A popular imported luxury vehicle, the Lexus comes in a variety of vehicle types, including sedans, convertibles, SUVs, and hybrids. Many look at owning a Lexus as a sign of prestige, plus the manufacturer is known for producing high-quality vehicles that often times require little maintenance or repairs when properly cared for. To purchase the Lexus model and year you want, follow a few simple steps.
Part 1 of 5: Develop a budget
Before deciding on which model, series, and year of Lexus you want, create a budget. When working out your budget, keep in mind any finance charges, taxes, and other fees you might have to pay.
Step 1: Determine how much you have to spend: Write down how much you can afford, including down payment and payment per month. If you are buying outright, figure out how much cash you have to spend.
Step 2: Find the fair market value of the Lexus: Determine how much the vehicle is actually worth and compare it to what the seller wants. This includes checking what the fair market value of the Lexus you are interested in is at such sites as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com, and Cars.com.
Step 3: Compare Lexus prices: Check out various dealerships in your area to compare the prices of the Lexus models they offer.
This gives you a good idea of what the going price is in your area for the Lexus you want.
- Tip: You can use this as a bargaining tool when negotiating the price of the Lexus you are interested in. For example, if you find the same or similar Lexus at one dealership for a lower price than at another dealership, you can use this knowledge to try and negotiate the higher price to a lower amount.
Part 2 of 5: Decide on the Lexus model and year you want
The first step to owning a Lexus is deciding which model and year you want. With the wide variety of vehicles available, you should have no trouble finding a Lexus with the options you want.
Step 1: Decide on the Lexus type you want: Lexus manufacturers a wide variety of Lexus models. Model types include sedans, convertibles, SUVs, and hybrid vehicles.
Step 2: Consider a new or used Lexus: Decide whether you prefer a new or used vehicle. A new Lexus, while more costly, boasts the newest options and safety features. If you are looking for a more affordable option, a used Lexus could fit the bill.
Step 3: Lexus series: In addition to model types, Lexus has a large range of series, including:
Part 3 of 5: Get a vehicle history report for a used Lexus
After determining the Lexus you want and how much you want to spend, you should take some time out to run a vehicle history report if you are interested in a particular used Lexus. This allows you to find out if the vehicle has any unlisted problems, including any accidents, flood damage, or a salvage title. If the Lexus has any problems such as this, it's best to not buy it.
Step 1: Run a vehicle history report: Using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), run a vehicle history report. You can find the VIN on the vehicle listing. If it’s not readily available, ask the seller for the VIN.
- Tip: Many dealerships offer a free car history report through their online website. Online sellers, such as on eBay Motors, sometimes offer a free vehicle history report, or at least a link to a site where you can pay to have one run for you.
Step 2: What to look for: Once you have the vehicle history report, you should check certain things about the vehicle to make sure everything is on the up and up.
Some things that a Carfax shows you is if the Lexus has:
- Been in any accidents,
- The number of owners,
- The vehicle's service history, and
- Whether the vehicle was for personal use or as part of a fleet.
Part 4 of 5: Take a test drive
The last step before you negotiate with the seller on the price is taking the Lexus for a test drive. While the Lexus brand is known for its high quality and low maintenance requirements, you should always test drive any vehicle you have an interest in, especially used models. This allows you to at least see how smoothly the Lexus travels.
Step 1: Inspect the Lexus: Walk around the Lexus looking for any damage. Also, consider if any of the features are worth the money. Check the cargo space to see if it is big enough for your needs.
Step 2: Test the Lexus out: Take the Lexus for a drive on roadways similar to what you expect to drive it on. If you expect to drive in hilly terrain in the Lexus, try it out going both uphill and downhill.
Step 3: Take the Lexus home overnight: If the dealership or seller allows it, take the Lexus home with you for the night. This allows you to get acclimated to the vehicle and see if it fits where you want to park it. You can also check out the headlights at this time to see how well they work. Also, see how well the interior lights illuminate the vehicle.
- Tip: While on the test drive, take the Lexus to a trusted mechanic. They can tell you if the vehicle has any problems that the seller is not telling you about or may be unaware of.
Part 5 of 5: Settle on a price and find financing
After test driving and having the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic if it's a used model, it is time to negotiate the price of the Lexus. Take everything you learned about the vehicle, such as any problems you found, and the price of similar vehicles being sold in your area, and use that to try to get a lower price for the Lexus. Once you have a price you are satisfied with, pay for the vehicle or obtain financing.
Step 1: Negotiate for the Lexus: Using what you know about the vehicle, you can try to get the seller to lower the price. This includes mentioning what it is going to cost you to fix a problem. If the seller won't lower the price, see if they will at least fix the problem with the Lexus.
Step 2: Obtain financing: Once you have settled on a price, it is time to pay for the vehicle.
Most often this is in the form of financing through a lender. This can be the seller, a bank, or an online source. When obtaining financing, remember:
Keep your budget in mind
Know your credit score
Ask questions if you have any
Tip: Consider getting pre-approved for financing. This allows you to know exactly how much you can afford when you start searching for a Lexus. If you have the cash on hand, pay the amount agreed upon, including the price of the Lexus, any taxes and fees, and the warranty if available.
Step 3: Sign the paperwork: With payment complete or financing set up, sign all of the necessary paperwork. This includes the title if buying the vehicle outright. In the case of financing, the lender takes possession of the title until you have the vehicle paid off. Also, read and sign the bill of sale if everything looks in order.
Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you can make. The Lexus is a luxury car known for its quality and workmanship, and so it's priced higher than many other available vehicles. By performing the necessary research, you should be able to find a good price on a Lexus, especially a used one. Before buying a used Lexus, though, have one of our expert mechanics perform a pre-purchase car inspection to make sure everything operates as it should.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Lexus and was authored by Cheryl Knight.