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Car Talk

Mar 27, 2024

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUYING A NIGERIAN USED LEXUS RX350: [2024]

While purchasing the RX350 might seem effortless,  there are a lot of grey areas to consider to avoid premium tears, after all, you don’t want a car that would ...

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Automotive Technician

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The Lexus Rx350 is no new name in the Nigerian diaspora, offering the marque’s finesse and reliability at its peak.

 A quick search shows Nigerians remain at the peak of top searches for used Lexus rx350, and it’s no surprise as the SUV offers the premium efizzy most Nigerians seek for way less compared to its European counterpart. While it doesn’t share the maintenance cost of a Corolla, you're surely getting Toyota’s reliability and an Òmoluabí feel as you sit in its plush interior.

Unfortunately, things don cost and the same goes for Tokunbo Lexus rx350, the new spike in prices has caused wagging heads among Nigerians as the Naira continues to turmoil and increased import duties have left some Nigerians with the somewhat dreaded decision of purchasing Nigerian used vehicles. If you’re in this shoes look no further as I share the ultimate guide to purchasing a Nigerian used Lexus Rx350.

GETTING TO KNOW THE LEXUS RX350

While purchasing the RX350 might seem effortless,  there are a lot of grey areas to consider to avoid premium tears, after all, you don’t want a car that would keep you up thinking in the middle of the night.

MAINTENANCE

The Rx350 comes equipped with a 3.5-liter v6 engine spanning from the 2007 to the 2022 model year with each model bumping up in power, with the latter years running on a 2.4l turbo 4 cylinder. The engine comes mated with a range of transmissions, ranging from the infamous u151e aka 13-pin gearbox to the rather jolting  u881E/F transmission.

While you get the beautiful façade of a Lexus, owning a Lexus RX350 requires a great maintenance culture packed with a bit of owner’s knowledge,  for every model year, it’s advised to know its most frequent complaint. After all, every man with him own wahala!, for example, THE WORST MODEL YEAR TO PURCHASE IS THE 2008 Lexus Rx350, plagued with troubles ranging from the dashboard cracks to its power steering rack leak all down to its engine which could leak it’s oil leading to a catastrophic engine failure setting you back with a repair bill worth a shy of a million naira, God abeg!. A simple search through the CARCOMPLAINT database could help you narrow down your search and avoid choosing a lemonade.

In summary, all model years suffer from varying degrees of defect, with the latter years having less pronounced drivetrain issues. Is the RX350 then reliable? You’d ask, well the short answer is YES!, giving a good maintenance culture.

THE ULTIMATE BUYERS GUIDE

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the moments you’ve been waiting for,  change that thought of “ shey no be wahala I wan go buy so” and become a full pledged Lexus fanboy, follow me.

KNOWING WHERE TO BUY A NIGERIAN USED LEXUS RX350

We’ve all heard tales of purchasing Nigerian used vehicles portrayed to be in great condition, only to be faced with a plethora of problems in the next 3 months. It often plays out like this” Mr A GOES to an auto dealer in search of a Nigerian used Lexus Rx 350 but the vehicle has had a history of usage of wrong motor oil weight, which the dealer is clueless about, with the major intent of making a sale. Sadly, Mr A purchases the vehicle,  sources for the right oil weight, and does a maintenance service only to be faced with a smoking engine and a bamboozled look on start-up, sighs. This could be avoided by looking out for direct owners who could give you somewhat background information { don’t expect full honest disclosure} on your soon-to-be vehicle. The great thing is they are always there like the Japa crew looking for funds to travel to Obodo or your friend who knows another friend that knows another friend that owns a Lexus Rx350 for sale.{ no reason am too much}.

GETTING THE RIGHT MECHANIC

While this step doesn’t apply to everyone, for those who aren’t mechanically inclined. It is pertinent that the service of an auto-mechanic with a scan tool capable of checking the powertrain, SRS{ airbag} systems are employed and obviously with a sound technical know-how. I mean,  you’re about to make a multi-million naira purchase, a 30k mistake shouldn’t give you nightmares.

KNOWING WHAT TO CHECK AND ASK

What better way to check a car than creating a simple outline of things to check and questions to ask,  this provides a less cluttered mind and the overwhelming nature of purchasing a vehicle. Below is a well-outlined template that would work just fine.

 A. BODYWORKS AND UNDERCARRIAGE

Without a doubt, the vehicle’s paintwork acts as a focal point capable of drawing your attention. While you’re drawn to that nicely taken photograph, visual inspections should be taken to expose any Ojuju Calabar.

During visual inspection, the vehicle’s paint job must be viewed from different angles possibly revealing any excessive use of Bondo a.k.a body fillers, and misaligned lines along its panels

suggesting a botched body job.

  • Another thing to look out for is different shades of paint job, which could be a ramification from a previous crash and a bad paint job. You don’t want 50 shades of the same color on your Lexus, like the one above . All paint job should be evenly coated.
  • Checking all doors open and close well, the RX350 as a softer feel when shutting the doors. automatic tailgate function should also be inspected, it should go up without human aids and shut itself with a press from the key fob ( although, it can be wonky at times).
  • The next and final step is inspecting the undercarriage of your car, you virtually don’t want any vehicle with rust issues. While surface rust is fine, extreme rotting of the frame is a death trap and should be avoided.

B.  POWERTRAIN CHECK

The powertrain systems actively produce the power that propels your vehicle. The major prime-movers are the engine and transmission which don’t come cheap for any Rx350 models.

Preliminary checks include:

  • Check fluid levels and conditions; An RX350 with an engine dipstick with a dark-tanned tip suggests infrequent oil changes, which could be detrimental to your pocket.
  • When inspecting the engine fluid, a general practice is taking a good sniff of the engine dipstick, if it smells of fuel, there are likely issues of vehicles running rich or worn internal engine components. Higher than usual engine oil or milky oil suggests a bad head gas, most certainly a game you don’t want to play.
  • Ideally, the Lexus Rx350 uses the 0w20 and 5w30 engine oil grades,  the latter being used for the older models. Background questions on what oil grade was used must be asked.
  • While Toyota’s engines are the real Kamikazi’s, their automatic transmissions aren’t to be messed with, questions surrounding fluid used previously for maintenance should be asked, any nuance from Toyota’s ATF WS fluid, Run oo!!, and yes it runs all through the rx350 model years.
  • The RX 350 doesn’t come equipped with a transmission dipstick{except the older models}, but you could still inspect the condition of the transmission cooler from the radiator pressure cap by simply inspecting the radiator cap for milky residue which links to a bad transmission cooler that could also destroy your very expensive transmission, beware!.

C.   ELECTRICALS

If you thought rust issues were your village people, well I guess you’ve never experienced the devil reincarnated in a mist of electrical problems Electrical problems could arise from different issues ranging from world-class rewires performing their artwork on your soon-to-be whip to flooded import. Whatever the case might be, run from rx350’s with:

  • Shabby wiring in the engine bay
  • The musky smell of water ingress in the cabin, if you have issues detecting this, place your hands on the floorboard if it feels moist, run.
  • Rusty door hinges, or bolts
  • Glitchy or functional infotainment systems.
  • Non-functional seat motors.

D.    DRIVELINE INSPECTION

This system consists of your drive shaft, wheels, and suspension component, while checks are done majorly during a test drive,  visual inspection is still required:

  • Make sure the wheel is centrally placed in the wheel well and not a tad forward/backward.
  • Checking for negative or positive camber which could imply the vehicle has bent.
  • Inner or outer tire wear could mean simply a simple alignment fix or changing of the suspension component.

 

 

E. VIN REPORT

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)/Chassis number is a 17-character sequence of numbers and letters that uniquely identifies a vehicle.

A VIN report gives a detailed report on the unique features, specifications, and manufacturer of a vehicle, and also tracks the usage record.

With a VIN report from Flickwheel (for N4,999 only), here's what you gain access to:

  • Theft Records: Discover if the vehicle has ever been reported stolen, providing you with peace of mind and security.
  • Accident Records: Uncover any accidents the vehicle has been involved in, allowing you to make informed decisions about its safety and potential repair needs.
  • Car Specifications: Delve into the unique features and specifications of the vehicle, ensuring it meets your preferences and requirements.
  • Sales Records: Trace the vehicle's sales history, including previous owners and transaction details, empowering you with insights into its ownership journey.
  • Title Records: Gain access to the vehicle's title history, verifying its legal status and ensuring a smooth ownership transfer process.
  • Junk/Insurance Records: Identify if the vehicle has ever been classified as junk or salvaged, as well as its insurance history, aiding you in evaluating its overall condition and insurability.

Learn more about how to get started here: https://flickwheel.com/vin-check

F. TEST DRIVING

By now you’re satisfied with your Lexus Rx350 after a visual check,  but what would a preliminary check be without a feel of the vehicle? While during a test drive, Buyers should pay close attention to the:

  • Engine note, while under load such as when the air conditioner is turned on. While on, a steady rpm of about 700-800 revolutions must be observed on idle. A lower than rpm might translate to an engine misfire, which could either be a cheap or expensive repair.
  •  The vehicle’s exhaust gas must be inspected from the tailpipe, and the exhaust gas should be colorless, any nuance to this means something is wrong. E.g. black exhaust gas denotes a vehicle with fuel issues, bluish-grey exhaust gas suggests the burning of oil and white puffs could mean a blown head gasket.
  •  A test drive should be done with windows rolled up and the air conditioner system turned on with the fan speed lowered. This makes it easier to pick up any rattle, knock, or transmission flare.
  • The Lexus should be driven extensively simulating all road conditions and different speeds levels. This is done to reveal any issues that creep up after prolonged use.

G.  GETTING VEHICLE’S TITLE/DOCUMENTS

Now, you should be satisfied with your Lexus after your preliminary checks, it’s time to confirm the vehicle’s documentation and proof of ownership. The list of documents to be requested includes:

  •  Customs Document
  •  CMR( Computerized Motor Registration)
  •  Vehicle license
  •  Roadworthiness and certificate
  •  Plate number allocation
  •  Original proof of ownership

It is also customary to always check the authenticity of each document, to avoid issues of dispute or theft. The vehicle’s identification number should correspond to the information listed on the vehicle’s document.

 

H. CHANGING VEHICLES TITLE

Now you don’t want the previous owner’s info reflecting on the vehicle’s document, which could spell trouble when encountered by Law enforcement personnel ( dem go to use you play). To avoid this, a change of ownership process must be done via the New Vehicle Information Statement, Nigeria( NVIS.FRSC.GOV.NG), where necessary directives are given to lawfully register your Lexus.

CONCLUSION

Phew!!, We made it, that was probably a lot to take in, and I hope you enjoyed every bit of this piece. Now, always remember, a Nigerian used vehicle usually is a good deal and a quite cheaper alternative to a foreign used vehicle because there’s a catch. So you’ll probably spend an itty bitty amount of cash fixing something ( depends solely on how good your preliminary checks were).

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello there!, My name is Obahor Louis and I am an automotive technician and writer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I have a diploma degree in mechanical engineering and I am also certified in automotive diagnosis from  Automedics Auto Care Shop respectively. With a professional experience of two years in the automotive field, I have always been passionate about creativity and cars, which led me to become an automotive content creator. My ultimate dream is to build my own auto brand someday, which I am working towards. Other than my love for cars, I’m also a big fan of photography, graphics designing and reading the online banters from the Nairaland Forum. Connect with me on:

Instagram: @Louiscarz

LinkedIn: Louis Obahor

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