1997 Toyota Camry LE purchase


#1

Hello - I realize this is quite a broad question, but are there specific issues I should be aware of for a 1997 Toyota Camry LE (2.2L I4) with 147K miles? The car has not been in any accidents according to the carfax, but has had 3 owners. Dealership is asking $3600. The car would be for my college sophomore, so I need something that isn’t going to die or have something blow up a week after I buy it.
Thank You very much!


#2

The only way you’ll know the mechanical condition of the car is if you take it to an independent trusted mechanic and pay him to look it over.

The fact that Carfax said it was not in any accidents doesn’t tell you anything. You’ll never know what wasn’t reported to Carfax.

The $3600 asking price seems a bit high, at least according to some of the online used car pricing tools. You may want to do some more homework on the price.


#3

In general the '97 Camry is a good car. But, this car is now 15 years old and if you expect perfection - forget it. Just get a AAA car for your daughter. My son drives an '00 Camry and we have maintained it, but the timing belt failed this summer 200 miles from home 35k miles after it was replaced, so AAA to the rescue.

There is no magic bubble you can place around your kids no matter how much you pay or wish it. Good Luck!


#4

At this point in the cars life irrelevant to that golden Toyota badge you are at the mercy of previous owners maintenance and driving habits and luck.

A mechanic check can help with the obvious issues like major accidents, imminent problems and help alleviate some stress on blow up.


#5

Dealer retail for this car near DC is $3300. If you can get it for about $3000 or less, it might be worth considering. I’m sure the dealer will come down on price. If you are not familiar with the art of dickering, we can help you.


#6

As already stated, the most important determinant of reliability for any car this age is the life it led. It needs a good thorough going-over by a reputable shop.

And ignore the Carfax. It isn’t the comprehensive vehicle history it pretends to be.


#7

Make sure you get a good gift card for Starbucks to go with it, because driving one of these Camrys is excruciatingly boring (trust me, I drive a 98)… :stuck_out_tongue: