1992 Toyota Tercel - Hard to find parts

my ‘ol tercel that I’ve had for 22 years, is getting difficult to find parts for…and hard to trust anyone’s advice…dont’ have a choice but to keep this car…in my 60’s now; can’t afford ANYTHING else…THANKS!!

Is there a question?

Have you tried rockauto?

Are there any particular parts you’re looking for? Generic parts such as filters, belts, brakes, seals/gaskets, alternator/starters and so on should be readily available just about anywhere.

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Auto recyclers (junkyards, wrecking yards) now have inventories and cross references available on line and you may find what you need close to home. If not, if you ask they can refer you to other recyclers. I just found an oil pan for my 1999 Honda in Eau Claire, WI via internet and telephone. My nearby Duluth place did not have it. It should arrive here Friday. I hope your luck is as good!


for your quick response…I live in PA…(Pgh.)

so the winters are comparable to Wisconsin…

I will try that; also, someone from Car Talk suggested RockAuto…no good…

now, how do I find a trustworthy mechanic??

As a woman, I find that VERY DIFFICULT to do…unless you know

“car speak”…

Thanks, again

I see a pretty good number of parts for your car at Rockauto, including most of the ones you might be expected to need. What exactly are you looking for?

I’m also wondering why that’s the case. I found lots of parts for your car there.

What parts are you needing?

L & R rocker panels

motor mounts

many more…

this car doesn’t even have 100,000 yet…

I’ve had this car for 22 years…!!

Sounds like rust is getting to it, correct? You’ll need a body shop that’ll do ‘good enough’ body work to keep you on the road, by making patch panels from sheet metal, that kind of thing. Rockauto does have motor mounts for your car.

What other parts are you needing? Auto recyclers have a pretty good selection, too.

do you know anyone in the Pgh. Pa. area that would work

on a senior’s car?? TRUSTWORTHY…


Motor mounts:


Have you considered using Uber instead of keeping your car?

Years ago I got rocker panels - or rocker panel covers - from JC Whitney. Screwed and riveted them over the rusted out areas, then smoothed the edges with a bit of body putty, and spray painted them. They looked OK and worked fine for years. Some body shops won’t do that kind of unprofessional work, others might. It doesn’t really need a body shop, just a handyman or neighborhood auto repair facility who’s willing to help you keep the car in good enough shape going forward.

How to find? Ask people - not so much where they’d would take their car, but where they’d recommend you to take your 1992 Toyota. If there’s a repair shop you are curious about, have them do a tire rotation or oil and filter change and see how they treat you.

The chain stores are not likely to want to get very involved beyond basic maintenance, but many fine local shops would be competent and interested. Best wishes.

There are no commercial rocker panels available, however some body shops have the machinery that is capabile of making replacements. The old rocker has to be cut off and new sheet metal is formed into the rocker panel profile, cut to fit and welded back on. It’s really not much more expensive than buying ready made panels, could be cheaper.

you the most helpful

and, I feel honest


Rocker panel replacement is going to be expensive. Given the car is going on 30 years old and in Wisconsin I would have to think that the car has way more rust issues than the rocker panels.
Economically feasible to sink this kind of money into an old Tercel? Not at all.

For what it’s worth, the vast majority of mechanics are honest. The many are tarnished by the few; just like in every other profession on the planet.

The car is in the Pittsburgh, PA area if I read it right. A rust-prone area. So few cars from 1992 are still on the road - rust a major issue in much of the USA. The rust could be a lot worse than rocker panels - weakening the car’s structure a lot. The rocker panels are structural elements on a unibody car like yours and just about all cars these days. Nobody could honestly give it a strong-as-new rating, but I’d have someone put it up on a lift (as for an oil change, or tire rotation) and give a good looking over, poking and prodding and tapping to evaluate the severity of the rust. Good luck and please keep us informed.

Please don’t get too upset with this . . .

it sounds as if your car is getting to the point it won’t pass safety inspection because it’s too rusty

Body work is expensive, and your car isn’t worth it . . . a waste of money, in my opinion

Time to move on, in my opinion

I have to agree. Time to say good bye to this time capsule. Rocker panels are no easy task and will be expensive plus if the rockers are rusted through, I have to believe that rust is overtaking the underside of the car. You are 60 and have had it for 22 years but if you fixed it would you really plan to keep it until you are 80 for another 20 years. So you’re going to have to upgrade at some point so go for it now. Although not recommended financially, there are lots of deals out there for low interest rates and longer payment terms on new cars. That would be a car with a warranty that could last another 20 years. Even taking a cheap lease and buying it after the four years to extend the payment period would be better than throwing money at a rusted body.

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