The Lexus IS is a compact sports sedan that was released in North America in 2001.
Characterized by its aggressive styling, the IS offers robust power, low-end torque and agile performance.
If you’re considering one as your next vehicle, you might be wondering about its average lifespan and durability.
We’ll cover that in this article, read on to find out…
Here is the short answer to how long the Lexus IS lasts:
The Lexus IS is a highly reliable luxury sedan that can last between 250,000 – 300,000 miles on average with proper maintenance and conservative driving habits. Based on an annual mileage of 15,000 miles, a Lexus IS can provide 17 to 20 years of service before requiring uneconomical repairs.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Lexus IS?
Lexus is highly regarded for building dependable and robust vehicles and the IS is no different.
This should come as no surprise as Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota, the Japanese automaker that is synonymous with reliability.
Lexus IS models can easily last up to 150,000 miles and there are plenty of owners stating that their cars have racked up around 300,000 miles and are still going strong.
First generation Lexus IS can still be seen on the road today and when you look up some of the older models on CarGurus, many of them are listed for sale with 200,000 miles on the odometer.
It’s safe to say that the IS has withstood the test of time, and a reasonable estimate for the lifespan of this car based on industry data is in the region of 250,000 – 300,000 miles.
When it reaches these kinds of numbers there is a much greater likelihood of big-ticket items failing such as the engine or transmission – when this happens the costs of repairs will likely outweigh the cost of the vehicle.
Your result will be heavily impacted by usage, personal care, and to some extent, luck.
How you drive your Lexus will play a part in how long it continues to drive.
Sure, they’re typically designed to be driven sportingly, but overworking the engine or being too aggressive with the brake and gas pedals can be hard on any vehicle.
Regular maintenance can also add thousands of available miles to the odometer.
The life expectancy of your Lexus IS will be cut short if you avoid:
- Service appointments
- Routine oil changes
- Tire rotations
- Using quality parts
- Driving smoothly
Every new Lexus IS comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and a 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Do Lexus IS Rust Easily?
The Lexus IS isn’t known to rust easily thanks to advanced rustproofing that takes place during manufacturing. Nowadays a rusted Lexus is a rare sight and reports of rusting on a new IS are very uncommon.
Most incidents are attributed to stone-chips which can damage the paint job and expose the chassis to oxidation.
We did uncover a handful of complaints although nothing to be overly concerned about, and many customers report that Lexus handled these issues in a timely fashion.
Depending on where you live, rusting can be much more of an issue, such as regions that aggressively salt the roads in the winter and coastal areas with salt air; salt can significantly accelerate rusting on any vehicle.
Additional rustproofing is generally not advised by Lexus instead they recommend hosing down the underside of the vehicle once a month.
Tips to protect your Lexus IS from rust:
- Regularly wash and dry your car: This includes its underside (especially during the winter) to remove the salt, dirt and grime that causes rust. We recommend having a detail shop wash everything underneath at the end of each winter.
- Repair paint damage and scratches: Exposed metal will oxidize. If it’s beyond a DIY fix, speak to your local body repair shop.
- Garage: Store your Lexus in a garage to protect it from harsh weather and bird droppings.
- Waxing: Wax your car twice a year. Not only will this give your Lexus a stunning shine, it also gives a protective coating against rust.
- Rustproofing: If you’re planning on keeping your Lexus for a very long time, you might want to consider a rustproofing treatment; popular choices are Krown and Rust Check.
- Ceramic Coating: A popular choice for those who want to add an extra layer of protection to the paint job.
All new Lexus vehicles are covered by a 6-year/unlimited-mile corrosion perforation warranty.
What is High Mileage for a Lexus IS?
A Lexus IS with 150,000 miles is considered high mileage. Although it may deliver many more years of service, it will likely have more than a few parts that are nearing the end of their effective lifespan and the risk of major component failure is much higher.
A full assessment of the vehicle should be undertaken and any decision should not be based on mileage alone and keep in mind, some Lexus parts won’t be as cheap as Toyota.
Buying a Lexus IS with over 150,000 miles won’t necessarily equate to a sour outcome.
A well-maintained IS with 150,000 miles might be a better purchase than one with 100,000 miles that had lots of owners and led a rough life or was previously a rental car.
When buying a second-hand Lexus IS, consider the following:
- Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide evidence of this.
- Get a second opinion. Take it to an independent auto repair shop or have it inspected by a mechanic you trust.
- Check the CarFax. This doesn’t guarantee anything but it will provide a clearer picture of wear-and-tear. Ensure it has minimal damage, if any. Review the information to make sure if something happened such as engine- or transmission-related.
- Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually means more wear-and-tear. If one family owned it and drove the full mileage and serviced the car, then you can almost guarantee they took good care of it throughout their ownership.
- How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, you should evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending a bit extra on something more reliable.
- Avoid Modified Cars. Due to its popularity with car enthusiasts, there are a number of modified IS models featuring aftermarket parts. Modified cars will likely have been subjected to more abuse which inherently shortens the lifespan of components.
How Long Do Lexus IS Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
In this section we’ll compare the Lexus IS to some of its rivals.
Lexus IS vs. BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series combines power, innovation and driving satisfaction in a luxury sport sedan.
The 3 Series can last 200,000 – 250,000 miles on average or 13 – 17 years provided it’s serviced regularly which is less than the expected lifespan of the Lexus IS of 250,000 – 300,000 miles.
- Kelley Blue Book consumer ratings scores the 3 Series reliablity at 3.8/5 vs. 4.5/5 for the Lexus IS.
- J.D. Power gives the 3 series a Quality and Reliability score of 76/100 while the Lexus IS enjoys a healthier 81/100.
- RepairPal gives the 3 Series an average reliability rating of 3/5 which is less than the 4/5 it gave the Lexus.
- Average annual repair and maintenance costs for BMWs also costs almost twice as much at $968 compared to $551 for the Lexus.
In terms of longevity and reliability the Lexus is the clear winner, however the 3 Series has more luxurious styling and offers superior performance.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do BMW 3 Series Last?
Lexus IS vs. Acura TLX
The TLX is Acura’s flagship sedan that pushes the envelope of performance, tech and design.
The Acura TLX has a predicted lifespan of 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 17 – 20 years which is on par with Lexus IS.
- Based on consumer reviews, Kelley Blue Book scores the reliability of the Acura TLX at 4.8/5 while the Lexus gets a very close 4.5/5.
- J.D. Power gave the TLX and Lexus IS the same Quality and Reliability score of 81/100.
- RepairPal gave the TLX an excellent Reliability Rating of 4.5/5 while the Lexus isn’t too far off with a rating of 4/5.
- Average annual repair and maintenance costs for the TLX is slightly cheaper at $440 while the Lexus IS is estimated at $551.
The Acura TLX and Lexus IS are fairly evenly matched in terms of reliability and lifespan and we’d advise taking both for a test drive before making any big decisions.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Acura TLX Last?
Lexus IS vs. Audi A4
The Audi A4 offers a refined ride, comfy high-end interior and snappy acceleration.
The A4 can reach 150,000 – 200,000 miles and last 10 – 13 years before it becomes prohibitively expensive to maintain. This is less than the Lexus IS projection of 250,000 – 300,000 miles.
- Kelley Blue Book consumer reliability review gives the Audi A4 at 4.5/5 matching the IS.
- J.D. Power gave the A4 a Quality and Reliability score of 82/100 which is similar to the Lexus’ 81/100.
- RepairPal handed the A4 an average Reliability Rating of 3.5/5, slightly lower than the 4/5 it gave to the Lexus.
- The A4 is more expensive to maintain with an average of $739 per year compared to only $551 for the Lexus.
Although many will prefer the prestige and sophistication of the Audi, the Lexus IS is the more durable of the two.
|Annual Repair Cost||$551||$968||$440||$739|
|KBB Consumer Rating||4.5/5||4.1/5||4.5/5||4.5/5|
|J.D. Power Rating||81/100||76/100||81/100||82/100|
|Lifespan (miles)||250k – 300k||200k – 250k||250k – 300k||150k – 200k|
Is the Lexus IS Reliable?
According to consumer reviews, industry data and motoring journalists the IS is one of the most reliable luxury sedans available on the market today.
If your looking for a dependable car you can’t go too far wrong with a Lexus IS, this really is an area in which this model excels.
- Kelly Blue Book gave the Lexus IS a reliability rating of 4.5 stars.
- J.D. Power gave the Lexus IS a Quality and Reliability score of 81/100, and ranked it 1st place overall compared to other small luxury sedans.
- RepairPal gave the Lexus IS an ‘Above Average’ Reliability Rating of 4/5.
The Lexus brand is well known for its excellent reliability.
Consumer Reports carried out a reliability survey, collecting over 420,000 responses since 2000, however their results are not limited to a single model year, and simply provide a rolling snapshot of brands and models reliability.
In their latest Consumer Reliability Survey, Lexus was the top brand, with a score of 81 out of 100 for ‘Average Predicted Reliability’.
The Best and Worst Years of the Lexus IS
After 20 years in the market, the Lexus IS has had its share of good and bad model years.
Worst Model Year
The worst model years for the Lexus IS are the early second generation models which ranged from 2006 to 2008.
These were plagued by ‘melting dashboards’ which became sticky and unsightly after several years of exposure to sunlight and heat.
Best Model Year
The best model years for the Lexus IS are the facelifted third generation models which were launched in 2016 onwards.
Aside from the updated exterior, it also came with better tech and a larger infotainment screen.
These models have not recorded any complaints so far, despite being on the road for five years.
Model Year and Number of Complaints
Here is the total number of complaints for every Lexus IS model year according to the Car Complaints database.
|Model Year||No. of Complaints|
|2021||0 (Best year)|
|2007||38 (Worst year)|
Be sure to check out our article: How Long Do Infiniti Q50 Last?
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Lexus IS has had 85 recalls over the last 20 years.
You can check if your Lexus IS has been subject to a recall campaign by going to the Lexus Safety Recall and Service Campaign site.
It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge to the consumer.
Here are the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Lexus IS:
- 2021: 0
- 2020: 0
- 2019: 2
- 2018: 1
- 2017: 0
- 2016: 0
- 2015: 1
- 2014: 3
- 2013: 4
- 2012: 5
- 2011: 7
- 2010: 9
- 2009: 10
- 2008: 11
- 2007: 11
- 2006: 16
- 2005: 1
- 2004: 1
- 2003: 0
- 2002: 1
- 2001: 2
Lexus IS Model Year List
- 2001 Lexus IS
- 2002 Lexus IS
- 2003 Lexus IS
- 2004 Lexus IS
- 2005 Lexus IS
- 2006 Lexus IS
- 2007 Lexus IS
- 2008 Lexus IS
- 2009 Lexus IS
- 2010 Lexus IS
- 2011 Lexus IS
- 2012 Lexus IS
- 2013 Lexus IS
- 2014 Lexus IS
- 2015 Lexus IS
- 2016 Lexus IS
- 2017 Lexus IS
- 2018 Lexus IS
- 2019 Lexus IS
- 2020 Lexus IS
- 2021 Lexus IS
Is the Lexus IS Expensive to Maintain?
The Lexus IS is a very affordable car in terms of ownership costs, this is thanks largely to its reliability and to some degree the cost of parts.
According to RepairPal:
Yearly repair and maintenance costs for the Lexus IS averages around $551 which is a lot cheaper than the industry average of $739 for luxury cars.
This figure is also lower than the average for all vehicles types which is estimated at $652.
According to CarEdge:
A Lexus IS will cost you roughly $5,680 in upkeep during its first 10 years. This is $6,024 lower than the average maintenance and repair costs for all luxury sedans.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
The Lexus IS brakes will typically last between 30,000 – 70,000 miles depending on driving habits and driving conditions.
- You can expect your brakes to wear out sooner if you frequently stop and accelerate in rush-hour traffic
- Brake pad replacement, which includes parts and labor, can cost anywhere between $150 – $300 per axle.
- Full and complete stops from a high speed are the #1 cause of premature brake pad wear.
- An aggressive driving style will lead to faster deterioration of brakes, a slow and steady style will help them last longer.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Tires are perishable goods. After a few years, they will begin to harden and their friction properties will gradually deteriorate.
Lexus IS tires should last approximately 35,000 – 50,000 miles or 2 – 3 years. This is dependent on various factors such as driving habits, climate, and road conditions.
- Have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
- Tire wear increases with speed.
- Check your tire pressures every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
- Hitting curbs or potholes can damage the tires and/or wheels permanently.
- The temporary spare should be replaced at 6-year intervals even if it hasn’t been used
- Avoid fast starts, hard braking and tire screeching.
- Have a mechanic check your wheel alignment every 6 months
How Long Do Lexus IS Engines Last?
The Lexus IS engine will typically last 250,000 – 300,000 or 13 to 17 years. This can vary drastically depending on maintenance and driving habits.
If you take good care of your Lexus, there’s no reason these mileages can’t be exceeded, and you’ll find many examples of this online.
To get more life from your IS engine let it idle for 1/2 minute – 1 minute upon starting it to allow the oil to get up to temperature and flow through the engine.
If you absolutely must hit the road, drive gently for the first mile or two.
How Long Do Lexus IS Batteries Last?
The Lexus IS battery will usually last between 3 – 5 years. A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.
- Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
- Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
- Storage: Keep your Lexus stored indoors away from extreme changes in temperature.
- Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.
Related: 8 Best & Worst Lexus IS 250 Years (With Pictures)
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plugs for the V6 Lexus IS models need to be replaced every 60,000 miles while the turbocharged 4-cylinder Lexus IS 300 and IS 200 will need new plugs every 40,000 miles.
Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take your car for routine maintenance.
Signs of a fouled spark plug include:
- Reduced gas mileage
- Lack of acceleration
- Rough idling
- Hard starts
- Engine misfires
What About Insurance Cost?
The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a Lexus IS 350 is $1,826 per year or around $152 per month. In comparison, its rivals in the luxury compact segment cost an average of $1,761 per year.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Lexus IS
- Adopt smooth driving habits.
- Keep up to date with factory-recommended maintenance.
- Use quality parts and fluids.
- Keep on top of repairs to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
- Regularly wash your Lexus IS to remove dirt and grime to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust developing.
- Check your car’s engine oil, coolant, brake, and transmission fluid levels and top them up when required.
- Keep your Lexus in a garage to help protect it from the elements.
- Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your Lexus needs and what quantity, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.
Related: 11 Most Common Lexus IS 250 Problems (Explained)