1993 Tercel

My 1993 Tercel has 174K miles, burns oil (blue smoke), and now the clutch has gone. My question is: is it worth repairing the clutch at this point? Meaning, how many miles can I expect to get out of this engine and will it repay the clutch? My other worries about the car include: it has no a/c and I live in Atlanta and I don’t feel that the car is safe enough for my two little boys to ride in.

How much can you afford to pay for another car? If you can afford about $3000-$4000, you might look at a 2001-2002 Chevrolet Prizm. It was built with the Toyota Corolla, and is an almost identical car. A similar Corolla would be almost $2000 more. If you can’t afford that much, go back a couple years. GM marketed it as the Geo Prizm before selling it with a Chevrolet badge. If you don’t think the Tercel is safe for the kids, just get rid of it.

I agree w/jts. Your Tercel doesn’t sound worth fixing, if you can afford something a bit newer.

Thanks, my concerns about safety may be unwarranted. It’s just the basic 4spd, with no options. It has one driver’s side airbag, which did not deploy when I was rear-ended at 40 mph on a major highway here. We repaired the bumpers following that accident but I remain skeptical of the car’s safety and use it only for solo (child-free trips). Within these limits, we’ve been limping it along but the clutch is a bigger repair than I’d like to deal with. But I’d also like not to shell out a lot of a car now either.

The answer is within your question.

“I don’t feel that the car is safe enough for my two little boys to ride in.”

There is no price you can put on that.

Buy the best car you can afford as soon as possible.

The “rear-ended” comment did it for me. Don’t spend any more on this Tercel. It’s burning oil, the clutch is shot, and it’s got crash damage (40 mph and only bumper repair? Really?), which puts its structural integrity in question.

I’d say it’s time to move on.

I’m another fan of the Geo/Chevrolet Prizm as a reliable, inexpensive-to-own used car, and I recommend them without reservation.

There are other cars that can be bought for not too much money. Shop around and see what you can find.

Someone will buy the Tercel from you, even with a bad clutch.

Based on what you have told us, you are one of the very few I can say that I believe you should replace the car.

Just for the record, this is a second car for us. I use it to get to work (10 miles away) 9 months out of the year. My children never ride in it.

But you ride in it, and you should be safe, too. Who’s gonna chase those boys if you are injured? They need a healthy mom, you need a safer car. If $4000 is out of the question, you can find less expensive cars. If it’s only 10 miles one way, you could buy an out of favor larger car that might use more gas, but is a lot less expensive to buy. With an older car, condition is more important than who built it. Look for a late 1990s car with low miles - maybe owned by an older person. They often take good care of their cars. I know that I take a lot better care of my cars than I did when I was in my 20s.

Agree with others, it’s time to say goodbye and get something safer and more reliable. I’m sort of puzzled why a Tercel with that low mileage uses oil; these are very sturdy little cars. Past history must indicate less than perfect maintenance.

The car at this stage is now probably not safe for ANYONE to ride in.