, but I did, and nothing went wrong.
I am looking to buy a '97 ES300 with 90k miles.
I hear that these cars have terrible transmissions and need to be replaced at about 110k-150k miles.
I will be doing quite a bit of driving and reading about transmission problems makes me have second thoughts about this car.
In your experience, have you had any transmission flushes done to your car?
Have you had any transmission work done?
Your input will be appreciated.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.