1997 Corolla vs. 2000 Century

I have a car choice to make and am hoping some of the wiser folks on the board can help: I currently have a 1997 corolla with about 120k on it. It’s been running great and as of last year has a shiny new timing belt. However, I just inherited a 2000 buick century, which has only 20,000 miles. I need to sell one of these cars. I’m on a tight budget, so I’m curious what people think: which will cost me more money to keep for the next 4 or 5 years? We just had a mechanic look at the century, and it apparently has a leak in the intake manifold that will need to eventually be replaced to the tune of $800. It’s his opinion that the century is looking old, and even though it has few miles, will end up costing more in maintenance than the corolla. An added complication is that the buick is on the other side of the country: which’ll cost $500 or so to get out here.

So anyhow, let the debate begin… thanks in advance for the help!

My experience with Corollas says, “Keep the Corolla and sell the Buick.” There are few cars (if any) that are less expensive to drive, mile after mile, than Corollas.

Keep the Corolla. The transportation factor sounds like a hassle. Sell the Buick in the other location.

If the Century has been driven with a leaking intake manifold gasket for any length of time there could be engine damage. The antifreeze leaks into the engine and displaces the oil from the crankshaft (and other) bearings, antifreeze is not a good lubricant. I’m sure other posters could explain this better though. When my mechanic found an intake leak on my Blazer (about a week after I noticed the coolant level in the overflow tank dropping), he insisted that I get it to the dealer for repair and drive as little as possible.

Ed B.

Another reason to keep toyota the buick will not hold resale value and gas milage is better.
Sure hope you also changed water pump and bearings

The resale is not really a factor after 7 years and definitely not 10 years old. I agree within the first 5 years it makes a difference though.

Seems like a consensus: thanks all of you. I did get the bearings and water pump done.

My vote would be the Buick. IF it has the 3.8 V6… That car is almost bulit proof from a reliability stand point, and should live a long long life. Do you trust the mechanic who looked at the car?? Has he offered to “take it off your hands”?? The reason I ask is some times when you are far away, people can take advantage of that situation. He may be thinking that he will get a low mileage car on the cheap. Not saying he is lieing, Im just saying be carefull.

2000 Buick Century with only 20,000 miles? That means an average of 2,857 miles per year of driving. Are you sure of the leaks? Even though it’s 7 years old, with not much wear & tear, I would get a secong opinion.

Yup- only 20,000 miles: my grandfather pretty much drove it to the store once a week and that’s all. I do trust the mechanic: my parents have been going to him for years and he’s not a dealer. He seemed to think that the hole in the manifold might be indicative of things getting old in general: the car had been parked outdoors (although usually covered) in New England winters for several years, so I suppose that could explain the leak. (Alternatively, the corolla has been a California car all its life). Thanks for your opinions!

Considering everything I will keep the Corolla.